The Inn and Spa at Loretto’s 1970s-era swimming pool, event lawn and Luminaria restaurant dining patio will get major makeovers during winter to enhance the outdoor experience for summer guests.

“We want to have a resort-level guest experience,” said Thom Ortiz, director of design and development at Albuquerque-based Heritage Hotels & Resorts, which owns Loretto and several other downtown Santa Fe hotels. “The bar is being raised [in the tourism industry]. We are just making sure we are addressing the guests wants.”

The work is expected to start in January with a goal of having the pool, which will more than double in size, event lawn and Luminaria patio open by June, Ortiz said.

The project received approval Tuesday night from the city’s Historic Districts Review Board, and the hotel can now apply for building permits.

“This is a well-presented project,” Historic Districts Review Board member Flynn Larson said. “This will be a great improvement for the experience of the guest.”

Ortiz acknowledges the ambience of the current rectangular pool and deck, built with the hotel in 1975, doesn’t match hotel standards.

“It is the original pool,” said project architect Alexander Dzurec of Autotroph. “It’s not particularly grand.”

The existing pool area will be demolished and expanded to 8,345 square feet from 3,907 square feet and will feature covered ramadas along the perimeter. A fire pit, hot tub, outdoor lounge and outdoor showers will be added.

The new pool design is an eight-sided configuration, each side a different length, which Ortiz describes as overlapping rectangles. The water will be level with the deck, a concept referred to as an infinity pool or negative-edge pool.

The event lawn also will be expanded and a new 10½-foot wall will replace a wrought-iron fence to separate the event area from the pool. A fountain against the wall will further block sound from each side.

An open ramada will be added off the hotel ballroom, as well as a podium at the far end of the lawn.

“When we started getting more destination weddings and consistent local weddings, the wedding venue needed to be upgraded,” Ortiz said. “We needed to make sure the hotel had an elegant solution for outdoor events.”

Twelve parking spaces will be removed to allow for expansions of the pool and lawn areas.

At Luminaria, the existing outdoor features will be removed. The current patio has tables and ramadas enclosed with wooden coyote fencing on the north side and a wrought-iron fence on the west.

“Right now, it’s a funky, disjointed patio,” Dzurec said. “We will replace it with a courtyard-style design.”

The new patio will have banco seating built into a new perimeter wall with a ramada structure along the edges. A linear water feature will fill the center of the patio. New pivoting doors will set apart the patio from the restaurant’s interior.

Renovations are also planned in the hotel’s lobby, front desk and lobby bar over the winter. In the retail area, a line bar will be added featuring New Mexico wines and spirits, Ortiz said

No budget has been set for the Loretto project, he added.

Heritage also owns the Eldorado Hotel & Spa, Hotel St. Francis, The Lodge at Santa Fe and Hotel Chimayó de Santa Fe.

The company is building a rooftop swimming pool above the conference rooms at the Eldorado Hotel that should be completed by the end of November or December. Early next year, Heritage will add a spa and soaking facility with oxygenated water at Hotel St. Francis, Ortiz said.

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(1) comment

Stefanie Beninato

This company has increased water features at three hotels in downtown Santa Fe. For 12th generation New Mexicans they sure do not recognize that we live in a desert and that water is a scarce resource. All they think of is making it "grander"--whatever that means--so the company can charge more. In ABQ their hotels take more than 20 minutes for hot water to reach the upper floors.

And don't forget this same company in ABQ engaged in wage theft and was fined nearly $90K. Great example of what not to do IMHO.

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