Published on May 25th, 2013 | by Charu Suri
4 Drink, Eat and Get Spiritual at Santa Fe’s Hotel St. Francis
At first I thought I was in Italy: the pristine marble lobby with several giant candles in front of a quiet fountain, and a spaciousness and tranquility reminiscent of the perfect monastery. The elegantly-functional Hotel St. Francis is one of the oldest hotels in Santa Fe, and dedicated to the patron saint of Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Think: handcrafted wood furniture by artisans who were inspired by the Palace of the Governors, that look Spartan but are deliciously comfortable. Pure linen pillows embroidered with white doves are an apropos touch; colors that are pleasing, pleasant and reminiscent of the missionaries of Santa Fe’s Franciscan period.
What I loved about this hotel is the authenticity and its peaceful vibe; the plum location means you’re just a block away from the bustling Plaza. You can roll out of bed and head towards the Museum if you want.
If you think you’re in for Spartan digs, your luxurious inner self will be pleased to discover authentic New Mexican upholstery and custom artwork. A spicy cocktail in a hotel that’s modeled on the St. Francis aesthetics is one of the many aspects I love about this Heritage Hotel property, which is also on the register of the National Historic Hotels.
The Secreto bar features some of the best cocktails and wines you’ll taste, thanks to the genius of barman Chris Milligan, who’s really into the craft of mixology. If you do visit the Secreto bar, don’t forget to order his spicier version of the margarita, with crushed cucumber, jalapeno, elderflower liquor, cachaca rum and served in a martini glass. The glass is garnished with New Mexican red chile on the rim (instead of the traditional salt version). Born in Tennessee, he gravitated to Santa Fe a few decades ago and is one of the sparkling examples of what mixologists should be: masters in the classics with the creativity to be innovative and hip. He also runs a blog called the Santa Fe Barman.
The hotel is also very affordable (the average rate is $189 per night) and offers several packages like the Georgia O’Keefe Museum package, a Summer Opera package and a Culture and Museums package enable you to immerse yourself yourself in the lifestyle gems Santa Fe has to offer. There are deluxe and classic rooms as well to suit everyone’s lodging palette.
The flavors at Tabla de Los Santos restaurant is where Chef Estevan Garcia’s magic touch is apparent on several dishes, including my favorite dish made with spicy poblano peppers that really soaks up the flavor of all the sauces. To visit Santa Fe without encountering the tenderness and rich flavor of the poblano pepper would be similar to visiting Disney World without taking a picture of Mickey Mouse: this dish is pure local foodie culture.
In a city densely populated with writers and artists, this hotel is a saunter away from the Palace of the Governors and the rich Georgia O’Keefe museum, and is also pet friendly. My most favorite aspect of the hotel, though, is its commitment to better the surroundings: Heritage Hotels & Resorts has long supported cultural and artistic venues and uses artisanal products and custom artwork, not to mention tapping the talents of local musicians. The Hotel St. Francis donates a portion of room night’s revenue to support cultural and artistic events in the community as well.
St. Francis would have wanted it no other way.