If you are a Fashion Forward Bride to be, looking to celebrate your last days as a single woman, in singular style, Heritage Inspirations has your itinerary covered!
Whether you are choosing a Taos Destination Wedding at El Monte Sagrado Resort & Spa, or not (and if you are, this is the perfect reconnoissance trip for you), there’s scarcely a better place to spend a few Spring days, than here in these magical mountains.
Flying or driving, you and your girl gang will begin in Albuquerque, with a stop for the night at Hotel Chaco, (top photo) to literally catch your breath and unwind, before heading North early the following morning.
Enjoy the hotel’s spas and bars, eat a fabulous meal and turn in early. After a day of travel, Heritage’s attention to detail (including the fantastic Italian linens making up your beds), will ensure a great night’s sleep.
Heritage Inspirations will meet you bright and early, after you’ve had your coffee and breakfast. The staff at Chaco will be sad to see you go, but perhaps you’ll be returning sooner than later, after learning about the Glamping Trips Heritage Inspirations leads, to Chaco Canyon itself!
The hour long drive to Santa Fe will literally go by in a flash, with Heritage’s savvy driver filling you in on the sights you’ll see along the way.
You’ll be dropped right outside the huge carved wooden doors of the grand yet unpretentious Inn and Spa at the Loretto, where you’ll be spending two nights before going on to Taos. Following in the footsteps of all the Remarkable Women who started visiting the region at the turn of the last century, you too, will avail yourself of our State Capitol’s legendary hospitality.
After checking in and checking out your rooms, you’ll return to the lobby in an hour, to meet up with your hostess for the day,
Forewarned is forearmed. Tonia Umphrey is not only gorgeous – a former model, she has a sense of style very few are blessed with. You might want to wear the jeans that fit you best, ladies, along with well-heeled shoes and a well-chosen bag just to feel a bit put together in this Fashionista’s company!
Tonia is the guide for Heritage Inspiration’s Santa Fe specific tours; Historic Architectural and Interiors Walking Tour of Santa Fe and Fashionista and Gift Shopping Tours, which are tailored to individual needs, including your needs as a Bride to be!
With a BA in Art History, Tonia started her career in fashion design in Los Angeles and became one of California’s top fashion designers during the ‘80’s.
After moving her business and atelier to Santa Fe, Tonia’s largest client, Neiman Marcus, carried her Caftan Collections, embellished with jeweled amulets and silk tassels, influenced by Ottoman Empire Turkish caftans, to an elite crowd of fashionistas and movie stars.
Tonia has always been inspired by exotic traditional costumes from around the globe.
She’s worked with historic, Heritage sites in the State of New Mexico, to conserve and curate ancient objects and artifacts, and since moving to Santa Fe, where she raised her son, she hasn’t looked back.
She branched out from fashion into interior design and worked on many projects throughout the country, including urban residences, casual weekend retreats, noted residential developments, and historic Santa Fe homes, in each working with the architectural character and history of the place.
Her work in fashion as well as interiors has been featured in W Magazine, Rolling Stone, Su Casa Magazine, The Santa Fean, Trend Magazine, and Dream Homes International. She has been highly recognized for her work in the historic preservation of the National Historic Landmark, San Estevan del Ray Mission Church, at the Pueblo of Acoma.
“Shoppers come to Santa Fe to source the worlds most inspired original shops!” She said when we talked on the phone recently. “ Historically a colorful trade route and still continuing today, the shops on our tours have curated sophisticated ethnic, Bohemian glamour coveted by the most stylish women all over the world.”
“While the rest of the world is presenting fashion trends,” she continued, “the Santa Fe style on our tours guarantees you can create your own authentic look and be sure to find eclectic, globally chic, timeless looks, fusing your own fine basics with Ethnic and Tribal Couture, as well as wearable art, vintage and unusual one-of-a kind fine accessories and jewelry.”
This is a super opportunity for you, (the Bride and your Bridesmaids), to pick up unique Wedding favours, along with unusual decorative items for your reception tables as well as fabulous gifts to take home “found nowhere else locally – hand crafted or globally sourced, by the many sophisticated travelers who live in Santa Fe, and bring back tribal ethnographic artifacts, curiosities and bespoke treasures from around the world.” Tonia explained.
Amazing emporiums and shops you never knew existed (the Duke and I, a classic example), as well as out of the way restaurants are all part of Tonia’s M.O. With her curious mind, great sense of style and eye for detail, Tonia keeps her fingers on the pulse and is always on the look-out for anything “inspiring, intoxicating, or simply authentic.”
“These tours are designed from my musings, to inspire your interests, creativity and individualism, put the spotlight on what elevates your senses and lifts your spirits but also to give you memories of your adventures and occurrences.”
Clearly, with Tonia as your guide, you are going on an adventure. One that will take you into some of the most unusual and interesting places Santa Fe has to offer, places rarely seen by most visitors passing through.
“Santa Fe’s Fashionista and Gift Shopping tours are a destination for creativity and design, dedicated to lovers of living with beauty and deliciousness in everyday life.” Tonia said.
Heritage travels around town in a comfortable Suburban making shopping a breeze. Whatever your budget and tastes, Tonia, will take the work out of your shopping day and make it stress free and a lot of fun. Heritage Inspirations offer three different tours to choose from.
After a day of shopping (and eating), you’ll end the afternoon at the Gruet Tasting Room at the Hotel St. Francis, another Heritage property, where a few flights of bubbly are the perfect way to top off a girly day!
Once you’ve been deposited back at your hotel, a visit to the Inn at the Loretto’s renowned Spa might beckon. Heritage have a new signature treatment on offer, that may appeal or perhaps you’d prefer to stay in your room(s) and relax until it’s time for dinner.
The guest rooms are equipped with everything you need, from fluffy towels (and robes) to amenities, water and snacks to nibble on while sipping another glass of bubbly (purchased at the Gruet Tasting Room.)
For dinner you have two choices right inside the hotel complex. The Living Room looking onto the pool is the more relaxed option, where you can listen to live music while you eat, but if you prefer a more formal setting with linen and a wait staff to attend to your every wish, then head directly to the Luminaria.
A good meal and a glass or two of wine, will have you in bed relatively early, ready for your morning agenda.
After breakfast and checking out, leave your bags with the hotel’s receptionist before heading next door to the charming Loretto Chapel with its mysterious and some say, miraculous, staircase.
You can read about it here, in a previous post I wrote on the Inn at the Loretto.
Your bags (and shopping bags) neatly deposited in the back of Heritage Inspiration’s chariot, you can simply relax and enjoy the stunning drive along the Rio Grande, through the canyons, to Taos.
The El Monte Sagrado Resort & Spa (where you’ll be getting married, if Taos is your choice for a Destination Wedding as well as a Bacherlorette Weekend), is your final destination on this trip: the place where you can truly unwind and really enjoy your time with your girlfriends in one of the most beautiful and laid back spots on the planet.
You’ll spend two more nights as guests of Heritage; pampered and cared for by the attentive yet discreet staff, and lacking nothing in the way of food, beverages and Spa treatments!
In fact, you never have to leave the property while there, but you should!
Just because you already shopped till you dropped in Santa Fe, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t look around Taos for a few more treasures to add to your trove!
An espresso at the World Cup Cafe should prepare you nicely for your own, self guided walking tour of Downtown Taos’ Historical District, beginning right down the street with Taos Blue on the corner of Bent and the Paseo.
From there (loaded down with yet more bags), you can stroll next door to Michelle’s before retracing your steps, back down Bent Street, checking out all the shops and galleries along the way, including Sam’s Shop, MoMo and Chocolate & Cashmere, before making a turn into the John Dunn Shops where you’ll be certain to discover a few more additions to your growing collection of finds. Something for the men in your lives from Letherwerks maybe?
With lunchtime looming, I suggest a stop at Manzanita Market (with a glass of sipping chocolate from Chokola for desert), before walking down the alley to Twirl to pick up something for those nieces and nephews at home, assuming you didn’t find the right something for that someone, at Amina’s!
From there you can sit for a bit at El Gamal and enjoy a Turkish coffee and some sinful Baklava. The El Monte Sagrado’s shuttle will pick you up and deliver you back to your home away from home, where you can relax before dinner in the salt water pool, or work off those calories consumed earlier, in the gym.
If you choose to dine at the hotel, you can eat in the dining room or in the bar, where you can order off the regular menu as well as the bar menu. The food is fabulous and the service, excellent as to be expected from Heritage.
But if you prefer to try one of Taos’ spectacular restaurants, the El Monte’s concierge will be happy to make reservations for you at one of the eateries of your choice.
You’ll fall asleep and dream only sweetly, enveloped by fluffy down and crisp linens, waking to songbirds outside your window and fresh, mountain air.
Today is a Spa Day so after breakfast, you and your girls will wander along the winding pathway to the Living Spa for a few hours of indulgent, decadent and luxurious pampering.
After a sauna or a steam, head inside to the treatment rooms for one of the Resort’s signature massages and luxury Spa treatments. The menu offers a variety, but the Hot Stone treatment is both quintessentially New Mexican and truly out of this world. With its unique and highly individualised approach of presenting you with an engraved rock to keep as a talisman, which serves as the intention and inspiration for the time spent on the table, it seems to me to be the perfect treatment of choice for a bride to be!
Manis, pedis and a facial follow and then back to your rooms for a brief Beauty rest before getting ready for an afternoon with Angelisa Espinoza, the founder of Heritage Inspirations.
After lunch along the way (your choice of restaurant or leave it up to Angelisa to surprise you), an afternoon spent at Taos Pueblo (where you’ll discover even more treasure on this never-ending hunt), will cap off your time in Taos perfectly. Not even Loretto’s miraculous staircase can compare with the majesty of Taos Pueblo nestled beneath the Sacred Mountain.
Then it’s back to the El Monte Sagrado for the night, before heading back down to Albuquerque early the following morning. Be sure to pack an extra, collapsible bag for all those treasures and trinkets you’ll have collected along the way!
For more on Heritage Inspirations (including their Santa Fe Shopping Tours), and Heritage Hotels & Resorts, please visit the sites linked below this post.
All images thanks to Heritage
Photographs of Tonia Umphrey by Paulina Gwaltney