Destination: Santa Fe
Inn of the Five Graces
Throughout a trip to Santa Fe, visitors will often be struck by seemingly incongruous combinations: a high desert, which in winter brings snow to rest on cacti; cowboys who moonlight as conceptual artists; cathedrals that were built by prominent Jewish families; and all in a 400-year-old city that only recently celebrated its centennial of American statehood. It’s only natural that one of its great hotels is located in a series of 19th-century pueblo buildings, decorated with Southeast Asian, Moroccan and South American furnishings. But just as the city represents a cross-section of the world’s cultures, relishing and harboring slices of religions, arts, architecture, design, cuisine and lifestyle, so too does the Inn of the Five Graces welcome those exploring the enchanting region.
Named for the five gifts Tibetans believe god gave to man (sight, sound, taste, touch and smell) the inn captivates each of the senses in unexpected and authentic New Mexican ways.
It’s located in an oasis of calm, just on the edge of town, basking in a peacefulness aided by the quiet serenity of the city. Four-foot-tall Balinese carved marble elephants interspersed with cactus and wagon wheels greet guests at the hotel’s adobe entrance. Dispersed around courtyards, most rooms are set back from the street so the only sounds come from the in-room music systems. The staff, too, exudes tranquility—while always available and helpful, they remain discreet. A week prior to arrival, the concierge will call guests to help coordinate meal reservations, guides or spa treatments.
Culinary treats are available throughout the day, ranging from warm apple cider and coffee in the lobby, homemade chips and salsa made fresh every day and delivered to rooms during the afternoon, traditional biscochitos cookies placed bedside at night, and breakfast that includes spectacular huevos rancheros.
Long before becoming hoteliers, Five Graces owners Ira and Sylvia Seret were members of Andy Warhol’s Factory. The 1970s were a time of adventure for many of their crowd, and the Serets put Afghanistan in their sights. Ira became the major importer of the hugely popular sheepskin vests and coats while he began working with artisans creating kilims and other textiles. Seret sold these items and encouraged people to use them as upholstery for furniture, bedspreads, wall hangings, and cushions. The hotel’s guest rooms, all unique in design and decor, are outfitted with the Seret’s collection of antiques, fabrics, tiles, doors and carved walls sourced from around the world.
Owing to the pueblo architecture, the twenty-three rooms and suites—with names such as Citrine and Tamarind—remain cool in summer and cozy and warm in winter. Every room has an adobe fireplace and a basket full of logs, piñon (a wood that lets off a piney smell), perfectly sized kindling and pre-wrapped newspaper, for girl and boy scouts who like to build their own fires. (City slickers can call the staff.) With pullout sofabeds in a smaller second bedroom, many rooms are ideal for families. The Lavender suite even has a large, well-stocked kitchen.
Who It’s Right For: Santa Fe visitors who would like to stay in town but not on the main drag.
Who It’s Not Right For: The funky and inspired décor is the complete opposite of minimalist Encantado, so the Five Graces is not recommended for those who dislike quirky ornate decorating schemes, which could be overwhelming if it weren’t so charming.
Indagare Tip: Pick up a bottle of Chlorophyll concentrate at the Encantado spa. When poured into a glass of water, this eerie green substance apparently allows the body to ingest more oxygen. At 7,000 feet, Santa Fe’s altitude is extreme and the Chlorophyll (whether as a placebo-effect or not) helps with the adjustment.
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