Most of the casitas include fireplaces, hot tubs, and private gardens. Each has its own native identity and décor, using themes both local (Vaquero, Geronimo, Rio Grande) and global (Tribal contains African masks; acarved teak panel hangs in Marrakech). Worrell also commissioned noted Taos artists to embellish three casitas.
The Rejuvenation Center draws on another local resource: intuitive healers. Like Sedona, Arizona, Taos is an "energy center," so this four-room spa specializes in transformative services like Life-Reading Massage and Reiki. Sure, there are straightforward facials and manicures for skeptics, but it would be a shame to miss an appointment with Claudia, who conducts a Rapid Eye Technology session that uses light therapy to counter stress. Students of cultural pluralism can also visit Agama Path, Worrell's spiritual center near the town square, to explore Native American and other indigenous traditions from around the world.
El Monte's devotion to self-sustainability extends to its kitchen, supplied with seasonal fruits and vegetables from the property's organic garden, and yak (which have less-invasive grazing habits than cattle) from Worrell's nearby ranch. The dinner menu at De La Tierra has a Southwestern flavor: chipotle peppers, fresh salsas, blue corn meal, yak chile.
Worrell hopes to show future developers that creature comforts don't have to be sacrificed for clean living. Natural disasters like the Sangre de Cristo inferno are impossible to predict. More sensitive resorts like El Monte Sagrado may cause man-made catastrophes to become more easily avoidable.
El Monte Sagrado Living Resort & Rejuvenation Center, 317 Kit Carson Rd., Taos; 800/828-8267 or 505/758-3502; www.elmontesagrado.com; doubles from $345.
SHANE MITCHELL is a regular contributor to Travel + Leisure.