New Mexico Heritage Hotels Reflect Southwest Culture - 2006-03-29

Several hotels acquired by New Mexico Heritage Hotels have been redesigned or are changing to more strongly reflect the Southwest's culture, high-desert environment and American Indian heritage.

"We know that the number-one reason people come to New Mexico is the history and culture, so our aim is to provide hotels that really give people a sense of place," said Ed Pulsifer, the Albuquerque-based hotelier's vice president of sales and marketing.

Among Heritage Hotels' largest projects was the renovation of the former Sheraton Old Town, which in September was renamed the Hotel Albuquerque at Old Town. The first phase of changes was a makeover of the 200-room hotel's 27,000 square feet of meeting space, including the 14,000-square-foot Alvarado Ballroom, the largest in New Mexico.

The renovation included redecorating the ballroom with tin scones, beam ceilings and American Indian-style carpeting. A new, 19th-century-style chapel and a Victorian-style pavilion surrounded by Spanish gardens were also created.

Scheduled for completion in March is the second phase of changes involving the guestrooms. Meanwhile, an expansion of the property, which is set to break ground next year, will add 112 more guestrooms and three boardrooms overlooking the gardens.

Heritage also extensively remade a former Wyndham Garden property in Albuquerque. Now called the Nativo Lodge, the 140-room hotel features a new, five-story-high grand lobby with pine columns, river rock stone details and American Indian artwork.

Guestrooms are now decorated with Navajo-inspired carpeting, historical photographs and native basketry. The hotel has 7,600 square feet of meeting space.

Another Heritage hotel is the Lodge at Santa Fe, formerly the Radisson Santa Fe. The 147-room property was revamped with a 28-foot circular stone kiva tower at its entrance. It is adorned with such design elements as vigas beams, pueblo ladders and desert colors.

Targeted at incentive groups and corporate retreats, the hotel offers several new outdoor function areas and conference space for up to 250 people.