When Robin Naylor arrived in Taos, she thought it was a temporary relocation.
She’d come to help her brother with his kids after his wife and their mother (long time Taos resident Melissa Naylor), died suddenly and unexpectedly of a stroke.
“It was so shocking,” Robin says now, “and my thoughts were with my brother and the kids, I had no idea I’d stay as long as I have, and now I can’t imagine leaving!:”
Robin had been visiting her family here for more than twenty years, sometimes for long periods, so she already was quite familiar with the community when she accepted the position of Resort Activities Coordinator at the Heritage owned, El Monte Sagrado Resort & Spa.
Her Silicon Valley (and Design) background evident in her professional approach, she’s a breath of fresh air at the Resort which had languished since its first owner left the building, until Heritage acquired it.
Heritage have put their stamp on the hotel’s guest rooms; restoring the casitas to their early glory, and updating and refurbishing rooms added by the Kessler Corporation, during the property’s second incarnation.
When the hotel first opened, a lively music scene kept the Anaconda Bar hopping most nights, with locals and guests frequenting the cosy lounge and surrounding rooms, but that changed when Tom Worrell, the El Monte’s visionary creator sold his shares once and for all.
Robin intends to bring life back to the property and has all kinds of events both ongoing and in the works, planned. She recalls the vibrant nightlife of the El Monte’s first incarnation, and with that in mind, she is bringing back a DJ on Friday nights.
“I want locals to know they are welcome here.” She told me when I met her for lunch earlier this week. We sat in the Anaconda Bar and chatted while we ate. My burger was delicious and juicy, albeit a bit of a mess! The sweet potato fries were perfectly done. Robin chose a far more ladylike salad.
“Not only welcome, but wanted.” She reiterated. “That is what Heritage is all about,serving our communities while preserving their fantastic cultural heritage.”
This weekend, on December 15th, Santa Claws and Paws is on her agenda! “Come get your pets picture taken with Santa to benefit Stray Hearts Animal Shelter!” She says. “Meet Taos Search and Rescue dogs and watch them run an agility course in our ballroom.” There will be food and drink specials from 12-4pm
Robin began the Holiday Season with the Taos Pueblo Artisan Market and together with El Monte Chef Cristina Martinez, put on a fabulous Thanksgiving buffet, which has inspired a series of fabulous Holiday menus and celebrations!
Christmas Eve Dinner is a prix fix menu (always gluten-free, vegetarian options) with a discounted rate for children under the age of 13. It looks absolutely delightful; traditional with a New Mexican spin. Cristina apprenticed with famed Coyote Cafe founder Mark Miller, and is a culinary force in her own right.
After her Thanksgiving brunch was so well received,she has buffets planned for Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.
New Year’s Eve another festive meal is planned after which you can head into the bar for a Masquerade Ball (with DJ Brennan Murphy), and a champagne toast at Midnight!
“There will be fortune tellers, free valet parking and the dress code is semi-formal.” Robin laughed.. “A good excuse to get dressed to the nines with somewhere to go, in Taos!”
And a great excuse to spend a few hours enjoying Heritage’s renowned Hospitality at one of their most beautiful properties, with its glamorous public spaces and pristine views of the Mountain.
And if you’re too tired (or tipsy) to drive, well you don’t have to. A room is bound to be available, but just in case, you might want to book one!
Robin is also teaming up with Heritage Inspirations’ Angelisa Espinoza Murray to work on new, custom tours and excursions, for both guests at the resort and locals who want to get away for a day, including fun snow shoeing day trips all winter.
With Dennis Hopper Day finding a new home at the El Monte this May, and everything else she’s got simmering on the back burner, Robin promises the Hotel will be buzzing with new energy in the New Year.
Cheers to that!
For more on the El Monte Sagrado Resort & Spa, and all that they offer as well as the Holiday dinners (menus) and other events, please visit their site linked below.
All images thanks to Heritage Hotels & Resorts, except for the pic of Robin,lifted from her Facebook Page.