Where to Stay?
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This beautiful resort can simply be described as heaven and tranquility on earth. The historic resort of Los Poblanos is set within 25 acres of lavender fields, cottonwood trees and gardens and is not only a retreat but a working farm. This adds to the delightful charm of the place and you feel a world away from home. The Los Poblanos Inn was originally home to Senator Albert Simms and his wife Congresswoman Ruth Hanna McCormick and it was built in 1934 by renowned New Mexico architect, John Gaw Meem. La Quinta was built one year later in 1935 and to this day very little has changed about the building itself. Originally used as a library, Los Poblanos now use this room for private events, cocktail receptions and small gatherings. The Grand Ballroom can host larger parties and is one of John Gaw Meem’s architectural masterpieces. It is undeniably one of the most spectacular venues in New Mexico.
The magnificent architecture is something to be admired but Los Poblanos would not be the same without its breath-taking gardens. The Rose Greely garden is named after its creator, who was the first female to graduate from Harvard’s landscape and architecture program. She came to New Mexico in 1933 to design the west gardens of Los Poblanos. Her striking designs included Spanish tile fountains, winding pathways and vibrant flowerbeds. The lavender fields have become somewhat of an iconic image at Los Poblanos even though the first planting was only accomplished in 2001. It was originally fed by the desire to experiment with lavender as a potential New Mexico state crop, being that it is highly profitable and easy to grow in the dry desert climate. Los Poblanos now has a 1.5 acre field planted with Grosso Lavender; a variety of lavender that provides larger amounts of essential oil during distillation. The fields are also home to culinary lavender that is used by the kitchen. The kitchen gardens provide the restaurant with vegetables year round, only producing heirloom varieties. The garden is farmed organically; an approach that is of great importance at Los Poblanos. Looking ahead to the future, the Los Poblanos mission is to preserve the agricultural fields, formal gardens and the important New Mexico art and architecture through sustainable practices. To further this vision they have created additional experiences for guests to be part of, including culinary and cultural programming. “Field to fork” is a concept that is becoming hugely popular all around the world and Los Poblanos is leading the way. Los Poblanos offer events such as cooking classes, farm tours and education on bee keeping as well as lavender growing and gardening. Hero & Leander highly recommend popping into the exquisite farm shop to take a look at the handmade lavender products as well as products created by local artisans.
Set to a backdrop of the Sandia Mountains and with the proximity of the Rio Grande River you truly feel at one with nature, basking in its beauty. Los Poblanos offers 20 guest rooms and suites in the Historic Inn. They are dressed in New Mexican style with wood-burning fireplaces, artwork, hardwood floors and antique southwest furnishings. The beds are adorned with the most sumptuous bedding and all rooms feature the organic lavender products sold in the farm shop. All rooms have expansive garden and mountain views. In the winter all rooms are stocked with pinon wood for the kiva and fireplace- as if this place couldn’t get any more perfect.
When Hero & Leander visited we were met with an amazing lavender infused champagne cocktail. It was a fabulous precursor to an incredible stay and we cannot wait to go back.
Where to Eat?
Los Poblanos cuisine is rooted in what comes from their farm as well as local produce from the region. The La Merienda menu is offered not only to guests but the general public. It’s a fine dining experience that blurs the line between gourmet refinery and rustic and hearty food. The menu adapts with the seasons and as a guest it is exciting to know that the majority of food you are eating is grown and picked on the very farm where you sit, or at the very least the local area. Field-To-Fork. For those residing at the Inn, breakfast is included in your room rate and it certainly doesn’t disappoint. Offering eggs, honey, fruits and vegetables from their fields. It is a far cry from the complimentary continental breakfasts offered elsewhere. The hot breakfast dishes change almost daily and are so unbelievably delicious that it leaves you in a state of disbelief that it is included in the room rate. Dinner at La Merienda is also a treat not to be missed. A selection of cocktails are served in a drawing room on arrival before you are led out onto a quaint patio overlooking the farm fields and mountains. The menu provides guests with a plethora of mouth-watering options- the artisan cheese board is to die for. We recommend arriving just before sunset to dine. Watching the mountains glow in hues of crimson, magenta and coral whilst you dine on what could be the best meal you will have during your stay is romance encapsulated.
4803 Rio Grande Blvd NW, Los Ranchos de Albuquerque, NM87107
The original Old Town Steakhouse, dating back to 1974. To last that long, they must be doing something right! We can’t put it any better than the owner Carla Villa’s own words; “We opened our doors in 1974, my dad had one thing in mind: to serve great steaks and drinks to his friends and family. For 39 years we have stayed true to his vision. We have added some things along the way: wild game, homemade New Mexican food and a great selection of tequila , however one thing hasn’t changed- the steaks are still fantastic!”
425 San Felipe St NW. NM87104.
This place is really fun. An underground venue with a distinctly vintage, speakeasy feel that harks back to the era of the Prohibiton. The only thing is you don’t need to worry about the cops turning up! It’s a great place to cuddle up with your partner and enjoy some fantastic food.
6855 4th St NW, NM87107.
Zinc has established itself as one of the premier spots for dining in the city since it opened over 10 years ago. The concept is still fresh, have a quick stop for a drink or a full evening’s dining. The Cellar Bar offers a great selection of wines that will have you coming back the following evening to continue working through the list.
Nob Hill District, 3009 Central Ave NE, NM87106.
There are a few phrases that have been said about this cafe, ‘Modern Takes on Classic Dishes & Best Fine Dining in Albuquerque’, to mention a few. The owners, Pat and Terry Keene strive to serve the very best using French cooking techniques. They prepare all their food in-house ensuring the freshest ingredients are served on your plate for a delightful dining experience.
424 Central Avenue SE. NM87102.
What to See?
Old Town – This beautiful town provides the heart of Albuquerque. Founded 70 years prior to the American Revolution when King Philip of Spain allowed Spanish colonists to settle in the area near the Rio Grande. The area is characterised by a central plaza, overlooked by the San Felipe de Neri church. It is very much the centre, and activities revolve around this area of Pueblo-Spanish architecture. When you walk around you’re often in earshot of a small bad playing outside a cafe or in the square. Providing a musical backdrop to enjoy the 150 stores, 24 galleries and restaurants in this part of town. Once the shopping is done, relax in the sun with a drink.
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Nob Hill & Route 66.
The mother of all roads. That which connected Los Angeles with Chicago, ran through Albuquerque. Today, Historic Route 66 as it is called, is still very much a part of the city. Road tourists stop off here for a well earned pit stop at some of the city’s best restaurants and electric shops. This is prime convertible and Harley Davidson spotting ground. Americana at its finest, under the New Mexican sun.
For an incredible view, get over your fear of heights and head to the top of the Sandia Peaks for a complete overview of the city. The tramway itself is 2.7miles long and carries you over canyons and trees. The sunset at 10,000 feet is unbeatable and affords you an overview of 11,000 square miles. Adults ride for $20.00 with tax included. It takes 15 minutes to ride to the top where temperatures can be a whole 30 degrees cooler. So take a jumper!
Hot Air Balloon Festival.
Every October thousands of hot air balloon enthusiasts converge on Albuquerque to fly their sky-delights. They form part of a magical experience that fills the skies and turns the blue into a work of art, dotted with hundreds of floating shapes and colours, a mesmerising experience to watch.
Albuquerque is world famous for hot air ballooning. So even if you’re visiting outside of the festival, ensure you pluck up the courage to get in that basket. There are numerous hot air ride providers throughout the city. You won’t be disappointed.
Petroglyph National Monument
What to Do?
River Rafting Rio Grande.
Companies such as New Mexico River Adventures offer days out on the Rio Grande. Experience adrenaline rushes like no other on this world famous river. They also offer kayaking and stand-up boarding. Typical rafting seasons range from April 1st to September 30th.
It’s the southwest. This is an absolute must. You’ll feel as though you’ve been transported back in time, to that glorious western hollywood era. Just you and your partner, nature and the Rio Grande.
This unique outside venue amphitheatre with a mountain backdrop offers a host of big name stars playing, from Brad Paisley to Janet Jackson. Look at their website for upcoming shows.
There can’t be many things better at clearing your mind than getting out into the mountains with just yourself and your bike. Explore the wonderful scenery and wildlife that this city has to offer with a bike tour. If you’re looking for something more leisurely, Los Poblanos offers its guests bicycle rental and its proximity to the river means you can have a relaxing ride along the banks of the Rio Grande.
How to Get There?
Virgin Atlantic and Delta fly to Atlanta and Phoenix from London with connecting flights to Albuquerque. Flights throughout March 2016 are approximately £550.
The official website for Albuquerque is an extremely good resource for visitors. It has a comprehensive list of upcoming events as well as useful guides for all the city’s resorts and attractions.
When To Go?
There really isn’t a bad time to visit coming down instead to the decision of whether you would like really hot or simply warm. Albuquerque receives a delightful 310 days of sunshine each year with a low humidity meaning that hot summers are rarely uncomfortable.
So what are you waiting for? This place is beautiful, off the tourist map and just waiting to be discovered by you.