by Jill Becker
Much has changed at the historic La Fonda on the Plaza in Santa Fe, New Mexico, since it debuted in 1922. Lucky for us, though, since its 2013 multi-million-dollar renovation, much has also stayed the same here on the Plaza.
Still showcased throughout the property is the Old World charm and distinctive Southwestern influence of noted design duo Mary Elizabeth Jane Colter and John Gaw Meem. Colter often incorporates the work of local artists and craftspeople, and many of the hand-worked headboards, light fixtures, older textiles and artwork she commissioned for La Fonda can be found to this day.
While décor stays true to the historic character of the property, amenities have been upgraded to meet the needs of today’s traveler, and conveniences include state-of-the-art temperature controls, iPod docking stations, flat-screen televisions and free Wi-Fi. There’s also a fitness center with steam rooms, a 24-hour business center, a heated outdoor pool and hot tub, more than a dozen shops and 20,000-plus square feet of meeting and event space.
One of the hotel’s most popular venues is the Bell Tower Bar on the fifth floor, which affords stellar views of the mountainscape beyond. Crowds gather each night to grab a cocktail and watch the sun go down. Equally noteworthy is the hotel restaurant, La Plazuela, where guests sample innovative New Mexican dishes such as quail tacos. The restaurant has an excellent wine list and does an authentic tableside guacamole presentation. The adjacent La Fiesta Lounge offers a nightly buffet, but is better-known for its active dance floor, where live music draws locals and visitors six nights a week.
Another reason for La Fonda’s longstanding appeal is its location on San Francisco Street in the historic Santa Fe Plaza, which has been the city’s main gathering spot for 400 years. Colorful local vendors sell wares and hand-crafted jewelry along the façade of the Palace of the Governors just two blocks away. The hotel is across from the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi, which dates back to 1886 and whose French Romanesque-style architecture is an anomaly among the surrounding orange adobe of Santa Fe.
La Fonda on the Plaza
100 E. San Francisco St.
Santa Fe, New Mexico 87501
(800) 523-5002, (505) 982-5511
To plan your stay, visit La Fonda on the Plaza’s official website