Inn of Five Graces
It's been a crazy last couple weeks heading into the holidays. Suffice it to say Christmas break couldn't come soon enough. Once the weekend hit, we decided to get out of town and head up to our capital city of Santa Fe. I loaded up the kids in the car and headed up north. Just as we were about to hit the freeway, we got a phone call that our pet care had fallen through so we had to head back to the house until we could work things out. Once that was all taken care of we headed back out. Good to go. Almost. One of the kids left an important item at the house...so we had to turn back. Again. Finally, the third time was the charm and actually made it to the freeway entrance, more ready than ever for a good relaxing getaway. Fortunately we were headed to the perfect place: The Inn of Five Graces in the historic Barrio de Analco area of Santa Fe.
Aside from some groovy pictures online and reading some great reviews, I really had no idea what to expect out of Inn of the Five Graces. I've lived in New Mexico most of my life. I even worked in Santa Fe for 2 years. So I wasn't expecting to have anywhere near the unique experience we had. Literally from the moment we pulled up we were transported to not just a place of complete relaxation but to another time and place. About the time the hospitality brings a smile to your face, the history begins to wash over you. Even the kids found themselves looking around with (out of character) calm and awe.
Barrio de Analco dates from before the recolonization of New Mexico by the Spanish that followed the 1680 Great Pueblo Revolt. It's home to one of the oldest houses and churches of European origin in the United States; The Oldest House (De Vargas St. House) and Chapel of San Miguel (Mission of San Miguel). Both are just a few minutes walk from Inn of the Five Graces.
On the premises itself sits a stone building said to be about 400 years old. It stands in stark contrast to the traditional adobe style seen throughout Santa Fe and it definitely gives one the feeling that you're not in Kansas anymore. Standing on the balcony gives one the feeling that they are peering out onto an old European courtyard. The imagination runs wild thinking of the soldiers, laborers and Native Americans who settled across the river from the Palace of the Governors and stayed in this very area.
On this particular night in Santa Fe it was COLD. Colder than the cries of La Llarona (which we listened for). There was a dusting of snow from the early morning still coating the courtyards as the chimneys all around the neighborhood billowed smoke from all the rooftops. It really was picture perfect. Fortunately, all the rooms at Inn of the Five Graces come with kiva style fireplaces, so we didn't waste any time lighting one for ourselves. While it may be nice to be here in the summer to enjoy the lush courtyards, it was perfect to cozy in, start up a fire, and play games with the kids. Within each room there are great little game sets. I played checkers with one of my kids while the other practiced magic tricks (perhaps inspired by the magic of the place) all night with the deck of cards in the room.
After ample time with the kids, I decided to have some "grown-up" time and hop on over to the lobby for a glass of wine. The employees always greeted us by name and couldn't have been more friendly, helpful and knowledgeable. One can choose from a great wine list by the glass or the bottle. I decided to behave myself and opt for just a glass. After pretending I actually knew something about the wine selection I sat back and enjoyed.
The lobby itself is a stunning place to relax and look around. Great jazz music played while I looked through their book selection, sat by the fire and took in the atmosphere. The way Inn of the Five Graces is decorated is world class. Quite literally.
Ira and Sylvia Seret are the heart and soul behind the magic that is Inn of the Five Graces. While one no doubt feels as though they are a part of a unique Santa Fe experience, it is also as if one is immersed in parts of the Middle and Far East. Even the food blends worldly flavors that might sound odd but are a true piece of heaven with each bite (complimentary with the stay, made to order, and delivered to the room). Just a walk to the bathroom is a treat as one passes through compliments from all around the world. With pottery from Afghanistan, mosaics with Mexican and Eastern flair, themes that depict Buddhist, Islamic, and Hindu scenes...it all meshes together perfectly. You know, perhaps the way the world at large should? There is beauty in every corner and culture in the world and one can't help but think that is exactly the message and experience Inn of the Five Graces is trying to provide. I for one left feeling more calm, peaceful, and whole.
See more photos of all the wonderful worldly touches on the premises of Inn of the Five Graces.