Hotel St. Francis
The Hotel St. Francis lays claim to being Santa Fe’s oldest hotel. Rebuilt in its current location in 1924, after a fire left its predecessor completely ravaged (save the brick chimney), the property formerly known as the De Vargas Hotel played host to elegant ladies and gentlemen in top hats, politicos, and other VIPs during its heyday. After World War II, the hotel lost some of its luster, though it was still popular with government types until the 1960s. In 1986, new owners restored the hotel to its previous grandeur, replaced the barber and beauty shops with a restaurant and bar, and gave the property its current name. Most recently, in 2008, the property was purchased by Heritage Hotels and Resorts and underwent yet another makeover. Inspired by St. Francis, the patron saint of Santa Fe and founder of the Franciscan order, the look is best described as haute-monastic. Think Frette linens and flat-screen televisions paired with neutral hues, wood furnishings crafted by local artisans, and dim, candlelit common spaces.
By Geraldine Campbell, AFAR Local Expert
Eat, Drink and Get Spiritual at Hotel St. Francis in Santa Fe
For those who want to experience the culture of Santa Fe in your hotel room, the Hotel St. Francis offers more than a few pearls of authenticity. A pristine marble lobby with several giant candles in front of a quiet fountain greets you, and a spaciousness and tranquility reminiscent of the perfect monastery is just part of the experience. 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. The food and drink are superb, thanks to the talents of mixologist Chris Milligan and chef Estevan Garcia. 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.
By Charu Suri