Santa Fe’s Newest Hotel, Hotel Chimayó de Santa Fe, Embodies Long Tradition of Unique Spanish Colonial Arts & Design

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Hotel Chimayo de Santa Fe, the newest Santa Fe hotel property, has been renovated and redesigned with authentic Spanish Colonial arts and architectural elements working with local artists and crafts people.

The Spanish Colonial Art & Architectural Design of the lobby of Hotel Chimayo Santa Fe

The Spanish Colonial Art & Architectural Design of the lobby of Hotel Chimayo de Santa Fe

We created the hotel's interior furnishings and art pieces alongside families that date back seven generations in Chimayo--Kris Lajeske

The Hispano art forms that have been produced in New Mexico since the region was colonized by Spain in 1598 are thoroughly celebrated in the traditional arts, crafts and design that have been used in the exquisitely detailed interior of the newly renovated Hotel Plaza Real, also newly renamed the Hotel Chimayó de Santa Fe, a Heritage Hotel & Resort.

The lobby, restaurant, and suites of the Hotel Chimayó reflect the unique history and preservation of traditional Spanish arts and crafts through the use of a multitude of forms that survived in the northern New Mexico region, from bultos and retablos, traditional carved and painted Catholic devotional images of the saints and Holy Family, to woodcarving, textiles, iron work, punched tin, and straw appliqué. These are all presented in a setting embellished with local architectural details like wooden vigas, latillas, and adobe plastered walls.

The survival of these Hispano art forms in Northern New Mexico—which was extremely isolated over the centuries— is unique in the American Southwest. Beginning in 1913 there was a significant resurgence in the art forms with the formation of the Society for the Revival of Spanish Arts, a precursor to the Spanish Colonial Arts Society, founded in 1928. The Spanish Colonials Arts Society each year organizes Santa Fe’s famous Spanish Market, where hundreds of artisans sell the wares embodying the artistic techniques that have been handed down since Juan de Oñate arrived in 1598, when he established the Spain’s New Mexico colony.

The hotel’s namesake, Chimayó, is a tiny community in the heart of the Northern New Mexico, famous for the above-mentioned arts and crafts, plus heirloom red chile varieties, horse and sheep raising, fruit orchards, and especially—the Santuario de Chimayó— a chapel believed by many to be the site of a miracle which occurred 200 years ago. The chapel is the destination for thousands of pilgrims and travelers each year who seek healing and spiritual restoration. A percentage of the hotel’s room revenue profits are donated to the Chimayó Cultural Preservation Association, which works to preserve its culture by maintaining an archive of historical photographs and documents, gathering oral histories and maintaining historic buildings.

Jim Long, Heritage Hotels & Resort CEO, spent more than a year working with the community leaders of Chimayo to ensure his vision of the project would have community support and be authentic. Long then enlisted Santa Fe interior designer Kris Lajeskie of Kris Lajeskie Design Group to create the interior for the newly renovated Hotel Chimayo de Santa Fe. “What was so wonderful about this project is the strong collaboration with artists from Chimayo,” Lajeskie said. “We created the hotel's interior furnishings and art pieces along side families that date back seven generations in Chimayo.”

Lajeskie, with the work of more than 70 local artists, created a hotel alive with these arts and crafts as seen in the lobby with the Virgen de Guadalupe bulto, the fireplace incorporating a collection of retablos which mimics Spanish tilework, iron chandeliers and punched tin-work light fixtures, custom made benches and furniture carved by local woodworkers in traditional styles and upholstered with hand made weavings—one of the crown jewels of the Spanish arts in Chimayó. Award-winning Chimayó weavers whose work is part of the new hotel décor—and also available to purchase— include artists include Irvin Trujillo from Centinela Traditional Arts, Robert Ortega from Ortega’s Weaving Shop, Karen Martinez and Carlos Martinez.

The hotel’s suites are equally true to northern New Mexico and Chimayó artistry, and together feature over 500 hand-made crosses, which adorn the fireplaces. The rooms feature private or communal balconies and separate living rooms centered around an open-air plaza patio, the centerpiece of which is a 12-foot high cross made from a single piece of cedar wood. In Chimayó, crosses are a prolific symbol of faith. During Good Friday, some faithful carry crosses on a pilgrimage walk up to the Santuario and then leave them behind.

Lajeskie also helped execute the design for the unique cocktail bar in the Hotel Chimayó—also envisioned by Long—that is reflective of New Mexico culture, but this time with a taste of contemporary. The Low ‘n Slow Lowrider Bar spotlights authentic lowrider elements and is named after the book “Low ‘n Slow” by local writer Carmella Padilla. A lowrider is a style of car that sits lower to the ground than most other cars, and originated in the Chicano communities of the Southwest. They are often times highly customized with chrome accents, cosmetic mirrors, and aftermarket steering wheels. The custom leather benches, chain link steering wheels used for cocktail tables, and polished chrome bar top in the Low n’ Slow bar are all very true to the exuberance, style and artistry of New Mexico lowriders.

Some of the many talented individuals closely involved in this noteworthy renovation and redecoration of the Hotel Chimayó include:

Maria Lorraine Vigil, Chimayó tour guide and artist, http://www.Chimayó
Brenda Romero, President of the Chimayó Cultural Preservation Association, http://www.Chimayó
Kris Lajeskie, Interior Designer,
Irvin Trujillo, Weaver, http://www.Chimayó
Robert Ortega, Weaver,
Patricio Chavez, Fireplace Retablos,
Carmelito Martinez, Bar Chandelier, Low-rider mechanic/builder
Jack Parsons, Lowrider Photography,
For more information, please contact Jennifer Padilla
JLH Media
505 577 1347
jpadilla (at) jlhmedia (dot) com


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