Friday 06th, November 2015 / 15:48 Written by

All images courtesy of Heritage Hotels & Resorts



The iconic, AAA Four Diamond Eldorado Hotel & Spa, located in the heart of Santa Fe, has undergone extensive updates including the addition of a wedding chapel, a new 7,000 square foot, indoor ballroom and new lobby bar. The project also included a refreshed room design and new artwork in the hotel’s 219 guest rooms and suites.


Heritage Hotels & Resorts, the largest, independently owned hotel brand in New Mexico manages the hotel, making it the eighth hotel in the company’s portfolio of New Mexico properties and their fourth hotel in Santa Fe. A group of New Mexico families led by Randy Talbot and Jim Long, acquired the Eldorado Hotel in May 2014. Heritage Hotels is well known for providing authentic and culturally rich guest experiences across its brand.


“For 25 years, the Eldorado Hotel & Spa has been welcoming guests from all over the world to experience the magic of this diverse destination and deep historical roots. Our goal in upgrading this treasured hotel and Santa Fe landmark pays further homage to its namesake El Dorado – The City of Gold,” said Jim Long, Heritage Hotels Founder& CEO, referring to the countless expeditions in the 16th and 17th centuries by explorers seeking out the fabled cities of gold and immeasurable riches that were ultimately never found. “The new additions and enhancements to Eldorado have been thoughtfully designed to reflect this enduring legend for our guests to embrace and discover while on their travels,” said Long.


According to Long, a reflection of that legendary tale can now be seen in the hotel’s new wedding chapel that features a 13 foot tall, hand-carved altar that is gilded in gold leaf with Spanish colonial design influences. Additionally, upon entering the lobby of the Eldorado, a rustic, Spanish ox cart and a simple, sabino wood bench signifying the arrival of the Spanish, is contrasted with two six foot, gilded gold floor candelabras that welcome guests into the Eldorado.


“This comprehensive revitalization of The Eldorado underscores Heritage’s commitment to creating unique and experiential memories for our guests while continuing Eldorado’s historic evolution and status as one of Santa Fe’s most celebrated destination hotels,” said General Manager Douglas Libby.


The renovation was completed in June 2015 and celebrated at an open house on June 18ththtceas. The architect on the project is Wayne S. Lloyd of Lloyd & Associates Architects in Santa Fe. Lloyd was the original architect of The Eldorado Hotel & Spa. Co-interior designers are Kris Lajeskie of Kris Lajeskie Design and Adriana Long of Heritage Hotels & Resorts.


New Grand Ballroom


Currently offering a total of 29,000 square feet of meeting and event space, the Eldorado’s existing outdoor Pavilion was transformed into a fully enclosed 7,000 square foot ballroom with 18 foot ceilings. Adorned in regionally influenced shades of desert browns and greys with elements of gold, the ballroom is divisible into two separate meeting rooms by sound proof air walls, and features beamed and coffered ceilings, large, multipaned doors, traditional wainscoting and custom lighting fixtures. Additionally, it features a state-of-the-art LED lighting system in the ceiling, similar to its sister property, Hotel Albuquerque at Old Town. The programmable LED lighting system has infinite color and motion variations allowing customers to create a variety of atmospheres for their special event based on their individual needs. The lighting system was designed by P. Joseph Barron, MA of Architecture and Lighting Design in Albuquerque. The chandeliers are created by Taycar Enterprises based in Albuquerque and composed of individual brass squares attached to a round aluminum frame. The new ballroom will be able to host 700 guests reception style and 580 banquet style.


The existing hallways leading to the new ballroom and other meeting rooms, as well as the public areas and restrooms are also updated.


New Wedding Chapel – La Capilla de Oro


Offering a simplistic, modern design with white porcelain flooring, the Eldorado’s new wedding chapel features a 13 foot tall hand carved and gilded altar, modern white Kartell chairs and hand carved Peruvian wooden pews. The chapel seats 150 people. The altar was created by Augustin Parra, a master carver from Tlaquepaque, Jalisco, Mexico, who was selected as the artist to create the papal chair and other pieces for Pope John Paul II’s visit to Mexico in 1999. Parra is considered to be a Grand Master of folk art design and craftsmanship and has hand carved and gilded the altar in gold leaf reflecting the region’s Spanish colonial history. Asymmetrical windows on the right side of the chapel allow for natural lighting, and recessed candelabra shapes carved out of the wall with tailored LED lighting. In addition, a ceiling floats above the space with LED perimeter lighting allowing wedding couples to select any color that compliments their wedding theme.


Guests will enter the new chapel through a vestibule that also connects to a spacious, private bridal suite. The vestibule again features Augustin Parra gilded chairs, a chandelier that drapes from the ceiling and a gilded, framed flat screen TV for displaying images or videos. The bridal suite reflects the same modern elegance of the chapel and vestibule, using light finishes contrasted with warm gold tones and Peruvian styled, custom vanities. The bride has her own vanity with a gilded Spanish Colonial style mirror. Separate vanities with beveled mirrors for bridesmaids, a three-sided, full length mirror and private seating area also complement the suite’s amenities.


The hotel is already considered one of Santa Fe’s most desired wedding venues and also offers the city’s only 2,200 square foot rooftop Presidential Patio for couples to say “I Do” with panoramic views of the city and the Sangre de Cristo Mountains as a backdrop. The addition of Eldorado’s new wedding chapel make this an unmatched Southwestern wedding destination.


New Lobby Bar


The hotel’s existing 4,000 square foot gallery has been transformed into a new lobby lounge. Designed as the center focal point of the hotel that features a myriad of entertainment options, the new lounge is anchored by a custom gilded glass-tiled bar with a white concrete top and white leather bar stools with brass accents, while the surround of the back bar features vibrant gold leafed glass tiles.


Covered in beautiful gilded glass tiles this stunning bar becomes the centerpiece of the space. The carpet is very simplistic, with a contemporary pueblo deco design, creating a bold statement, both through its geometric lines and high contrasting colors. The color palette for the space consists of browns and greys accented with pops of gold and orange. The furniture used in the space is kept simple and contemporary with very clean lines and subtle curves. To the left of the space is a stunning elongated fireplace, perfect for reading or relaxing with a glass of your favorite cocktail. In front of the fireplace is a custom high top, live edge table that brings a rustic feel to the space, while creating a functional workspace. In this room guests will experience a sense of discovery, whether it’s through design elements, artwork, or simply through relaxation.


The food design for the menu begins in the Basque region of Spain, birthplace of the colonial governor of Santa Fe de Nuevo Mexico, and follows the conquistadors’ journeys through South America as they traveled to the new world. The Eldorado lobby bar, the heart of the hotel, is designed as a place to gather and enjoy inspired individual bites and sharing menus.


The lounge will feature regularly scheduled and special guest entertainment featuring world-class musicians and performers.


From the regions of Spain to the far reaches of South America, the wine list showcases old world bottles of wine and exciting varietals sure to entice the guests. The knowledgeable staff will guide guests through the list catering to what the guests particular tastes are. Wines will be paired specifically with items on the menu while many bottles will be priced affordably.


The cocktails are drawn from the traditional ways of the Spanish, who have always featured wine in their lifestyle. Now, staples like Sangria, have found a place in American locales and will set the stage for the other wine-based drinks that have been created specifically for this menu. These cocktails will soon become a signature to have in the summer months in Santa Fe. The cocktail menu also gives a strong nod to the prohibition era with classic cocktails crafted with house made infusions and fresh juices unique to the Eldorado.


Eldorado conducted a contest to name the new Lobby Lounge, over 670 entries were narrowed down to 10 and the final name and first and second runner up were announced at the June 18th open house event.


Eldorado also has the award-winning AGAVE Lounge, recognized as one of Santa Fe’s “Best Night Spots” by USA Today’s 10Best and best happy hour by Santa Fe Reporter readers.


Updated Rooms


Designed to reflect the pueblo revival style of the hotel, Eldorado’s 219 well-appointed, spacious guest rooms and suites, many with authentic wood burning kiva fireplaces or private terraces, custom artwork from local artisans, window treatments as well as subtle accent colors on the walls. Artwork in the guestrooms and throughout the hotel was originally curated by renowned Santa Fe art dealer, Eileen Horowitz and original Doug Coffin paintings are in many of the guest rooms.


As part of the updates Heritage Hotels & Resorts commissioned Navajo (Dine) artist Randy Barton to create more than 75 new original paintings to add to the newly updated guestrooms. The artwork series titled “The Golden Songs” explores the dream of Eldorado, the “lost city of gold.”


Existing amenities remain, including a work desk with dual-line phone and voicemail, complimentary wireless Internet access, 32″ flat screen HD TV with in-room movies, clock radio with iPod portal, plush terrycloth bathrobes and an in-room refrigerator.


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