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When you travel, don’t you just love finding a few surprises about your destination? You don’t have to look too far to find a few hidden treasures in Santa Fe that you probably didn’t know about. We’ve partnered with adventure, culture, and luxury traveler Dr. Cacinda Maloney from the blog PointsandTravel as she explores America’s oldest capital city.

Settled in the high desert among the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, Santa Fe is the perfect sanctuary for travelers. Here they can discover hidden gems scattered throughout the historic city. Established in 1607, Santa Fe has a lot of secrets to reveal to its guests.

One interesting history lesson involves businessman Fred Harvey, who promoted tourism in the American Southwest. He started in the late 1800’s and proclaimed his La Fonda Hotel to be the location where wealthy travelers should visit. This would be the starting point for their exploration of the great Southwest. Harvey handpicked the city of Santa Fe to create one of his luxury hotel and diners. Today, this hotel is known as La Fonda on the Plaza, where the well-known “Plaza of Santa Fe” is located. This plaza square is a place where local artisans gather to sell their wares.

The hotel and plaza are both within walking distance to another American treasure: The San Miguel Mission. Archeological investigations have found that the mission’s foundation reveals evidence of Native American occupation as early as the 14th century.

How Long Santa Fe Has Been a City

In addition to being America’s oldest capital city, it also ties with Jamestown, Virginia for being the second oldest city in the United States. Both were founded 1607 — Santa Fe by the Spanish and Jamestown by the English.

The Elevation of Santa Fe

Santa Fe is well over 7,000 feet above sea level. In comparison, the average Appalachian Mountain is 3,000 feet high. Keep in mind that several people may experience altitude sickness. They might feel tired when visiting the city until they can adjust to the altitude.

The Number of Luxury Properties in Santa Fe

Another surprise is the sheer number of luxury properties in the area. You can treat yourself to an exceptional experience at the romantic and secluded hotel called the Inn of the Five Graces. Here, the colorful and artistic inn will charm you with its East meets West style. This property is a piece of artwork in and of itself.

Fred Harvey’s historic hotel La Fonda on the Plaza and the lovingly preserved family home of La Posada de Santa Fe Resort and Spa are other excellent choices for a pampered and historical experience.

The Number of High-End Spas in Santa Fe 

In addition to the large number of affluent properties, Santa Fe also offers an abundance of luxury spas. I had a chance to visit the spa at La Posada de Santa Fe Resort and Spa. Highly rated with outstanding therapeutic treatments, I chose one of their therapeutic massage offerings. It was a heavenly experience. Another excellent spa is Ten Thousand Waves. Located outside the city, it offers a relaxing and serene experience. Especially since they have modeled their bathing experience after the hot spring onsens in Japan.

The Quality and Style of Santa Fe’s Restaurants

Don’t forget about candlelit dinners and the bar scene. Here you can feast on everything from New Mexican flat iron steak with sea salt and caramel sauce at La Boca to charred romaine lettuce with braised bacon and buttermilk dressing at Anasazi Restaurant and Bar. I especially enjoyed the mushroom and truffle ravioli with piñon and sage honey from there as well. This restaurant serves deliciously innovative dishes in a rustically luxurious setting.There are also kiva fireplaces, candlelit tables, and soft music playing at Geronimo’s. Located inside of the historic St. Francis Hotel, be sure to have a nightcap at Secreto Lounge. It is one of Santa Fe’s secrets that is hard to keep.

From Santa Fe’s pueblo-revival and hacienda architecture to narrow streets that follow 17th-century trails, you will find there are plenty of surprises left to discover in New Mexico. It’s no wonder they call this state the Land of Enchantment.

Travelocity compensates authors for their writings appearing on this site; such compensation may include travel and other costs.

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