Fodor's Expert Review Canon del Rio Retreat & Spa

16445 NM 4, Jemez Springs, New Mexico 87025, USA See on Map

If you're visiting Santa Fe, this peaceful and beautifully designed miniature spa retreat is pretty far off the beaten path, but it's an absolutely lovely place to stay, enjoy a wide range of treatments, or soak in the pool, hot tub, or river that runs right through the property. It's a memorable base camp, and although the drive to Santa Fe takes about 90 minutes, it's through gorgeous countryside, and attractions like Jemez State Monument, Valles Caldera National Preserve, Bandelier National Monument, and the museums of Los Alamos are along the way.

YOU SHOULD KNOW This inn is located in a tiny and somewhat remote town with few local services, so it's a good idea to stock up on anything you need in Santa Fe or Albuquerque, before you arrive.


The five warmly appointed rooms at this serene spa B&B open to a zen garden that's as beautiful in winter when covered in snow as in summer when abloom with flowers—you'll also be treated to stupendous views of the surrounding mountains. All of them have tile floors, soft lighting, wood pitched ceilings, and Southwestern artwork. They're uncluttered and relaxing, befitting the property's overall vibe.


Each room has a simple but attractive private bath with Mexican-style counters and eco-friendly bath products.


Guests can relax in a spacious Great Room with a high, cathedral ceiling, tall windows with expansive views of the garden and mountains, a long dining table where breakfast is served, Southwestern and contemporary artwork from the on-site gallery, and plenty of comfortable seating.


The inn has a large rectangular pool fringed by a large patio and an expansive green lawn—views from here of the mountains are magnificent. There's also a hot tub that's especially nice for stargazing in the evening. But arguably the most magical spot for a swim is in the pristine, spring-fed Jemez River, which runs right through the property.


The small but well-appointed full-service spa has two well-designed, relaxing treatment rooms. The spa menu offers 30-, 60-, and 90-minute massage options, plus hydration wraps, salt glows, mud wraps, hot-stone treatments, facials, and more.

Check the website for spa and B&B packages, which can represent a terrific value.


In the morning, sumptuous hot breakfasts featuring fresh-baked pastries, breads, and savory fare, are served at the long dining table in the Great Room.


There's no bar on the property, but the grounds and the Great Room are both lovely spots to enjoy your own glass of wine. Just be sure to pick up supplies before you get here, as Jemez Springs has only a very small grocery-liquor store.


Getting Around

For visitors to the Santa Fe region, Canon del Rio is somewhat off the beaten path—it's set in a small town along a scenic state road in the Jemez Mountains, and you'll need a car to get here and to explore the area.


At sunny and bright Highway 4 Coffee (3-minute drive) you'll find tasty espresso drinks along with light breakfast and lunch fare, from quiche to fresh-baked breads to panini sandwiches. An excellent stop if you're planning a day trip to Bandelier National Monument near Los Alamos, the Pig + Fig Bakery & Cafe (1-hour drive) serves well-crafted modern gastropub fare, including breakfast sandwiches in the morning and Kobe beef sliders with manchego cheese and and the signature hot pig and fig sandwich (with honey-cured ham, Brie, and fig jam) later in the day. There's a nice beer and wine list, too.


In a historic building in the heart of tiny Jemez Springs, Los Ojos Restaurant and Saloon (3-minute drive) is a funky, bric-a-brac-filled tavern that's good fun for grabbing a beer or a stiff drink and soaking up the town's local vibe. You can sample some of the oldest and most acclaimed wines in the state in the tasting room of Ponderosa Valley Vineyards (20-minute drive). Keep in mind that this is a daytime activity, as the tasting room closes at 5 pm.


Canon del Rio is an intimate, charming little spa retreat that's well off the beaten path, which is exactly what's special about it—it's almost impossible not to relax here, especially when you take in the surrounding mountains views. Rooms are comfortable and warmly furnished, but the top draws here are the spa treatments, pool, hot tub, and gurgling river.



Phones: 575-829-4377

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