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About Santa Fe
Founded around 1610, Santa Fe is the second oldest city in the U.S., and the only one where many of the original buildings have been preserved. And with strict restrictions placed on downtown building, so that even the majority of new buildings are sympathetic to the original adobe style, Santa Fe has retained its earthy, yet colourful look. A number of the properties recommended on our Guru’s list of the best places to stay in Santa Fe are in the wonderfully atmospheric New Mexico style.
But Santa Fe is definitely not stuck in the past, aside from the wonderful architecture, this city is forward thinking and fun, with a thriving cultural scene, a collection of excellent museums, great restaurants and markets - specialising in turquoise and silver jewellery, textiles, pottery and hand-carved furniture - and a nice line in upmarket retreats - some of which appear on our list of the best places to stay in Santa Fe.
But it’s not just the architecture and the lifestyle in town that draws folk here. At the foot of the Sangre de Cristo range, Santa Fe is surrounded by some incredible countryside, and this is a great place for hikers, bikers and mountain climbers - and in the season, skiers. And all under that incredible bright blue canopy of a sky.
You’ll want to start your Santa Fe explorations in the Plaza, long a dream destination, once for those on the Camino Real from Mexico and then for wagons heading west. This is also where you’ll find a number of Santa Fe’s museums.
Just back from the Plaza is the Georgina O’Keeffe Museum ( she’s known for her dramatic New Mexican landscape paintings), nearby you’ll also find the Palace of the Governors - America’s oldest public building.
Santa Fe also has a wonderful Museum of International Folk Art - the world’s largest collection, and a Museum of Indian Arts and Culture. Then of course there are the churches, shrines and the numerous art galleries. If you’re here to buy art, or just like looking, then head to Canyon Road.
If you enjoy opera then you’ll possibly already have been tempted by Santa Fe’s world class opera in its marvellous outdoor theatre.
Just don't forget to plan well ahead if you want to bag a bed in one of the best places to stay in Santa Fe - it's a popular destination year round.
For the New Mexico experience
- Rosewood Inn of the Anasazi is a cosy, 37 room New Mexican inn right in the centre of town. The decor is traditional - but not at the expense of modern conveniences - and there are some lovely locally crafted furnishings and great regional cuisine.
- The Inn of Five Graces is just two blocks from the Santa Fe Plaza, and offers a wonderfully colourful explosion of traditional art and design from New Mexico, Tibet and India. Each room is a treasure trove of extravagance. To share there’s the wonderful views of the mountains and a full service spa and gym.
For great value
- La Fonda is an elegant, extremely well located, 180 room hotel. The interiors are influenced by local crafts and colours and there’s an airy feel to the spaces. There’s also an outdoor rooftop bar and restaurant. Rooms start from just over £100 per night.
- The Hacienda del Cerezo is a hideaway guest ranch, just outside of Santa Fe, raised up on a natural table top mountain - locally called mesas - so you’ve got beautiful views of Santa Fe and the surrounding country. The decor is traditional New Mexico, with light stucco walls, kiva fireplaces exposed beams and large windows. There’s an infinity pool, tennis courts and stable, and dinner is served by candlelight, accompanied by the classical guitar.
Still not sure which is the best place to stay in Santa Fe for you? Browse through our list of all the best places to stay in Santa Fe, expand your search to include all of our New Mexico recommendations, or contact one of our friendly Gurus for advice.
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Best Hotels in Santa Fe
El Rey Court Santa Fe 86 rooms from AU$201Total relaxation - Total relaxation is guaranteed at this modern roadside hotel, with a sauna, pool and hot tub onsiteRomantic Break - The stylish rooms, outdoor pool and romantic hot tub make this a great bolt-hole for couplesCity Style - With interiors inspired by New Mexican tradition, book this hotel for chic Santa Fe styleSights nearby - See the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi, a Roman Catholic cathedral in downtown Santa Fe built in the 1800s
This smart hotel is located in an adobe brick roadside motor court in Santa Fe. Inside, guestrooms are bright and inviting, with tiled floors, antique furnishings and southwestern décor. The swim club, with a pool, sauna and hot tub, is this the perfect place to rest and unwind. See More
La Fonda Santa Fe 179 rooms from AU$218Sights nearby - Walking distance from Saint Francis Cathedral, the NM Mexico of Art, the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum and Palace of the Governors.Outstanding location - La Fonda enjoys a sublime location on Santa Fe's beautiful, central plaza, a National Historic Landmark dating from 1609.Cooking classes - The Eat Stay Cook package includes lessons at the internationally acclaimed Santa Fe School of Cooking.Swimming Pool - Outdoor pool
Centrally located elegant hotel. Interiors draw on local crafts with an airy feel: cream walls are adorned with original art, beds have hand-carved and painted headboards, some rooms have fireplaces and sitting areas. Romantic dining outside at La Plazuela and rooftop bar with views over Santa Fe. See More
Rosewood Inn of the Anasazi Santa Fe 37 rooms from AU$403Sights nearby - Santa Fe offers a plethora of attractions including the NM Museum of Art and the Georgia O'Keefe museum within walking distance.Traditional - Adobe walls, hand-woven carpets and kiva fireplaces keep local traditions very much alive.Full of character - A former Santa Fe penitentiaryKids Club - Fully staffed.Recommended by - Tablet
Cosy and authentically New Mexican inn at the heart of Santa Fe. All modern conveniences are provided while maintaining an ambiance that is steeped in tradition, with adobe walls, locally crafted furnishings and exquisite regional food. Pets and children are welcomed and there is an eco-emphasis. See More
The Inn of Five Graces Santa Fe 3 rooms from AU$623Spa - The spa provides an intoxicating journey for the senses, blending ancient eastern ritual with contemporary opulence.Romantic - The sensuous and extravagant atmosphere of the Inn of Five Graces ensures a stay that will kindle romance.Restrictions on children - Children 5 and older are welcome at the hotelOutstanding location - Two blocks from the Santa Fe PlazaRecommended by - Mr & Mrs Smith
Large inn with traditional adobe exterior and lavish orient-inspired interior. A kaleidoscopic explosion of colours, fabrics, tiles, patterns and mosaics sourced from Tibet, India and New Mexico makes each room resemble a treasure trove. Mountain views, full-service spa and gym, off-site restaurant. See More
Hacienda del Cerezo Santa Fe from AU$1173Outstanding location - Perched atop a natural land table (mesa) with spectacular views over Santa Fe, which is only 40 mins drive away.Back to Nature - Immerse yourself in the natural splendour of New MexicoSights nearby - Bordered by the Tesuque Indian Reservation; Federal lands; the Horcado Ranch area; and the old Jacona Spanish Land Grant.Secluded setting - Although less than an hour away from Santa Fe, you feel a million miles away from the stresses of modern life.
High-altitude hideaway guest ranch with traditional details. Interiors have light stucco walls, kiva fireplaces, wood beams, large windows, plush beds. Dinner is served in candlelight with classical guitar accompaniment. Infinity pool with view of Jemez Mts, tennis court and horse stable on-site. See More