La Fonda on the Plaza
What We Love
- Unique headboard in each guestroom painted by a local artist, some from nearby pueblos
- The signature margarita at the Bell Tower Bar as the sun sets over Santa Fe
- No need for a car here, as the Santa Fe Plaza, shops, restaurants and galleries are just steps away
What To Know
- Most of the One-Bedroom Suites have a balcony and a fireplace
- Book a Suite for more space and upgraded amenities
- Dogs are permitted at an additional cost of $25 per dog, per day
- READ MORE: 72 Hours in Santa Fe
- Free WiFi
- Handicap Accessible
- Parking On Site
- Room Service
Santa Fe is a mix of traditional Native American culture and edgy hipster cool. The 92-year-old La Fonda on the Plaza has always been a part of that mix. Its major 2013 renovation modernized hotel but remained true to the northern New Mexican (with Spanish and Native American influences) look that drew rail passengers to it nearly a century ago. Early New Mexican themes predominate, from painted tile murals in the bathrooms to Native American textiles and designs on the blankets, curtains and rugs, to the local art that hangs in every room.
Bed and Bath
The recent renovation upgraded all 179 guestrooms with decor inspired by the hotel’s storied past. Expect hand painted headboards by local artists; rugs, pillows and curtain panels influenced by New Mexican Colcha-inspired scenes; whimsical lighting fixtures and iron work.
As much a Native American museum as a restaurant, La Plazuela, with its hand-painted windows illuminating an abundance of folk art, allows chef Lane Warner to present northern New Mexico classics such as enchiladas del norte and red chile pork tamales, in the best light. In season, the Bell Tower Bar is a favorite place to watch the afternoon fade and speculate on who will get to ring the bell at sunset. Santa Fe Massage is on the property, as are 17 shops, ranging from La Fonda Indian shop, which specializes in Native American jewelry and pottery, to Passementrie, which offers handmade textiles.
In the Area
A must for every visitor is the Santa Fe Plaza, where local Native Americans (no other merchants are allowed) offer their wares in the shadow of the Palace of the Governors, reputed to be the oldest public building in the USA. The myriad galleries of the Santa Fe Railyard Arts District have always drawn art buyers, but the district has been growing in popularity in recent years thanks to SITE Santa Fe, an internationally acclaimed contemporary art space. And if you want to celebrate a special art purchase with a special meal, The Compound Restaurant, whose chef has gotten the nod from the James Beard Foundation as the Best of the Southwest, is a foodie favorite.
How to Get There
Recently I stayed at the La Fonda hotel in Santa Fe, New Mexico. It is an historical building with fine art they have collected over the decades. It was interesting as well as very comfortable. The historical touches continued in my room making it a pleasant place to stay. The restaurant has very good breakfasts; I did not have dinner there. It is in a very convenient location, town center, and we walked everywhere. There are many interesting museums and churches nearby as well as art galleries and street vendors. Very lovely town and I hope to revisit it.
The hotel is of interest only to those who never knew it before it changed hands. For the rest of us, the only thing left of its original charm is the architecture. What was once a unique and popular place is now a generic, asepticized shell devoid of warmth. Front desk staff—including the self-superior, opinionated concierge—come off as arrogant, sniffy, and unhelpful, unaware of their place and evidently of their own appearance. We will never again subject ourselves to the disaster this hotel has become.
Having stayed at La Fonda many times I have to say that it has undergone a lot of changes since its long time owner passed away and his children sold it to two people from Texas. The charming unique bar and lounge is now looking like just about any hotel anywhere and the lobby in particular the front desk is the same, it could be in any hotel. Locals told me that they don't feel as welcome as they use to be which is unfortunate as that was the great thing is you could meet all types of interesting & colorful locals and learn some great history and tips on what to see.