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Hotel Chimayo Celebrates Art, Culture and Chiles in a Boutique Environment

By Elizabeth R. Elstien

One block away from the historic Santa Fe Plaza lies Hotel Chimayó, a small boutique place to lay your head while in one of the most well-traveled places in the United States. A Heritage Hotels concept, the design and décor of this special hotel with its soaring vigas celebrates the rich history, culture and art of the centuries-old Chimayó community located 30 minutes to the north. A percentage of each room stay is donated to this village, so staying here is a boost to a small, longstanding artistic area of Northern New Mexico.

Senior Communications and Creative Director Maresa Thompson tells us, "Hotel Chimayó de Santa Fe features more than 70 Northern New Mexican artists. Artwork includes weavings from Centinela Traditional Arts, Ortega's Weaving Shop, original tinwork, retablos and bultos of religious icons, hand-crafter wood furniture and most specially the village created more than 500 original twig crosses that are hung above the fireplace mantel in each hotel room."

Seventeenth Century Chimayó is a highly creative village. Guests will sleep tight knowing that a portion of each room's nightly revenue goes to directly boost the Chimayó Cultural Preservation Association. One supported program is called Los Maiestros where, according to Thompson, "the elders of the community teach the youth the traditional arts and crafts of the area" Art classes, taught once a month at the Chimayó Museum, teach children ages nine through 17 to stay in school and away from drugs by learning tinwork, straw applique, traditional wood carving, weaving, micaceous pottery, colcha embroidery and traditional painting on wood and hide. New Mexican folk art is, notes Thompson, "an artistic heritage that has been passed down for many generations."

Guests are encouraged to travel to Chimayó and see for themselves what makes this village a cultural gem by taking a group, private or self-guided tour. Thompson says, "Guests can get a taste of Chimayó at the hotel's Estevan restaurant that features authentic Chimayó chile." You can't get this chile anywhere else in Santa Fe.

Lowrider culture is a way of life in much of Northern New Mexico and the hotel's Low 'n Slow Lowrider bar celebrates this driving lifestyle. From the photography to the diamond-tuck upholstery, chrome chain-link steering wheel tables and welded tinwork sculptures, this bar is pure car heaven. The mixologist stirs up some craft drinks for your barroom cruise while taking in live Norteño music on Friday and Saturday nights.

Discounts are given to all hotel guests on local attractions. Explains Thompson, "For Heritage Hotels, all of our Santa Fe and Albuquerque properties offer walking tours of the historic plazas seasonally on Saturdays, and every single guest gets a Local Treasures brochure that gives our guests an exclusive 15% discount on the premier area restaurants, shops, attractions and galleries that we have personally curated so they get the best local experience."

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