Earthy-toned New Mexico hideout Bishop's Lodge unfurls over a 317-acre estate in the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, on the edge of the vast wilderness of the Santa Fe National Forest. Local craftspeople have contributed to the interiors as well as the saddle-sore-soothing spa, designed to delight even the witchiest of Santa Fe’s tarot-toting art fiends. There you can indulge your spiritual side with gem therapy, crystal-bowl sound-bathing and restorative art classes. Not to be neglected, though, is the hiking, biking, rafting and fishing that the surrounding desert foothills afford. As twilight approaches, pop on your Stetson for a sunset horse ride followed by a fireside mescal cocktail – and cast both to one side for a dip in a steaming, starlit plunge pool.
12pm, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 3pm.
Double rooms from £795.40 ($963), including tax at 7.125 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional resort fee of $33.34 per room per night prior to arrival and an additional room tax of 4% per booking prior to arrival.
Rates don’t usually include breakfast. An à la carte breakfast menu includes sandwiches, pastries, granola and grits.
Take your alpine wayfaring up a notch with a chef-prepared gourmet picnic. Feast on seasonal snacks like rustic sandwiches, fruits and crisp salads in the red rock canyons of the Santa Fe national forest.
At the hotel
Spa, sauna, steam room, Jacuzzi, yoga, pilates and meditation, gym, nature trails, laundry service, valet parking. Free wifi throughout. In rooms: working fireplace, private terrace with seating, workspace, individually controlled air conditioning, TV, mini bar, bottled water, tea and coffee.
Our favourite rooms
Calming colour palettes and tactile textures are the order of the day in each of Bishop’s Lodge’s Southwest-style heritage guest rooms. Interiors feature traditional kiva fireplaces, woven Navajo rugs, wooden beams and bold geometric patterned prints, with private terraces opening out onto the foothills of the burnt sienna-hued Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Extra points go to the secluded adults-only Kiva Suites thanks to their outdoor fireplaces and private plunge pools. In winter, with the rising steam and snow-capped valley views, you’ll feel you’ve stumbled into a stratospheric Southwestern Narnia. If little Smiths are in residence, one of the resort’s multi-room Casitas may come in handy. The spacious layout will give you some space to spread out after a busy day hiking forest trails.
There’s an outdoor heated swimming pool popular with youngsters, as well as adults sipping post-mountain-adventure tequila-based snort. For grown ups, there are also outdoor soaking pools at the spa. Some rooms feature a plunge pool on the terrace.
Frayed chakras and saddle-sore muscles won’t stand a chance at Turquesa Healing Arts Studio. Treatments feature organic, locally sourced bloom-to-bottle ingredients and range from more orthodox massages to a lil’ bit ‘out there’ gem therapy and crystal-bowl sound bathing. Sip on Navajo tea or a cacao and chile wellness elixir, take in an al fresco guided meditation or tea ceremony, indulge in a spot of candle-lit yoga, or book a therapeutic art class.
A cowboy hat to help you look the part on sunrise horse rides and your favourite monocle for gallery-hopping in one of the world’s great art cities.
The hotel has ADA-compliant rooms that are accessible for wheelchair users.
Free cribs and high chairs provided on request; and there’s a children’s menu at the restaurant.
Older children will love the outdoor activities the resort has to offer.
Multi-bedroom Casitas will give you the space to spread out, plus they’re located by the resort’s own trout stream, stables and walking trails. For bigger trips or family reunions, we recommend the 12-bedroom Bunkhouse.
Hiking, horseback riding, family yoga classes, rafting, hot air ballooning and art classes.
The family-friendly outdoor pool is gated and heated.
There’s a children’s menu, and highchairs are available on request.
We recommend watching the sun slip behind the blood orange-flushed Sangre de Cristo Mountains from a perch on the outdoor terrace.
The Wild West but make it classy.
Fiery New Mexico flavours take centre stage at SkyFire. Pull up a seat by the open log fire on the terrace and sample charred peppers straight from the wood-fired grill, blistered corn on the cob, bright ceviche with citrus, ginger and coconut, or a warming bowl of squash-and tomato-stuffed agnolotti di magro. Conceived by Dean Fearing, a star of Southwestern cuisine, menus favour red chilli-hot local ingredients. The decor is curated desert chic with a notable artwork collection, including pieces by Warren E. Rollins and Gustave Baumann.
For lighter snacking options, head to Two Dogs Café for pastries, sandwiches, coffee, salads and juices. There’s outdoor seating with staggering mountain views.
Spin a yarn and quaff mescal of the first water in SkyFire’s cosy liquid atelier. The selection is comprehensive enough for the thirstiest of cowboys (ask for a tequila tasting flight to find your fave). If cocktails are more your speed, we recommend the Arroyo Spritz or a Holy Margarita.
Breakfast is served from 7am to 11am. SkyFire restaurant is open for dining between 8am and 10pm, and Two Dogs Cafe is open for breakfast from 7am to 11am and lunch from 11:30 am to 3pm.
Bishop’s Lodge rambles over an aspen-speared valley on the edge of Santa Fe National Forest, a 15-minute drive from Santa Fe Plaza.
It’s a 25-minute drive from Santa Fe-La Cienega Regional Airport. Direct flights are available from Dallas, Denver, Phoenix and LA, but if you’re arriving from outside the USA you’ll need a stopover.
Flying or road tripping will serve you best in this region, although Amtrak does a 12-day Old West Rail Journey from LA to Santa Fe via the Grand Canyon and Sedona.
Outdoorsy types will find it worth hiring a car to explore New Mexico’s far-flung national parks, forests and dizzying mountain peaks. If you drive, onsite valet parking is available for $15 a night. Ride sharing apps are also available in the area, and the resort offers a shuttle service to Santa Fe Plaza.
Worth getting out of bed for
Get your (hiking) boots on, ma’am, we’re going on an adventure. Burn the breeze on a horseback trail ride, head into the Santa Fe National Forest for hiking and mountain biking, go fly fishing, raft the rolicking rapids of the Rio Grande and soar over whiplash-wondrous Taos mountainscapes in a hot air balloon.
Fine-dining favourite Geronimo is where you’ll find Santa Fe aristocracy in celebratory spirits. Dishes like elk tenderloin, chile and honey-grilled prawns and mesquite lobster tails pop with Southwest-fusion flavour. For more relaxed dining, African-Caribbean eatery Jambo Café features crowd-pleasers like fried cornmeal plantain crab cakes, delicate lime and cilantro shrimp, and an Ethiopian chickpea stew.
Asian-Mexican Café Pasqual's has been a Santa Fe institution for decades. Menu favourites include breakfast burritos, fiery organic carnitas tacos, citrusy baja wild yellowtail tostada and shiitake and goat cheese cornmeal tart. Visit artisan chocolate cafe Kakawa Chocolate House for darkly luxurious Mesoamerican chocolate elixirs laced with aromatic chilli, spices and herbs.
Stop by The Dragon Room at the Pink Adobe for down-home charm with a sprinkling of wow factor. Trees sprout up through the floors, the walls are pink and the hand-painted tables buckle under the weight of plates stacked high with shrimp tacos and green chile stew.
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this heritage resort in New Mexico and unpacked their hiking boots and healing crystals, a full account of their tranquil mountain break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Bishop’s Lodge in Santa Fe...
The burnt-ochre valley at the foot of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains is pin cushioned with soaring aspens, black hawks circling overhead. It’s the perfect backdrop for budding cowboys to live out their dreams of riding off into a golden frontier sunset, leaving behind them a rust-red explosion of hoof-churned desert trail. Canyons, hot springs, waterfalls and oil-slick-silver trout streams lie in wait for intrepid explorers bent on adventure. Minutes away in Santa Fe is some of the world’s most famous art and culture, ready to be explored.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, a luxe frontier-chic hideaway beckons, complete with the woody scent of open fireplaces, rich tactile furnishings and warming chile-laced cuisine. And then there’s the spa – a crystal-healing, sound-bathing, al-fresco-meditating, art-birthing sanctuary that would allay even the most tangled of chakras. Thunderation! The adventuring may need to wait until mañana…