Accessible Excellence: A review of The Hyatt Regency Tamaya resort and spa
The Hyatt Regency Tamaya is located just off Interstate 25 between Albuquerque and Santa Fe, New Mexico. My wife and I along with my guide dog Fauna recently visited this unique southwestern-themed retreat for a conference. The resort promised an authentic journey into the ancient lands of the Tamayame people on its 550 acres of the Native American Santa Ana Pueblo nestled between the Sandia Mountains and the Rio Grande River. How was the accessibility of this unique luxury resort?
Hotel/Resort: Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort and Spa
Location: 1300 Tuyuna Trail, Santa Ana Pueblo, New Mexico
The Hyatt Regency Tamaya features 350 guestrooms and suites with an authentically unique and comfortable southwestern feel. My family is of native descent, from Oklahoma and I have to say I felt very comfortable here.
Getting to the resort from our hometown of Denver was straightforward, but a bit odd. After turning off Interstate 25, we tool a right after the Santa Ana Casino, entering the reserve. The resort was on 79,000 acres of the Santa Ana Pueblo, a local community that traces its roots back to the 16th century. There was little signage until you reached the front of the resort.
We parked, and upon entering the front doors of the lobby, were greeted with all manner of authentic southwestern décor, soothing flute music and beautiful views of the Sandia Mountains through the floor-to-ceiling windows in the lobby. The check-in desk is located down the main hall to the right of the main entrance, and we were welcomed by friendly and personable staff.
Rooms were easy to find with elevator access, and for those with mobility restrictions, the rooms were spacious and had ample clearance to maneuver a wheelchair. We stayed in a standard King room, and had the chance to peek into one of the handicap rooms which had standard door widths for easy access and even more room to maneuver in.
Past the check-in desk are a few stairs down and an exit door to the central area where the pool and outdoor dining are located. We were at the resort off season so the only pool that was open was the main plaza pool.
One of the first things I noticed when entering the resort were the multitude of interesting smells, which varied from location to location throughout the property. In the lobby areas, fitness areas, spa and outside dining areas were a variety of different incense, all of which were pleasant but not overpowering. The body wash, lotion and shampoo in the rooms were also southwestern-themed scented and were a subtle match to the rest of the smells and theme of the resort. I always mention the smells of a property if they stand out to me, as I know many blind and visually impaired travelers like myself have an enhanced sense of smell. I found all the different smells added to the enjoyable ambiance of the resort.
The first night we stayed at the Tamaya resort, we ate at the casual, pub-style dining option, the Rio Grande Lounge. The lounge is located just off the central common area of the property and is open daily from 4pm to 12am. The offerings included a variety of craft cocktails (be sure to try the signature Green Chile-Rita) and bar food with a Southwest twist. I recommend the nachos topped with brisket and the green chili burgers; both were great.
We had breakfast a couple times in the Santa Ana Café which was very good and featured some great authentic cuisine. Portions were generous and of note were the Azteca Chia Bowl and the Tamaya Blue Corn Pancakes which I found interesting and flavorful.
The resort features quite a few fun and interesting cultural activities. We attended an evening fire storytelling session which was great and well-rehearsed. There was also a bread making lecture/experience which explained the way the bread for the resort is made and allowed guests to knead the dough. After the bread experience, guests could meet up in the lobby to taste the fresh baked bread with some locally sourced jams and jellies. A recipe for the bread was provided during the experience which we have used for several family gatherings. This was a cool introduction to the native culture.
There always seems to be something interesting going on at the resort, so be sure to check the “Tamaya Times” which you will be given at check-in. It will detail all the activities, including the times, location and if there is an additional fee required to attend. I spoke to a few of the guests who said they enjoyed the horseback riding at the Tamaya stables, but I did not partake. It should also be noted that there is a section of the in-room television dedicated to the ongoing activities at the resort.
The Hyatt Regency Tamaya is a dog friendly resort. There is a $150 dog charge with option for an additional fee of $25 for one additional dog in the same room, maximum of 2 dogs per room. I mention this specifically for those who are guide dog users that there tends to be other dogs roaming around with their owners, especially in the lobby area. There was never an issue with dogs interacting with my guide during our stay, and all dogs we encountered were on leash and in control. We did see a few dogs while at the resort, but there were never any times when barking or other nuisance activity were an issue in any way.
The staff at the Tamaya resort were all very respectful of a working Guide dog. My guide wears a sign asking people to ignore her, but it did not seem necessary as the staff were adept at knowing not to interact with her – well done. We had a second-floor room which was a short walk down a set of stairs to access the central outside area of the hotel where there was plenty of grass for relieving. Waste bags were not provided, but there were plenty of trash cans around to dispose of waste. Next time we visit, we will request one of the rooms that is on the lower floor, as most that opened to the central area had convenient access to grass right outside the sliding glass doors of the rooms. I’d also like to note that all of the staff that I interacted with during our stay seemed to be genuinely willing to help me find my way to amenities or other locations on the property.
In terms of mobility restricted accessibility, the Registration Desk, Restaurants, Fitness Center/Exercise Facilities, Concierge Desk, Public Restrooms, Swimming Pool, and Business Center all seemed very accessible for guests with wheelchairs or other mobility assistance devices.
Tamaya Mist Spa
While my wife was in her conference one of the days, I chose to visit the spa for a relaxing massage. Anyone who uses a guide dog knows that this can be a challenging experience for a guide, especially when the massage practitioner opts to interact with the guide during the massage. I’m happy to say that my practitioner was very respectful of the dog being in the room and we had no issues at all. Just let them know ahead of time that there will be a guide dog accompanying you.
The spa facilities were outstanding, split into male-only and female-only, clothing-optional sections for pre- and post-treatment care. The male side included an outdoor, walled soaking pool. The staff was very helpful and always asked if they could assist with finding the lockers and leading me to, and explaining the facilities – well done.
The Hyatt Regency Tamaya has received our highest rating for accessibility. They really seem to “get it” when it comes to providing services for physically, visually, and hearing-impaired guests. I found this very refreshing and shows that the staff training across the board from the spa personnel to the concierge and reception staff understand the needs of their disabled guests. Moreover, the property is beautiful, and provides a unique and authentic Native American and southwestern experience. Shortly after we arrived home from our visit, we were planning our next trip back to the Tamaya resort.
Things to know
Phone: +1 505 867 1234
Location: Santa Ana Pueblo, NM
Hotel Class: 4 star
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About the author
Ted Tahquechi is a blind photographer, travel influencer, disability advocate and photo educator based in Denver, Colorado. You can see more of Ted’s work at www.tahquechi.com
Ted operates Blind Travels, a travel blog designed specifically to empower blind and visually impaired travelers. https://www.blindtravels.com/
Ted’s body-positive Landscapes of the Body project has been shown all over the world, learn more about this intriguing collection of photographic work at: https://www.bodyscapes.photography/
Questions or comments? Feel free to email Ted at: firstname.lastname@example.org