Hacienda de los Santos offers plenty of charm. // © 2013 Hacienda de los Santos
It takes a little extra effort for romance-minded travelers to make it all the way to Hacienda de los Santos, a resort in the foothills of the Western Sierra Madre mountain range, but the rewards are worth it. First of all, Hacienda de los Santos is set in the middle of Alamos, a colonial city designated as one of Mexico’s Pueblos Magicos — Magical Towns. Alamos is only very gently touched by tourism and a stroll along its streets reminded my wife and me of being in Girona, Spain. Second, a stay at the 300-year-old Hacienda de los Santos is like overnighting within a multi-dimensional work of art. The architecture, gardens, interior design and innumerable works of sculpture and painting weave an aesthetic spell.
Hacienda de los Santos, a member of Mexico Boutique Hotels, began 24 years ago as a home for owners Jim and Nancy Swickard. Their joy and talent for hosting family and friends segued naturally into developing the hacienda and neighboring buildings into an expansive resort that doesn’t lose its sense of intimacy. The boutique property has eight guestrooms, 13 suites and two villas, all named after saints.
We stayed in the Santo Domingo suite, which we were assured was the most romantic accommodation on the property. With its wooden shutters, adobe walls, tiled floors, a sitting room on the second level and an over-size fireplace, it lived up to its advance billing. Service is attentive. We were asked if we would like a fire started and if we wanted to order anything from the complimentary DVD library. It was a nice touch to return from dinner to a fire of blazing mesquite logs and a couple of DVDs for the evening.
Hacienda de los Santos has a Romance Package that includes three nights in an Estate King Suite, fresh flowers in your clients’ room, dinner for two with a bottle of house wine, romantic background music during dinner courtesy of Grupo Los Hacendados, three 50-minute treatments per guest at La Dulce Vida Spa, flower petals in your clients’ suite and full breakfast daily. Rates are $999 per couple. The package can be upgraded to a Master Suite for $1,200.
The hacienda also has customizable honeymoon and wedding packages with all the bells and whistles as well as some unexpected touches, such as arranging a private romantic guitar serenade outside your clients’ suite or a guided horseback ride through the Sierra Madre. Customized arrangements can be made by contacting the hacienda’s romance director, Jamie Alcantar (Jamiehacienda@hotmail.com).
While there’s a restaurant, a pool and a spa, Hacienda de los Santos has lots of unexpected perks and amenities. There are two putting greens on the grounds, bicycles at no charge, heated Jacuzzis with stone walls that wrap halfway around and a cozy and complimentary theater that will show movies on request. There’s also an on-site cantina decorated with relics from the Mexican revolution, such as spurs, stirrups and firearms. The cantina serves a staggering 560 varieties of tequila.
Owner Jim Swickard is a retired pilot with a soft spot for aviators. Hacienda de Los Santos has its own 12-aircraft hangar at the small Alamos Airport, and pilots and their passengers staying at the hotel pay nothing to use the hangar. Since Hacienda de Los Santos is a substantial seven-hour drive from the Arizona border, it’s an attractive option for lovebirds to fly in on their own plane.
Hacienda de los Santos is geared toward adults, although children are welcome. A better choice for travelers with children — especially wedding parties with lots of young ones — is the adjacent Posada Tacubaya, which is also owned by the Swickards. The six-room Posada Tacubaya is also a member of Mexico Boutique Hotels. The Posada Tacubaya features handcrafted Mexican furniture and decor, and it caters to families and those traveling with pets.