A one-night stay at El Monte Sagrado is certainly not enough, but that’s all we had. We arrived in Taos — a party of four that included the two of us and two parents — after a terrific four-night stay in Santa Fe at a VRBO. We had two days in Taos and booked two rooms in a small, boutique hotel (Palacio de Marquesa) that, upon our arrival, we discovered was for sale and, quite frankly, felt neglected by its owners, Heritage Hotels and Resorts, Inc. The Marquesa looks to be a special place, and the staff went above and beyond to welcome us for the night we stayed. We do hope the property lands in good hands — someone who will give it the attention it deserves and restore it to its full potential. But…for our short stay, we wanted something with a little more energy and a more robust suite of hotel services. So it happens, El Monte Sagrado is part of the same ownership group, so it was an easy transfer for our second night.
From an 8-room inn to a sizable resort
The first thing we noticed about El Monte Sagrado — and the highlight — was its grounds; they were beautiful — manicured but still respectful of the Taos landscape. Each of our rooms had a patio overlooking a lush pond full of big koi, and we had fun wandering the property to see the gardens surrounding the rooms, suites and casitas. It would have been nice to have a day or two just to really appreciate the property and perhaps visit the pool and spa, but we were on the go most of the time. We did get a few hours in the early evening to enjoy a cocktail and read a book out on the patio.
A spacious, well-appointed suite, but it’s the balcony we’ll remember
Our rooms, two Native American suites, had a living room, separate bedroom and a bath with an oversized (room for plenty) shower. The rooms felt a little dark in the middle of summer, but they honored the architecture of the area where getting out of the sun is important. And we couldn’t help but imagine how cozy they would feel during a Taos winter with the kiva fireplace burning. Each room featured unique art pieces that took away any corporate edge you might otherwise feel.
El Monte Sagrado describes the garden and pond that our rooms overlooked as the “sacred circle” and the “green beating heart” of the property. We felt fortunate to have such a beautiful view and spent almost all of our time while at our room out on the patio.
Lingering pandemic effects
As with everywhere else we’ve traveled since the arrival of COVID-19, it was clear that El Monte Sagrado was dealing with the effects — and after-effects — of the pandemic. Hotels are coming back to life, but it’s hard to plan for guests and for staffing. On the morning we checked in, one very helpful staff person was covering reception and, seemingly, all guest services. During happy hour, one bartender was serving everyone; in the restaurant, we saw the attentive staff juggling more people than they could reasonably handle. And it looked like a few maintenance projects on the grounds may have been deferred simply because staff was short. Still, we couldn’t end this post without thanking three staffers at the valet stand (they referred to themselves as “the boys at El Monte”) for giving us a fabulous green chile cheeseburger recommendation.
- El Monte Sagrado
- Our stay: 1 night, July 15, 2022
- Room: Native American Suite, #16 Shenandoah
Where we ate, what we did:
- High Road from Santa Fe to Taos with stops in Chimayo, Cordova, Truchas and Trampas
- Taos Plaza
- Dinner at De La Tierra
- John Dunne Bridge and hike to Black Rock Hot Springs
- Coffee at Elevation Coffee (maybe called something else now but still delicious)
- La Loma Plaza and Casa De La Capilla Church
- San Francisco De Asis Church
- Shopping at Chimayo Trading Post
- Harwood Museum on Ledoux Street
- Debbie Long: Light Ships
- New Beginnings: An American Story of Romantics and Modernists in the West
- Inger Jirby Gallery
- Dinner at The Alley Cantina (recommended by “the boys at El Monte”)
- Fechin House Museum