Like the Hotel Chimayo, the venerable and richly historic Hotel St. Francis
(210 Don Gaspar, 505-983-5700) is part of gay-friendly Heritage Hotels & Resorts
, along with the Lodge at Santa Fe and properties in Albuquerque and Las Cruces. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the grand hotel dates to 1923 and is one of Santa Fe's most striking buildings. Despite its wonderful history, the hotel had become a bit dated over the years prior to a major renovation that has given the lobby, bar, and restaurants a fresh dose of elegance while still preserving the building's character. And rooms, although some of them are quite small (and in certain cases have miniscule bathrooms), have also been given classy makeovers that blend classic and modern touches: polished hardwood floors, white and muted gray tones, lovely beds with pillow-top mattresses and down comforters, flat-screen TVs, and free Wi-Fi. The peaceful look is a nice alternative to the sometimes busy, cliched designs of many Santa Fe hotels. There's no spa on-site, but in-room treatments can be arranged, and there is a gym.
Whether or not you stay here, do at least come by to relax in the grand lobby, before the fireplace, perhaps for Reposo, the traditional afternoon tea, coffee, and sherry service held on Friday and Saturday afternoons from 3 until 5. Acclaimed, veteran Santa Fe chef Estevan Garcia runs the very good Tabla de Los Santos Restaurant at the St. Francis, and the Secreto Bar - with its open-air loggia - is quite popular with locals and has something of a gay following.