Check-In: Jessie checked us in and was very friendly and helpful. She recommended some good local restaurants for dinner and supplied us with maps to find them.
Room Reaction: The hotel is one of the oldest in Santa Fe, but you wouldn't know it from our room, 216 (the 2009 renovation also probably helped). It was nice to have more subdued Southwestern decor, rather than the too-bright turquoise you see everywhere else. Though the striped carpet looked dated and out of place. We especially liked that all of the furniture was made from local artisans. The distressed wood pieces and cream and light gray color scheme gave the room an elegant-rustic feel. The two windows didn't offer much as far as views; they overlooked parking lots.
WiFi Connect: Wireless is free in the rooms and common spaces. We made good use of it and didn't run into any problems.
Amenities: We got nature-inspired toiletries from Sister Sky, an American Indian company, and the room comes with a flat-screen TV. Though we didn't bring a pet, the hotel does allow them. If you are computerless, there's one that's free to use in a cubby off of the lobby. There's also an itsy-bitsy gym that's only big enough to fit a treadmill and some weight equipment. If there are two people in there, it's too crowded. The hotel has a restaurant and bar on the premises and an awesome lobby.
What We Liked: As mentioned, we liked the subtle rustic Southwestern decor and wood furniture from local artisans in the rooms as well as the comfy beds. We adored the warm, inviting lobby. Because our room didn't have a desk, we plunked down at one of the lobby tables to do some work. At night, the hotel dims the lobby lights, illuminates the many candles and starts a roaring fire, which invites lingering and cuddling on the couches.
When we needed a work break, we sat near the fire and had a cocktail. Speaking of cocktails, Secreto Bar is also a small but cozy space that's great for a drink or two. The hotel has an excellent location in the historic Santa Fe Plaza that's near the action, but far away enough that the tourists aren't flooding the place. We didn't even need our car; mostly everything was in walking distance.
What We Didn't Like: Our corner room didn't have a desk, which isn't helpful for business travelers and laptop-toters afraid of toasted skin syndrome. We saw that other rooms had 'em, but those rooms were smaller and more cramped than ours.
There also wasn't a minifridge or even just an obligatory basket of overpriced candy bars. Usually that wouldn't be the biggest deal, but on weekdays, the area basically shuts down after 6:30 p.m. and room service ends at 8:30 p.m. So when we got hungry at 9 p.m., we were outta luck.
Bottom Line: Rooms start at $129; we snagged one for $120.40 a night on Travelocity. Plus, we paid $9 a day for parking. For the location and the room, it's a good deal. Though if you need roomy digs, beware of the smaller rooms.
[Photos: Jennifer Kester]