Santa Fe – The La Fonda Hotel

While I was in Santa Fe, The Artistic One and I visited the La Fonda Hotel a couple of times, the second time having lunch in their dining room.

I was interested in this hotel because The Author, the friend I visited in New York State last fall, is writing a book about Mary Jane Coulter, the early architect and designer who worked with the Fred Harvey Company in the first half of the 20th century (see her blog post ). Mary Coulter and architect John Gaw Meem worked on the La Fonda during its expansion in the 1920s (see more info at

The dining room
is surrounded by multi-pane doors and windows which Mary and her artist friend Olive Rush decided should be decorated with little paintings. Artist Ernest Martinez has painted 450 panes over several decades.

At the back of the picture of the dining room, you’ll notice a fireplace
which has a sand-colored frieze above it, designed by Mary Coulter.

There are other bits of her design remaining in the hotel (since remodeled), one of which is the fireplace below
I excused myself to the women chatting around this fireplace as I took the picture, explaining that it was designed by architect and designer Mary Coulter and I wanted a photo to share with my friend who is writing a book about her. I was able to speak with authority – very little authority, but thank you, The Author, for that gift.

Mary also played a large part in designing what is now the French Pastry Shop, including the tinwork for the light fixtures and the chandelier (I apologize – it is hard to see in the photo, blending with the ceiling beams as it does).

The final photo is of the Lady’s restroom – I don’t know if Mary had anything to do with this design, although I could see her playing a part with the light fixture tinwork in here – but I liked the colorful tiles and ambience of this room.

And thank you, Artistic One, for humoring my interest in this hotel, and for the delicious lunch (one of many we had while I was there)!

About Carol

I'm me - nothing unusual, just me. Widowed, 2 grown children who are my best friends, 1 dog, retired, loving being retired. I am woman, I am strong.
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11 Responses to Santa Fe – The La Fonda Hotel

  1. Ohhhhhhhhh man-oh-man — what a gorgeous place! Thank you for sharing the photos. I love that the dining room shares space with trees!


  2. loisajay says:

    Wow–this is a gorgeous place! The painted panes are lovely and when the ladies room warrants photographs….you know you have a winner!


  3. lakeafton says:

    Thanks for your comments. I’m so glad you got to go there and have lunch. If Mary didn’t design the rest room, I’m certain she’d approve of it.


  4. That lunch looks delicious. I wish I knew what it was, so my mouth could water even more! This hotel looks lovely. I love those painted mini-panes and the tiles in the bathroom, as well as the fireplace. Lovely, Carole. 🙂


  5. Robin says:

    Oh wow! What a gorgeous place to have lunch. I would want to go back a few times, too. That has to be one of the best looking Lady’s restroom I’ve ever seen.


  6. suzicate says:

    Wow, gorgeous!


  7. It is always a treat to visit La Fonda. Their most recent updates have been lovely – only improving the space and adding more light. Did you make it up to the rooftop bar? The view at sunset is terrific.


  8. jay53 says:

    I haven’t met quite this type of interior decor anywhere else but America, not that I’m that well-travelled really, so there could be other places in the world. It’s a very warm, welcoming type of thing, and this is a great example. I love the fireplace, but I think those little painted windows have to be my favourite thing!


    • Carol says:

      It’s a very southwestern Judy. Mary Coulter was one of the first architects to break with the European style of architecture.

      Sent from my iPad



  9. Lisa says:

    I’m still wondering how in the world I missed this hotel when I was there? Love the shots you chose…especially the multi-pane doors and windows with the paintings on it. Wow!


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