Keeping With Tradition

Hyatt Regency Tamaya bridges present and past

By: Jamie Wetherbe

My sister so wanted to get married at the Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort and Spa that she booked her wedding more than a year in advance three months before she got engaged. It was a good choice.

The Tamaya sits on 500 acres of the Santa Ana reservation between Santa Fe and Albuquerque, N.M. Driving through the four-stop-light town of Bernalillo, clients would never guess the Hyatt is just around the corner. But once they know the way, guests will find a unique bridge between present and past.

“The resort was very much designed, not to be themed, but to represent the people who have come before,” said Tamaya general manager Steven Dewire. “We wanted the hotel to have a sense of place.”

The resort is part owned by Hyatt and the Pueblo Indians, who own the land where the Hyatt sits. Hyatt partnered with 700 tribal members to build the resort where a Pueblo village once was. And the fingerprints of their culture are quite intentionally placed throughout the resort from the design of the pool to the pinon and sage scent present throughout the Tamaya even the small spiral designs on the carpet and spoons have meaning.

Dewire often acts as a mediator between the Pueblo and corporate cultures, and he said the Native Americans have a strong influence on the shape of the Tamaya. The resort was first intended to sit about 150 yards south, but a tribal elder stuck a stake in the ground and said to build there.

“And that’s where we built it,” Dewire said.

Keeping with tradition, the Hyatt hosts a variety of cultural activities, including traditional Pueblo bread-baking demonstrations and tribal dance performances as well as the Tamaya Cul-
tural Museum and Learning Center.

The Tamaya also features an 18-hole championship golf course, tennis courts and the not-to-be-missed Tamaya Mist Spa. The spa offers clients a menu of holistic treatments rooted in New Mexican culture, including cornmeal and herbal body treatments. Along with a sauna and steam room, the spa features a shared, outdoor Jacuzzi that’s swimsuit optional.
The Hyatt was also designed to incorporate New Mexico’s scenery and stillness. The 350 guestrooms and public areas offer views of the Sandia Mountains, and many guests often remove their watches to escape time during their stay.

Despite its unique desert motif and mild climate, the Albuquerque area has yet to become well known as a tourist destination, but travel to the city has steadily climbed especially with the addition of low-cost carriers, like Southwest, to the Albuquerque airport. The Hyatt has also seen a steady increase of guests since it opened its doors in early 2001 mainly through word of mouth.

During its first year, the resort was typically only about half full, but while I was there, the Tamaya was at 80 percent occupancy. Although many business travelers were also there, the layout keeps conferences separate from the guestrooms and lobby.

There were even a few weddings some in the ballrooms, another outside. But in my opinion, my sister’s was by far the most lovely.


Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort and Spa
Room rates: During the high season (April-November) nightly rates range from $195-$345. During the low season (November-April) rates drop to $155-275.

Getting around: Since the Hyatt sits between Santa Fe and Albuquerque, most guests opt to rent a car. The Tamaya offers driving itineraries that highlight the area’s popular historic and shopping venues. One tip: I-25, which runs between the two cities, is heavily patrolled for speeders.

Packages: The Hyatt Tamaya is offering a Girlfriends’ Peaceful Getaway for busy women wanting to escape into the desert. The Package includes accommodations for two nights, a welcome cocktail, breakfast daily, valet parking, a gift and two treatments at the Tamaya Mist Spa. Through Nov. 18, rates start at $1,090, double; $1,740 for quad occupancy. From Nov. 19-April 5, rates start at $990, double; $1640 for quad occupancy.

Commission: 10 percent