Saturday, October 31, 2015

Hotel Chimayo: A Charming, Dog-friendly Santa Fe Hotel

Every once in a while, I'll stay a hotel that really does feel its own tiny little world. As soon I've stepped in the lobby, I'm somewhere else, and I'm glad to be there. The Hotel Chimayo in Santa Fe is one of those places. Located just off of the Plaza--the heart of Santa Fe's downtown district--the hotel only contributes to the charm. The exterior resembles a cute white house complete with an adorable balcony. Inside, it's very Southwestern with dark wood decor and prints. After checking in, the front desk clerk printed out a map of a nearby park where I could walk my dogs--another great pet owner perk. 

 My cute dog Rocket snug in his chair.

After walking out of the lobby, you'll enter the courtyard of this hotel--and my favorite spot of the whole place. All the rooms here face inward and this secluded spot honestly made me like I was in Southern Spain--minus the red chilies hanging from the wooden balconies. It's secluded, quiet and although just steps from the plaza, feels like it's own little slice of paradise. I loved walking through here to get back to my room.

And my suite was more than enough space for me and my dogs. It featured a separate sitting area complete with a fireplace, bedroom and bathroom. My dogs loved hanging out on the chairs while I was away. We all loved snuggling in the bed at night. I appreciated that my dogs had space to roam around while I was away during the day. The tiled bathroom was great for putting their water and food bowels in case they spilled any of it. The only downsides here are that you have to pay for parking and occasionally, other owners would leave their dogs off leash with their hotel room doors open. This never (thankfully) was an issue for me, but it's something to keep in mind. The pet policy here is fairly standard. The hotel also charges a $25 per day pet fee unless you book its pet-friendly package. Dogs weighing more than 50 pounds are not permitted at the hotel. Only two dogs are allowed per room.


When I first checked in, the front desk employee gave me a map and showed me where a dog park was. And I love how close the hotel was to many different parks. Cross of the Martyrs--probably the best place in the city to watch the sunset--is less than half a mile from the hotel. Hillside Park Cathedral Park, albeit very small, was just a few blocks from the hotel too.  

I watched the sunset at this park with my dogs my last night in Santa Fe, and I can't think of a better way to cap off a trip to this enchanting city than that. Pet owner searching for a charming hotel in this great city should consider Hotel Chimayo.

Please note: I was given a discounted media rate during my stay here. All thoughts are my own.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Mountains You Should Climb: Tempe's "A" Mountain

When I first visited Phoenix back in January, I wanted a good hike and a great place to watch the Southwest's magnificent sunsets. And I found just what I was looking for at Tempe's "A" Mountain. This is a short, but steep, hike that will provide you with stunning views of the entire city. I mean, just look at that photo.
 Stunning, huh?

The path is all paved. You'll want to be careful at the top since you're fairly high up and many of the rocks you'll be standing on aren't exactly the sturdiest surfaces. A part of the summit is fenced off, but you can climb over that. Wherever you decide to end your hike, be sure to enjoy sweeping views of the Phoenix skyline. I always imagined a desert landscaped like Phoenix being drab and flat and dry, and it is all of that, but so much more. Take in the river. Appreciate the trees. Dig the view.

Either way, if you're a temporary visitor or a long-time resident, watching the Arizona sunset is a must-do. And so is hiking. If you're looking for a place where you can combine the best of both worlds, make it A Mountain. Plus, then you can tell your friends that you hiked "a" mountain when you were in Phoenix. Get it? I know, I know. How very punny.

Either way, enjoy the view from the top.

Friday, October 2, 2015

A New Mexican Escape: The Abiquiu Inn

Yes, this is a real photo that I took at Ghost Ranch.

I spent almost all of July road tripping across the country, and I was absolutely swept away by the beauty of New Mexico. This state's landscapes are so stunning it's almost unbelievable. Just look at the photo above for proof.

I planned on originally just staying in Santa Fe for a few days before heading off to Arizona, but I ended up spending an entire week here. The most remote place I ventured to during my whole trip was Abiquiu--a tiny town in northwestern New Mexico that is perhaps best known as one of the homes of artist Georgia O'Keefe. I was visiting the beautiful and remote Ghost Ranch, and I needed a place to stay that was close by. 

There aren't many options in Abiquiu, but that doesn't mean your options are bad. I almost immediately fell in love with The Abiquiu Inn. This ultra modern hotel in the middle of the desert is as magical as the rest of New Mexico. The grounds were the perfect place to walk my dogs. I admired the tall trees and grassy areas that almost made me feel like I was back on the East Coast whenever I'd walk by. I know my dogs loved having the area to explore.

The rooms themselves are spacious and surprisingly luxurious. Mine featured a large bed where I could snuggle with my dogs, a fireplace, a flat panel and a big bathroom complete with a shower/tub combination and a counter top too. I appreciated the very Southwestern adobe-looking fireplace and the fact that my room opened up to a gorgeous inner courtyard. My room--like all the rooms--was on the ground floor and directly in front of a parking space, which made it easy to get my dogs in and out of there. I appreciated the amenities as much as the starkness of the land that surrounded this place. It made for one incredible setting. 
 My sweet porch.

 You've gotta that love that bed.

The hotel's restaurant was located just off the lobby and featured outdoor seating in the heart of the grounds. Although the kitchen received mixed reviews on Yelp, I enjoyed a delicious egg breakfast there just before I left. It nice to admire the grounds while I enjoyed my food.
The alfresco dining room is the centerpiece of this hotel. 
Abiquiu was by far the hardest destination for me to reach. It's about an hour's drive from both Taos and Santa Fe, making it just a little too far to be a quick day trip from either city. But I've never been more captured by a tiny town like this one in quite some time. I hate to be so cliche, but most of the time, the toughest journeys are that are worth the trouble.