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Heritage Hotels buys El Monte Sagrado in Taos


Resorts El Monte Sagrado hotel, built on 10 acres with an additional five acres as a buffer, has what might be called a micro environment because of water from its sustainable water treatment process. (Courtesy of Heritage Hotels)

SANTA FE, N.M. — Taos’ top-rated hotel, the 84-room El Monte Sagrado Living Resort and Spa at 317 Kit Carson Road, is in the process of being acquired by an investment group headed by Jim Long of Albuquerque-based Heritage Hotels & Resorts.

“We like the bohemian quality of the property,” Long told the Journal. “That’s a defining quality of Taos. It’s what attracts visitors globally, but it’s not just tourism. Taos attracts unique people as residents. It has a history of unique personalities.”

Originally opened in 2003 and expanded four years later, El Monte Sagrado is the only hotel in Taos, and one of only 13 in New Mexico, with a Four Diamond rating from AAA, the Florida-based nonprofit offering travel-related services.

Regularly described as having Old World charm in travel publications, the hotel cost a combined $75 million to develop in its two phases, Long said, adding, “Our acquisition cost is a small fraction of that number.”

The purchase is expected to close in October. The seller, Orlando, Fla.-based Kessler Collection, was responsible for the hotel’s expansion of 48 rooms and 7,000 square feet of meeting space that opened in 2007. Kessler is selling the property as it shifts its focus to the southeast.

“Taos has a very unique culture that demands management time,” said Chairman and CEO Richard C. Kessler in a prepared statement. “We found a company, Heritage Hotels & Resorts, that is heavily involved in ownership and management in New Mexico and whose (corporate) culture is committed to the Southwest.”

Heritage Hotels currently operates eight hotels in New Mexico, including the eight-room Palacio de Marquesa boutique hotel in Taos. El Monte Sagrado will be its ninth hotel. A tenth hotel, the 118-room Hotel Chaco, is under construction near Old Town in Albuquerque.

El Monte hotel’s decor will follow a yet-to-be-determined theme showcasing aspects of New Mexico’s culture and heritage, a common thread among the company’s properties.

Heritage Hotels’ latest investments, including a recently completed remodel of its 219-room Eldorado Hotel & Spa in Santa Fe, show a gravitation toward the upper, luxury end of the hospitality market.

“Our brand is continually evolving,” Long said when asked about trend. “We’re definitely tending to buy and build the best in class in assets in New Mexico.”