Downtown, close to Canyon Road galleries and famed museums (Georgia O'Keeffe Museum, Museum of International Folk Art, among others), are elegant choices such as Hotel Loretto de Santa Fe (800-727-5531), Inn of the Anasazi (800-688-8100), La Posada Resort & Spa (800-727-5276) and the restful Inn on the Alameda (888-984-2121), where the savory breakfast buffet and sunny courtyard rooms beckon. My favorite is Las Palomas, a small inn run by the Eldorado Hotel (800-955-4455) that boasts casitas (little homes) with big leather couches, fireplaces, kitchens, porches with rockers and, yes, a golf-hip office manager.
If you don't eat well here, you're not trying. Mornings, try the artsy Cloud Cliff Bakery & Café (505-983-6254), get news and bagels at Downtown Subscription (505-983-3085) or inhale breadstuffs at Sage Bakehouse (505-820-7243). For Mexican, try Bert's La Taqueria (505-474-0791), Felipe's Tacos (505-473-9397) or La Choza (505-982-0909); for authentic Mexican seafood, head to Mariscos La Playa (505-982-2790), where Chihuahuan masons mix with performance artists over shark, octopus and sea trout. There's great pizza at Il Vicino (505-986-8700), and for hearty red meat try the atmospheric Cowgirl BBQ & Western Grill (505-982-2565) or Steaksmith at El Gancho (505-988-3333).
A quick golf primer: Expect bent grass and bluegrass everywhere. Weather permitting, most courses are open all year (except Paa-Ko Ridge), but call ahead. Spring sometimes brings high winds, and sudden storms are common in summer. Because of the altitude, bring sunblock, lip balm and water.
At night, trust the Santa Fe Reporter and its fine free guide, the Annual Manual. Best nightclub: easily, the Paramount (505-982-8999), where the likes of Dar Williams and Cubanismo play. El Farol (505-983-9912) features local bands, and for nostalgic rockers, try the Camel Rock Casino (800-462-2635) on the Tesuque Pueblo just north of town, where you might find Tower of Power or the Everly Brothers. Three Pueblo-run casinos are also within a half hour's drive.