Ichabod's Kin
A place for politics, pop culture, and social issues

Cents and Nonsense in Santa Fe

I write at times about travel on large and medium budgets, and recently ventured to see what a modest one could bring in Santa Fe.

First, I’d rather take a beating than to fly as a means of travel. Once the best of options for all reasons, it is now so for only one: time. All else is stressful and upsetting, from the waiting, schedule changes (and panic of whether you will make the connecting flight), and less comfortable seats because more of them enhance airline profits.

Though once rumored that Southwest Airlines would offer seat assignments, boarding remains a scramble. Individual travelers somehow manage always to get in the “A” and “B” lines and, once boarded, quickly spread out so that couples (and heaven forfend you’re a family) must seat separately.

I have often traveled alone and, under such circumstances, gave up even assigned seats on other airlines so couples can be together while I squeeze into a middle seat between passengers large, loud and at times odoriferous. It’s only for a couple of hours and not life-altering in the big scheme of things, but be advised that few others will make such sacrifice for me or you.

Yes, I know about emailing Southwest the day before and upping one’s boarding category, but in the rush of tying up loose ends before a pleasure trip, such does not always come to mind, whereas business travelers do it as part of a prior work day–or have company secretaries do it for them.

Testing a limited budget on a short (five-day) trip to Santa Fe, we used discounted tickets from an elective “bumping” on a previous Southwest flight. This requires a direct call to the airline and risks a poor outcome. Ours included both a connecting flight and, per last minute notification, stops near the nation’s capital in both directions. Apparently, should you be on your way to hell on Southwest Air, you’d have to go through Baltimore. Thankfully, from Albuquerque, there is an extremely low-priced, modern and comfy train to the capital.

Our reservations in Santa Fe were pricier than preferred and our
tired arrival at the Inn on the Paseo turned an already inconvenient trip into a bit of a nightmare. Theirs is a late check-in (4 p.m.) and we arrived early. Big deal: most hotels and motels cordially take your luggage if there is a wait, or accommodate you anyway . But the Inn desk was unattended and we phoned from the porch to advise that we were on site but not in a hurry, and would wait patiently on the shade of the porch.

Suddenly the innkeeper appeared and not in a happy state. She considered our pre-4 p.m. presence an imposition, and although our reservation was for a “DeLuxe (King) Studio” we were banished to a lesser one with the excuse that we did not have a “reservation” but a “request,” regardless of our printed confirmation.

Two of the room’s lights were out, the fireplace did not work as directed, nor did the hair dryer. As other guests departed, we were not offered the courtesy of the promised suite. Other roomers, including a middle-aged biking group, realized that their room prices varied from full to half price. Another couple got our room, and for half the freight.

To control budget we did not rent a car but used the free shuttle services of the Hotel Santa Fe (where we wished we had stayed) to certain destinations. We also enjoyed one of our best meals there and all services and requests were met with courtesy and in timely fashion. Otherwise we used “shoe leather express” to and from the plaza and up and down Canyon Road where good galleries and restaurants abound.

Reasonable lunch and dining prices can be found in certain places on the Plaza for eat-in or take out–or on its corner where a cook-stand has quite tasty fajitas and tamales for enjoyment on nearby benches. We set aside two meals for more sumptuous dining and were not disappointed: El Farol and The Compound, both on Canyon Road.

Regrettably, our budget was “busted” by the excessive charge for disappointing accommodations at Inn on the Paseo, and we shall not soon forget joyless Joylene the innkeeper. It didn’t help that others on the shuttle raved about their various accommodations elsewhere, including gracious assistance.

Not being the vindictive sort, I do not recommend that travelers avoid the Inn on the Paseo; but if overpricing, downsizing of room without notice or price adjustment, and rude treatment are your cup of tea, it could be just the place for you.

Inn on the Paseo does not deserve its listing in the AAA directory, and is part of a consortium connected with the Hotel Santa Fe, which should be more careful with whom it associates. They have been notified, as will be AAA. Travel writers are duty-bound to warn others of unpleasant experiences by those who precede them.

In this case, be forewarned.

2 Responses to “Cents and Nonsense in Santa Fe”

  1. I will warn my daughter and granddaughter. They are the travelers. I really enjoy reading whatever you write. I wish I had that talent.

  2. get top quality information on read this post here anywhere

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