A winter family vacation in Taos, New Mexico, and a brand-spanking new boutique hotel? Yes and yes. Taos in the summer is amazing, but Taos Ski Valley in the winter — inspiring. Read on for my review of the newest addition to the village, The Blake at Taos Ski Valley, a luxury boutique hotel.
With my husband on a motorcycle road trip, I’ve visited Taos multiple times in the summer, and the nearby Angel Fire Ski Resort several times over the last few years. Yet I had never ventured up to Taos Ski Valley.
When I received an invitation to check out the new hotel, The Blake at Taos Ski Valley, with my multigenerational family for a ski and snowboarding vacation, we packed up our 2018 Subaru Forester ready for another adventure!
Why Taos Ski Valley and The Blake?
New Mexico is a scenic drive from most major cities in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, and Arizona. From my Denver metro home, our 5-hour drive was relatively traffic free, as compared to the many traffic jams when taking the I-70 corridor west to the Colorado ski resorts. Many chose the Land of Enchantment for their winter ski vacation with its crowd-free mountains at a base elevation of 9,200, incredible summit views at Taos’ Kachina Peak, traffic, and affordability.
And then there’s that new slopeside boutique hotel. The February 2017 opening of The Blake Hotel at Taos Ski Valley is the crème de la crème of boutique hotels. From its art collection to upscale accommodations, we’ve got the scoop on The Blake.
Location in the Heart of Taos Ski Valley’s Village
The ride up to the village of Taos Ski Valley is twisty and curvy, because yes, it is a mountain. Be prepared for possible winter weather and road conditions (just like any other ski resort). On our early December road trip, we didn’t run into weather issues, but our new Subaru Forester handled those curves and the elevation like a well-tuned machine. And it IS a beautiful and scenic ride.
As the centerpiece of the Taos Ski Valley base, The Blake at Taos Ski Valley is an 80-room lodging property, located in the heart of this alpine village. As a nod to Taos Ski Valley’s founder Ernie Blake, the architecture of the building is European, blending so beautifully into the mountain scenery.
Check-in at The Blake
Drive past the parking area, follow the signs to the village and The Blake — literally one right turn and you are there. Arrival is underneath a covered valet, where valet waited — as if they sensed we were arriving (but seriously how could they know that?). The two valet gentleman immediately took action, welcomed us by saying, “We’ve been waiting for you. Welcome!” My grandkids were impressed.
My daughter and grandson stayed with outside with the valet to organize the unpacking, while my two granddaughters and I were directed to check-in, a mere handful of steps to the door.
Lobby of The Blake
The lobby is impressive and this is where the cultural experiences of Northern New Mexico are brought into the decor with a blending of Hispanic and Native American cultures. Art and artifacts begin the cultural journey with beautiful curated artwork, photographs, and pieces.
The lobby alone includes pieces from the “The Taos Society of Arts.” The decor included replica Navajo rugs and blankets, a custom desk by local artist Emily Henry inspired by iconic wrapped boats worn by Taos Pueblo Natives; historic photographs and objects.
My favorite piece is to the right of the reception desk, a gorgeous Georgia O’Keefe piece (pictured below, the artwork on view in the lobby during our visit).
NOTE: The Blake Art Tours are available by appointment through your Hausmeister (concierge). Please visit the Emily Henry Desk in the lobby to arrange your complimentary art tour.
We arrived around 7 pm on a Friday evening, checked in quickly and the valet assisted us to our room — with a rack full of suitcases and bags.
At the desk, the receptionist asked if she could communicate with me via text, and I agreed. This is one of the most amazing perks as a guest. The front desk texted me a handful of times, just checking in to see if we needed anything. And when we likewise texted back when required assistance, such as ice, more towels, a ride to downtown Taos, or any other customer service option. Although a friendly voice on the other line is nice, I preferred the convenience of a quick text communication.
Rooms at The Blake
We took the elevator (with a beautiful reproduction of a Taos Native American photo etched on the doors) from the lobby up to our room on the first floor. We were greeted again by more art, photographs and historic pieces, which is very distracting in a good way.
With our family of 5, we really needed “elbow” room for our accommodations. And that’s what we got — plus a few more bonuses. Our deluxe rooms included two queen-sized beds (or a king sized bed, if preferred) and a Queen-sized sleeper sofa. We had room to enjoy each other’s company, watch TV together, a desk, and an amazing window view overlooking the pool deck and hot tubs on the same floor.
Other in-room amenities included two flat panel TVs, mini-refrigerator, in-room safe, coffee maker, huge bathroom with shower, and plenty of plugs and USB connections for our entire family. And everyone was happy when we learned about complimentary Wi-Fi as cell coverage on the mountain can be sketchy.
The Deluxe rooms contain two Queen sized beds or a King sized bed, and a Queen sized sleeper sofa and a spacious shower (some also have tubs).
Note: Pet-Friendly Rooms are also available upon request.
On-Site Restaurant & Bar: 192 Restaurant
Named after the former owner Ernie Blake’s small engine plane number, the “192” Restaurant is casual with a menu to cater to nearly every appetite from Italian flatbreads to Spanish tapas and steak.
The kids were all starved by the time we arrived and checked in, so we grabbed a quick bite at The 192, opting for their pizza. And believe me, I’ve had pizza all over the world, and we all unanimously agreed that their wood-fired pizza was THE BEST EVER! De-lish, crunchy crust and fresh ingredients.
And the wine list was impressive, as well as incorporating New Mexico’s Gruit sparkling wine and seasonal beers from local breweries.
The breakfast buffet is available and open to the public. The prices for hotel guests and the public do vary. This is another yummy option for fresh food and attentive wait staff.
Other Amenities at The Blake
The Spa and Wellness Center is a unique full-service spa that it takes inspiration from the native cultures of Northern New Mexico. Choose from an array of treatments that include sacred directions, colors, and energies.
Enter the large gym with a sauna, and continue outside onto the deck pool with two hot tubs. (Our family spent a lot of time here!) Yoga classes are also offered.
Guests of The Blake: Ski-In/Ski-Out to Taos Ski Valley
For those travelers searching for an ultimate ski-in/ski-out experience at Taos Ski Valley, check into The Blake, park your vehicle, and never worry about getting anywhere. Most anything ski or snowboard related is within a short walk to your lift. The Blake is located in the Taos base area with ski-in/ski-out access to Lifts 1.
Find your rentals directly across from the 192 Restaurant. Just down the hall is The Blake guests’ ski concierge, where you can check your snow boots and they’ll keep them warm for you. Upon return, you can store your rental skis and winter accessories in their concierge.
Bringing your own skis or snowboard equipment? Check your equipment directly at the ski concierge and save the hassle of leaving them in your room (and they’ll keep your boots and gloves warm!)
Kids in ski or snowboarding lessons? Guests of The Blake no longer need to pick up your equipment first. Simply walk to the gondola which will take you and your children to the newly renovated Children’s Center. Check them in and the staff will take care of the rest — everything from fitting them for their equipment to taking them on the mountains for lessons to feeding them lunch. There’s even an option for later evening care for couples who’d like to enjoy an evening out.
Here is a video that details all the possible experiences you and your child can expect at Taos Ski Valley’s Children’s Center:
For those concerned about the environment, The Blake at Taos Ski Valley incorporates LEED building, ground-source heating, and industry-leading sustainability practices.
Rates range from $259 (early season) to $1,499 (2 bedroom/high season) based on double occupancy. Book directly on the Ski Valley website, or use on of the many booking sites such as Travelocity or Expedia.
Photo credits: The Blake, Taos Ski Valley & Diana Rowe.
The Blake at Taos Ski Valley hosted my stay for the purposes of a review. Our road trip vehicle, the 2018 Subaru Forester, was provided by Subaru USA for a review. All opinions expressed are my own.