Dive into the Southwest

Saltwater Pools, Christmas Chile and a Weekend of the Southwest in Santa Fe

Every Boulderite knows you’re not a true Southwestern local until you’ve made the pilgrimage to the mecca of the Southwest lifestyle; Santa Fe, New Mexico.

From the sprawling stunning sunsets to blue corn tortillas and Christmas Chile (the iconic New Mexican red and green chile combo), we’ve tested the itinerary for a perfect weekend trip to Santa Fe from Boulder. Known for its rich history, vibrant arts scene and delectable Southwestern cuisine, Santa Fe offers a perfect blend of relaxation and exploration. Here’s the lowdown on where to stay, what to do, and what to eat.

Where to Stay
Ojo Spa Resort

You may have heard of Ojo Caliente, the iconic geothermal soaking pools outside of Taos, but have you heard of Ojo Santa Fe?

Nestled in the heart of the high desert, Ojo Santa Fe Spa Resort is a serene oasis just minutes outside of Santa Fe itself that promises a rejuvenating stay.

People have been coming to the area for centuries to heal in the oasis waters and so this luxurious destination is a can’t-miss. Because of its rich history and healing for all, Ojo offers a variety of accommodations and soaking packages that prioritize accessibility. The resort is committed to stewarding these ancient waters by prioritizing access and providing unmatched value in your options, whether it’s to purchase day passes that allow untimed entry from opening to its 10:00 p.m. close to a full overnight stay. 

We chose to spend the night in one of its charming casitas (with enchanting suite options as well) to maximize the generous package of the spa itself. As well, we took advantage of the properties and other amenities. The property includes 77 acres of lush hiking landscape as well the celebrated Blue Heron, the onsite dining experience featuring classic New Mexican fare and produced sourced from its greenhouse.

With access to a full day of soaking from the day of check-in through 10:00 p.m. on the day of check-out, we were able to treat ourselves to a range of soothing treatments, mineral-rich thermal pools and one of the largest saltwater pools in New Mexico. The resort's natural hot springs are one of the major appeals to the property with spring water sourced directly from the land and treated by its on-site treatment facility ensuring the integrity and minerality of the soaking water. Ojo Spa Resort leaves you feeling refreshed and invigorated with its lush gardens and tranquil ambiance; it’s the perfect place to unwind and recharge during your weekend escape.

El Rey Court
For a more eclectic and retro experience, look no further than El Rey Court. This unique boutique hotel captures the essence of vintage Santa Fe while incorporating modern amenities. The well-designed rooms boast a blend of Southwestern and Mid-century styles, giving you a taste of the city's history. The picturesque courtyard and heated saltwater pool, which they’ve adorably branded as Swim Club, provide an inviting space to relax and socialize with fellow travelers. El Rey Court is conveniently located on historic Route 66, making it a short drive from Santa Fe's main attractions. Experience the charm of the old world with a contemporary touch at El Rey Court during your weekend stay. 

Now we can’t talk about El Rey without talking about its hip and happening hotel bar La Reina. The extremely cool bar with excellently crafted quality cocktails is the talk of the town. Between the Swim Club and La Reina, we were impressed by the intermingling of locals, travelers and people who found themselves somewhere in between. Perhaps it’s the slew of local entertainment and happenings or the simple energy of the place that keeps this haunt true to its slogan: "Where fast lives slow down."

Where to Eat
Despite the wonderful food and beverage offerings at both Ojo Santa Fe and El Rey Court, we thought we would explore some other dining options, because who doesn’t love options? And boy, did we hit the jackpot.

Modern General
We recommend starting your culinary journey early in Santa Fe with a visit to Modern General Feed and Seed, a charming café that celebrates health-conscious and sustainable eating and adorable home and kitchen products. For a cute coffee and casual fast brunch, they offer an array of nourishing dishes, Modern General focuses on locally sourced, organic ingredients that are sure to delight your taste buds. From delightful avocado toasts to colorful grain bowls, its menu caters to various dietary preferences, including vegan and gluten-free options. We can’t recommend enough—indulging in its delectable baked goods, “Modcakes” (don’t skip the green chile corn cakes) and refreshing beverages, all made with love and a commitment to mindful eating. 

The real and unparalleled showstopper on your Southwestern food tour is inarguably Sazón. We can not recommend this institution enough. They provide a journey through the authentic taste of Santa Fe's culinary heritage, in an upscale restaurant environment showcasing traditional New Mexican flavors with a contemporary twist. James Beard’s 2022 “Best Chef of the Southwest” winner Chef Fernando Olea's expertise in blending local ingredients and culinary techniques creates a symphony of flavors on your palate. 

With a warm and welcoming ambiance and top-of-the-line service, Sazón offers one of the most memorable dining experiences of our stay. Be sure to try its signature Mole Negro, a rich and complex sauce served with tender meats, or its enchiladas de Jaiba, a unique twist on traditional enchiladas filled with succulent crabmeat. We ventured through the Chef’s tasting menu and were delighted and blown away by the food we tasted, including its choice to start your meal with a dessert of avocado ice cream and a symphony, the namesake of the dish, of other flavors including piñon nuts and essence of chile.

We also can’t help but compliment the maître d' who guided our wine for the evening expertly pairing our dining experience. He shared with us his excitement about the world of Mexican wine, which is rapidly gaining popularity due to its exquisite wines and maturing market.

We left Sazón full of not only great food but a rejuvenated love and appreciation for all things hospitality and service that make this restaurant a can’t-miss on the Santa Fe Food Scene.

What to Do:

Santa Fe Opera

After you’ve soaked your heart out, partied at La Reina, and eaten at Sazôn, a visit to the Santa Fe Opera for its summer season is an absolute luxury must. Set against the backdrop of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, this open-air opera house offers a world-class magical experience like no other. The stunning architecture and panoramic views create an unforgettable atmosphere for both seasoned opera enthusiasts and first-time attendees. The Santa Fe Opera showcases a diverse repertoire, featuring classic operas, modern masterpieces, and innovative productions rated against some of the most prestigious opera houses in the world. Before the performance, arrive early to enjoy a tailgate picnic on the opera's beautifully landscaped grounds, a cherished tradition among visitors. Watching a world-class opera performance beneath the starry New Mexico sky is sure to be a highlight of your weekend trip.

A weekend trip to Santa Fe from Boulder promises an unforgettable dip into the Southwestern lifestyle. A trip promises experiences filled with relaxation, culture and gastronomic delights. From the serene retreat of Ojo Spa to the retro charm of El Rey Court, you have an array of options for where to stay. Dining at Modern General and Sazón will satisfy your culinary cravings and The Santa Fe Opera will captivate your senses with its world-class performances. Embrace the magic of Santa Fe, and savor every moment of this delightful weekend escape

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