Hotel Chaco

Inspired by the magical and mysterious ruins of Chaco Canyon, Albuquerque’s newest luxury hotel boldly names itself after the (UNESCO World Heritage) Site.

Chaco Canyon was once a thriving and populated hub, quite possibly the political and economic capital of its time in this area of the Southwest. Its vast network of buildings using both stone and wood rose from the hard earth. The immense kivas were covered with rough-hewn timber brought to the complex from many miles away. The original architects of Chaco Canyon clearly envisioned a gathering place; a cultural crossroads, much like the Caravansaries of the Silk Route, that was surrounded by protective cliffs and towering mesas.

They left behind an archeological treasure along with a physical blueprint.

To this day Chaco Canyon remains a gateway to a different experience, one of infinite timelessness, where the ancient and modern meet in the extraordinary landscape of New Mexico.

The original inhabitants of Chaco Canyon were an extremely advanced culture. Perhaps descendants of the legendary Mayans who had started to wander North as drought and famine destroyed their grand civilization.

They began constructing massive stone buildings unlike any that had been built before in this region; structures which soared to four or five stories and contained up to seven hundred rooms and dozens of Kivas. Connected to one another by lines of sight that would have enabled rapid communication, these buildings were remarkable feats of engineering. Often built along celestial alignments they included water-collection systems and were connected to communities further afield by an extensive network of roads.

These elaborate buildings evidence a very sophisticated and highly organized culture, with Chaco Canyon at its center.

Hotel Chaco, located near the heart of Old Town in Albuquerque was inspired by, and serves as an homage to Chaco Canyon, and the role the aforementioned site played as a central hub for the ancient Pueblo people of these Sacred Lands.

taoStyle Sponsors, Heritage Hotels and Resorts are a New Mexico owned, small and exclusive chain of luxury, boutique Hotels and Inns, who pride themselves on their great hospitality and providing their guests with a truly unique, New Mexico experience.

I’ve showcased a few of their properties here on the blog, The Eldorado in Santa Fe, along with Taos’ own El Monte Sagrado Resort and Spa and the beautiful jewel that is the Palacio de Marquesa.

Heritage Hotels and Resorts own several other New Mexico landmark Hotels (and if you visit their site linked below this post, you can learn more about all of their properties along with discovering more about the company itself), but this is the first one they have built from foundation to finish. Hotel Chaco is the proverbial Jewel in their Crown.

Designed by Gensler, consistently voted one of the world’s best global architecture, design and planning firms, Hotel Chaco is Gensler’s first design project in New Mexico. Fusing ultra-modern design with sustainable building strategies, the firm’s interpretation of Chaco’s architecture was influenced by the ruins at the National Historical Park, honoring the state’s unique architectural history.

The Gensler team traveled to Chaco Canyon to draw inspiration from the ancient architecture. Key features such as precise stone masonry, vigas and latillas for rooftop structures, and aligning the building to the sun’s movement are incorporated into the architecture of Chaco.

Award-winning interior designer Kris Lajeskie (Kris Lajeskie Design) is responsible for Hotel Chaco’s interiors.  The juxtaposition of  ancestral references with contemporary materials, furnishings and original artwork, is a nod to the ancient site but is completely modern in its interpretation.

“My mission is to evoke the spirit of Chaco through the use of coloration and materiality in the interiors,” shares Lajeskie
(on the Hotel Chaco site.) “In particular, we sought out Native artisans who were inspired to connect with their ancestry.” Lajeskie divides her time between New York, Santa Fe and San Diego. in 2008, she began working with Heritage Hotels & Resorts, initially on the redesign of the historic Hotel St. Francis in downtown Santa Fe.

Hotel Chaco’s pale stone masonry façade and wooden accents are “designed to work with the warm, dry climate of the Southwest and are informed by architectural elements found at Chaco Canyon and in New Mexico’s Pueblos. The hotel’s southern walls feature deeply recessed windows to protect guest rooms from excess heat in the summer, while the northern side of the building utilizes large windows that allow the low winter sun to warm the interiors.”

The sandstone used for the exterior façade was sourced from the Colorado/New Mexico border and has never been before used in a commercial project. (Some of the original building materials used to build Chaco Canyon, including the lumber, came from the same region).

The rooms are all designed with relaxation in mind. High ceilings and expansive windows and balconies offer “majestic views of the Sandia Mountains, the downtown skyline, historic Old Town, the west mesa, and the property’s stunning desert gardens and pristine pool.”

All the rooms are appointed with a serene and soothing, neutral color palette, tile flooring, relaxing armchairs, large work spaces and heavy blackout curtains. Original wool rugs made by Navajo weavers from Toadlena Trading Post in Northwestern New Mexico, provide comfort and texture.

Art by notable New Mexican artists will be showcased throughout the property.

Hotel Chaco is purposefully located in Albuquerque, New Mexico — the largest city in the state and this state’s cultural Crossroads, much like Chaco was during the height of its occupancy. Albuquerque is one of the Southwest’s most vibrant cities and in many ways its best kept secret.

Like the historic site that inspired it, Hotel Chaco can be found in an “urban yet nurturing basin”, surrounded by dramatic landscapes.

The circular lobby and entrance design is also inspired by the architecture at Chaco Canyon, as is the stacked stone masonry used throughout the main floor. Heritage are known for their exquisite attention to detail; gorgeous Italian linens, fluffy cotton towels and robes and high quality amenities. Hotel Chaco won’t lack in these areas either!

Hotel Chaco is due to open in early April of this year. It is located adjacent to Heritage’s sister property Hotel Albuquerque at Old Town (with whom it shares a pool, ballrooms, and wedding chapel), and is now accepting group and individual bookings.

The Hotel’s design and especially the exterior entry, tips a knowing hat to Pueblo Deco, yet accomplishes its (inspirational) aim in the subdued earth tone palette and rough-hewn wood and stone used throughout. Rustic yet modern and minimal, ancient yet contemporary all at once.

Legendary chef Mark Miller (Coyote Cafe) is consulting on the concept for Hotel Chaco’s rooftop restaurant, Level 5., promising great food along with fabulous service at this stunning new addition to Albuquerque’s sprawling desert cityscape.

For more about Hotel Chaco and Heritage Hotels and Resorts, do visit their Sites linked below this post.

 This is the first in a series of posts I’ve got planned from Santa Fe to Albuquerque. Tagged Along The Rio.
All images care of Heritage Hotels and Resorts

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