hedNew Mexico brimming with hotel, eating options

Hotel Santa Fe

subhedFrom boutique hotels to short-term rentals, New Mexico offers an array of upscale accommodations. Here are some filmmaker favorites.

Filmmakers rave about their cozy New Mexico adobe casitas with rustic wooden vigas and latillas, and bittersweet pinon logs crackling in the kiva fireplace -- that is, filmmakers who come to Santa Fe. "Santa Fe is a very comfortable place to make a movie," says Robert Graf, executive producer on Miramax's upcoming "No Country for Old Men." "It has a base of tourism obviously that has contributed to a large stock of rental housing. It's easy to rent a house short-term in Santa Fe, which is a lot more comfortable than staying in a hotel." What follows is a look at some of the best homes-away-from-home for industry denizens staying in the state capital -- with a nod to nearby Albuquerque and Taos, too.


The Hotel Santa Fe has become the movie hotel. Majority-owned by Native Americans and filled with indigenous art, the property is the kind of place where one might run into Ed Harris, Julia Roberts or entertainment lawyer Peter Dekom. The secluded Hacienda wing boasts fireplaces, butlers, ceremonial blankets, DSL and a private breakfast room, and guests are provided with transportation.

The Inn of the Anasazi is arguably the city's most luxurious hotel, with 57 rooms, massive hand-carved doors, sculptured stairways and sandstone walls that, as the proprietors like to say, "whisper of prehistoric Pueblo living." Its guest roster includes Robert Redford and Oprah Winfrey.

While shooting last year's "Seraphim Falls" on location, Pierce Brosnan stayed at La Posada de Santa Fe Resort & Spa. Sprawling across more than six acres, this in-town oasis has lush landscaped grounds, a spa and pool, and a cozy, hidden bar. Its 157 rooms vary tremendously -- try number 233 or 168.

The Eldorado Hotel & Spa was the "in" place back in the mid-1990s, when Renny Harlin and Geena Davis came to film "Speechless" and Sam Shepard helmed "Silent Tongue." With 219 rooms, it's large enough for a last-minute booking -- and the eight Zona Rosa Suites, with kiva fireplaces, Saltillo tile floors and rustic viga ceilings, are secluded condos.

Want a quiet rural weekend? Drive out -- as Jennifer Tilly did -- to the Galisteo Inn, a 300-year-old hacienda south of Santa Fe, surrounded by lawns, giant cottonwoods and llamas.

An under-the-radar gem in Santa Fe is the new Casa de Estrellas, with seven villas, plaster and stone walls, fireplaces, gourmet kitchens and gardens with petunias and raspberries. Christian Bale considered buying a fractional ownership here.

For a longer stay like the one John Travolta had while filming Buena Vista's March release "Wild Hogs," call Todd Davis at the Management Group, who found the star a posh pad in the gated golf and equestrian community Las Campanas. Davis has found rental houses for Russell Crowe, Ed Harris, Tommy Lee Jones, James Mangold, Jeremy Irons, Viggo Mortensen and Renee Zellweger, and he's got a portfolio of 240 opulent furnished homes in Santa Fe's best areas -- like the historic East Side, wooded Tesuque and Canyon Road. "Our homes range from $1,800 a month to $100,000," says the enthusiastic Davis. His primo property? "It's in Tesuque -- it sits on five acres of land, gated, features six bedrooms, eight bathrooms, pool, tree house with electricity, maid's quarters, koi pond, meditation area and spa."

Marilyn Proctor at Kokopelli Property Management has been renting homes to Hollywood since the late '80s, when she helped Robert Redford find accommodations during the filming of 1988's "The Milagro Beanfield War." More recent clients include Tommy Lee Jones, Josh Brolin, Kevin Costner, Billy Bob Thornton, Karl Urban and Cate Blanchett -- for whom she found a secluded home on Hyde Park Road. "Even with the address, you'd never find the house. It's behind tall pines and on a narrow dirt road," says Proctor. She's got 120 properties, priced from $1,500 a month to $15,000, and will arrange housekeeping, chef, laundry and baby-sitting services.

Representing 40 properties, priced from $1,500 a month to $6,000, Pilar West at Luna Luz Properties took care of crews on both "No Country for Old Men" and "Wild Hogs." "My specialty is crew housing -- art departments, accountants -- the people who make it happen," says West. "I'm flexible and really willing to work with people."


On the city's far northern outskirts is the Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort & Spa. Situated on more than 500 acres of the Santa Ana Pueblo reservation near the Sandia Mountains and along the Rio Grande, it offers horseback riding, golf, tennis and bicycling -- not to mention 350 rooms.

For those looking for something a little more permanent, Albuquerque Studios partners with Studio Concierge by Southwest Suites to facilitate home rentals. Popular areas include High Desert (reminiscent of Scottsdale, Arizona) and both the North Valley and Corrales, with adobe haciendas, farmers markets and horse properties.


New Mexico's most innovative getaway, El Monte Sagrado, is nestled into the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in Taos, where snowflakes tumble through the sagebrush-scented air in the winter. In one week this August, guests at the spiritually inclined eco-resort included Kevin Costner, Fran Drescher and Deepak Chopra. El Monte Sagrado has 36 high-concept guest suites (and is expanding), including Native American suites with ledger-art wall hangings, artist casitas featuring furniture by Taoseno artists and world suites like "Tibet." Unwind with a massage of heated river stones, gemstones and plant extracts (ask for Bernice), or hang out at the trendy Anaconda Bar.

Haute Southwest: New Mexico has some of the nation's best restaurants. Here are some favorites of the Hollywood crowd


The concept is California wine-country cuisine in the Albuquerque foothills at Savoy Bar & Grill, where the Lionsgate folks go for lunches of grilled summer peaches with baby spinach, blue cheese, red chile croutons and balsamic vinaigrette. At dinner, there are seasonal flatbreads and prime flatiron steaks with Gorgonzola mashed potatoes.

Grove Cafe and Market in the city's upscale EDo (East Downtown) district attracts an industry crowd with its fresh fare made from local organic products. Homemade English muffins served with locally made honey and jam are a breakfast favorite, and for lunch there are an array of warm pressed sandwiches and salads made with seasonal ingredients.


Trattoria Nostrani's Northern Italian fare has propelled it onto Gourmet magazine's annual list of Top 50 Restaurants nationwide -- and has wowed patrons like Robert Redford, Tommy Lee Jones, Dylan McDermott, Liam Neeson and Pierce Brosnan. Try the Alaskan halibut with baby artichokes and black olives, wash it down with one of 9,000 bottles of wine, and top it off with the hazelnut semifreddo hot fudge sundae -- if you can get a much-coveted reservation. Word has it that the producer of 2006's "Seraphim Falls" wanted to shoot in Canada until he had the Burrata cheese with heirloom tomatoes and basil here.

If you're in Santa Fe and you have the money, Geronimo is it: Situated in a historic territorial hacienda atop Canyon Road, its Southwest take on global fusion fare attracts such A-listers as Julia Roberts, Christie Brinkley, Val Kilmer and Peter Krause. Favorites dishes include the spicy grilled Maine lobster tail with avocado, tomato, watercress and cucumber, as well as the mesquite-grilled New York strip steak with polenta fries, onion tart and green peppercorn mustard sauce.

Renowned chef Giada De Laurentiis raved on national TV about the roasted poblano relleno with three-mushroom quinoa and chipotle cream at Santacafe. The roasted relleno, with its rich mole sauce, is a standout. Artists like Dan Namingha mingle with Kevin Costner, Dermot Mulroney, Carly Simon, Tom Ford, John Travolta and Luke Wilson on the popular patio at this icon of a Southwest bistro.

Housed in a historic Victorian-style adobe with a gleaming modern bar and outdoor patio -- the perfect place to watch the streaky Southwest sunsets of tangerine and purple -- Ristra (pictured above) fuses French and bold Southwest flavors in dishes like its fabulous grilled elk tenderloin with sweet potato puree, poached pear, snow peas and sauce poivrade. Richard Gere and Diane Keaton are devotees.

Ex-Santacafe chef David Sellers just opened Amavi, with Ali MacGraw in for the rustic Mediterranean comfort dishes -- such as the crispy chicken roasted under a hot brick, served with pancetta, capers and lemon.


Joseph's Table rivals the best Los Angeles restaurants with its emphasis on wild and organic fare. Try the risotto cake with Parmigiano-Reggiano, prosciutto di Parma and portobello mushroom syrup (a favorite of Julia Roberts). Its delicate Coho trout with a pinot noir reduction sauce and seasonal vegetables is a knockout. VIP diners include Harrison Ford and Calista Flockhart, Dennis Hopper and Pierce Brosnan. Joseph's Table is on the Taos Plaza in the historic Hotel La Fonda, so you might first pop into the always-happening Michael McCormick Gallery for a vibrant modernist pop-art Native American portrait by Malcolm Furlow.