Culture / Travel

Texas Travel Files — Bishop’s Lodge, Auberge Resorts Collection in Santa Fe, New Mexico

High-End But Unpretentious, the Recently Restored Retreat is a Perfect Excuse for a Santa Fe Getaway

BY // 05.06.22
photography Auberge Resorts Collection

“The Land of Enchantment” is a lofty nickname to live up to, but the city of Santa Fe, New Mexico is up for the challenge. Historic and longstanding haunts craft the town’s culture and charming character, but it was an old-meets-new destination, Bishop’s Lodge, Auberge Resorts Collection, that made the visit pure magic.

Just a 20-minute drive from the Santa Fe airport (and one hour from Albuquerque), Bishop’s Lodge feels like an immersive New Mexican village unto itself. Pathways lined with paper lanterns (faralitos) and a phenomenally friendly staff welcome you with open arms and an agua santa. Copious cozy fire pits, towering pines, century-old Adobe structures, and a storied old chapel dot the 317-acre property in the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo mountains, inviting guests to indulge in the great, gorgeous outdoors.

Adobe architecture at Bishop’s Lodge. (Photo by Auberge Resorts Collection)

The Bishop’s Lodge Backstory

After acquiring the property in 2016, Auberge Resorts Collection teamed with Dallas-based design firm HKS and Dallas architect Nunzio Marc DeSantis for a six-year renovation and restoration that debuted in the summer of 2021. But the history of Bishop’s Lodge dates back much further. The site was founded in the 1860s when its namesake, Santa Fe’s first archbishop Bishop Jean Baptiste Lamy, built the aforementioned chapel and private residence. The property changed hands several times throughout its century-plus existence, including serving as home to the Pulitzer family and host to several U.S. presidents.

In keeping with every gem under Auberge’s luxurious umbrella, the Bishop’s Lodge of today is very much in conversation with its rich past. Traditional Pueblo architecture, artisan-made decor, and restored century-old oil paintings fill the retreat. A reverence toward both the diverse native communities of New Mexico and Santa Fe’s artistic roots is felt in practically every corner of the luxurious—yet laid-back—destination.

 

One of the three Kiva Suites. (Photo by Auberge Resorts Collection)

The Rooms at Bishop’s Lodge

Whether you find yourself in a guestroom, a casita, the 12-bedroom Bunkhouse, or one of three on-site suites, there’s no shortage of contemporary Southwestern charm. There may also be no such thing as a bad view at Bishop’s Lodge—almost every room was built with westward exposure to take advantage of New Mexico’s notoriously striking sunsets.

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The barn-like Bunkhouse was noted to be popular with wedding parties, but if you really want to splurge, go for one of the three adults-only Kiva Suites (dubbed Moon, Star, and Sun). With sweeping views of the Rio Grande Valley (dotted with glorious new residences), locally milled flagstone floors, architecturally striking kiva fireplaces, hammered bronze tubs, and a cedar wood plunge pool, the suites are a luxurious immersion into Santa Fe.

 

BL_Accommodations_Suite_Kiva_2021_070431 (Photo by Auberge Resorts Collection)
A hammered bronze tub in the Kiva Suite. (Photo by Auberge Resorts Collection)

The Little Things

Beyond the chic rustic design, our Kiva suite (we were lucky to find ourselves in “Moon” for the weekend) was stocked with sumptuous smelling Prime Fleur products and custom robes ethically made by House of Hiatus. The bed was heavenly and the bar was thoughtfully stocked, but there was an intangible warmth that outweighed all the well-placed luxuries.

“It’s so friendly here. It’s kind of weird,” shared Melly, our SkyFire waitress and one of the many big-city transplants we met in Santa Fe (which, consequently, is also dubbed the “Land of Entrapment”). “It’s almost European. Instead of asking what’s your name and what to do you, people really want to know you.”

 

There are several family-friendly adventures at Bishop’s Lodge. (Photo by Auberge Resorts Collection)

The Scene

We saw all ages during our stay at Bishop’s Lodge, from older couples in chic, contemporary Western wear to families with young children (don’t miss the kid-friendly Coyote Camp in the summer months). With open-to-the-public amenities, including the chapel and the retreat’s signature restaurant, SkyFire, the destination is fast becoming a popular destination for locals as well.

 

Fireside dining at SkyFire (Photo by Auberge Resorts Collection)
Fireside dining at SkyFire, Bishop’s Lodge’s signature restaurant. (Photo by Auberge Resorts Collection)

Dining at Bishop’s Lodge

Speaking of SkyFire, the signature spot welcomes guests and locals throughout the day for sophisticated Southwestern fare, killer mezcal cocktails, and striking views. Be sure to grab a bison burger at lunch. For dinner, start with ceviche and snag a Holy Margarita, made with hatch chile and fresh apricots sourced from trees on the Bishop’s Lodge grounds. Be sure to ask for Melly when you’re there.

And though beloved Dallas chef Dean Fearing spearheaded the original SkyFire menu, a new executive chef recently took the helm: Pablo Peñalosa, whose resume includes Michelin-starred restaurants in Spain and a recent executive role at Meliá Hotels International Paradisus in Los Cabos, Mexico.

 

BL_Experiences_Chocolate-Making_2021_071840 (Photo by Auberge Resorts Collection)
The Chocolate Immersion experience at Bishop’s Lodge, hosted by Kakawa Chocolate House. (Photo by Auberge Resorts Collection)

The Spa and Experiences at Bishop’s Lodge

Santa Fe has long been an epicenter for the spiritual set, a quality Bishop’s Lodge caters to them with ease. A vast range of experiences taps into the area’s New Age allure, including sacred space meditations, intuitive healing sessions, and vibrational sound baths. Those looking for more straightforward centering can find their own kind of cure in a CBD-infused massage. (The spa was closed for renovations when we visited this spring, but treatments were still made beautiful in the casitas.)

We were lucky to score a Chocolate Immersion experience with Kakawa Chocolate House’s Bonnie Bennett, who educated us on the long history of cacao as we tasted chili-infused truffles and traditional chocolate elixirs.

 

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

Exploring Santa Fe

The Bishop’s Lodge staff can easily shuttle you to Santa Fe’s historic plaza, where artisans sell authentic jewelry, ceramics, and artwork. The charming, walkable neighborhood is home to the Loretto Chapel and its miraculous spiral staircase.

For more shopping, be sure to swing by ShipRock gallery to explore its stunning collection of vintage turquoise jewelry and original woven textiles. Japanese streetwear staple Visvim opened its North American flagship (and first-ever women’s store) just a few blocks over in 2017. Whiskey & Clay is a popular destination for earthy ceramics, but I scored some incredible pottery from modern artists at Wind River, a family-owned Native American store in the heart of the square.

And of course, the art scene is a massive component of Santa Fe’s cultural DNA. Stroll down Canyon Road to discover hundreds of galleries. The wild Meow Wolf installation and the serene Georgie O’Keeffe Museum are also must-sees.

For drinks and dining, Luminaria and Hervé Wine Bar are highlights from PaperCity’s Santa Fe guide, but I’d like to add Paloma to that list. Stocked with locals, a hip vibe, and great vegan options, the Mexican-inspired restaurant lived up to the high praise it received from the Bishop’s Lodge staff.

 

HistoricChapel_NewPhoto (1) (Photo by Auberge Resorts Collection)
The historic chapel at Bishop’s Lodge. (Photo by Auberge Resorts Collection)

Final Takeaways

As a first-time visitor to Santa Fe, I was blown away by the New Mexico city. I couldn’t believe a passport was never required to get to the otherworldly locale. But if you’re looking for more than just a place to rest your head while you visit, Bishop’s Lodge, Auberge Resorts Collection allows you to experience all the magic of Santa Fe from the comfort of your cool hotel.

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