Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort and Spa: Capturing the Beauty and Culture of The Land of Enchantment
Story & photos by Deborah Loeb Bohren
More than your typical resort hotel, The Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort and Spa is a 550-acre oasis nestled in the midst of the stunning New Mexico desert, a quick 25 minutes north of Albuquerque. It boasts, of course, all the amenities you’ve come to know, expect and love about Hyatt resorts: exceptional service, personalized attention, swimming, championship golf and sumptuous cuisine. But the Hyatt Regency Tamaya goes one step further: Located in the middle of the 79,000 acre Pueblo of Santa Anna — originally called Tamaya — along the Rio Grande River, Native American culture permeates every aspect of the resort. From its architecture to its on-site activities, and from its menus (both food and spa) to its commitment to preserving and protecting the environment, the resort offers guests a truly one-of-a kind —and very special — experience.
Capturing the spirit of Native American culture starts with the melodious traditional flute music that greets you the moment you step out of the car. The architecture is classic adobe, resembling the houses in the original Santa Ana Pueblo; the hotel’s round Kiva pool is designed to mirror the Pueblo’s traditional meeting place; and Native American art graces the public spaces and guest rooms.
Southwestern cuisine highlighting local ingredients star at the hotels restaurants. Start your day with blue corn piñon griddle cakes at the Santa Ana Cafe. Lunch or snack on Crispy Green Chile Strips at the Rio Grande Lounge. For dinner indulge yourself at the Corn Maiden —named after the Native American deity symbolizing sustenance, survival and life — on innovative dishes beginning with buffalo tartare and ending with red chile chocolate cheesecake for a grand finale. The perfect wine? Try the Gruet rosé from the resort’s own vineyards.
Native American ingredients are also the name of the game at the Tamaya Mist Spa & Salon where the treatments are “…based around New Mexico’s deep connection to the native bounty of the land.” Think blue corn meal, prickly pear and native herbs, as well as ancient drumming techniques, to make the treatments uniquely relaxing, restorative and just a bit indulgent.
The Hyatt Regency Tamaya’s special Srai Wi, or “my children” in the original language of the Tamaya people, activities program offers guests of all ages the opportunity to engage in hands on activities based on Native American traditions. Guests can make traditional Pueblo bread, mixing and kneading their loaves before baking them in the resort’s authentic Huruna. Or, create a Dream Catcher, make a traditional adobe brick, fashion a wreath out of corn husks or spend time withNavajo silversmith Michael Nez as he leads you through the steps to create your own copper stamped bracelet.
Immediately outside your window are stunning vistas of the Sandia Mountains, named because of the pink, watermelon-like hue they take on at sunset. Enjoy the spectacular landscape up-close and personal with five-miles miles of trails through the Bosque, a gallery forest unique to the area adjacent to the Rio Grande, great for walking, jogging or biking. The resort’s stables, recognized for their work rescuing and rehabilitating abandoned horses, offer trail rides through the desert, across boulders covered with ancient Native American petroglyphs or along the banks of the river.
There’s more than enough to do without ever leaving the resort but, if you want to explore Albuquerque proper, start with the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center. This museum and cultural center serves as the gateway to learning about the 19 Pueblos of New Mexico. For lunch, take a trip back to the ‘50s at the iconic Route 66 Diner. The decor is kitsch, the food is great, and you can get a little taste of the ultimate American road trip. To fill out the day, sample some local brew at any one of Albuquerque’s 20+ craft brewery taprooms. From “Albuquerque-infused, embodying the funky nature of the people, the food, and the landscape” beers at Marble Brewery to the women-owned Bow & Arrow Brewery, whose hop arrowhead logo, was designed to reflect “the spirit of Native American arts and also references a hop cone, an arrowhead, the Sandia Mountains and water” to the classic the Sante Fe Brewery taproom, constructed of shipping containers and where the energy of the crowd is palpable…possibly due to their 7X IPA, there is a beer (or two or three) for every taste.
Another not to miss experience while at the Hyatt Regency Tamaya is a Native American feast day, such as the Santa Ana Feast Day. These scared celebrations combine Native American traditions and commemorations of Catholic saints and are one of the few times that the Pueblos are open to the public. Members of the Pueblo don ceremonial regalia, headdresses and ornamentation, and perform traditional dances, each of which tells a different story. They also provide traditional Native American meals to share with visitors. The singing and drumming is intoxicating, the colors of the regalia a feast for the eyes, and the people warm and welcoming.
The Hyatt Regency Tamaya is also the perfect base for a day trip to Sante Fe, the oldest capital city in North America. The distance between the resort and Sante Fe is less than the typical commute from the suburbs to New York City thanks to the Rail Runner Express that whisks you there in just a little over an hour. Spend the day at one or more of the 12+ art museums celebrating Native American and Southwestern art and artists, visit art galleries, or shop for Native American and leather handicrafts.
A visit to The Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort and Spa will enchant you, and nurture your soul, stomach, body, creativity and quest for adventure.
Deborah Loeb Bohren is a fine art and travel photographer. Photography has been Deb’s passion since her father put a camera in her hand when she was only five years old. Today she combines that passion with her love of travel, using her camera to capture the intersection and interplay of light, line and color to create visual stories from the flea markets of Paris to the dunes of Morocco and from Machu Picchu to Havana and beyond. She lives in New York.