‘Really give it a soul’
Jim Long, new El Monte Sagrado owner, talks about this Taos treasure
Jim Long is the CEO of Heritage Hotels and Resorts, which purchased Taos’ 84-room luxury hotel El Monte Sagrado Resort and Spa in 2015. El Monte Sagrado was built at a price tag of $70 million. The resort was constructed in 2003 and significantly expanded in 2007 under previous owner Kessler. Enterprises, Inc. of Florida.
Long is a 12th generation New Mexican. He grew up in Albuquerque and studied architecture at the University of New Mexico. In the mid-’80s he started a company called American Property that morphed into several successful companies, one of which became a hotel company. In 2005, he formed Heritage Hotels.
“I really wanted a company that could show the distinct culture of New Mexico through its architecture, decoration, the art, the cuisine, entertainment, landscape,” he told The Taos News in 2015. “We wanted to celebrate all that but we couldn’t do it through a national chain, so we basically had to create a hotel company to do that. This is our ninth hotel (Heritage Hotels now has 10 properties and Hotel Chaco opens in April 2017). We focus on the cultural corridor, so from Las Cruces to Taos. This property bookends our property down south with a strong presence in Albuquerque and Santa Fe.”
El Monte Sagrado is a very special property. It sits on very sacred earth. Those are aspects of the property that Long embraces:
“We want to reconnect [El Monte] in a stronger way to the Taos community and to Taos Pueblo. I don’t know exactly what direction we are going to take with this hotel, but I know this property will be more community oriented than it was in recent times.
“It’s really one of the most beautiful hotels in all of New Mexico. You have had two interesting owners in the past. They did a marvelous job creating a very unique place in New Mexico. Honestly, we can’t improve on what they did. But we can add another level of experience to this property, really give it a soul, an expression that truly reflects this place.”
Heritage Hotels and Resorts also owns the eight-room Palacio de Marquesa on Cordoba Lane in Taos, which was acquired in 2013 and renovated in 2014.
“El Monte Sagrado and Palacio de Marquesa will work in tandem to attract leisure travelers, weddings and groups to Taos,” a Heritage Hotels spokesperson wrote via email. “El Monte will be able to handle overflow when [Palacio de Marquesa] is sold out and vice versa. The two properties will explore sharing other resources as well.”
Palacio de Marquesa’s cultural partner is Taos’ Harwood Museum of Art. They have formed a partnership that provides cash and in-kind donations to the museum as well as marketing and public relations partnerships. Since El Monte is fairly new in the collection, they will be exploring appropriate cultural partners for that property in the near future.
As for what’s new this winter season at El Monte Sagrado, “Corporate Cowgirl” Maresa Thompson, senior communications and creative director for Heritage Hotels and Resorts, divulged that the menu for De La Tierra restaurant has been redeveloped with input from world-renowned chef Mark Miller of Santa Fe’s Coyote Cafe. The new menu is being rolled out this winter.
Also, two-time Grammy award winner Robert Mirabal (from Taos Pueblo) will continue his performances on property. The intensity of his music and theatrical performances have given him the description “Native American “Renaissance man” as he is not only a musician and composer but, a painter, master craftsman, poet, actor, screenwriter, horseman and farmer. These exclusive performances are inspired by Pueblo agriculture and will feature music, dance, theater and special guests in a celebration of life.
For more hotel information and for Mirabal’s winter performance schedule and ticket information, call El Monte Sagrado at 575-758-3502 or visit elmontesagrado.com.
— Staff report