I continue to stun myself. I was raised in Albuquerque for 11 years and had never stepped foot inside the tranquil desert oasis that is the Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort & Spa. I remember always thinking it was a little out of the way and that it housed a lot of high school proms and business seminars. Beyond that, I never gave it a thought as the ultimate New Mexico luxury resort spa. This past weekend changed all that for me.
I attended the wedding celebration of Mr. and Mrs. Medina. After much speculation, they settled on Tamaya as their wedding venue and I couldn't be more delighted for them. The wedding was beautiful and gave a whole new meaning to the word "lit." Don't know what I'm talking about? Talk to the bride or groom and you'll definitely get a laugh. Since the wedding was at Tamaya, I thought I would mix business and pleasure (after all, my business IS my pleasure! A quote I share with GPM) and inspect and review the hotel. Jolene Mauer, the incomparable Marketing & PR Manager of Tamaya, hosted me and made sure I was 100% taken care of. I felt absolutely spoiled every second of my stay.
Located on a vast 550 acres in Central NM nestled between Santa Fe and Albuquerque, you definitely know you're on sacred land as you step foot. I was overwhelmed with emotions the moment I drove in; my Uber driver was too! :) Jolene informed me that the design of the pathway to the hotel was intentional - it was supposed to be symbolic of the Tamayan peoples' journey in settling. I find that incredibly beautiful. It's a long and windy road that immediately transports you back in time. How's that for experiential marketing? It was a fabulous first impression before pulling up to the resort.
Check in was marvelous. Jolene honored a 1 pm check in because who wants to delay a staycation, no? Upon getting my room key, the front desk ladies mentioned they offered a daily amenity of welcome margaritas (1 per person) from 2 pm-midnight. Things were already off to a great start!
Getting to my room was a(maze)ing. It felt like a maze! The front desk actually sits on level 2.5 and my room was on level 2, just half a level below. I loved moseying around the halls, observing the entrancing artwork and lovely architecture. I loved all the natural light flooding in.
I loved the spacious, southwestern charm of the lobby. There were two roaring fireplaces on opposite ends and cozy sofas and chairs beautifully positioned... all this overlooking the unparalleled Sandia mountains. What I especially loved about the lobby were the tables. They were checkerboard tables! It always gives me a flicker of hope to see children playing chess/checkers instead of, say, being glued to their phones.
The room was spotless, the bed was cozy, and the view was dreamy. I was grateful I got a mountain view as opposed to a pool view. My sister slept over for two nights so the hotel was kind enough to deliver a rollaway bed and a comfortable one at that (my dear friend Britney also slept over). The bathroom was small but fine. They provided good Starbucks coffee. No mini bar which sucked but I get it. It forces you to leave the room to use their services. Fair enough :) For future reference, check out my Instagram stories for live hotel room tours. I try to keep it funny and light.
Within 15 minutes of checking in, the hotel brought in a beautiful decanter of berry fruit infused water. Incredibly refreshing as it was already climbing up to 100 degree heat at 1 pm.
The only con I'd have to point out is the obvious: there was a major insect problem. Granted, I did have the door open for like 10 minutes but with the screen door closed! That's the price you pay for being located near the Rio Grande River. Unfortunately, I'm still nursing several bug/mosquito bites. Going to bed was difficult with flies buzzing around. In the future, you can dial 0 and housekeeping can take care of it.
As a self-proclaimed foodie, I was thrilled to learn there was a selection of restaurants to choose from. To start off, Jolene invited me to Corn Maiden (named after the honored symbol of the Santa Ana Pueblo), the most intimate of all the dining options. I'm just going to say this right off the bat, I absolutely loved this place and can't wait to go again. If you're reading this and looking for a gorgeous fine dining experience in Albuquerque, call me and let's go to Corn Maiden. I'm serious; it's that good. The cuisine is the closest I can get to France (I am homesick) here in New Mexico.
We started off with an eclectic row of cocktails:
Hotel Tamaya | Smokey Prickly | Bee's Knees
My favorite was the Bee's Knees as I am a huge fan of HONEY! It was a beautiful and simple concoction of gin, honey syrup, and fresh lime juice.
We snacked on some fresh, DELICIOUS bread while we waited for our starters. My favorite bread was the cornbread. I'm glad they took the bread basket away as I could have just munched on those all night long!
Jolene knows I have a distinct French palate so we started with a cold starter: Buffalo tartare. This impeccable dish is topped with an egg yolk and drizzled with lime, herb oil, and fried capers with a side of sliced crispy baguettes. I probably died and went to foodie heaven at this point.
For our entree, I opted for the Lobster Pasta and Jolene ordered the Lamb Rack. Are you salivating as much as I am reading this?
It was so much food and I can't believe I didn't finish my dish. That goes to showing you that the portions were generous and not pretentious like my experience with Michelin star restaurants.
In Jolene, I found a foodie partner. It's pretty rare to find someone who likes all kinds of meat (eaten rare too!) and can love seafood and greens just as much. We were both incredibly full after devouring these pretty dishes that we almost didn't make it to dessert. However, Ernesto, the fabulous head chef at Corn Maiden, suggested we try the Tamaya Honey-ButterMilk Tart for dessert because it was 4 bites at the most. That was too good of an offer to pass up!
Above are the other dessert options. If I had any more room, I would have ordered the trio of Crème Brûlée in a hot NY second!
The other restaurants at the resort are listed below:
Santa Ana Cafe - I had lunch here on my last morning, courtesy of Jolene. It was a chill atmosphere with a relaxing outdoor space that overlooks 1 of 3 pools. I had green chile strips for the first time (they were yummy!) and the shrimp caprese was refreshing!
Trading Post - A lovely convenience/gift shop that carried everything from deli food to Advil to Starbucks coffee. It's got it all!
Rio Grande Lounge - I dined here several times. It's a fun place to grab a quick bite of nachos or a fun martini to unwind. Just want to give a shout out to Ryan for his outstanding service with a smile. Before I forget, I ordered fish and chips on my last night... it was exceptional. It was up there with the fish n chips I've had in England... and that's saying something. Wish I could show you a picture of them but not all bloggers remember to take photos; they actually want to enjoy their meals ;) But here are some nachos and a view!
Atush Bar & Grille - I hear this is a bistro next to the golf course. I'll have to give it a go next time I'm here. You can grab anything from breakfast burritos to burgers to hot dogs! Great summer food to fuel up your next golfing adventure.
Plaza Grille - This is their pool cafe. I hardly spent time at the pool except with the bride and groom on my last afternoon. Though I didn't order from here, the ahi tuna salad looked divine so I'll take the groom's word for it and say that it was.
PS - there is room service for breakfast and dinner, but I much preferred to dine at the restaurants instead! There is a 24/7 service called the Crave Menu to fulfill your midnight munching needs!
Oh my, where do I begin? It's a luxury resort, after all.
Before I list off their smashing amenities, I want to thank Jolene and the rest of the hotel for surprising me with a beautiful honey and bee themed tray of cupcakes, honeycombs, and little jars of honey. That was very sweet (no pun intended) and uber creative. Jolene must have heard me gab on about honey at dinner the night before :)
What's a resort without a spa/fitness center?
I was looking forward to Saturday morning because I don't think I've ever had a proper spa treatment, let alone massage. Believe it or not, though I appear to be the poster child of all things "luxury" I actually don't spoil myself at all in regards to spa treatments (Gregory is good at that! Ha). So this was a very special morning as I was about to have my very first spa/massage treatment. I highly recommend Spirit Path (thanks Jolene for the suggestion!).
If you saw my Facebook post, I came out feeling reborn and ready to take on the world.
If you didn't, here it is:
The spa also sold some NM style jewelry, beauty products and swimsuits for any last minute gift ideas or purchases.
I was actually impressed with their gym. Good size and fully functional. Love that it's right next to the spa. I know my husband would be getting a massage everyday knowing him after an intense workout :)
Friends, I highly recommend you drive out to Tamaya and flip through their extensive treatment catalogue and BOOK now; it's quite impressive. I plan to go back soon with several girlfriends. Guys too! Tamaya is truly a haven for New Mexico staycationers.
Other amenities include but are not limited to:
The Stables at Tamaya
How cool is it to be a shuttle away from a cute little stable off the beaten track? Here I am with Cory, a gorgeous rescue, another activity courtesy of Tamaya (thank you!). The last time I rode a horse was 3 years ago on Kauai. This moment probably outdid my Kauai experience. It was spectacular!
3 Pools! (Open from 9 am - 10 pm)
You've got the Kiva Pool (adult pool), Plaza Pool, and the Oxbox pool. I spent most of my time at Plaza pool of course because of the 100 ft length waterslide, which I'm happy to say is not limited to kids :) Such a thrilling slide as you can't see anything for a good (pitch black!) 4-5 seconds, depending on how fast you are.
Hot Air Ballooning
Walking & Bike Trails
I loved walking everywhere. There was a gorgeous walking trail near where the Medina's got married (Cottonwood Pavilion). What a shot!
Seasonal activities such as bread making demonstrations and Native American dance/flute performance.
Srai Wi Activities
Srai translates into children in the Keranese language, the language of the Tamayans.
There is a wealth of activities that is specially curated by the Tamaya staff but here's a good start:
Stories Under The Stars
Dreamcatcher making (do I have to be a kid to partake?! I wanted to to do this one)
Corn Husk Wreath
... and the list goes on. What I think is brilliant about all these activities is the education of the Tamaya history instilled in each activity. Plus, parents can make the use of the resort while being assured their kids are learning AND having fun. A winning combination.
Should I Stay Or Should I Go?
Wow, that was one of the most relaxing weekends I've had in a long time. And I didn't even have to leave the state. I want to send waves of gratitude to Jolene Mauer, Lauren LaVail, her fabulous assistant, the front desk ladies, Miriam, the lady at the concierge, Uma, the supervisor of Corn Maiden, and the rest of the staff members at Tamaya. I couldn't possibly thank everyone without reading a long list. You are the unsung heroes of the magnificent, hardworking and highly rewarding industry of hospitality. Because of you, you make our experiences exc