Photo courtesy El Monte Sagrado
El Monte Sagrado's experiences introduce guests to the resort and Taos.
El Monte Sagrado, a luxury resort within the Heritage Hotels and Resorts group, is a secluded sanctuary in the heart of Taos. El Monte Sagrado offers globally inspired guest rooms, an award-winning eco spa, dining at De La Tierra restaurant or Anaconda bar, and, now, more ways to enjoy the serene property with weekly activities.
Hotel tours — open to guests and the public — have quickly become one of the most popular offerings. The free tours delve into the property's history and symbolism. For example, did you know that the shape of Puebloan sacred ceremonial structures inspired the lobby's circular form? Or that the floor features inlay tiles forming a sun, while LED lights reflect the crystal in the ceiling, dazzling like a field of stars. The tour also steps inside the Anaconda bar, where a gilded snake sculpture glides above the bar top and wraps around a column. For South American indigenous people, the anaconda symbolizes rebirth and renewal; it holds similar significance for the region's Puebloan people as well.
El Monte Sagrado's guests also venture off property to discover Taos via Heritage Inspirations excursions. The sister company guides adventure and cultural outings around town and the state for guests and the public. The outings include wine and art tours, snowshoe hikes, daytrips to Georgia O'Keeffe country, stand-up paddle boarding tours, flyfishing expeditions, and more.
Owner and guide Angelisa Murray's favorite Taos tour combines a moderate hike with a visit to Taos Pueblo. The adventure begins at the Taos Gorge Bridge to soak in incredible views of the Rio Grande Rift and the Rio Grande below. From there, attendees voyage into the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument to experience the stunning landscape and see evidence of ancient people's long inhabitance in the region via petroglyphs. Then visitors tour Taos Pueblo to meet the residents of one of the oldest-inhabited communities in the United States and explore artisan studios. The tour concludes with a Puebloan lunch. Those wishing to learn more about Puebloan food will be able to join a Pueblo cuisine cooking class starting spring 2019. During that outing, visitors will bake in a horno (a Puebloan oven) and enjoy the fruits of their labors over a traditional meal.
The High Road Artisan and Wine Tasting Tour, another popular excursion, traces the High Road to Taos through small villages to visit mission churches, galleries, and artist studios. Many of the artists along this route carry on Spanish Colonial art including punched tin and painted retablos and bultos (religious altars and figures, respectively). The tour coasts into the town of Dixon for guests to taste wines from Vivac Winery, which uses 100 percent New Mexico–grown grapes and carries on the state's long tradition of winemaking.
Overall, Murray hopes the tours help people connect with the region's landscape and culture. “The sunsets here, the land, the vastness — it touches people. I wanted to make people feel connected with this earth in an authentic way,” she says.