El Monte Sagrado Resort and Spa is a Sanctuary in the Heart of Taos
Have you ever just wanted to get away from work, phones and the hectic days, while enjoying nature, beauty and culture? Come to El Monte Sagrado “The Sacred Mountain”!
I love Taos, New Mexico and the area surrounding it. I have had the pleasure of visiting this city several times in the past and I always find it so very hard to leave each time. I introduced my husband to this special place not long after we married. I couldn’t stop talking about it so he wanted to see it for himself. This trip, we brought some dear friends with us for our visit. Now they too say they will be back very soon!
The last couple of visits I have had the pleasure of staying in some of the most amazing hotels this city has to offer. This visit, my stay was at El Monte Sagrado a beautiful resort owned by Heritage Hotels and Resorts. All Heritage Hotels embody all that New Mexico has to offer with a rich blend of cultures which includes Native American, Spanish, Mexican and the American West. At El Monte Sagrado, the cultural reach is even further with Global Suite rooms decorated with architecture and art embracing places like Japan, Spain, Western Heritage and China. These Global Suites have two bedrooms and baths plus a living/dining room combo, private patios and fireplaces. The Global Hot Tub Suites have all the amenities that the Global Suites have plus a hot tub. These suites take you to places like Argentina, Marrakech, Mexico and Morocco. Have you ever wanted to sleep in a Moroccan tent? Come experience it here!
The Premiere Suites let you experience places like Egypt, Bali and Tibet all without leaving Taos. Rooms at El Monte Sagrado all have patios or balconies that offer views of the luxurious gardens or scenic mountains. The 18 Native American Suites each named after a famous historic Native American all have patios/balconies overlooking the Sacred Circle: the green beating heart of El Monte Sagrado. It is surrounded by towering cottonwoods many of which are hundreds of years old. And it is believed that this Sacred Circle was used as a celebration circle to Native Americans many years ago.
My room was a Casita Suite with a king bed, a huge soaking tub with a rain shower (which had awesome pressure to get you invigorated for the day) and a living room with a big screen TV & fireplace. This space also had a kitchen with dining area, refrigerator, Keurig coffee maker and a private patio with a wooden gate opening to the beautiful grounds of fall flowers, apple and mighty cottonwood trees plus a waterfall. What a beautiful abode.
There are so many artifacts from distant places to be discovered at El Monte Sagrado. Here is a list of but a few to give you an idea of the beauty and wonder within this resort. I wanted to experience all the beauty surrounding me!
The main entry:
- The crystal in the center of the ceiling is a 90-pound naturally occurring Citrine from Brazil. It is said to have properties of promoting happiness and well being.
- The sun mosaic on the floor is made of a combination of India sandstone and New Mexico limestone. (Amethyst geode is from South America).
The Host Stand:
- The desk was designed by David Sargert and is adorned with a rain forest marble top from Mexico and a lace wood veneer from Africa underneath. The base with the carved lizard is mahogany.
- The crescent shape of the host stand is a metaphor respecting the sword of Islam.
De La Tierra
- The chandelier was created by Will Wilkins. David Sargert designed it as a tribute to the upper Rose Window (West Facade) of the Cathedral at Reims in France.
- The dining tables are Absolute black granite from India with mahogany bases.
- The bar top is made of golden mica from Japan with ebonized ash and Brazilian rosewood.
- The scales of the snake are gild finish (gold plated) tile from Italy
The Wine Room
- The chandelier is from Mexico
- The table is a mosaic pattern of petrified wood from Spain which sits on a brass stand
- The dome ceiling is finished with boveda bricks
- The sink backsplashes are a fossil mural made from 50 million year-old limestone from Lincoln County, Wyoming. They were collected according to American Assn of Paleontological Suppliers’ guidelines.
- The wood on the walls is cork from Portugal, “sapelli” mahogany, oxidized copper, and slate from Colorado.
- The paneling and lower portion of the table is made of Macassar ebony from Africa and is a sustainable product
- The carpet is natural wool from New Zealand
- The mantel is an antique and has a Verdi patrician marble hearth
- Pool table was built 1907-1917 (Owned by Minnesota Fats)
The Sacred Circle
- Is a green space in the heart of the retreat and surrounded by towering cottonwood trees, some of them several hundred years old. From the very outset of El Monte Sagrado’s construction, architects were concerned with where buildings should not go, rather than where they should go, and this space was conceived as a place of meditation, somewhere to unwind and relax. It is believed that Native Americans held celebrations in this circle in the past.
The Sculpture Garden
- Hewn from slabs of New Mexican Basalt, the three monolithic rock sculpture waterfalls frame a beautiful view over the pools and waterfalls of El Monte Sagrado and the magnificent Sangre de Cristo Mountains in the distance. It is a raw, organic natural space, refined and peaceful at the same time, and stands as a monument to water, the precious liquid upon which all life depends.
- The pond near Kama Sutra is a temperature regulated cenote. A cenote is nature’s way of collecting and storing valuable fresh water; typically a limestone sinkhole.
- Was created by Alberto Amura of Dharma Living Systems. It provides 160 watts, and cost $15,000. It is not yet tied into power – it is currently a sculptural piece.
This multiple award-winning resort encompasses an aquatic center with salt water heated pool and hot tub to bring the seas healing powers to you. Walk through the gates into the magnificent greenhouse, or Biolariumon, up the tropical path and across a bridge to sit by the waterfall. I felt I had entered the mystical Shangri-La.
The Anaconda Bar was where I went at the end of the day. This quaint watering hole was busy but not too noisy. I found it a great place to get a before dinner cocktail or an after dinner coffee and dessert. There is an enormous anaconda sculpture slithering across the ceiling but it has no head or tail. I was told that was because this snake is eating its tail, a symbol of eternity. It is a very impressive sculpture. The bathrooms at the bar were also the talk of the bar, and for good reason. The walls are covered in their entirety with cork wood from Portuguese cork trees. There is also a learning curve for washing your hands (I won’t give away the secret).
Hungry and don’t want to venture out to eat? De La Tierra serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. They also offer a Sunday Brunch from 7am to 2pm. You have a choice of eating in the casual Gardens room which has an abundance of plants and sunlight filling it for a more al fresco feel. Or you can dine in the more formal dining area giving an elegant touch to your meal. My favorite room for dining however was the wine room with a smaller more intimate feel. It’s a great place for a family gathering, girlfriends get-away, or several couples. The Executive Chef, Cristina Martinez, brings new seasonal dishes to the menu which feature unique plates that incorporate a New Mexico southwestern flare. In addition, the menu offers a variety of vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options to suit many dietary needs.
The resort has a leisure center or library where guests can go to relax, play pool, read a book or just sit and gaze into the fireplace. They bring in local talent to preform for their guest’s enjoyment. We had just missed a musical and theatrical performance by 2-time Grammy Award winner Robert Mirabal of Taos Pueblo.
The hotel, hidden away on a street off the Taos Plaza, is convenient to all the city has to offer; shopping, restaurants, art and museums. It is far enough away that I never felt the city was there until I walked outside the grounds. When I did venture off the grounds, I found I was only a couple of blocks from the city center. If you don’t feel up to walking, the hotel offers a free shuttle service both to and from town. A stay at any Heritage Hotel will also get you a Local Treasure Discount Brochure. It offers a 15% discount on many shops, restaurants and attractions. While here in New Mexico they want to give you an incentive to eat & shop local while making it more affordable.
This resort and spa is meant to open all your senses. Breath in the fresh mountain air and fragrant flowers. Listen to the sounds of the birds, leaves and waterfalls. See the beauty of the architecture and art from places afar and the textiles & paintings from around the world. Taste the flavors of the varied foods and drinks at the restaurant. And feel the grass beneath your feet, the salt water from the pool and spa on your skin, and the soothing touch of a stone massage. But mostly feel the energy of this sacred place. A few hours after your arrival, you will feel yourself sinking into the soul of this place. The outside world will begin to blur just a bit, become a distant memory for the moment. Allow yourself to be carried off with your day dreams and relax. There is no rush here, just time. Time to reflect. Let it happen because all too soon, you will have to tear yourself away. But not just yet….
All Heritage Hotels & Resorts are pet friendly so don’t leave your fur babies at home.
**Full Disclosure: I received a two-night stay in exchange for my review. But not to worry, all opinions are 100% mine.
Location: 317 KIT CARSON ROAD, TAOS, NEW MEXICO 87571
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Need help in finding other places to see or visit while in Taos? Go to Taos.org.