A few days in Taos is all it takes to understand its license-plate billing as "The Land of Enchantment." The sky is a singular sapphire blue. The landscape varies from red rock desert to steep mountain terrain. The architecture speaks of a history that extends to the continent's earliest inhabitants, people who constructed dwellings of indigenous materials that seem at peace with the earth.
The El Monte Casitas are the quintessential examples. Scattered around the town of Taos and just a short drive from Taos Ski Valley, they're a collection of historical landmark homes that have been meticulously restored and reopened as elegant accommodations.
As well as reflecting the traditional Southwestern adobe style, each of the 12 casitas offer modern-day amenities that range from satellite television, CD players and DVDs to jacuzzi tubs, fireplaces and featherbeds. In keeping with the soothing nature of the place, you can enlist a concierge to book private massage, yoga and meditation sessions, or arrange for tarot or psychic readings.The décor is equally eclectic. Casa Pájaro features colorful wall, floor and ceiling paintings by local artist Jim Wagner, a fireplace in the bedroom, a full, eat-in kitchen, a reading room and a walled garden courtyard. Listed on the National Registry of Historic Places, Upper Comanche is an original Spanish hacienda that imparts an understated elegance, along with luxuries such as fireplaces in the bedroom, a king bed and an antique wooden swing on the portal. The three-bedroom Casa Emma is set on secluded Taos road and overlooks apple gardens. Grantham House, also on the National Registry, has walled courtyards, an outdoor hot tub and three fireplaces—all of which make for an enchanted stay.
Rates range from $150 to $550 per night. Weekly rates are also available. For example, the Lower Comanche Studio is $950 weekly, while Casa Emma, which sleeps six, is $3,150. Contact Dharma Resort Properties: 505-758-3502, 800-828-8267; www.taosbest.com.
This article was featured in the October 2002 issue.