Eldorado Hotel 309 West San Francisco St.; 800/955-4455 or 505/988-4455; rooms for four $269. This 219-room hotel in the historic district is less like an adobe house than most. Still, each guest room is comfortable, and many include wood-burning kiva fireplaces. Rooms facing east, toward town, have great views.
Bishop's Lodge Bishop's Lodge Rd.; 800/732-2240 or 505/983-6377; doubles from $280. A summerlong program for children five and up ($40 per day) makes this sophisticated full-service resort ideal. Without ever leaving the 450-acre property they can ride ponies, play tennis, go on nature walks, fish a stocked trout pond, and do arts-and-crafts. The playground has all the usual climbing and playing structures, as well as a tepee and a giant sandbox. And the rooms are a smart, contemporary take on Southwestern style.
BEST VALUE Hotel St. Francis 210 Don Gaspar Ave.; 800/529-5700 or 505/983-5700; doubles from $220. The only major hotel in town decorated in a European style, the St. Francis sits a block south of the Plaza. The 83 rooms are furnished with a mix of Victorian-style floral fabrics and early-20th-century brass and iron beds. The red-tiled lobby is one of the most pleasant places to take a break in Santa Fe, under a 20-foot ceiling.
local kids' favorites
Mary Bessone, age 10 "The Santa Fe Ski Area is a great place to hike in the spring and summer. You can take the chairlift down. And if you have any old people with you, they can take it up, too.
"We went rafting last year at Chama River, north of Santa Fe. Mostly it was pretty calm. But whenever we went over rapids, all the kids had to sit in the middle.
"Beyond Waves sports shop near the Plaza is good for skateboarding and snowboarding stuff.
"We hike in the wilderness area of Eldorado, and in Aspen Vista — that's up in the national forest."
Ivy Mueller, age 11 "I like Tidbits [227 Don Gaspar] for the Betty Boop postcards and alarm clocks, and going to Señor Murphy's, in the same building as La Fonda hotel, for caramel apples."
Dylan Marshall, age 8 "I like the De Vargas skateboard park because when I do holes or ramps or grinds, the teenagers say, 'Oh, cool, dude!' "
Kassie Marshall, age 11 "I like all the art museums. I want to be an artist or a photographer, and they give me ideas of what to paint and stuff."
Peter Bessone, age 8 "Take the tram in Albuquerque on your way home. It's a long ride — like twenty minutes. I saw two deer, a bear, ten chipmunks, and a squirrel."