Category Archives: Hotel Reviews

Can’t Wait to Return!

Abiquiu Inn, Abiquiu, New Mexico
Pet Friendly: $25 per stay
Room Rates: $120-$250 (check for seasonal rates)

Patio Dining at Cafe Abiquiu

Patio Dining at Cafe Abiquiu


A 45-minute scenic drive north west of Santa Fe transports you to a pastoral setting right off highway 84.  The Abiquiu Inn has been lovingly and tastefully restored/remodeled to give the city weary traveller a respite from the usual tourist “must see” list.  Yes, you can visit Georgia O’Keeffe’s sprawling Ghost Ranch or take a bumpy 30-minute drive to the Benedictine Monks’ Monastery of Christ in the Desert (certainly worth the trek).  But, if you’re in need of a sanctuary of fresh air, panoramic views of mountains and pastures while relaxing in a comfortable, tastefully furnished cabin—this is the place.

Our cabin was my idea of “glamping”: full kitchen, dining room, living room and outdoor-screened porch (complete with hammock).

Relax on your private porch with hammock

Relax on your private porch with hammock

The on site, Café Abiquiu, serves tasty, freshly prepared food in the dining room or on the outdoor pet friendly patio and includes gratis entertainment by local hummingbirds having their own fiesta.

The Abiquiu Inn was wonderful in August but I could picture how cozy and charming in the winter months with snow softly falling and a fire lit in the kiva fireplace.

Relaxing view

                            Relaxing view

Living room and full kitchen

                    Living room and full kitchen

The Inn is perfect for a romantic get away or solo serenity as well as family reunions-there were in fact a number of families from out of state meeting there, during my stay.

The staff is uniformly friendly and courteous and made sure that I had the extra coffee packets that I requested. This is very important to a coffee drinker!

Ben Wallace, manager, and his wife, Kristy (Café Abiquiu chef) are to be congratulated for creating this oasis of hospitality.

A Serene Sanctuary in the High Desert

The Lotus, Madrid, New Mexico
Pet friendly:$25-$50 per visit
Rates are Lotus Standard: $145/Suite: $195

Madrid, New Mexico retains the raucous untamed maverick spirit of the historic high desert mining town. 

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Travelling through winding, rugged, rock strewn roads, unmarked trails (the habitat of coyotes and birds of prey) can be somewhat disconcerting for  citified senses—perhaps the equivalent of switching from a diet of processed food to eating raw vegetables from a garden.  I was a little concerned that my Lexus didn’t have four wheel drive—but apparently not a problem.
It is in this setting that Lonnie McGinn has established her sanctuary, The Lotus. Ms McGinn is an artist and her art form is creating a space that heals and nurtures the senses. This is most definitely not a traditional generic hotel .
In an era of “one size fits all” retreats, The Lotus offers a uniquely customized retreat.
Over a period of 5 years, the Lotus Sanctuary has been lovingly created to nurture the “luxury of the soul” and continues to be “a work in progress.”
In a time when our senses are being assaulted, Lonnie feels that a personalized sanctuary is especially important and suggests that guests ask themselves, “What do I really need?”
“The Lotus will help you get touch with these things. If you need the world to go away, I can do that,” says the charming proprietor (a Kate Hudson look alike).
“My clients and I take a journey—that is my job. I hear what people need and the experience that they want to create. The Lotus is more than a retreat, it is your sanctuary of healing, joy and laughter, art, living your truth. We can satisfy your needs with color, scent, movement, breathing.” The Lotus offers a menu of healing arts to help achieve those goals.
Local artists’ work is on display throughout the B&B with the intent of fostering a more intimate relationship (as opposed to viewing in a public gallery).
Accommodations (2 at present) are minimalist stylish with exceptional views. Guests receive sample sizes of organic skincare and body products. The Japanese style bathtub experience was fabulous!
Lonnie is a wonderful proprietor/hostess and served a most delicious complimentary custom crafted breakfast which includes choice of egg dishes: omelet, frittata, migas, fruit, granola.  All ingredients are fresh from the local farmers market or grown in The Lotus garden.
Leo, is the “Buddha” canine mascot of The Lotus and welcomes both human and canine guests.
For those who prefer a more lively vacation, a few winding streets away leads you to the Main Street’s Mine Shaft bar, Maggie’s Cafe (site of Wild Hogs filming), funky arty shops and plenty of live music venues.

Chapelle Street Casitas-Santa Fe, New Mexico

Chapelle Street Casitas, Santa Fe, New Mexico 87501
Rates begin at $88 per night
Pet fee:$ 20 fee for the first pet and $ 10 for the second.

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I recently relocated to Santa Fe and made the wise decision to look for a long term rental while staying at the Chapelle Street Casitas.

I spoke to the owner, Bruce, a very hospitable and helpful host who offered the casita at 321 McKenzie #7. This casita (one of many operated by Chapelle Street Casitas) was very attractively furnished, great light, all the comforts including a kitchenette and located beside the office, where a wonderful breakfast is served daily from 8:30-10:30am.

Karen and Lonnie were superlative hostesses and served with a European style presentation, fresh fruits, yoghurt, granola and even home made tamales! The casitas attract guests who enjoy a unique, authentic rather than generic hotel experience. I’m not usually a morning person but I really looked forward to the convivial conversation and sharing our Santa Fe experiences.

The location couldn’t be better—right behind the Georgia O’keeffe museum and walking distance to all the popular sights. I brought my senior rescue pug who was treated with the deference and warmth that all us human guests received.

A great value (free WIFI, parking, complimentary breakfast) and a wonderful introduction to living in Santa Fe!


Fire Water Lodge, Truth or Consequences, New Mexico

Fire Water Lodge, Truth or Consequences, New Mexico
Rates begin at $90
No pet breed or size restriction
Pet fee is $10 per pet per stay

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I had the recent pleasure of staying in the Datura room at the pet friendly Fire Water Lodge with my well behaved pug companion, Miss Dolly.

Host/owner, Richard Epstein purchased the historic Motor Court 20 years ago and has lovingly upgraded and renovated the property (including creating some of the charmingly rustic furnishings) keeping the integrity of the building while remodeling after the horse shoe shaped charming villas in Mexico.

The inner courtyard is a relaxing and charming space with flagstone patio, comfortable seating, barbecue and decorated with uniquely quirky found object art and hand carved posts and a wonderful outdoor hot spring tub with views of the Turtleback Mountain. A perfect place to relax and enjoy the early evening breeze and spectacular New Mexico sunsets.

My room was spacious, very clean and attractively furnished. The bed was comfy and firm and the highlight is the in-room hot spring tub! Complimentary breakfast is included at the Happy Belly Deli, next door—a great place to meet the friendly locals!

Richard is a hands-on, very hospitable host and all the staff are friendly and accommodating.

Guest amenities and the details make this unique lodge a superior experience and a great value!

Antelope Lodge, Alpine, Texas

Antelope Lodge, Alpine, Texas
2310 W. Highway 90, Alpine, Texas 79830

Room fee is $80 for double occupancy.
Pet fee is $15 per pet per night up to three pets ($45 per night).

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You can feel the authentic vibe of this historic cattle town when you stay in the Antelope Lodge, conveniently located off the Main Street.

A funky and quaint 1949 former motor court, Antelope Lodge is cute and proud of its rustic glory (peeling paint, chipped tiles) but very clean and with a dash of charming quirkiness and a few upgrades.  If your looking for luxury amenities and retro sleek—this is not the place for you. But you will enjoy a quiet, comfortable and restful stay.

Our pet friendly double bed cabin had a cute kitchenette in a separate room and features a two-burner stove, microwave, refrigerator, sink, cabinets and a counter for serving. Utensils and pots and pans are available from the office.

The front office staff was very pleasant and helpful.  The office closes at 6pm and our room key was left on the front door.  Take a moment to browse the gift shop and chat with the friendly staff.  There is a large shady courtyard with picnic benches and bbq’s—perfect for summer dining.

Free parking, WIFI and in-room coffee.




Hotel Santa Fe, Hacienda and Spa

Hotel Santa Fe, Hacienda and Spa, Santa Fe, NM
Rates begin at $149
No pet breed or size restrictions-$20 per pet nightly (2 pets maximum)

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This was my second time staying at the Hotel Santa Fe. This exceptionally well run property has the healing power to soothe the savage beast that lurks inside the weary traveler.  I arrived at the hotel in a fairly disgruntled state and the true litmus test of a great hotel is the ability to change my attitude in a matter of minutes.  The warmth and hospitality of the front desk staff, the owner, Paul, the Hacienda Butler, Peter, all conspired to shift my disgruntled mental state to cheerful wellbeing.

My king bedroom in the Hacienda building was very attractively furnished—super comfortable bed and quality bedding.  As the only Native American owned hotel in Santa Fe, the furnishings and art work are harmonious and generously displayed— Kiva style fireplace, fine hand crafted furnishings and luxury bathroom amenities. I honestly can’t find one detail that has been overlooked, including New Mexico art books in room.

Pet friendly plus! Owner, Paul’s canine mascot, Herman meets and greets at the front desk and canine guests receive dog cookies, pet waste bags and a map of the hotel’s Puppy Professional Park (where doggies do their business).

We had a wonderful dinner in the (full)bar section of the Amaya Restaurant where my furry companion was able to join me.  Sophie, the restaurant manager, adds a cosmopolitan air and European hospitality and new bar employee, Birdy, made a Cosmopolitan extraordinaire.

Families definitely feel welcome here but there is a wonderful sophistication still to be savored.

In warmer weather, guests are able to relax and enjoy the outdoor swimming pool, hot tub and dining area patio.

Full spa services, which I intend to explore on my next visit.



Bear Mountain Lodge is an Enchanted Art Filled Sanctuary

Bear Mountain Lodge, Silver City, NM
Rooms start at $160
Pet policy is $30 per night


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Have you ever dreamed of staying in a beautiful elegantly rustic lodge in the woods, where deer roam freely, art fills the interior and exterior and a world of gracious living and hospitality await you and your furry family members?

Bear Mountain Lodge is this and more. Nary a styrofoam cup or plastic utensil in this luxurious respite on 178 secluded acres, where guest comfort and esthetic touches are in the details.

Enjoy a delicious European style breakfast tailored to your diet concerns or restrictions and served in the attractive art enhanced dining room with panoramic scenic view. The fresh mountain air amped my appetite and the hearty portions were appreciated: a freshly prepared and flavorful egg, potato and cheese frittata with bacon strips, fresh fruit cup, juice, yogurt and homemade granola.

Rooms begin at $160 and Include free parking, full European style breakfast, WIFI (no TV) and extensive walking trails.

Co-owner Linda (her super friendly standard poodles are Lodge mascots) combined her art gallery—formerly located in downtown Silver City, with the Lodge. Rooms are attractively and comfortably furnished with handcrafted oversized wood furniture, wood beam ceilings and hickory wood flooring, Company Store 100% cotton bedding and goose down feather pillows. 

The spacious,updated bathrooms feature luxury bath amenities: Bear Mountain herbal bath grains and Aveda products.

The downside? We were only able to stay one night.

Santa Fe Sage Inn is a Winner!

Santa Fe Sage Inn, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Room rates start at $69
Non-refundable pet deposit of $15.00 for first pet per night and $10 for each additional pet per night.

Santa Fe Sage Inn

Xmas in Santa Fe is especially festive and The Santa Fe Sage Inn, located in the heart of downtown Santa Fe was a perfect choice for  our recent Holiday family reunion.  The Inn  exudes warmth and hospitality and offers plenty of freebies including a complimentary shuttle, gym and laundry facilities, WIFI, self parking and full European style breakfast as well as 24 hour coffee and tea.

This is a wonderful hotel for pets, singles, families with kids and and the owners (locally based) continue to upgrade the rooms while maintaining the reputation as the “most affordable downtown hotel.” I was very pleased with the hotel’s cleanliness and the convenience —Whole Foods is adjacent to the parking lot!

Even my pug associate, Macie Mae was given VIP treatment (ground floor rooms designated as pet friendly) and offered a selection of sample size premium dog foods courtesy of nearby pet boutique, Zoe and Guido (a must visit).

The staff is uniformly professional, courteous and responsive. I look forward to my next stay!


The Holland Hotel

The Holland Hotel
Alpine, Texas
Rooms start at $129
No pet fee

Lobby of Holland Hotel

Lobby of Holland Hotel

The Holland hotel’s lobby is impressive and   welcoming with upgrades and authentic restoration that keep the integrity of this historic Trost designed hotel —similar examples of architect, Henry Trost’s Texas hospitality and vintage cattle baron charm are displayed at the West Texas El Capitan, Paisano and Gage Hotels.Complimentary beverages are available 24/7 in the bar area as well as yoghurt and a continental breakfast served until 10am.

Standard room
Standard room

The room was immaculate (as is the entire property) and guest comfort is well executed in all the upscale details. The hotel has a prime location on Holland, the main street in town—just steps to local restaurants and shops.

I arrived in the late morning after an 8 hour train ride from San Antonio, Texas (the station is conveniently located right across the street) and was able to check into my room prior to noon (unlike most hotels that restrict check-in time to 3 or 4pm).

Free WIFI, free parking (in the adjacent lot or side streets), complimentary continental breakfast, refrigerator/microwave and coffee maker in room—and pets are welcome!

A luxury hotel experience at an affordable price!



Maverick Inn, Alpine, Texas

Maverick Inn
1200 E. Holland Avenue
Alpine, Texas 79830
(432) 837-0628
pet fee per stay: 1-2 nights, $15; 3+ nights, $30:includes bedding and treats Rooms begin at $129

Lobby of Maverick Inn

We checked into the Maverick Inn (originally built in the 1930’s and charmingly upgraded and remodeled) and were warmly greeted by Manager, Mark and front desk staff member, Deby. Continue reading