Spa Meditations – The Spa at Loretto

Spa at Loretto

Photo courtesy The Spa at Loretto

The Spa at Loretto takes a mindful approach.

With its stacked-adobe architecture, the Inn and Spa at Loretto is one of the most photographed buildings in New Mexico. But there's more to this hotel than the exterior. This boutique hotel is part of the Heritage Hotels and Resorts collection. It sits on the former site of the historic Our Lady of Loretto Academy and is adjacent to the Loretto Chapel, whose European style and storied staircase also achieves architectural landmark status. The property exudes Southwest sophistication, from its welcoming Living Room, a popular spot for craft cocktails, to its globally inspired Luminaria restaurant and well-appointed guest rooms. Every detail is curated, and that philosophy extends to the Spa at Loretto.

The Spa at Loretto ( takes a mindful approach to its services. Spa director Suzanne Chavez says that starts with the staff. "I only hire therapists who have a real consciousness to meet guests where they are and treat them with a healing approach," she says. In the Mindful Massage, the spa's most popular treatment, the therapist and guest orchestrate the experience together. "I'm a former massage therapist, and I always say that the therapists should never give the same massage twice. Every person is different, and all needs are different," she says.

The Native Reflections Ritual, another signature treatment from the spa's menu, taps in to the region's Native American culture. Chavez developed the service years ago during Indian Market weekend; it's now available throughout the year. It begins with a sage clearing and a Native American–inspired blessing. "I love bringing in the power of a blessing and a smudge [stick] to burn away negative energy and send prayers to our ancestors or to Spirit," Chavez says. The experience continues with soaking in a bath infused with sage oil and a sacred-stone massage. Chavez loves including stones — an ample resource in the Rocky Mountains. "I think our local stones have a sacred energy. The treatment melts all your stresses away. It's simple but wonderful," she says.

Chavez's search for new staff members who share her healing intention inspired another one of the spa's special treatments. While receiving a massage from a potential new hire, Chavez arrived at the Spirit of Heritage. The treatment begins with a foot soak in aromatic warm water. While soaking, the guest's neck is wrapped with a heated, scented wrap to relax the shoulders. This is followed by a 15-minute reflexology foot massage. "Foot reflexology associates points on the feet to organs in the body. We can send energy to the lungs, the heart, the spine. We can stop a headache by squeezing between the toes. We can do a full internal massage through the feet," Chavez says. With their feet restored, the guest can then relax into a sacred stone massage that leaves their senses awakened and spirit in balance.