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Upscale Hotel Chaco shooting for 5 stars

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — It’s been nearly four years since the first design meeting for Hotel Chaco.

Now the luxury hotel is almost a reality.

The first ground-up project from Heritage Hotels & Resorts is slated to open in April in Albuquerque’s Sawmill District. It’s just steps away from Hotel Albuquerque — a property that reflects Heritage’s more customary approach to development. Heritage built its existing nine-property portfolio by purchasing existing hotels and then remodeling and refashioning them in ways meant to better reflect New Mexico culture. Hotel Albuquerque, for example, was previously a Sheraton, while other investments have included a former Wyndham Garden, Radisson and Hilton.

But Hotel Chaco — a $40 million project according to estimates provided in an industrial revenue bonds application — is the result of years of thought, planning and design with global architectural behemoth Gensler.

“We had no idea how many thousands of decisions it takes every day to build a hotel of this caliber,” company President Adrian Perez said Thursday before a hard-hat tour of the five-story building that Klinger Constructors is working to complete.

Inspired by the ancient dwellings at Chaco canyon that still mystify experts and visitors alike, the hotel boasts a rounded lobby that guests will enter through vestibules featuring drum sounds, fire and water elements. Heritage has commissioned several Native artists from around New Mexico to create pieces for the common areas, like the lobby and the “chill room” off of the courtyard. All 118 guest rooms will have an original Navajo rug and Chaco photos but also thoroughly modern amenities like wifi via individual room IP addresses.

“The attempt will be to make this a 5-star hotel,” Perez said.

Chaco will share a pool with Hotel Albuquerque, but will have its own rooftop bar and lounge called Level 5 with nearly 360-degree views of the city. There is a fourth-floor hospitality suite meant for entertaining and a third-floor “presidential” suite with its own series of smaller inner-rooms, a fireplace and four balconies.

All told, there are nearly 30 different room designs within the property, according to Jason Cosyleon, Heritage’s vice president of design and development. They will have a relatively simple aesthetic meant to create a “clean, soothing, calming effect,” he said.

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