Rustic charm meets simple sophistication in this new boutique hotel
By David Lerner
The Desert Flower hotel is a welcome and overdue addition to Taos’ boutique hotel scene. While no one hotel can be all things to all guests, the Desert Flower comes fairly close, filling an important niche previously lacking in the town’s small but competitive hospitality ecosystem.
Desert Flower is the type of establishment locals can confidently recommend to friends who gravitate towards design-oriented hotels like the El Rey Court in Santa Fe and the Ace Hotel. At the same time, Desert Flower’s seven rooms — two of which feature gorgeous copper soaking tubs — offer refinement and luxury at a price that’s accessible to most travelers.
Desert Flower is the brainchild of husband-and-wife team Jody and Xochitl Wodrich and reflects the couple’s blend of sophisticated, cosmopolitan vibes and authentic Northern New Mexican charm. According to Jody, “I’ve traveled to 96 different countries for my former work in marketing.
I’ve seen so many hotels, from the five-stars to the smaller hotels, and there are the things that you stop and notice. We made sure we had those types of amenities, whether it’s the high-quality bedding, pillows and sheets, or the deluxe, puffy towels. You know, things that make you say, ‘Oh, this is nice. This feels good.’” Xochitl was born in Albuquerque and spent time in Las Vegas. In addition to her New Mexico roots, she brings years of experience as a buyer in the fashion industry.
Jody and Xochitl’s story began in 2001 when they met on the porch of a mutual friend’s house. The two became fast friends and eventually started dating. Today, the couple are married with three boys, all of whom help with the hotel, making the Desert Flower a true “mom and pop” business.
Their oldest son planted the trees that will someday provide fruit for guests to pick. The couple also plans to sell homemade jams and preserves on premises once the fruit trees mature.
Jody and Xochitl’s original idea was to open a glamping site on NM 110; however, many neighbors expressed concerns, and the project grew contentious. Whereas others might have been discouraged, the Wodriches took everything in stride. “Honestly, it was a blessing to get so much feedback,” Xochitl says, “because we learned so much about the community, their needs and their concerns about growth and sustainability.”
Plans for the Desert Flower hotel began when the couple drove by the vacant property on NM 68. Jody drew up a blueprint that added privacy to the classic roadside motel concept. After extensive renovations, Desert Flower became what it is today: an old adobe building with thick walls and vigas ceilings, but with a sleek, modern look.
Jody recalls working long days, putting in “sweat equity” beside his team of local contractors. “Everything in the hotel you can’t see had to be redone,” Jody notes. The hotel only has seven rooms, but each one is themed.
The Encanto Room pays homage to the moody blue hues of Anita Rodriguez, whose original artwork can be viewed on-site alongside work by other local artists such as Alex Chavez. The couple also planted vegetables and domesticated chickens, so guests can enjoy farm-fresh eggs and salsas.
Jody and Xochitl are excited about this summer’s upcoming guest chef program, which will spotlight Indigenous chefs and local culinary talent. Live music by the fire pit is also on the agenda. The hotel now has a beer and wine license, so guests can enjoy a drink and charcuterie in the courtyard. Prospective guests are advised to book early.
“We felt like so many places nowadays are just about in-and-out, just here’s a place to sleep — get in, get out, move on,” Jody said. “We really wanted to create a place that gives people an experience.”
Desert Flower 4035 NM 68, Ranchos de Taos 818-398-7799 desertflowerhotel.com