Once a 57-acre dude ranch and stomping ground for western movie stars practicing their horseback riding skills, the Four Seasons Santa Fe Rancho Encantado is the ideal New Mexico resort for those wishing to marinate in culture, habitat and luxury. This “Enchanted Ranch” is a special property that captures the spirit of New Mexico by means of architecture, artwork, local cuisine, and the setting. Views are sweeping and spectacular. You’ll see the Rio Grande River Valley, and the Sangre de Cristo and Jemez Mountains. As private as it is, the resort is only 10 miles from downtown Santa Fe.
Industrial cowboy chic décor dazzles with high ceilings, concrete floors, light and dark wood and materials from the old dude ranch that were incorporated giving the place character and a sense of history. It’s modern and luxurious but rustic and perfectly captures that Santa Fe vibe of being contemporary while still embracing tradition.
Rooms are large and cozy yet minimalist with wood burning adobe fireplaces, soaking tubs, and patios. It feels very private and spacious. We enjoyed breakfasts on the patio and fires each night. There’s nothing quite like an adobe fireplace, for me it was the star of the room. I also liked the artwork they chose, including hand woven baskets and huge drums on the floor.
If you love cement like I do, you’ll love the bath here. Tons of space and rustic details make it a place to linger. I brought some sage bath salts with me and enjoyed a long bath. That blend of modernity and tradition is fabulous.
My readers know how important the pool is to me–I’m all about the pool. The one at Four Seasons Santa Fe is fantastic and different. The bottom is a dark charcoal gray cement that gives the pool a sexy, industrial look. It feels like a cool, soothing lake in a desert. Views from the pool are resplendent. I could spend days right there just soaking in the atmosphere.
By the time I got to Encantanda Rancho, I’d been in New Mexico for over a week and I think had a bit of altitude sickness. The heat combined with the altitude was taking a toll, it’s just the opposite of the habitat my body is used to. For this reason I wish I had visited Four Seasons at the beginning of my trip, because I would have liked to have been more fresh for that. The pool was the ultimate antidote for me. Swimming laps was dreamy, and this pool is huge, so they were nice, long, luxurious laps.
Speaking of altitude sickness, if you are not used to altitude, pack along some ChlorOxygen. Santa Fe is at 7000 ft. I’m okay with some altitude, and I’m okay with heat, but put those two together for prolonged periods, and it can really get to me. This will help out a lot with that. I learned about it from the spa at La Posada and picked up a bottle at Sprouts. One of the guys at Sprouts told me he uses it when he goes snowboarding at even higher altitudes, and it helped him to not get out of breath. I think Four Seasons keeps some on hand too, so if you struggle, be sure to ask them for some. I also recommend drinking coconut water and staying as hydrated as possible.
Sweeping views of the Rio Grande River Valley, Sangre de Cristo and Jemez Mountains are seen from all over the property. It’s the kind of place you want to stroll around. I didn’t have my dog with me on this trip, but she would have loved it here in this warm dry climate. It’s a dog friendly resort and there is plenty of space for walking your pup while enjoying the landscaping and sculptures on the property.
Terra is the award winning restaurant at Four Seasons Santa Fe. Look at this dining room. Isn’t that fabulous? Those windows provide views of the mountains and there is a gorgeous patio where you can enjoy meals and cocktails as well. We ate both in the lounge and in the dining room. That horse painting over the fireplace is the focal point of the room, and it’s gorgeous. Saturated persimmon orange accents and lots of different textures are delicious to the eyes. We had a booth-table that was comfortable and cozy.
Terra offers inspired multi-course meals. We couldn’t make it through our courses even though we asked for extra small portions. The presentation was lovely and food delicious. Our favorite was probably the Churros. I don’t know what it is about Four Seasons and their Churros, but they’re the best we’ve ever had. We’ve tasted them now in several locations and they are fluffy on the inside, crisp on the outside and served alongside yummy sauces and home made ice cream.
For more casual meals, the lounge has a great menu. Appetizers are generous enough to make a meal out of and you can sit by the circular fire pit on the patio and watch that legendary New Mexican lighting as the sun goes down in a dance of purple, orange, and red above the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. The lounge has a sparkly fireplace and vintage black and white photos of the celebrities that have visited the ranch
One of the many perks of staying at Rancho Encantado is the complimentary Mercedes Benz convertibles as well as SUVs that function as shuttles and offer luxurious transportation while you’re there. It’s perfect for those wishing to avoid renting a car. We used the convertible to go into town and have a nice meal at Vinaigrette. They’ll let you take the car all the way to Taos if you want, just be sure to request the car ahead of time.
The Spa is one of the most unique I’ve visited. My therapist told me that the spa architecture was created with earth energies in mind to maximize healing like kiva rooms used by Pueblo peoples for spiritual ceremonies.
Treatments are inspired by Native American rituals, like the Mountain Spirit Initiation, a purification ritual involving smudging of sage, a clay body mask, followed by a massage to connect with heaven and earth. This was one of the most interesting treatments I’ve ever experienced.
After the clay mask, you get to take a shower outside. I love an outdoor shower, it’s such a great feeling to be able to see the sky above you. And in New Mexico, the skies are intensely blue. This spa uses juniper-sage oils that are indigenous to the area and the music they play during the treatment transports you.
If you’re a western movie buff, the Four Seasons Rancho Encantado has some fun history for you. John Wayne was a regular and good friend of then-owner Betty Egan, whose saddle is displayed prominently near the bar. It’s legend that Wayne once gave her his favorite horse. Egan, who was quite the hostess, gave the place its name, “Enchanted Ranch,” where Robert Redford, Jimmy Stewart, and even the Dalai Lama have all been guests. Egan’s old house still sits on the property where people continue to talk about her fondly.
Speaking of history, you can get some major history by taking a guided hike to ruins. On-site adventure partners will provide excursions, like hiking around Tsankawi prehistoric sites within Bandelier National Monument. A guide will take you on a moderate hike to see ancient petroglyphs, or you can choose from various cultural excursions.
Four Seasons Santa Fe Rancho Encantado Bottom Line
If you are traveling in New Mexico, this is a great first or only stop. There is plenty to do on-site and this is an ultra luxurious property to languish in. You want to spend time here, not use it just for sleeping. The convenient location, included Mercedes convertible, excellent food, extra special spa, and fabulous pool make this a good value as well as a decadent southwestern oasis.
198 State Road 592, Santa Fe, New Mexico 87506
- Images 1, 3, 5, 8, 9, 10, 17 courtesy of Four Seasons Santa Fe Rancho Encantado
- We were guests of Four Seasons, opinions are my own.