Living art in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
By Hope S. Philbrick
Native American art is one compelling reason to visit New Mexico: opportunities abound to see it, buy it, learn about its history and role in native culture. But once you’ve seen/bought/visited a few museums devoted to turquoise, pottery, sculpture, painting, beadwork, etc., what next?
Jump into a full immersion.
“Nativo Lodge showcases contemporary Native American artists,” says Maresa Thompson, senior marketing & creative director (a.k.a., corporate cowgirl) for Heritage Hotels & Resorts. “We know where Native American art was; this is where it’s going.”
Contemporary Native American artists’ stories are conveyed throughout the hotel via its architecture, design and décor, art and music. Most dramatically, however, they are showcased in the hotel’s innovative collection of artist guestrooms.
“We brought in contemporary street artists,” explains Thompson. Each artist was given free creative reign to paint a guestroom as a large-scale installation of his or her work. To date, eight rooms have been transformed by eight different artists, though plans are underway to add additional guestrooms by more artists to the collection.
Staying in one of the artist guestrooms at Nativo Lodge is a chance “to live inside a painting for awhile,” says Thompson. The work in these rooms is rooted in cultural traditions but expressed in modern ways that can surprise, awe, inspire, and invite contemplation.
Upon check-in, if you’ve reserved an artist guestroom or decide to upgrade to one at the last minute, you’ll be asked to choose among those that remain available. Though all are graphic, bold and bright, each room has a completely different vibe; plus furnishings vary, so some rooms have two queens while others have a king bed.
One room, Hózhó by Rhett Lynch, is credited with saving a marriage: Thompson says that a couple planning to divorce checked into that room, wound up staying awake all night talking about the art, and decided to stay married. That’s a powerful painting.
Each artist guestroom has a singular vibe. Having toured them all, my advice is to choose whichever one compels you on that particular day—and your preference will likely vary with future stays. On my initial visit I chose “Question: (Material) Culture” by Heidi Brandow; next time, I might opt for “Sunset’s Reflection” by Michelle Lowden, “All Direction Protection” by Randy Barton, “Keeva” by Ehren Kee Natay, or another option.
“The art is contemporary, but based in the artists’ native culture and infused with their spirituality,” says Thompson. The artwork conveys “a blessing for whoever sleeps in that room.”
Whether you stay up all night to appreciate the art or simply rediscover it upon waking in the morning, Nativo Lodge is where to reinvigorate your sensibilities.
- Nativo Lodge is conveniently located near major highways and offers easy access to contemporary urban Albuquerque
- Free Wi-Fi
- Free parking
- ADA accessible rooms available
- Pet friendly; $25/per pet per day, dogs under 50 pounds welcome
- Indoor/Outdoor pool available year-round
- Indoor whirlpool
- Lobby bar/lounge
- Fitness Center
- Business Center
- 21 Plus Salute! An adults-only hookah teepee is available outdoors near the pool
- Complimentary walking tours of Historic Old Town; meet at sister property Hotel Albuquerque on Saturdays @ 10 a.m. (available seasonally)
- Local Treasures discount brochure provided at check-in
- Rates from $89/night
- Odds of Encountering Children: Possible, but significantly lower than national chain hotels. Each Heritage Hotel offers special packages, most of which are aimed at adults.
Artist guestrooms are part of Heritage Hotels & Resort’s community partnership with the Southwest Association of Indian Arts.
6000 Pan American Fwy. NE
Albuquerque, NM 87109
With more than 300 days of sunshine annually and very low humidity, Albuquerque is a haven for outdoor adventures such as hiking, biking or horseback riding through the foothills or along mountain ridges.
– Photos © HSP Media LLC
Featured products, services and/or travel arrangements may have been complimentary in part or in full; this affords the research opportunity but does not sway opinion.