Hotel Chaco, which opened in April of 2017, has created an ongoing buzz since coming onto the luxury hotel scene in Albuquerque. About 10 minutes from the Albuquerque International Airport (Sunport), its trendy location is only blocks from the Old Town district and across the street from the newer Sawmill Area. This is a contemporary urbanization project slated to offer a food market in the style of San Francisco’s Ferry Building Marketplace, shopping, and arts and entertainment. Completion date in early 2019 will feature a 25,000 square-foot food court showcasing local cuisine, culinary traditions, and a growers’ market, along with restaurants, bars, and art galleries.
With an ideal location, the hotel is an architectural statement of lines and symmetry relying on natural elements to integrate with the Chaco-inspired profile. When it comes to fusing luxury with art and melding the ancient with the modern, the hotel is a resounding success.
Hotel Chaco, a Heritage Hotels & Resorts property, was designed by the global architecture, design and planning firm Gensler. Throughout the hotel, expect to find sustainable strategies incorporated into the spaces.
Defined by cultural heritage, delineated by ancient and modern Native American art and transformed by a fusion of traditional and contemporary, Hotel Chaco smacks of efficiency, with clean architectural lines that honor basic earth elements and a supporting palette of earth-based colors. Natural materials like sandstone, recessed rock, concrete, and wood beams are incorporated. All this is expertly achieved even as the hotel honors historical connections through simulated kivas and pueblo-style art from contemporary Native American New Mexican artists.
Expect to be greeted by a complimentary glass of bubbly Champagne upon checking in. A simulated kiva serves as reservation and reception area with a seated sculpture of an ancient one perched about 10 feet above the desks. The rotunda-shaped area is built around an abstract Puebloan figure at the center, which is accentuated by a natural light dagger in the late afternoon.
Hotel Chaco offers the city 118 luxurious rooms, each with a private terrace. Native American paintings decorate the rooms with Navajo wool rugs framed above the beds. The roomy walk-in rainfall showers are a welcome oasis. One feature I particularly enjoyed was the motion-based night light that illuminated the bathroom. No need to find light switches in the middle of the night. Modern amenities include a flat-screen TV, minifridge and bottled water along with snacks. These are included in the nightly $30 resort fee as is valet parking and Wi-Fi access.
Check out the Level 5 rooftop restaurant and lounge for a panoramic view of the city and the nearby Sandia Mountains, which reputedly turn a watermelon red at sunset. Then toast with a glass of bubbly from the Gruet Winery Bubble Bar. The restaurant features regional and local cuisine with guests citing avocado hummus and blue corn bison tenders as favorite appetizers. A lobby café serves breakfast while the lobby lounge serves a variety of crafted cocktails and drinks. Other hotel features include an outdoor swimming pool with hot tub that is shared with Hotel Albuquerque and 24-hour fitness center. The spa is expected to open soon. There’s plenty of meeting space as well. Be sure to check out the Native American art gallery for original works of art produced by local artisans.
The luxury Hotel Chaco was directly inspired by the mystique of nearby Chaco Canyon, A UNESCO World Heritage Archaeological Site. A major center of Pueblo and Native American culture from about 900 to 1150, this thriving cultural center was abruptly abandoned for reasons still not apparent.
To honor these historical connections, Hotel Chaco and partner Heritage Inspirations (www.heritageinspirations.com) offer exclusive Saturday tours and overnight trips to Chaco Culture National Historical Park. Many guests describe these trips as inspirational while providing sacred homage and authentic connections with the past.
Review and photos by award-winning writer/photographer Karin Leperi, who was hosted one night at the property for purposes of review.