Originally published in Taos Summer Guide, a Taos News publication
Casa Gallina: rustic charm meets comfort
When guests arrive at Casa Gallina for a stay in one of its five cozy casitas, they can expect to be welcomed by a bottle of wine and a tray of ham, cheese, olives and other hors-d’oeuvres prepared by proprietor Richard Spera, who has created a charming nest for the visitors.
Casa Gallina is an “artisan inn” which offers with Fair Trade certified products like coffee, soaps and chocolates. The kitchen is stocked with USDA certified organic ingredients and local products, and the grounds are often watered by a nearby acequia.
The property is only a five minute drive to Taos Plaza.
All the casitas boast splendid views of Taos Mountain. They are decorated with art, antiques, and furnishings by local artists—a few pieces are also available for sale. They all have a fully equipped kitchen and a Kiva fireplace or wood burning stove.
“Each casita has a wireless laptop computer, high-speed WiFi, satellite TV, DVD player, and a music and speaker system,” said Spera. “This is indeed a pastoral setting but you’ll still be connected to the world.”
Guests are encouraged to pick from the herb and vegetable gardens—carrot, celery, spinach and many other fresh veggies will be available this summer. There are strawberry and raspberry patches and two apple orchards.
Las gallinas de la casa —the hens of the house
The “girls” (the hens that lend its name to the property) inhabit an ample chicken coop in the yard. They provide eggs every morning —in exchange, they are happy to feast on scraps offered by the guests.
“Leftovers from the restaurants are their favorites,” Spera said.
The flock started with just six chickens and keeps getting larger each spring. There are now over thirty happy and healthy hens presided over by Big Daddy, an Araucana / Rhode Island red rooster.
The studio—a communal space
Spera recently opened a studio at Casa Gallina, a stunningly beautiful space with a wood floor. It can hold between ten and twenty people.
“We had been having more gatherings and retreats here so I realized that I needed a communal space to do group work in,” Spera said. “Every week we use it for tango classes and yoga sessions. It also makes Casa Gallina a great destination to host small workshops or retreats.”
He will be hosting yoga, meditation and women retreats, as well as tango workshops. In the meantime, complimentary yoga classes are offered to all the Casa Gallina guests, courtesy of the house and Shree Yoga Studio.
Palacio de Marquesa—a homage to remarkable women of Taos
Palacio de Marquesa, formerly Casa de las Chimeneas, is just an easy walk from Taos Plaza.
Each one of its eight rooms has a unique identity. They were named after famous women artists who once made Taos their home—Martha Reed, Georgia O’Keeffe, Gene Kloss, Mabel Dodge Lujan, Agnes Martin, Dorothy Brett, and Millicent Rogers, with two rooms dedicated to her—the Socialite Suites I and II.
The iconic ladies became the inspiration for interior designer Adriana Long, who, while keeping the inn’s southwestern charm and original New Mexico art, also added contemporary touches like walk-in marble showers, heated floors, and flat screen TVs to every room.
“We offer our guests the best of two worlds,” said Palacio de Marquesa resident general manager Chad Ozment. “We also have a beautifully landscaped high-desert garden, with trees, fountains and plenty of places to sit and relax.”
Palacio de Marquesa is a romantic getaway. It was chosen among the twenty-five best honeymoon resorts under $200 a night by Destination Wedding Magazine.
Guests get to enjoy a gourmet, made-to-order breakfast in the community room or delivered to their room—in a basket.
Spa services like Reiki, Swedish and therapeutic massages are available too.
In case you are traveling with four-legged companions, Palacio de Marquesa is a pet friendly place.
Palacio de Marquesa is in partnership with several local businesses. Through the “Local Treasures” program guests get a discount coupon card good for fifteen percent off many restaurants, like The Gorge restaurant and Martyrs Steakhouse, as well as shops, galleries and other attractions.
They also offer a New Mexico resident discount and a number of packages.
“Out Museum of Taos Package includes tickets to five museums and allows visitors to explore the town’s rich cultural past,” Ozment said. “For those who love the great outdoors, Lunch with a Llama Wilderness Experience is a must have. The llama carries all the gear and a gourmet lunch is prepared right on the trek. Whatever you decide to do, here at Palacio de Marquesa we will help you create lasting memories of your stay in Taos.”
Casa Gallina is located at 609/613 Callejon, Taos, New Mexico
Palacio de Marquesa is located at 405 Cordoba Road.
Phones: 575-758-4777 and 855-846-8267