One day while working as the Director of the Chimayo Museum, I had a visit from Jim Long, CEO of Heritage Hotels and Resorts, and his lovely wife. I spoke to them about our rich history and culture in Chimayo and what I felt was needed to be done to continue preserving the history and culture. Immediately, I could see the great interest Mr. Long had in what I was telling him. I gave him a tour of the museum, the Oratorio and of the Plaza del Cerro. From this visit, Mr. Long created the idea of renovating the Hotel Plaza Real into the Hotel Chimayo de Santa Fe.

From the very beginning, Mr. Long was concerned about what impact this would have on the community and how the community would feel about this endeavor. I set up a meeting with the board of the Chimayo Cultural Preservation Association. He presented his proposal to the board and they were very supportive and gave him their backing. There were other meetings with the CCPA board members that took place after this. I brought the project leader, Jason, to our community center to meet with some of our seniors to go over what was being proposed.

After Mr. Long saw that this was a project that could help our community the process began. I prepared a list of different artisans from the community that could do the work for the Hotel Chimayo. This list consisted of several traditional artists working with tin, retablos, bultos, weavers, woodworkers, low riders. My list also included planters of the famous Chimayo chile. I attended food tastings of some of the dishes that would be used at the new restaurant. I shared with Jim Long some of our family recipes that could be used at the restaurant. One of my recipes that will be served is my Chimayo Hot Dog. This hot dog is very similar to a wiener tort but is completed with my special salsa recipe. Not sure if they were able to perfect my salsa recipe but I did share this with Mr. Long. My mother, Fabiola, and I prepared some dishes for Chef Esteban Garcia at my home so he could see firsthand how these dishes had been prepared. We had a wonderful time and I feel that Chef Esteban left my home with a clearer understanding of how we prepare some of our tradition Chimayo food.

As part of the goal to educate Heritage Hotels and Resorts members about Chimayo, I gave a tour of Chimayo to the Heritage Hotels and Resorts corporate officials. This was followed by a meal at my home that was prepared by me and my sister Barbara.

On two other occasions, I gave tours to other employees of Heritage Hotels and Resorts. These are the employees that will be dealing with visitors of the three Santa Fe Hotels. A project that I spear headed for the Chimayo Hotel was the Espuela Making event. I gathered several volunteers, young and older people who made 500 twig crosses created from jaras and other natural materials. These crosses will be hung in the guest rooms of the Chimayo Hotel. This was a very successful event and everyone involved was treated to a catered lunch, wonderful door prizes and the opportunity to work on a project that would showcase their work for many years to come.

Through this whole time, I have continued helping out with whatever is needed by the folks at Heritage Hotels. All that I have contributed has been done on my own time since I have not been employed at the Chimayo Museum since October.

My help towards the success of the Chimayo Hotel de Santa Fe has been done because I believe it will and has been something very positive and beneficial for our community. My contribution has been done to help bring economic development to Chimayo and also to remind our community of what a wonderful and special place we have been blessed to live in.

The Hotel Plaza Real is undergoing renovation and will reopen as Hotel Chimayo de Santa Fe. The opening will take place on September 15. The Hotel Chimayo de Santa Fe will be dedicated to the village of Chimayo. This hotel will showcase artwork from several artists in Chimayo and serve food that is traditional to our community. The restaurant will serve dishes that include items using our famous Chimayo red chile. The Low and Slow bar will honor the traditions of the Low Rider community. This is a must see place.