The Inn and Spa at Loretto

Santa Fe


If you haven't already been tempted to New Mexico's stunning landscapes by the Georgia O'Keeffe retrospective at Tate Modern, then Santa Fe's acclaimed Independent Film Festival in December is surely the final excuse you'll need to head for one of the most picturesque and authentically preserved old Spanish towns in the USA.

As the most important attributes for a Santa Fe hotel are location and ambience, where to stay is everything. But The Inn And Spa At Loretto beats pretty well all its rivals for both. Just a block from the Plaza on which all life centres, it's on the prettiest, southernmost side. And despite its good looks, this inn built in local Pueblo style is very fairly-priced when many lesser properties charge more and deliver less.

The inn's round-cornered tiers, clad in desert-toned stucco punctuated with dark wooden posts, mimic the adobe architecture of nearby Taos Pueblo, a Native American settlement and prime area attraction. The lobby is large and impersonal but the room and corridors are more intimate, pleasingly furnished with colonial-style furniture and colourful rugs.

Rooms are not huge but many have sitting areas, there are flat-screen TVs blending discreetly into terracotta walls and bathrooms are well-equipped. There is a spa and heated pool for post-sightseeing relaxation, and an attractive terrace restaurant, although Santa Fe is somewhere to eat out.

The Loretto Chapel, a beautiful small Gothic church famed for its spiral staircase, is next door, the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum is a stroll away, and the excellent Wheelwright Museum, with a dazzling display of Native American jewellery, can be reached by shuttle bus.

And for retail therapy, you hardly need leave the Plaza with plenty of Hopi and Zuni baubles, which are a draw to New Mexico in themselves.

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