Cañon del Rio Retreat and Spa: Serenity in NM Jemez Mountains

Courtyard and lily pond with fountain. Photo by Claudia Carbone
Courtyard and lily pond with fountain. Photo by Claudia Carbone

It rained heavily last night, so waking up in my room at Cañon del Rio to the sound of water dripping, I think it’s rain coming from the roof. I open the slider to see a fountain lazily trickling water into the lily pond in the middle of the courtyard. The sun breathes light onto the mesa that hugs us like a warm blanket. The coffee pot is brewing.

Cañon del Rio is most definitely a retreat—a place to reconnect with yourself, nature and history, just like historic Jemez (pronounced Hay-mez) Springs, the town in northern New Mexico in which it resides. Nestled on five-and-a-half acres along the banks of the Jemez River, solitude at the adobe B&B in the shadow of the giant mesa is ideal for seminars and retreats.

Welcoming entrance to Canon del Rio. Photo courtesy of Canon del Rio
Welcoming entrance to Cañon del Rio. Photo courtesy of Cañon del Rio

Inside Cañon del Rio

The owner greets us in the Great Room, the hub where groups gather, breakfast is served and guests can have quiet time in front of the kiva fireplace. Art from indigenous peoples of the southwest decorates the walls and nooks of the spacious room. There is a TV, but I don’t think anyone turns it on!

Great room gathering spot. Photo by Claudia Carbone
Great room gathering spot. Photo by Claudia Carbone

In front of this fireplace, books about the ancient Puebloans are a fascinating read. Around 1300 A.D. about 30,000 natives lived and farmed on these mesas. At that time, Jemez was one of the largest and most powerful of the Pueblo cultures. Their numbers dwindled after the Spanish missionaries came with disease and war. We learn much more at the Walatowa Visitor Center and at the historic site in town.

Kiva fireplace for reading. Photo by Claudia Carbone
Kiva fireplace for reading. Photo by Claudia Carbone

Breakfast at Cañon del Rio

Under skylights, a large pinewood table is set for breakfast in front of floor-to-ceiling windows. To the side, a coffee and tea bar is available all day.

Breakfast table in the Great Room. Photo by Claudia Carbone
Breakfast table in the Great Room. Photo by Claudia Carbone

We enjoy a fantastic breakfast of French Toast served with their signature hot three-berry compote and a delicious egg-cheese concoction served in a muffin cup. Breakfast is included with the price of the room.

Baked eggs with pepper jack and cheddar cheese, baby spinach in a hash brown crust topped with paprika and a guacamole drizzle. Photo by Claudia Carbone
Baked eggs with pepper jack and cheddar cheese, baby spinach in a hash brown crust topped with paprika and a guacamole drizzle. Photo by Claudia Carbone

Rooms at Cañon del Rio

Six air-conditioned rooms overlook the courtyard, each beautifully decorated with a different southwestern theme. My room is The Navajo. Room rates run from $139-$159 and include WiFi, though spotty, and private bathroom.

Navajo room. Photo by Claudia Carbone
Navajo room. Photo by Claudia Carbone

Amenities at Cañon del Rio

What is a retreat without a spa? Two soothing treatment rooms are available for 30- 60- or 90-minute sessions for a fee. Choose massage, wrap or skin exfoliation plus relaxing treatments just for feet, face and scalp. Products like lotion, soap and candles are made locally.

Spa room at Cañon del Rio. Photo courtesy of Cañon del Rio
Spa room at Cañon del Rio. Photo courtesy of Cañon del Rio

In addition, a full-size pool is wonderful under the hot New Mexico sun.

Full-size pool. Photo courtesy of Cañon del Rio.
Full-size pool. Photo courtesy of Cañon del Rio.

And the hot tub is lovely under the brilliant stars. Both the pool, hot tub and sauna are complimentary for guests.

Hot tub. Photo by Erica Asmus-Otero.
Hot tub. Photo by Erica Asmus-Otero.

What To Do in Jemez Springs

The small town of Jemez Springs (250 full-time residents), besides being immersed in gorgeous surroundings of the Jemez Mountains, is rich with history and geology wonders. Nearby Valles Caldera, a million-year-old volcano, continues to feed hot springs in the area, two delightful ones in town and three primitive ones out of town. Visit ancient ruins at the Jemez Historic site (below) where they are still excavating, and see geology formations along Highway 4 unique in the world. It’s a fascinating place where artists and authors have settled, and Cañon del Rio is the perfect basecamp to see it all.

The old mission church at the Jemez Historic Site. Photo by Claudia Carbone
The old mission church at the Jemez Historic Site. Photo by Claudia Carbone

Cañon del Rio, 16445 Highway 4, Jemez Springs, New Mexico 87025; 575-829-4377; canondelrio.com.

Claudia Carbone is an award-winning travel writer based in Denver. Read about other hotels she’s visited in Sleepin’ Around.