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- From Denver, my sister and I drove down to Santa Fe for a long weekend of Southwestern eats, art, and nature.
- We stayed at the Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado, a 57-acre property that has implemented a comprehensive COVID-19 response strategy.
- We booked a Double Queen Casita for $950 per night during high season, but rates at the hotel can drop as low as $400 during the low season.
I'm normally based in New Jersey, but I've been seeing the pandemic through in Denver, where my sister lives. Since I've been in town, we've organized little trips to enjoy the Southwest's striking landscapes and take advantage of the easy access to outdoor adventures found in this region. One destination within driving distance that caught our eye: Santa Fe.
Neither of us had been to New Mexico before, and at the time, it was among the very few states where the virus was largely contained, so taking the scenic six-hour drive down seemed like an ideal weekend getaway.
Most first-timers to Santa Fe, particularly pre-pandemic, are generally drawn to hotel stays right in the heart of its historic downtown. There are several hotels right on, or very close to, The Plaza, which is the anchor of the city and surrounded by art galleries, restaurants, and museums inside Pueblo revival-style architecture. However, due to COVID-19, our prime objective was not to explore the bustling downtown area, but to enjoy a more remote getaway where we could take advantage of the gorgeous mountain setting.
Tucked in the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, the Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado occupies a 57-acre property located less than 10 miles north of town. While the resort's farther afield address might be a con for some, it was just the secluded oasis we were seeking.
As a Four Seasons property, it was no shock that the rooms were pricey, especially since we were traveling during peak season. However, since we'd been taking fewer flights and rarely staying at hotels due to COVID-19, we were ready to splurge on a luxurious vacation, and this felt like the right place to do it.
One of the major perks of the Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado is the sprawling space, especially during a pandemic. New Mexico requires travelers arriving from most states to quarantine for 14 days or to provide a negative COVID-19 test result that was taken within 72 hours (which is what we did). While you always hope everyone else staying at your hotel is following the outlined rules, choosing a property where there was sure to be quite a bit of space between us and other guests helped ease our concerns.
My sister and I opted to split the cost of a mid-tier Deluxe Casita with two Queen beds for $950 per night. Even during low season, these rooms are pricey and start at $450, with entry-level rooms starting at $400. But for travelers who crave an opportunity to pamper themselves in a pandemic-friendly setting, I found Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado to be an excellent choice.
In addition to its signature world-class services, there was an extensive, brand-wide COVID-19 response plan in place. Plus, even entry-level stays come with splurge-worthy perks like spacious accommodations, private patios, and a location that places you away from it all, which might just be the most priceless amenity right now.
- First impression
- The room
- On-site amenities
- What's nearby
- What others say
- What you need to know
- COVID-19 policies
- The bottom line
- Book Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado starting at $400 per night
Keep reading to see why I was so impressed by the Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado.
A blink-and-you-might-miss-it sign asking you to turn right into the entrance of the Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado was the discreet start to our stay at this luxury hotel. Following more signage for guest check-in, my sister parked our car right in front of the main building, a low-lying sand-colored structure where the lobby (as well as the main restaurant) was located.
Masked hotel staff promptly welcomed us at the foot of the steps with a request to take our temperatures. Once we passed that test, we were led up to the reception desk to officially check into our room. It was just after 3 p.m., and the lobby was generally empty, making quick work of the process. We were given a map of the resort, where our casita was marked, and given a quick, friendly reminder that mask-wearing throughout the resort's public areas was required, before being sent on our way.
Having stayed at Four Seasons hotels before, I know that this is usually when an enthusiastic attendant might help us with our luggage to our guest room, explaining all the various features and amenities available at the resort. Maybe someone else might offer to park our car. But during a pandemic, there was none of that, and that was perfectly okay with me.
Even at a safe six-foot distance, the staff was warm and helpful. The same gentleman who took our temperature explained how to get to the group of casitas where ours was located. It was a very brief one-minute drive from the lobby, and the parking lot was directly in front of the pathway that led to our room.
Our mid-tier Double Queen Casita came with a whopping 770 square feet of space. Entry-level rooms are still big at 630 square feet, but they only come with one King-size bed rather than the two Queen beds found in our room. With its spacious private patio and a huge bathroom, the room felt incredibly luxurious and well worth the splurge from the second we stepped through the door.
Design-wise, it was clear the hotel thoughtfully infused Southwestern nods throughout the room without going overboard or ever veering into kitschy territory. The room was modernly appointed with warm inflections via the inviting color scheme. Bright pops of orange and red punched up the soothing sandy hues. Accessories like decorative vases, patterned rugs, and paintings of glowing sunsets completed the scene. It also had exposed wood beams on the ceiling to reinforce the local architectural style. There was a lovely fireplace in one corner, which the staff could have prepared for us, but we never used since it was warm throughout our stay.
Right away, we spotted packaged hygiene kits with masks and wipes sitting on the counter next to the complimentary tea and coffee selection. Along with the kit was a welcome letter from the resort outlining its health and hygiene commitment under Four Season's 'Lead with Care' program, along with New Mexico's latest COVID-19 regulations. While there were no seals or signs indicating if items had just been cleaned, everything in the room looked immaculate, as can be expected at a Four Seasons.
According to the property's policy, rooms were freed of any unnecessary accessories and furnishings. We didn't notice anything was missing so if they did remove items, the room probably never needed them. Daily housekeeping (with EPA-approved products) was still maintained, but only when the casita was empty. Turn-down service, however, was by request only, which we declined to use.
As expected, the signature Four Seasons Queen beds, pillows, and sumptuous linens were comfortable and soft. They lulled me to sleep as soon as I got into them, which was extra appealing given I'm an early-to-bed kind of person.
The bathroom was huge and potentially my favorite part of the room. In fact, the layout of the entire casita was designed in such a way that the total square footage was almost evenly split between the outdoor patio, the main bedroom, and the bathroom. The highlight was the huge walk-in rainshower and the separate deep soaking tub. Bath and body amenities were by cult fragrance brand Le Labo, and even though I travel with my own skincare products, I couldn't resist snatching one of the sweet-smelling bars of soaps to take home.
The only real drawback of my specific casita was that its location didn't give me the best view or the utmost privacy during the day. Because it was on the first floor and secreted in the back of one of the buildings, our patio's view was mostly the other buildings of the resort. Also, one of housekeeping's supply closet was just a few yards away from our patio, so during the day, we did need to be mindful of seeing staff occasionally walking around. That provided a quick moment of shock when I was doing yoga on our first morning there.
But overall, the casita was just right for our purposes and would also have been great for a family with young children or a group of four friends who wouldn't mind sharing a room together, especially if you're splitting the high price tag.
The 65-room resort offers a variety of lodging categories, from Deluxe Casitas for traveling couples to huge suites for bigger groups. They're scattered across the property in a variety of Adobe-style buildings, but regardless of what you end up booking, space is plentiful. Our casita was very similar to the entry-level rooms, which start at $400 in the low season, but was slightly bigger to accommodate the two Queen beds.
Mountain View casitas are the same layout as entry-level rooms with one King bed, but are located on the second floor. These are considered mid-tier and run a similar price to our larger Two Queen Casita room due to offering better views. Mid-tier rooms typically cost about $100 more than entry-level rooms. On a return visit when a second bed wasn't necessary, I would still splurge on a mid-tier casita, but on the second floor. These rooms have exceptional scenery of the mountains and the sky, which turned in jaw-dropping performances at sunset during our stay.
For larger groups, there are interconnecting two-bedroom casitas that can accommodate up to six adults or four adults and four children, but they will set you back quite a bit as they start in the low $900s. For honeymooners and those looking for a seriously once-in-a-lifetime stay, the Encantado Suite offers a 1,100-square-foot hideaway secreted on the highest point of the resort for panoramic views of the destination.
Compare room types and prices for Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado
There is a daily resort fee of $55 that covers parking, Wi-Fi, local calls, and the complimentary shuttle between downtown Santa Fe and the property, as well as a butler who can help with basic tasks like getting your fireplace started.
This also covers all of the on-site activities, which are numerous. Options include the daily 120-minute guided hike on Camino Encantado Trail, guided yoga classes, and culinary and mixology demonstrations. While the resort fee is steep on an already expensive room price, if you participate in the activities daily and take advantage of the shuttle service, it can quickly become worth it. Wi-Fi and cell service, however, can be spotty. For instance, I never had service in the yoga studio.
Additional activities can also be arranged for an extra fee and range from whitewater rafting excursions to hot air balloon rides.
The all-day dining venue is called Terra, which organizes themed suppers, like Fish & Chips or Tacos & Tequila night. There's usually live music playing in the courtyard, and at sunset, there's a complimentary gathering at the fire pits just outside the bar for guests to roast their own s'mores.
On the night we decided to eat at the property, the spicy green chile corn chowder paired with a glass of sparkling wine from a local New Mexico winery was the perfect combination of treats to watch the sunset with. You do want to make reservations so that you can try to snag one of the outdoor seats that look directly towards the mountains. That's exactly what we got, and it was spectacular.
We felt very safe throughout our dining experience. The restaurant team kept its mask on the entire time, the tables were appropriately spaced out (especially outside where the placement of heat lamps provided extra distance between parties), and there were virtual menus via a QR code.
A major perk of the hotel currently is the ability to reserve complimentary use of the spa lounge for an hour. (It's $75 for every subsequent hour.) This was a fabulous pandemic pivot for the resort that made for a pampering experience. The spa was the first thing we did when we arrived at the resort, and after a six-hour drive from Denver, it couldn't have been a more relaxing start to the trip. During the hour we booked we enjoyed the Jacuzzi and the steam room without having to worry about anyone else. While we didn't partake in any treatments, most are still available currently, with the exception of a few services like facials.
There's also an outdoor pool, a yoga studio, and a high-tech gym — all of which we used. The pool was definitely the busiest spot, but even then there were only a few other guests sunbathing on socially distanced lounge chairs. In comparison, I never saw other guests in the yoga studio except during the yoga session, and there was only ever one time when another person was in the fitness center. There were hand sanitizers and disinfecting wipes everywhere, and every time I worked out, I spotted staff wiping down door handles and other high-touch areas, which was definitely a welcomed sight. I also appreciated that the yoga studio had floor-to-ceiling doors that could be opened up to promote air circulation.
Another complimentary on-property initiative I really enjoyed, especially amidst the pandemic, was having fitness accessories sent to my room in lieu of using the public gym. I organized this ahead of our stay and had a yoga mat, resistance bands, weights, and even healthy snack bars waiting on my arrival.
If you're staying at this resort, you're likely in town to see Santa Fe, which is still a 15-minute car ride south of the property. But the drive is really stunning, offering incredible photo ops of the mountains. Santa Fe itself is teeming with art galleries, exceptional restaurants, and easily walkable streets. We also drove to the town of Española for dinner one evening, and the sunset sky could not have been more gorgeous.
The Four Seasons' Adventure Center can help organize a ton of guided experiences, whether it's a half-day trip to visit Taos, a vineyard tour of New Mexico's burgeoning wine scene, or an exhilarating downhill mountain biking adventure starting at the Santa Fe basin. But do-it-yourself and picturesque hiking systems like Dale Ball Trails or La Tierra Trails can be easily reached with a short drive south from the resort.
Check flight prices to Santa Fe on Expedia
On Booking, the Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado Santa Fe has a user rating of 9.0. There are only 26 reviews on the site, but most guests reference the exceptional service and natural location. Of course, the higher room rates are also mentioned, with one reviewer specifically calling out the extra fees that go on top of that. Another reviewer didn't love that there were no elevators anywhere and that the hotel was "scattered," though that might not be considered a con for most people during a pandemic.
On Trip Advisor, the resort is ranked 12 out of 65 properties in Santa Fe and comes with nearly 1,100 reviews. Positive comments here include raves about the on-property hiking trails, the mixology demo, and the ideal location for a pandemic getaway. More critical reviews touch on the spotty internet service.
Read reviews, compare prices, and book Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado Santa Fe on Trip Advisor
Who stays here: With plenty of secluded spots built-in for romance, couples in particular like this hotel. But we also spotted plenty of families and groups of friends.
We like: Most people visiting Santa Fe might not love the Four Seasons' location, but we loved the seclusion — especially during this pandemic.
We love (don't miss this feature!): The complimentary hour in the spa lounge. The resort already feels like an escape, but being in that lounge — even if it's just for 60 minutes — felt like a getaway within a getaway.
We think you should know: You are in the mountains; sometimes you don't have cell reception.
We'd do this differently next time: I'd make myself available for the daily Sunset & S'mores activity that they do at the fire pit by Terra. It's another one of the complimentary perks available to guests. We missed out!
As a hotel group, the Four Seasons launched Lead with Care, its brand-wide strategy for Covid-19 that features a global advisory board that's monitoring the progress and development of the pandemic. The Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado Santa Fe is also following New Mexico's statewide guidelines when it comes to travel restrictions and social distancing. The new Four Seasons protocols include:
- Each Four Seasons property has appointed a Hygiene Officer responsible for implementing an elevated cleanliness policy, which includes new training programs for the housekeeping team regarding new protocols.
- The daily disinfecting of guest rooms with EPA-approved products, and the hourly cleaning of public areas, especially high traffic destinations like the front desk.
- Hotel guests are required to wear a mask while in public except when seated and eating or drinking at the restaurant, where social distancing measures as dictated by the state will be in effect.
- Similarly, the staff is required to wear their masks all the time.
- Anything that guests would need to touch (seats and tables, yoga mats, gym equipment, spa lockers) are sanitized and disinfected after use.
- Pool and gym capacity is limited. Some fitness equipment were marked off to avoid having two people on adjacent machines simultaneously, like on treadmills, for instance. And in the spa, facials are unavailable until further notice.
Overall, it always felt like the resort was doing an excellent job, especially given the circumstances. The staff was always prepared with their masks on, and the mask requirement was effectively communicated with guests, too. From everything I observed, the Four Seasons protocols were being meticulously followed.
While Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado resort is certainly a splurge, it's a particularly appealing luxury stay right now. Located 10 miles from the heart of Santa Fe, I enjoyed the tucked-away atmosphere, sprawling grounds, and stunning views.
The upscale amenities — from the relaxing spa facilities to the daily guided hikes to the spacious guest rooms — plus the easy access to the outdoors and the world-class service that the Four Seasons brand is known for were all worth the pricey rates. Add in the comprehensive COVID-19 adjustments, and it's an exceptional stay even with some restrictions in place.
All of this made me feel at ease and able to fully indulge in a pampering stay.
Book Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado starting at $400 per night
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