As the worldwide pandemic continues seemingly without end, travelers are still looking for places to go and hotels to stay at that offer easy social distancing. Few domestic resorts have the real estate and the structure for “built-in” social distancing that the Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado Santa Fe possesses.
Set on 57-acres in the Sangre de Cristo foothills, the resort is, in a word, expansive. This is even more so since there are only 65 well spread out casitas on the property. That Santa Fe has over 300 sunny days a year, makes it positively enchanting, thus keeping in line with state’s motto, the “Land of Enchantment.”
Casitas are large with private patios or balconies to enjoy those epic Santa Fe sunsets. They also have wood-burning fireplaces and deep Japanese-style soaking tubs. The complimentary activity menu includes daily hikes, yoga, as well as cooking and mixology demonstrations. Of course there is a large swimming pool where you can reserve a lane should you want to do laps.
1. Perfectly Pet-Friendly
Many travelers are taking Fido or Fluffy along when they seek a respite these days and the Four Seasons Santa Fe certainly makes canine family members feel right at home. I traveled there recently with my Labrador Retriever and she was welcomed with a large pet bed, Fiji bottled water, a stainless-steel food bowl and homemade dog treats. The latter naturally guaranteed that she would be barking to come back. And often.
With such extensive grounds, there is no shortage of walking trails. My pooch was also a joiner for the daily hikes that she enjoyed so much she was utterly perplexed, as only a Lab can be, when we returned to our casita after three miles.
2. Fantastic Food
Executive Chef Kai Autenrieth proves once and for all, that the word diet is truly a four-letter word. So leave it at home.
The hotel’s “Dine & Imbibe” culinary series has monthly wine-paired dinners on first Wednesdays through March 2021. Here Chef Kai gets to flex his seriously talented muscle.
Lucking out, I was there when Calistoga’s Frank Family Vineyards poured excellent wines to pair with Chef Kai’s mouthwatering creations including fire roasted street corn topped with duck confit and American Wagyu alongside chipotle hollandaise dotted lobster tail. Pastry Chef David Flores’ piñata dessert was utterly delectable artwork.
Terra Restaurant and The Bar face west for perfect viewing of glorious sunsets. The hues often change so rapidly it seemed to resemble the workings of a child’s kaleidoscope.
Happily the food at Terra is equally entertaining. The grilled octopus a la talla with jalapeño chimichurri was outstanding. Be sure and try at least one of the New Mexican tacos. The Encantado shrimp tacos with mango salsa and macadamia nuts reminded me of a perfect south of the border and pacific island marriage. For those looking to limit carbs here – good luck with that – you’ll love the tasty Ahi tuna lettuce wraps.
Whether or not you like tequila or indeed any kind of spirits, taking an “Art of mixology” class led by the resort’s Certified Tequila Master Alfredo Sanchez is a wonderful, in-depth experience.
Sanchez, who is also a Sommelier, is a vast repository of knowledge on all aspects of tequila and mezcal and their production. Set in the resort’s lovely ‘Chef’s Garden’ amid dragon cayenne peppers and other colorful herbs and spices, Sanchez taught me all about the different types of agave making the various types of tequila and mezcal. The of course he made some fabulous cocktails to try.
Favorites were the “Enchanted Margarita” made with Reposado, Aperol and the all-important chocolate bitters and the “Ultima Palabra” – last word – made with ‘Dos Hombres’ Mezcal and Luxardo liqueur. If you are feeling particularly daring after one of these, it might be because Dos Hombres – two guys – is owned by Breaking Bad stars Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul.
4. Staying in Shape, body and mind
Despite all the good food and drinks at the Four Seasons Santa Fe, staying in shape is pretty easy here with miles of hiking trails, a state-of-the-art fitness center with glass doors open to promote ventilation, outdoor yoga classes and a swimming pool. There are also mountain bikes available and plenty of trails.
After all that exercise, nothing is better than a trip to the airy Spa with large private treatment rooms. With a spa menu that takes advantage of traditional local products including Prickly Pear and Turquoise Sage, I emerged from my treatment feeling inspired and refreshed.
The resort’s Adventure Center has a menu of activities that explore the rich region including Native American cultural tours of Bandelier National Monument. Here cliff dwellings, kivas and petroglyphs of ancient Puebloans can be viewed.
5.Channel your inner Art Collector
The Four Seasons Santa Fe lobby, spa and locker rooms house some excellent art, with several dramatic pieces by Tony Stromberg. Downtown Santa Fe and its well-known buzzing art community is only 15-minutes away from the resort.
Santa Fe’s Canyon Road alone has 100 galleries of all art genres. Add to this the rest of Santa Fe plus the nearby Railyard with another 150 galleries makes adding to one’s art collection a snap. There is literally art for every possible taste.
Whatever you decide to do once you’re at the Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado Santa Fe, even if that includes doing absolutely nothing at all, you will be well-fed, well-watered and well, will completely enjoy yourself.
Written by Julie L. Kessler
Read more posts by Julie L. Kessler