As we drove along a long and winding road through the rugged New Mexico desert we began to wonder if we had taken a wrong turn - the golf course and the resort were nowhere to be seen. Just as we picked up the phone to call for directions, a beautiful sprawling pueblo style building sprung out of the desert. And we were warmly greeted by "Welcoming Woman," extending her hands in a greeting to us. She was joined with other other life size, bronze sculptured figures in the entry plaza - a grandfather telling stories to children, a farmer with a hoe, and a grandmother scooping water.
Placed in front of the modern Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort & Spa, this artwork and several other pieces set the tone of tradition complimented by twenty-first century amenities. "Welcoming Woman" was quickly joined by an efficient and friendly staff that was eager to help you settle in and start enjoying the Resort. Very impressive and we immediately sensed that we were in for something very special. In fact, Conde Nast Traveler’s ranked the Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort in it's “Top 100 Golf Resorts in North America, the Caribbean, the Atlantic, Ireland, & Scotland.”
The Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort & Spa rests nearly 500 acres just above the lush Rio Grande Valley and in the heart of Santa Ana Pueblo's 73,000-acre reservation, which is home to the Tamayame people. The 700 inhabitants of the Santa Ana Pueblo own the resort, which opened in 2001 and is currently managed by the Hyatt. The Resort includes 350 rooms, a 16,000-square-foot full-service spa and fitness center, Twin Warriors Championship Golf Course designed by Gary Panks, nature trails, a stable, stunning pool areas, several dining options, and majestic views of the Sandia Mountains. What a fantastic place for a weekend getaway, golf outing, family vacation, wedding, reunion, or business meeting. And it's only 20 minutes from Albuquerque and 50 minutes from Santa Fe plus close to three ski areas, hiking and biking trails, fly fishing, and white water rafting. .
From our perspective, some of the things that made the Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort special to us include:
We were staying at the Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort as part of a week long vacation playing and reviewing the eight courses and four Resorts that are a part of the Santa Fe Golf Trail. Shortly after unpacking the bags, we jumped on the Hyatt's golf cart shuttle for a short par 4 400 yard ride to the pro shop to tee off on Twin Warriors Golf Course. This championship 18 hole high desert course designed by Gary Panks is a scenic as it is challenging and fun to play. The course has beautiful vistas of the valley, Rio Grande Bosque, Sandia Mountains, Tamaya Resort, knolls, and ridges dotted with Juniper and Pinon Pine and some very unique and interesting formations as it plays in and around 20 ancient cultural sites of previous Native American habitation and activity.
You're also likely to spot a wide variety of colorful desert fauna and wildlife ranging from rabbits and snakes to bobcats and roadrunners.
But Twin Warriors Golf Course wasn't ranked #49 by Golf Digest for public courses or #3 in New Mexico just for it's scenic beauty - it's also home to 18 very unique and interesting holes that will throw a little bit of everything at you to test your accuracy and course management skills. You'll encounter plenty of forced carries, steep and deep bunkers, elevation changes, risk reward opportunities, 5 cascading waterfalls (in the middle of the desert!), deep ravines, lush sweeping fairways, and perfect bent grass greens - everything that makes golf fun and sometimes a tad frustrating. What a fantastic 18 holes that we rated 9.3 stars - read our review of Twin Warriors Golf Course to learn more. Click on the link to learn more about the other fantastic courses on the Santa Fe Golf Trail.
After loosing several bets on Twin Warriors thanks to my horrible play, I was drug by the nose to the outdoor patio of the Rio Grande Lounge at the Resort to pay off my losses. What a fatalistic place to sip a cold drink, keep warm and toasty by the kiva fireplaces, munch on a tasty appetizer, and enjoy a spectacular view. At dusk the mountains glow a brilliant reddish pink, revealing why the Spaniards named them "sandia" or "watermelon.' In fall, the cottonwoods turn the color of spun gold, creating a spectacular scene. The Rio Grande Lounge is the place to go for drinks, to catch the latest scores, and for live entertainment. It was relaxing and scenic, I didn't mind paying the huge bar bill.
From the Rio Grande Lounge we headed to one of the hot tubs to soak the sore muscles, sip a Pina Colada, and watch the moon rise, and try to decide where to have dinner. After a long soak in the Resort's hot tub, my stomach was growling so loud that a few of the other fellow hot tubers started looking around for what sounded like low roars from some wild desert animal. I snuck out of the hot tub and quickly got dressed for dinner,
New Mexico is largely a tri-culture state made up of Native Americans, Hispanics, and Anglos and the flavors of the area are a blending of these cultures. The Hyatt Tamaya's chefs have created some innovative dishes that incorporate the traditional New Mexico ingredients with nouvelle cuisine. Which means you'll experience delicious and spicy red and green chile, enchiladas, tamales, chorizo, posole, tortillas, pinon nuts, and more. At the Corn Maiden Restaurant, the Resort's specialty restaurant, some examples of the flavors and creativity include: Fresno Chile Rubbed Chicken, Red and Green Chile Rubbed Beef Rib Eye, Herb Rubbed Buffalo Tenderloin, Soy Orange Marinated Duck Breast, Cinnamon Peppercorn Pork Loin, or Margarita Shrimp glazed with honey and citrus - my stomach is growing just writing about it.
Some of the other choices for dining at the Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort include:
After a delicious meal at Corn Maiden I slowly waddled my sunburned, sore, waterlogged, tired, and stuffed to brim body back to our room and immediately sank into a blissful slumber on a Hyatt's King-sized Grand Bed™ with ultra-plush pillows, superior thread count sheets (didn't count how many 'cuz I was too tired), thick down blankets and a stylish throw all piled on an irresistible pillow top mattresses. A great night's sleep! That soft mattress was part of our oversized ground floor 377 square foot room which was very nicely appointed with an oversized work desk with enhanced lighting, wired and Wi-Fi high speed internet for a small daily charge, dual phone lines, iHome stereo with and iPod docking station, 32" flat screen with cable and hundreds of channels/games/movies, coffee maker, mini fridge, striking jade slate bath with Portico bath products, and more. I think Mrs Texas Outside's favorite thing was donning the thick terry robes and sitting on our patio sipping a cup of coffee overlooking one of the golf holes - I think she was actually trying to picture herself paring that hole and humiliating me once again!
The Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort has 350 guest rooms all of which are well appointed with native decor and have either a balcony or a patio with stunning views of the golf course, the Sandia Mountains, the cotton woods along the Rio Grande Bosque, or the lush and well manicured Resort courtyard and pools. The rooms range from standard 377 square feet guest rooms to the 754 square foot Executive Suites. After a good nights sleep, several cups of coffee, and some delicious Eggs Benedict, I was ready to give golf another try..
Twin Warriors didn't beat me up too bad - although I did need 4 Advil, six extra balls, a long shower to get the sand out of my hair from spending so much time hitting out of the desert and bunkers, and a massage at the Spa would have been a welcome relief for the sore back! But for a round of golf I can suffer through the pain and I was excited about playing the 27 holes at Santa Ana Golf Club, which is Twin Warriors sister course.
Just down the road about a mile from Twin Warriors, Santa Ana is a very popular, reasonably priced, public course that is home to three nine hole courses, each of which has it's own unique characteristics and personality. Common to each is that they are all woven through the desert along the Rio Grande, surrounded by the grandeur of the Jemez Mountains to the west, the Sangre de Cristos to the north, and the Sandia Mountains immediately east - offering a spectacular view of the 10,000-foot Sandia Peak. The native grasses, subtle mounding, dog legs, bunkers, and eight crystal-blue lakes make playing Santa Ana both fun and demanding. Read our review of each of the Santa Ana Nines - Cheena Nine, Star Nine , and the Tamaya Nine.
After 27 holes, we walked next door to the Prairie Star restaurant for drinks on the patio (I bought again!), another spectacular sunset, and some delicious food in this unique restaurant located in an old adobe home that was built in 1920's and is rich with history as well as a couple ghosts. To learn more, read our review of Prairie Star restaurant.
As mentioned earlier, the amenities at the Hyatt Tamaya Resort are excellent and include:
In addition to all of that, the Resort is home to the 16,000 square feet Tamaya Mist Spa - a haven of restorative treatments, inspired by the land and its people. At the Spa you can enjoy herbal blends that will soothe the senses with one of the indigenous treatments, get a comforting massages, relax and soak up the rays in one of the three outdoor relaxation areas, or take advantage of the separate men's and women's whirlpools, sauna, and steam rooms.
Quoting from the spa website, "Tamaya Mist Spa is named for the soft morning mist that gently floats over the cottonwood trees and Rio Grande, Our Santa Fe New Mexico spa is a place where we honor the journey of the Tamayame, their tradition of hospitality, and their intimate connection with the land. Tamaya Mist is a place where we create individual New Mexico spa vacations and programs for our guests, a place deeply connected to the native bounty of the land, a place to restore your physical and spiritual tranquility." You'll find a wide variety of spa treatments, salon services, and packages to help you relax, rejuvenate, energize, hydrate or detoxify. After playing 45 holes of golf, I badly needed, but didn't have time for some of those services to get me energized and relaxed and ready for the 18 holes the next morning.
What also make Tamaya Resort and Spa special is that it blends in naturally with the environment and emits a relaxing feeling. Plus the Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort was created to resemble the dwellings of the Santa Ana Pueblo from long ago. The Pueblo community's history and culture are reflected in every aspect of the resort from the open air courtyards, the adobe style lobby, the ceremonial chamber around the Kiva pool, the kiva fireplaces, an artwork collection of inspiring murals and life size sculptures that depict the past, present, and future of the people of Tamaya and the Santa Ana Pueblo. At select times, Native dancers and musicians dressed in full regalia perform for free.
The resort's decor is Southwestern with a Native American flair. Leather couches, backgammon and chess tables mix with woven baskets, tribal jugs and Native American portraits in the living-room like lobby, anchored at each end by gas fireplaces. It's relaxing to sit in the lobby, enjoying the views while listening to a Native American flute player.
Bottom line - a first class Resort and an excellent place to spend a few days relaxing, exploring the area, golfing, enjoying the outdoors, and being pampered!