THE BEST WAY TO SANTA FE
From LAX, Southwest and United offer nonstop service, and US Airways, Delta, Frontier, Southwest and United offer connecting service (change of planes) to Albuquerque, which is about 60 miles from Santa Fe. Restricted round-trip fares begin at $218. Since late 2009 American Eagle has been offering one daily nonstop flight between LAX and Santa Fe Municipal Airport. The flight takes about 1 hour and 50 minutes. The jet, an Embraer ERJ-140, seats 44 passengers. Restricted round-trip fares begin at $210.
WHERE TO SLEEP
St. Francis Hotel, 210 Don Gaspar Ave.; (505) 983-5700, http://www.hotelstfrancis.com. Renovated in late 2009, stands one block from the plaza and has 80 rooms. Great atmosphere, including big candles in the lobby, a porch for perusing the paper and historic photos in the hallways upstairs. But be warned that some of its "traditional queen rooms" are small, with no room for a table and chair. Doubles from $159.
El Rey Inn, 1862 Cerrillos Road, (505) 982-1931, http://www.elreyinnsantafe.com, which dates to the 1936, sprawls over 5 acres, with pool and grassy areas for kids. Its 86 units are decorated in old school low-budget style. Doubles from $99.
Inn of the Anasazi, 113 Washington Ave.; (505) 988-3030, http://www.innoftheanasazi.com. Rich Southwestern atmosphere, including exposed wooden beams and colorful textiles. About a block from the plaza and run by the upscale Rosewood chain. It has 58 rooms, including a few with kiva fireplaces. Doubles from $250.
Hyatt Place, 4320 Cerrillos Road., (505) 474-7777, http://www.santafe.place.hyatt.com, sits midway between downtown and Santa Fe's little airport. It opened in spring behind a gas station in the commercial-strip hinterlands, about 15 minutes' drive from the plaza. And it's mostly aimed at business travelers. But the rooms are spacious and practical, breakfast is free, there's an indoor pool and prices are competitive. Ninety-two rooms. Doubles from $139.
WHERE TO EAT
Restaurant Martín, 526 Galisteo St.; (505) 820-0919, http://www.restaurantmartinsantafe.com. Fancy food in a rehabbed old home about a quarter-mile from the plaza. Opened in late 2009 and popular with well-heeled locals. I liked the grilled pork striploin. Lunch/brunch and dinner, Tuesdays through Sundays. Dinner entrees $19-$30.
Vinaigrette, 709 Don Cubero Alley; (505) 820-9205, http://www.vinaigretteonline.com. Salad is king at this bistro, though you can add beef, chicken, duck, pork, tuna or scallops. Bustling dining room and patio with blond-wood tables and red metal chairs. About four blocks from the plaza. Lunch, dinner. Mondays through Saturdays. Many greens come from the owner's organic farm outside town. Salads/entrees $7.95-$15.95.
Max's, 403½ S. Guadalupe St.; (505) 984-9104, http://www.maxssantafe.com. In a tiny, casual space (dining room and patio) recently arrived chef Mark Connell delivers highfalutin' American cuisine with overtones of molecular gastronomy. I liked the corn soup with pork-belly croutons. Dinner only. Tuesdays through Saturdays. Dinner entrees $19-$31.
TO LEARN MORE
New Mexico Tourism Department, http://www.newmexico.org