Inn On the Alameda, Santa Fe
Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA
I arrived in Santa Fe late at night, having spent a hellish day stranded at various airports due to the enduring incompetence of a certain airline (America West, are you listening?). Driving through the darkened desert with a pounding dehydration/caffeine deprivation headache, nauseous from the bag of Swedish fish I’d inhaled for dinner (each one sorrowfully consumed in lieu of a much-anticipated feast of green chili stew and sopapillas drenched with honey), all I wanted to do was guzzle a gallon of water and crawl into bed.
Pulling up to the soothing, ochre adobe buildings of Inn on the Alameda was a tonic for my travel-ravaged soul. Check in was fast and efficient, and I stumbled my way along flowery garden paths, past ristra-and tile bedecked balconies, to my room, one of 69 on the property.
My room was huge, airy, tastefully appointed in Southwestern décor, minus those hideous howling coyotes, tacky pastel Zia patterns, and obnoxious images of Kokopelli playing that eternal flute. Thank God. A fluffy, Egyptian cotton robe awaited me on the bed, and a deep inhalation of the apple body lotion in the bathroom goodie basket revived me. I walked to the nearby hot tub, and lolled amidst a froth of bubbles, breathing in the pinon-scented air while powerful underwater jets pounded away my cattle-car, economy seat-induced tension. I felt like butter on a hot tortilla. Later, clean, soft, and smelling like an apple Jolly Rancher, I slid between smooth, high thread count sheets and cradled a miraculously downy pillow, wishing I had the energy to dial up the Inn’s on-call massage therapist and that I’d had the foresight to request one of the rooms with a traditional kiva fireplace.
Morning meant partaking of the inclusive, full buffet breakfast in the Inn’s cozy dining room, using the free Internet service and fitness room, then walking literally out the door and turning left onto famed Canyon Road (the Inn is the closest Santa Fe hotel), where all of Santa Fe’s art galleries, as well as a host of charming shops, restaurants, and cafes are located. Walk three blocks in the other direction, and you’re in downtown Santa Fe. Any direction you turn, the Inn is situated walking distance from something wonderful, be it a stroll along a winding, creek-side bike path beneath the cottonwoods, or Palace of the Governors, with it’s Native American jewelry vendors selling turquoise and silver off of hand-woven blankets, the Georgia O’Keefe Museum, or a meal at Café San Esteban, home of what I believe to be some of the finest posole on earth. A slightly longer stroll (about 15 minutes) will take you to the Saturday and Tuesday farmers market at the corner of Cerrillos and Guadalupe, rated one of the top 10 markets in the nation, with good reason. Local family farmers sell everything from pueblo-raised, grass-fed buffalo meat to farmstead goat cheese, chilis, and honey.
Inn on the Alameda is also a short drive from such local treasures various Indian pueblos, 10,000 Waves – a Japanese-style spa retreat offering walk-in massage – and hiking in the gorgeous aspen and pine forests of Santa Fe National Park – try the Tesuque Trail. Cap off a day of sightseeing and outdoor activities with a drink (or five) at Evangelo’s, a real deal biker bar inexplicably located right in the heart of the downtown tourist scene. Not for the faint of heart or terminally yuppie, it’s a great, old school kind of place that attracts a hardbitten but friendly local crowd, serves up strong drinks, and features great local blues bands.