Jeri Clausing
Jeri Clausing

When it comes to luxury hotels, New Mexico doesn’t have a lot of options outside the artsy mountain tourist enclave of Santa Fe.

But one local operator of independent boutique properties is working to raise the bar on lodging in the Land of Enchantment’s two largest cities.

Earlier this month, Heritage Hotels & Resorts broke ground on a boutique hotel in Albuquerque’s Old Town that will include 10 luxury suites.

The plans come on the heels of an announcement earlier this year by Heritage that it was doing renovations and adding luxury suites to its Hotel Encanto in the southern New Mexico city of Las Cruces. That is part of a broader upgrade and partnership announced with Virgin Galactic to house space travelers when Virgin begins its $250,000-a-head space tourism flights from Spaceport America.

In Albuquerque, officials gathered this month to break ground on the company’s newest project, Hotel Chaco. The 118-room hotel will be the first New Mexico property planned by the San Francisco architecture firm Gensler, which drew inspiration from the Anasazi people and the indigenous ruins of New Mexico’s Chaco Canyon.

Set to open in spring 2016, the contemporary boutique hotel will be a contrast of ancient and modern elements, with five categories of guestrooms that include terraces with views of the Sandia Mountains and the downtown skyline. It will include a spa, rooftop bar and restaurant, retail space, meeting rooms and a signature restaurant.

The property is being built adjacent to Heritage’s larger meetings-focused property, Hotel Albuquerque in Old Town and will share Hotel Albuquerque’s pool, ballrooms and chapel.

Hotel Chaco will be Heritage Hotels’ 11th property in the state. Each of the hotels is designed to evoke different aspects of New Mexico culture.

It brings a much-needed option to Albuquerque’s lodging scene, which is largely dominated by roadside hotels and midscale, full-service properties.

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