Culture / Travel

Insiders’ Guide to Taos — the Best Skiing, Hotels, Restaurants and More

Winter Hotspot’s Renaissance Continues With Brand New Texas Flights

BY // 12.20.18

Texans can now hit the Taos slopes a little bit faster. Taos Air began operating out of Dallas Love Field and Austin-Bergstrom International Airport starting today. With direct charter flights via a 30-seat Dornier 328JET, vacationers can make it to Taos in a little under two hours.

David Norden, CEO of Taos Ski Valley, anticipates expanding the service to other cities in the future (including, perhaps Houston) as they continue to improve Taos Ski Valley.

“Our expectations are to continue to build on the renaissance that began four years ago,” Norden tells PaperCity. “We are putting in so many on-mountain improvements with new lifts, snowmaking and a state-of-the-art learning center for children.”

Aiming to make the experience as seamless as possible, Taos Air passengers will be ferried free of charge to Taos Ski Valley. Complimentary Rossignol ski rentals are available to the flyers as well. The airline also allows two free checked bags, which, let’s face it, is pretty rare in air travel these days.

And don’t worry, they count your boot bag and ski/snowboard bag as one checked item.

Taos Hotels

The Blake

Maximize your ski time, by staying at Taos Ski Valley’s new alpine inspired hotel, The Blake. The hotel backs right up to Lift 1, increasing your chances of being first on the mountain. This also greatly reduces the time between post-ski helmet hair and pre-dinner shower, as you can practically ski directly into your room.

Thus ensuring hardly anyone has to see or smell you before you are ready to grace them with your presence.

Between the restaurant, 192 at The Blake, and the spa, the hotel makes it unnecessary to leave the mountain during your stay. But in the off chance you need anything, ring one of the hotel’s hausmeisters and they will gladly be of assistance.

If you plan on becoming a Taos ski regular, the new Residences at The Blake has units for purchase.

El Monte Sagrado

While not on the mountain, El Monte Sagrado is probably my personal favorite hotel in Taos. The rooms are stunningly furnished. Each one is inspired by a different exotic location, including Bali, Egypt and Argentina.

Splurge on one of the Global Hot Tub suites, both Morocco and Marrakech look particularly enchanting. Then reset your mind and body at the Living Spa by booking a Sacred Staurolite treatment, which aims to release bad habits, stabilize emotions and help you attain feelings of safety and security through the use of dry brushing, crystals, masking and a mud body wrap.

After a treatment at the spa, promptly take yourself over to the Anaconda Bar. You can’t be expected to be wholly wellness focused all the time, and really a glass or three of champagne hardly counts as a bad habit.

Rent a Taos Earthship

If you’re really looking to embrace the Taos New Age lifestyle, think about staying in an Earthship, a sustainable earth-berm house conceived by architect Michael Reynolds. While they’re certainly not for everyone, these eco-friendly, off the grid houses definitely offer a unique experience.

Taos Earthship
The Phoenix Taos Earthship, available for nightly rentals. Photo courtesy Earthship Biotecture.

Resembling a mixture of both hobbit hole and a UFO, the homes frequently include their own greenhouses, food gardens, fire pits and have Wi-Fi, along with TV and Netflix naturally. They’re not only great for the planet, they’ll also be great for your Instagram feed as they are incredibly photogenic.

Taos Restaurants

Bavarian Lodge and Restaurant

While there are several spots to grab a nosh and a drink at the base of the slope, it can be hard to find a bite while still remaining slope side. Should you find yourself hungry and unwilling to venture downhill, head to the Bavarian Lodge, located mid-mountain at the base of Lift 4.

Refined German fare, along with a variety of beers and wines, makes this the perfect place to re-energize without straying off-piste. Much like most ski lodge food, it certainly won’t be the most memorable meal of your life.

It is however a fun spot to stop and enjoy something other than a burger or chili. If it’s a warm and clear day, enjoy the fresh mountain air with a drink on the patio.

The Love Apple

Located in a 200 year old former chapel, the Love Apple focuses on organic locally-sourced foods and home cooking. The atmosphere is cozy and welcoming, making the dining experience akin to receiving an enveloping hug from your beloved grandmother.

The menu and wine list are always changing to reflect the season, but rest assured you will leave the Love Apple perfectly content and full.

Historic Taos Inn

I’m a sucker for a good vintage neon sign, along with a well-made margarita. The Historic Taos Inn offers both, the first in the form of the legendary thunderbird that lights up the night sky, the latter in the form of any number of margaritas served at the Inn’s Adobe Bar.

I’m partial to a bit of mezcal in my margarita, and always opt for “Fire on the Mountain,” but really you can’t go wrong with any of the choices.

Beyond Skiing

Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs Resort and Spa

After a full day on the mountain you might be a little sore and in need of a soak. While some of the lodgings have beautiful bathtubs, there’s always Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs Resort and Spa. Located between Taos and Santa Fe, the springs are well worth the drive.

The Spa is open till 10pm, making it a perfect romantic après-ski activity. Get a private bath with your loved one and enjoy the brilliant New Mexico night sky. Visit on a cloudless evening; Ojo aims to minimize light pollution, allowing guests to enjoy “true darkness.”

Seriously, you haven’t seen a night sky till you’ve seen one where the nearest street lamp is 40 miles away. Conveniently, Ojo Caliente also has a farm-to-table restaurant, Artesian, should your pampering inspire hunger.

Meow Wolf’s House of Eternal Return

If you have kids and are looking for something that the whole family can enjoy, make the drive down to Santa Fe for the day and check out Meow Wolf‘s House of Eternal Return, an immersive multimedia art experience. The brainchild of Santa Fe-based art collective, Meow Wolf, the House came to fruition with the help of Game of Thrones mastermind, George R.R. Martin.

Meow Wolf Interior
Meow Wolf’s House of Eternal Return. Photo by Kate Russell, courtesy of Meow Wolf.

Constructed inside a disused bowling alley, the House of Eternal Return is a labyrinthine Victorian House that weaves in and out of various multiverses. Visitors can crawl through a washing machine, play a song on Joyce the mammoth’s giant ribs, climb, and slip through 20,000 square feet of other dimensions. It’s pretty wild.

Don’t be deterred if you don’t have children though, Meow Wolf is for all ages and is equally enjoyable for those over 21 — the space frequently functions as a music venue in the evening, plus there’s a bar.

Expect a full blown Meow Wolf takeover soon. The art collective is expanding its operations and building new experiences in Las Vegas, Denver and Washington D.C.

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