Jun 14, 12, 2:24 pm
The newest Four Seasons. FS will take over management of this resort in Santa Fe, New Mexico, effective July 1st.
FSPP amenities are not yet listed, nor is the hotel in the FSPP booking engine yet. Due on the website on June 29th.
Jun 14, 12, 2:41 pm
May 6, 13, 3:52 pm
I just checked in today for a 3-night stay! Heading out to explore the property now and will report back with thoughts later this week.
May 13, 13, 7:24 pm
I've just spent the past three nights at the new Four Seasons Rancho Encantado (http://www.fourseasons.com/santafe/) in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The Four Seasons took over management of the property from Auberge in July 2012 and have slowly been making improvements since.
For anyone that has been to the property before, the first thing you'll notice is that they've removed the giant eye-sore that was the self-parking lot in the middle of all of the buildings. Now, that area is a natural high-desert garden.
Untitled (http://www.flickr.com/photos/jourisman/8737325810/) by JessicaOurisman (http://www.flickr.com/people/jourisman/), on Flickr
You'll most-likely arrive via the Santa Fe airport (American Eagle flights from Dallas and LA or Great Lakes Air/Frontier from Denver) or the Albuquerque Airport and the hotel will arrange transfers from either. Rental car options are available at either airport, as well.
Because the hotel is about 15 minutes outside of downtown Santa Fe, the hotel operates a shuttle service and guests enjoy complimentary rides to the square or any of the downtown restaurants. Rides into town are on the hour and pick-ups in town are on the half-hour. They do request that guests make advance reservations just so they can be sure to have enough cars in operation.
Based on footprint, there is essentially only two room types. The categories are defined by property location and view. All rooms are in standalone casitas and most of the casitas have 2-4 rooms in them, two on the bottom floor and (sometimes) two on a second floor.
Vista Deluxe King Room (http://www.flickr.com/photos/jourisman/8723518319/) by JessicaOurisman (http://www.flickr.com/people/jourisman/), on Flickr
We stayed in a Vista Deluxe room, which was the highest room category before the suites and had slightly obstructed views of the valley and hills beyond the property. The Deluxe rooms all have fireplaces and private patios or balconies. I really liked the layout of the rooms; they have a small entry area with the mini-bar and the bedroom to one side and bathroom to the other side. All rooms have a Keurig coffee maker, which is a nice amenity to have on the chilly mornings. The bathrooms are nice and big with heated floors, separate showers and HUGE soaking tubs, a separate WC, and double vanity. The decor in the room is pretty plain; these rooms do have a sense of place, but I thought they lacked some charm and warmth. The floors are concrete throughout, but are only heated in the bathroom so they can get pretty cold!
HINT: some Deluxe rooms have fireplaces on the patio, but this is not designated in the inventory and are either luck of the draw or by request only.
There are 4 rooms that have 2 Queen size beds in them, called the Double Queen Deluxe in the inventory. These are slightly larger than the Deluxe rooms, but otherwise have the same layout and decor as the Deluxe level rooms. The ONLY connecting rooms on property are from a Double Queen to another Double Queen.
The Suites are either Sunset or Summit and they all have the same footprint. The Summit suites are located on the highest spot of the property with the best views. The Sunset suites are slightly lower, but still have great views looking west over the valley. I saw a Sunset Suite on my site-inspection. These have a similar entry-way to the Deluxe rooms with some upgrades, the mini bar area is now a wet bar, the coffee machine is a nicer model, and there is a half bath off to the side. This is a true suite with door separating the living and sleeping space. The fireplace is in the living room, but you can see it from bed if you keep the doors open. Both rooms have doors out to the patio, which has another large fireplace. The suites have hard wood floors in the living areas (a nice upgrade from the regular rooms) and heated concrete floors in the bathroom. The bathroom is slightly larger than in the Deluxe rooms, but it has all of the same finishes. NOTE: Right now, none of the suites have sleeper sofas. They can hold 3 adults or 2 adults, 2 children but with roll-aways only. The Four Seasons has plans to upgrade these all to sleeper sofas by the end of the summer.
Patio Fireplace in the Suites (http://www.flickr.com/photos/jourisman/8723524117/) by JessicaOurisman (http://www.flickr.com/people/jourisman/), on Flickr
The Spa is a big center-piece on the property and one of the major draws that brings guests in. Hotel guests have access to the spa facilities free of charge; this includes an outdoor whirlpool tub, steam room, and relaxation room. There are 15 total treatment rooms and 2 couples' suites with their own whirlpool tubs. The couples suites are large enough for small groups and would work well for a ladies' spa retreat, etc. All of the spa treatments are inspired by local ingredients and ancient techniques from the local Native American tribes. There is a heated outdoor pool that is open seasonally. The gym is large and fully equipped with all of the usual suspects. There is also a yoga studio; complimentary classes are offered on a regular basis and private instruction can be arranged.
Bar snacks and fireplace (http://www.flickr.com/photos/jourisman/8723501067/) by JessicaOurisman (http://www.flickr.com/people/jourisman/), on Flickr
The dining options in both the bar and Terra restaurant were a big highlight for us on this trip. The new chef at Terra is Andrew Cooper, previously from the Four Seasons Hualalai, and he has introduced a menu that focuses on local ingredients, unexpected preparation methods, and creative presentation. Everything we ate here was incredible! Some highlights include the BBQ Burger, smoked mashed potatoes, and the caramel pretzel ice cream.
The Four Seasons is doing a lot of work to bring everything up to their standards. There was some landscaping construction going on while I was there and they have plans to renovate the restaurant with an open kitchen plan next year. They have been here for less than a year and have already done a lot of work; they are putting a lot of thought into each decision to make a change. With only 65 rooms, this is a smaller than normal property for The Four Seasons to take on and they are using this as a guinea pig for future plans.
Sunset view from our patio (http://www.flickr.com/photos/jourisman/8723614697/) by JessicaOurisman (http://www.flickr.com/people/jourisman/), on Flickr
I have to add that this trip was part work, part pleasure for me. I brought Mr. O and we counted this as our 5-year anniversary celebration trip so this was a great opportunity to test the staff to see if they would make note of our special occasion and boy, did they! We were treated like royalty. Every member of the staff - waiters, housekeepers, concierge, drivers - EVERYONE wished us a happy anniversary throughout the entire stay. I was really impressed with the quality of service at every level!
Bottom Line: This property isn't quite up to all of the Four Seasons standards just yet, but they are well on their way. I hope they make some improvements to the basic rooms, but all of the changes I would make are really minor in the grand scheme of things. The dining is fantastic and absolutely worth a trip even if you choose to stay elsewhere in Santa Fe.
May 13, 13, 9:36 pm
Lovely to read that and see the photos, Jessica, and hope you might put up some more. We stayed here way back in 1995 on our very first driving trip to the USA. We were drawn to the hotel because it was then in Rene Lecler's 300 Best Hotels in the World but, my word, it was terribly run down. Nevertheless, we liked our little hacienda and the location was absolutely beautiful. Must try and go back, maybe combining it with AmanUtah.