May 15, 2017
If New Mexico is the Land of Enchantment then Santa Fe lies at the very heart of the allure – an arty community set around a historic Spanish plaza, brimming with adobe bonhomie. And bon-doggie! Everything in this most scenic of Southwestern cities is walkable and wonder-filled for both dog and human. Definitely one of Bodie’s ‘happy places’ and highly recommended for when you want to escape the rat race and discover a soul-to-soul world where you can converse with kind, heart-powered locals. Gushy? Try it for yourself and you’ll see just how special Santa Fe is!
DOG-FRIENDLY SANTA FE – WHERE TO STAY:
La Fonda on the Plaza Hotel can’t be beaten for LOCATION (set on the main plaza at the end of the Santa Fe Trail), HISTORY (reports of an inn at this location date back to the 1600s) and STYLE (the classic pueblo building is filled with visual treasures and guest rooms combine modern luxuries with the craftsmanship of local artisans).
Here Bodie revels in Mother Nature’s adornments on The Terrace – overlooking the Cathedral Basilica of St Francis of Assissi, cue chiming bells…
This is one of my favorite nooks just off the main lobby – Bodie and I met here for a pow wow (or should that be bow wow) with the wonderful team from Assistance Dogs of the West – post coming soon!
Everywhere you look there is such color flair – I love these hand-painted glass window panes that surround the hotel’s charming New Mexican cuisine restaurant…
La Plazuela was built in the 1920s and retains its original al fresco status with potted trees and a central fountain, even though it now sits snugly inside the hotel. Your dog can join you at the ‘exterior’ tables on the other side of the painted panels for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Even the food is color co-ordinated! (The menu includes such temptations as Duck Quesadilla with cranberry-pear chutney, Roasted Cashew Cake with sweet potato mash and Red Chile Pork Tamales.)
The Bell Tower terrace is the ideal place for a sunset cocktail but the panoramic views and the prospect of margaritas with jalapeño tequila and Nutella Quesadillas means it does get busy, so arrive early to nab a table. Alternatively, after your busy day’s sightseeing, you can unwind by the fire back downstairs…
Some of the one-bedroom suites even have their own kiva-style fireplace…
Each room at La Fonda is one-of-a-kind. Ours was a cream dream with ivory curtains featuring floral detail embroidery and beautiful buttermilk bed linens. Something about the lovingly-carved wood and the flood of sunlight gave me such a sense of wellbeing and Bodie felt instantly at home.
The shapely headboards are particularly striking…
Our swish white bathroom featured shiny chrome fixtures alongside folk art tiles, a big sliding barn-style door and the most stylish wooden towel rail I ever did see.
Dogs are welcomed with a boutique-style gift bag stuffed with paw print tissue paper, dog treats and this adorable string and hessian sheep which Bodie duly ravaged.
As you can tell from this run of pics, I have a bit of a fascination for the gorgeous earth-toned rug in our room, which proved my theory that Bodie is a fur angel. (As Beyonce says: I can see your halo, halo, halo…)
I’ve seen some pretty stylish Do Not Disturb signs over the years but this little sombrero & mule snoozer (replicated from original 1930s artwork) has to be the cutest.
LA FONDA ON THE PLAZA – the perfect place to rest your head in Santa Fe…
Address: 100 E. San Francisco St, Santa Fe, NM 87501
Pet Policy: $25 pet fee per night. Dogs 40 pounds and under are welcome.
Although there’s emphatically no doggy-paddling in the hotel pool, I have to give you a glimpse of its loveliness because one day Bodie and I will have a backyard that looks just like this and you’re all invited!
INN OF THE FIVE GRACES 150 East DeVargas St (866 992 0957)
I have to give a shout out to the dog-friendly Inn of the Five Graces as I stayed here many years BB (Before Bodie) while researching an entirely different kind of road trip book: ON THE ROAD TO MR RIGHT – The Search For The American Dream Guy! The premise of the book was that my best friend and I would visit US destinations with a love or romance theme so Kissimmee (Florida), Weddington (North Carolina), Cazenovia (New York) etc… For New Mexico our journey began in Truth or Consequences (about 200 miles south of here) but I truly fell in love in Santa Fe – with Santa Fe! And this ornately embroidered, mosaic-ed, hand-carved property just sealed the deal. Pet policy – $75 per dog, per night. Medium sized or smaller.
SANTA FE SAGE INN & SUITES 725 Cerillos Road (505 982 5952)
This 155-room motel holds a prime spot in the hip Santa Fe Railroad district is starting to add some nice touches: Native American rugs, custom tin accents, chile pepper clusters hanging from the balconies… A stay includes complimentary breakfast, free wifi and a shuttle into town. Room rates start at $84 with a $15 fee per night per pet. Other bonuses – there’s a guest laundromat, you’re a chia seed’s throw from Modern General and Vinaigrette (detailed below) and close to the newest art galleries and celebrated Santa Fe Farmers’ Market. Saturdays 8am-1pm. (Though the market is not dog-friendly, if you are traveling with a friend you can take it in turns to peruse the fresh goodies and then picnic together.)
DOG-FRIENDLY SANTA FE – WHERE TO EAT
THE FRENCH PASTRY SHOP 100 E San Francisco St (505 983 6697)
The perfect place to grab your morning coffee and pastry, not least because this cafe opens out into La Fonda’s expansive tiled lobby so you can tie your chum’s dog leash to one of the sturdy dark wood chairs, nip inside for your order and then sit and share the flakes of your croissant as you people-watch tour groups, honeymooners and (best of all) fellow dog-owners.
THE BURRITO COMPANY 111 Washington Ave ((505 982-4453)
Four words – Blue Corn Pinon Pancakes! Add sautéed apples or bananas and a side of bacon (your dog will thank you!) and look out for seasonal Agua Frescas like Watermelon or El Salvadoran Horchata. This is a casual eatery with dog-friendly picnic benches on the front terrace, just a few paces from the main plaza.
MODERN GENERAL 637 Cerrillos Road (505 930 5462)
Dog-friendly really only extends to the small bench by the entrance but I would perch here in the snow if it gave me access to Modern General’s fine organic fare including peach and bee pollen smoothies, heirloom purple barley porridge, pho-sole breakfast soup (with shredded chicken and lime) and ‘impeccably brewed’ coffee. BODIE BONUS: They also stock Murchison-Hume’s Best In Show dog-grooming range – Between Clean Waterless Wash being particularly handy for road trips!
LA CASA SENA 125 E Palace Ave
Aptly described as ‘a courtyard oasis’, La Casa Sena is tranquil and soothing with its trickily fountains and white linen tablecloths but the menu gets spicy with Tres Pimientos Fish & Chips and Red Chile Chocolate Soup. While I sipped on The Nooner margarita (with St Germain Elderflower Liqueur) Bodie splayed happily on the shaded brick floor and life was good.
TERRACOTTA WINE BISTRO 304 Johnson Street (505 989 1166)
Perfect pup-stop for a sunset snack! The bruschetta is absolutely sublime – Brie with Fig & Port Jam, Lemon Hummus & Kalamata Olive, Fresh Salmon with Dill & Boursin. Choice of 4 for $16. Wine by the bottle is handily grouped into $20s, $30s and $40s and there are a staggering 60+ options available by the glass – from Sauvignons to Syrahs, Blush to Bubbles – so any sommelier-like needs will easily be met!
VINAIGRETTE 709 Don Cubero Alley (505 820 9205)
Salad just got interesting! Menu options include All Kale Caesar, The Beet Goes On and I Yam What I Yam. This lone forkful is not representative of portion sizes which offer more leafery than you could ever wish for. And then there’s the setting – a darling little adobe cottage complete with dog-friendly redbrick courtyard. Delightful!
And we’ve saved the best til last…
L’OLIVIER (THE OLIVE TREE) 229 Galisteo St (505 989 1919)
L’Olivier feels like a sophisticated special treat yet dogs receive the warmest welcome and have plenty of space to relax in the gated courtyard, which also features a sit-up bar strung with twinkly lights – pretty and handy for solo dining.
The exceptional cuisine created by Chef Xavier Grenet is described as ‘Authentic French with flavors of the Southwest’. It’s one of those places where every bite prompts tastebud bliss. I was particularly taken with the Stuffed Courgette Blossom starter though you can also choose traditional Gallic options like Escargot and French Onion Soup. Each dish seems to have a special twist – the Arugula and Goat Cheese Salad comes with Crispy Yucca and a Warm Fig Vinaigrette, the Tuna Tartare with Avocado Mousse and Pommes Gauffrettes.
So thank you Santa Fe for imbuing us with a unique sense of peace and pleasure…
DOG-FRIENDLY SANTA FE – SPECIAL EVENTS:
SANTA FE FIESTA – CHILDREN’S PET PARADE/DESFILE DE LOS NINOS
We couldn’t believe our luck that we were in town for the annual Santa Fe Fiesta – throngs of onlookers lined the historic streets as all manner of stylishly-dressed pooches paraded with their young handlers. Prize categories include Best Historical Theme, Best Hysterical Theme and – my favorite – Best Pet/Child Look Alike!
Next Parade Date: September 10th 2016. First paw starts padding at 9am.
SANTA FE COLOR RUN
We arrived in town shortly after the Color Run but I love the idea becoming human/canine rainbows! All the better for having Santa Fe Animal Shelter as the charity partner. They have a great website and you can keep an eye out for their events here: sfhumanesociety.org/events/
Santa Fe is a dog-friendly shopping paradise! Click here to find the best boutiques & treats:
Any recommendations for dog-friendly Santa Fe restaurants gratefully received!
NOTE: Bodie was a guest of La Fonda on the Plaza, Santa Fe Sage Inn, Terracotta and L’Olivier but our reviews are as honest and heartfelt as always!