Top 5 places to stay in historic Santa Fe

When you visit Santa Fe, the best accommodations for getting that true Santa Fe feeling are located in the area of the historic central Plaza. Of course, these places are the first to fill up when a large event in the Plaza such as Indian Market or Spanish Market takes place. So book early.

I have chosen these Santa Fe hotels as I have personally reviewed them and find an authentic Santa Fe ambiance when I am there. My favorites are:

Room at La Fonda on the Plaza in Santa FeLa Fonda on the Plaza
La Fonda is Santa Fe. With a rich history and on the Plaza location, La Fonda is the place to stay for a true Santa Fe experience.

La Fonda has 167 guest rooms and suites, including 14 luxury accommodations on the The Terrace concierge level. Each room is uniquely decorated with hand-painted wooden furniture, original art and other distinctive touches.

La Fonda was one of the original Santa Fe inns established for travelers. With a full time artisan in residence, La Fonda retains the charm of the early days with painted glass, wood and tinwork reminiscent of Mexico and early Santa Fe.

The restaurant, La Plazuela, is an indoor courtyard serving excellent New Mexican cuisine. The bar area often has live music and dancing. For a cocktail at sunset, try the rooftop Bell Tower Bar.

Address: 100 E. San Francisco Street, Santa Fe, New Mexico
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Art is Featured at La Posada de Santa FeLa Posada de Santa Fe
La Posada de Santa Fe is a compound of casita type rooms just a block or so off the Plaza. Some visitors tell me they haven’t seen La Posada because it is located behind walls on an unusually large and treed property. The inn has an unusual history and an early Victorian-era home is included in the main building.

La Posada is in historic Santa Fe, close to the Plaza, shops and restaurants. The resort complex features Fuego, a gourmet restaurant, Viga, a casual dining yet elegant bistro, and the historic Stabb House lounge where you can dine casually and enjoy the same high quality cuisine La Posada is known for.

Beautifully spaced throughout the property are 157 adobe rooms and suites. Many rooms have kiva fireplaces and pleasant private patios. The rooms are decorated in simple, yet elegant, Southwest style using tinwork, tile and leather furniture.

I particularly enjoyed the use of art at La Posada. Sara Eyestone, artist and curator for La Posada, selects and oversees a large collection of fine art from independent artists. The art is beautifully grouped in the resort’s common areas. You may even find a piece in your room. All art is for sale at, I believe, reasonable prices.

The Inn has an on-site spa.

Address: 330 East Palace Avenue, Santa Fe, NM 87501
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Hotel St. Francis in Santa FeThe Hotel St. Francis
The Hotel St. Francis, just a block off the Plaza in Santa Fe, is the oldest hotel in Santa Fe. Totally renovated just a few years ago, The Hotel St. Francis is on the National Register of Historical Places.

The lobby, reception and gathering areas are done in an elegant minimalist style making use of light natural tile and wrought iron accents. Early Santa Fe style furniture, adding to the ambiance, is carefully placed throughout. Nothing seems crowded.

The rooms had hints of yesteryear, but have the comfortable beds and white sheeting common in boutique hotels. It’s nice sleeping in a billowy bed with 9 pillows after a day of sightseeing.

The hotel has a beautiful corner dining room with views and lots of natural lighting. La Tabla Los Santos Restaurant has an excellent chef, who produces some innovative New Mexican cuisine. The Secreto Bar and Loggia is an ideal gathering place. While there I met friends and we had a glass of wine under the portal and watched an afternoon thunderstorm pass through.

The St. Francis is yet another historic retreat in the center of activities in Santa Fe.

Address: 210 Don Gaspar Avenue Santa Fe, NM 87501
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Hotel Chimayo de Santa Fe (formerly Courtyard at the Plaza Real in Santa FeHotel Plaza Real)
Hotel Chimayo is one of the more reasonably priced of the historic hotels in central Santa Fe. The hotel is boutique hotel with 56 deluxe suites and guestrooms, most featuring private balconies, wood burning fireplaces and classic Santa Fe decor. It has recently been redecorated with authentic Chimayo weavings, carvings, tinwork and art from beautiful Chimayo, a small, culturally rich village in northern New Mexico.

You don’t usually drive up to the front door of Hotel Chimayo. You enter on foot from the sidewalk just as you do in many European cities. A friendly front desk staff will greet you as you enter the intimate lobby.  If you are with car, you will park in the very convenient underground garage and can access your room floor via elevator. Hotel Chimayo is all about convenience and that special Santa Fe feel.

I enjoy the small inner courtyard. Many of the rooms open on to this courtyard. There is a bar off the hotel lobby which is a great meeting place and a casual New Mexico style restaurant upstairs.

Address: 125 Washington Ave, Santa Fe, NM 87501
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Inn on the Alameda in Santa FeInn on the Alameda
The Inn on the Alameda is situated at the foot of Canyon Road, the address of Santa Fe’s leading art galleries, and is within walking distance of more historic areas, museums and fine restaurants. It is within walking distance of the Plaza.

The Inn is a cluster of eight adobe buildings joined by meandering paths and beautiful gardens. The buildings have been a part of Santa Fe for years and the Inn has taken great pains to create a simple yet luxurious range of accommodations. The rooms are spacious and are appointed in Santa Fe style furnishings.

In the mornings,  the Inn provides a complimentary breakfast buffet in the bright and cheerful common room off the main lobby. We enjoyed muffins, pastries, fruit and an excellent warm frittata. Fresh squeezed juices and fresh ground coffee added to a wonderful way to start the morning.

Each afternoon guests gathered to compare notes about their day of sightseeing and shopping and to plan where to go for dinner.  A full cash bar was available but what people seemed to enjoy most was the variety of wines accompanied by fruit, bread, crackers and cheeses

Address:303 East Alameda, Santa Fe, New Mexico 87501
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When You Go
Keep in mind that these hotels are located in the central historic district. During such events as Indian Market, things can get hectic and a bit noisy. Of course, for me, that is part of the fun of being in Santa Fe.
Top Things to Do and See in Santa Fe
Other Santa Fe Accomodations

Photo Credit: Elizabeth R. Rose