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“Nice stay / Great staff”

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Hilton Santa Fe Buffalo Thunder
Ranked #19 of 60 Hotels in Santa Fe
Certificate of Excellence
Northern Wisconsin
Level 3 Contributor
15 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
“Nice stay / Great staff”
Reviewed September 6, 2009

We stayed here late July 09. Had booked a king, and we were given a two room queen suite without having to ask. Will return to this hotel next time we are in Santa Fe.The only bummer was the casino in the basement was full of smokers. The air was bad.

  • Stayed July 2009, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
5 Thank pilotnow78
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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DSM
Level 3 Contributor
21 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
Reviewed August 29, 2009

It is a Ca$ino with a hotel attached. The pool was clo$ed so you could use the indoor (except you had to pay as it was in the $pa). You want to use the fitne$$ room? ca-ching! You want to use internet? ca-ching!
We told the lady checking us in we wanted a room in the rear away fro m the highway - ours faced the highway so we had to move.
We left the restaurant after waiting 20 minutes at a table without any service.
The stench of the casino cigarettes was horrible even though we were in the far end.
Want to sit outside? Enjoy all the fans droning on as they front out set the patio/veranda so speak up!
Twelve bucks to park with Valet or you could walk 10 feet and park your care yourself - the lots are empty
I could go on but you get the picture.
PS a lot of salt and MSG in the food so be careful if you take heart medication

  • Stayed August 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
3 Thank GustavSpeed
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
NY/CT
Level 3 Contributor
14 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
Reviewed August 18, 2009

I must say after reading other reviews here, I was a bit leery about staying at this resort. But after looking at the website photos, and comparing the amenities to the crowded downtown Santa Fe hotels, we decided to take a chance and were thrilled with our experience. We just visited in August 09 and we wanted to avoid the crowds of the plaza so this seemed to be a good alternative.

I decided I would review this hotel because we did not experience any of the issues others alluded to with poor service or random charges. I will try to address those concerns here. In fact, we found this to be a very classy yet comfortable facility.
We stayed here from a Tuesday thru Monday. Here are my tips/observations/ experiences.

First, I had requested a room with a balcony in my reservation request and was happy to see that was honored without my mention - the view we had was fabulous. The room was quite large and spacious. Plenty of drawer space and closet space. The lighting, is a bit on the dim side, but this seems to be a trend in every hotel I travel to these days.
( Whats up with that? )The bathroom was large and very impressive for a standard room. I requested extra towels and were provided with them daily,

When we arrived, we asked our bellhop about the infamous minibar which has its own detection system and will charge you if you move something out of place. He agreed that is kind of tricky and offered to get us a mini fridge for the room if we wanted to have our drinks, snacks chilled. He even gave us an option of a small or large fridge. This worked great for us as there is a large minimart/gas station nearby and we would pickup cold drinks, beer and snacks to have when we were back at the room. Could even take home leftover guacamole from Gabriel's.

The casino is practically invisible since it is on the lowest level, however the hotel became more crowded on Saturday and Sunday and I would notice the smell of smoke in the elevator but it was not overwhelming or offensive. We live near a casino here in CT and I would say this your basic casino. We dont gamble much but visited a few times and broke even.

The fitness center is quite large and looked wonderful, but I didn't use it - took all my exercise outside.

BTW, this is a huge facility - I took a few walks around the perimeter and there are some beautiful views of the mountains you would not get in downtown Santa Fe. In fact what we loved was when we came back from the plaza at night and got to watch the beautiful sunsets over the mountains . This land is breathtaking. There are many wonderful places to sit outside and enjoy a cocktail. We never felt the least bit crowded.

The pool was wonderful and we learned that it is wise to grab a cabana early on so you can relax in the sun and in the shade. Even though it was in the 80's, the sun at that elevation can be quite seering.

The staff was professional and wonderfully helpful, so perhaps they have gotten some customer sat feedback and that has fixed this problem. (Or perhaps my being a Hilton Honors member had some influence?) I did request a delayed checkout and they graciously extended it 3 hours.

Another tip, I booked this room thru the Hilton website and found an offer there that saved me 25% off the room cost. So for a king with a balcony it was $134 per night.
Nothing else in Santa Fe could touch that price.

Also, at checkout time I used the business center to print my boarding pass - it is ludicrous to me that they charge a per minute fee AND a $1 fee per page for boarding passes (so it cost $9 to prepay my baggage fee and print my boarding passes ) . But I am sure if I asked at the front desk they would have printed it for free. I think the .49 per minute online charge is to keep the 3 or 4 computers available for all guests and not have some computer nuts occupying them for long periods of time - this has been my experience in other hotels.

We didnt eat much at hotel - altho we had room service once and it was excellent, reasonable, tasty and fast, on a Sat. night no less. Gabriels' which is very closeby has great food and never a wait for breakfast or dinner for us.

Also I suggest you use the concierge's services - she was terrific. So helpful - and had great ideas for our trip.

Overall I have very high marks for this facility. I also noted that there were a fair number of native americans staying as guests which made us very happy to see. In our local casino, the very few native amerians we see are employees.

Great place, and it even made our sightseeing much easier since it was a bit closer to all our day trips than coming from downtown. If you dont care about being next to the plaza, dont shy away away from this place!

  • Stayed August 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
10 Thank chetbori
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Saint Louis, Missouri
Level 5 Contributor
51 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
Reviewed August 15, 2009

The hotel facility itself is very nice. We had a room on the Executive floor and I thought it was very representative of what I would expect for a Hilton property. Our room had a fireplace and looked out over the "golf course". There are multiple dining options. Red Sage is their upscale restaraunt. We ate there one evening and found the food to be very good but the service was somehat uneven. This seemed to be a recurring theme during our week stay. Spent a lot of time waiting for wait staff in the Mica restaraunt and cocktail lounge. The Painted Parrot buffet provides a large selection of decent food at a reasonable price.

The hotel also has an amazing collection of Native American art that is worth spending some time walking through the public areas to view it.

We did not spend much time in the casino but it is mostly just slot machines and a handfull of table games.

One of the reasons we booked this property was their advertised golf facilities. On a scale of 1-10 I would rate it about a 2.5. Hilton should be embarassed to have the Towa golf course associated with their name. The price they are charging for the conditions of that course are just stupid. I would call the front nine a cow pasture but that would be insulting innocent cows. Yes they ahve the only island green in New Mexico but a trick hole is nothing if the course itself is in terrible condition. The second nine is better but still nothing special at all. The advertised third nine had still not opened when we were there. If you want to play golf, skip this place and go play Black Mesa I(about 20 minutes North on the highway)

Would I go back??? Yes but I would plan meals and activities differently

  • Stayed August 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank scotchandice
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
College Station, TX
Level 2 Contributor
8 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
Reviewed August 13, 2009

Located about 10 minutes north of downtown Santa Fe, Hilton's Buffalo Thunder Resort & Casino is an excellent option for anyone looking for an affordable, refined, and relaxing stay. My wife and I booked a standard room with a king-sized bed through hilton.com at a prepaid rate of $152/night and found it to be spacious and impeccably clean. However, we were surprised to learn that the bathrooms in all king-sized rooms do not include a bathtub and are equipped exclusively with tiled walk-in showers. While not a major issue, it was definitely an annoyance since my wife prefers baths to showers. According to the front desk, those desiring a bathtub need to book a room with two queen beds as these are the only rooms equipped in such a manner. On a more positive note, the room's outdoor patio was a great way to enjoy the area's cool evenings. I would suggest requesting a pool-facing room to fully enjoy this amenity as it would definitely add to the enjoyment of the patio. Ours looked onto the hotel's parking lot, which, needless to say, was a disappointment. All in all, though, the room was comfortable and in-line with our expectation of what a Hilton-type room should be.

The availability of a spa, casino, and restaurants on-site were the items that drew us to Buffalo Thunder as we were looking to spend most of our time at the hotel. While we did not end up using the spa, I can say that we found the casino to be enjoyable and the Red Sage restaurant amazing. The casino is typical of those found in New Mexico. Lots of slots, a few table games, and plenty of smoke in the main gaming area. Thankfully, there was a smoke-free area that we were able to use, which was greatly appreciated. However, since Hilton does not own or operate the casino, everything from the responsiveness of the service staff to the quality of the food was markedly below that experienced in the hotel.

In our opinion, the Red Sage restaurant is the hotel's most outstanding amenity. Lead by the former head chef of Santa Fe's heralded Coyote Cafe, Mark Miller, the Red Sage serves up a wide range of menu items with a distinctive Southwestern flair. Everything from the appetizers to the desserts were excellent. Sadly, by eating there at the outset of our trip, the rest of our dining experiences were rendered sub-par by comparison. Even if you are not staying at Buffalo Thunder, the Red Sage is worth the trip.

  • Stayed August 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
7 Thank jhmorris2001
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Fort Worth, Texas
Level 5 Contributor
80 reviews
29 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 94 helpful votes
Reviewed August 9, 2009

This review is for the TOWA GOLF COURSE that's part of the Hilton Buffalo Thunder Resort. Did not stay at the Hilton but rather at the Homewood Suites also on the Buffalo Thunder Resort property. A recommendation for that hotel will be written separately.

Cannot recommend this course and actually would advise others to avoid playing here unless you somehow get the round comped! Highway robbery what they charge for a course in such poor condition as of late July 2009. They call this a resort course? Unbelievable. I've played many resort courses and this one isn't even close. Try other nearby courses for a much better value, better conditions, better service and better staffing. This operation is not run well at all.

Only 2 of the 9 hole tracts are open even though they advertise 27 holes. Probably due to the poor conditions. On a weekend morning a starter was no where to be found while golfers piled up behind the clubhouse trying to figure out themselves who had the next tee time and which 9 to start on. Grass on fairways was sparse and there were many dirt patches with many other areas roped off that were soaking wet and muddy. Most greens were OK but some were also looking stressed.

No course marshals to be found and they were definitely needed due to an extremely slow pace of play by most groups. At least the scenery is nice to look at while you are sitting and waiting on every tee. Save yourself money and aggrevation by going elsewhere for your Santa Fe area golfing adventures.

On the other hand, the grill at the Towa golf course was very nice with above average food, fair prices, large portions and good service.

The Hilton hotel common areas were extremely nice as we toured that and the casino one evening. Very upscale, several options for dining, fantastic outdoor pool area, and very friendly staff at the entrance as well as inside. The casino was quite smokey and the smell did filter to other parts of the building's main level so if that is an issue this might not be the place for you.

Again...not giving a pro or con to the Hilton at Buffalo Thunder since we didn't stay there. But if you are looking for a resort level golf course where you stay you should probably look elsewhere.

  • Stayed July 2009
    • Value
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank pbUSA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Fort Worth, Texas
Level 5 Contributor
49 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 96 helpful votes
Reviewed August 9, 2009

We went here to try the buffet and play the slots in the casino. Upon arrival to the somewhat sterile lobby, we immediately noticed the smell of tobacco smoke, but thought maybe it wouldn't be so bad in the buffet restaurant. The smoke wasn't as bad in the restaurant, but the food was terrible and it was lunch hour, when you would think things would be fresh and good. WRONG! For this price, we could have eaten much better in Santa Fe. Defintely not worth the price!
We decided to try our luck in the casino, hiked to the very small NON SMOKING section in the back THROUGH the smoking section. Whatever they are using to differentiate the 2 sections is not working. We had as much smoke as we could handle within an hour and had to leave.
Santa Fe is great--this place is not!

  • Stayed May 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank fishfortrout
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hilton Santa Fe Buffalo Thunder

Property: Hilton Santa Fe Buffalo Thunder
Address: 20 Buffalo Thunder Trl, Santa Fe, NM 87506-2790
Phone Number:
Location: United States > New Mexico > Santa Fe
Amenities:
Business Center with Internet Access Casino and Gambling Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#7 Spa Hotel in Santa Fe
#9 Luxury Hotel in Santa Fe
#11 Business Hotel in Santa Fe
#20 Family Hotel in Santa Fe
#23 Romantic Hotel in Santa Fe
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — Hilton Santa Fe Buffalo Thunder 4*
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Also Known As:
Hilton Santa Fe Golf Resort And Spa At Buffalo Thunder
Hilton Santa Fe Golf Resort & Spa At Buffalo Thunder Hotel Santa Fe
Hilton Santa Fe Hotel
Santa Fe Hilton

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