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“We enjoyed our stay here immensely”

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Hilton Santa Fe Buffalo Thunder
Ranked #20 of 60 Hotels in Santa Fe
Certificate of Excellence
Vancouver, WA
Level 3 Contributor
14 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“We enjoyed our stay here immensely”
Reviewed 24 October 2009

In reading the other reviews, I'm not sure we were at the same place. We were here on a business trip so perhaps we were not looking for some of the things others were. We are not gamblers so we never set foot in the Casino. It was so nice to have the Casino entrance and hotel entrance totally separate so we did not have to walk through a smoke-filled area. We spent a lot of time near the meeting rooms which are near the escalators down to the Casino and never once smelled cigarette smoke anywhere in the hotel. We never saw or heard of a breakfast buffet (maybe it was in the Casino) but breakfast in the Mica restaurant was very good and arrived quickly. Lunch was good there also. Our dinners were provided for our group so we did not eat at the dinner restaurant. I was disappointed they didn't have food out at pool side, but the weather was too cool for anyone to be in the pool. Several of us sat poolside in our regular clothes and read. There was no charge for the Fitness Center while we were there. I didn't use the spa since I wasn't feeling well. We did not notice anyone who appeared to have a comped room and our floor was very quiet. However, the HVAC rooftop units outside our window were very loud.
The staff was very friendly and helpful and Nancy is the best concierge we have had anywhere! The rooms were very clean and comfortable and seemed well-maintained.
We did notice the place felt quite empty, which was nice for us. Perhaps it will pick up more once ski season arrives.
The hotel has a bus that will take you into town and then you can get to all the shopping around the plaza from there if you don't want to find a place to park. It would be nice if they had a shuttle that would take you directly to the plaza. We loved Santa Fe itself and highly recommend The Ore House restaurant on the plaza. Fantastic food!
We had a day excursion to the ruins at Bandelier that was fascinating. We enjoyed the place enough that we plan on coming back and taking some time to explore the area more.

  • Stayed October 2009, travelled on business
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Helpful?
7 Thank Clipp
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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English first
Westlake, OH
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 18 October 2009

This is the first hotel review I've ever written. I'm not sure why I chose this trip (our 31st wedding anniv getaway) to write this, but the feeling of being duped was too strong. Ironically enough, the trip ended up being one of our best of all time (LOVED Santa Fe, Taso, etc) but it's due to leaving this hotel after one night.

We arrived midday and we were both shocked that the "resort" was all of 500 ft from the highway...more like a Home Depot location than a resort. We nixed the valet service since the empty parking lot (huge!) was all of 10 ft away.

Front desk service was fine, however; no issues there. And as many have said, the lobby is the centerpiece. Kind of like visiting a McMansion where the front foyer is gorgeous but the interior decorating budget ended there.

Our upgraded room was large, bright and fine, but also felt like a facade. I had asked for a pool view (based on reviews here, cuz only other view is parking lot) and got the pool all right, with a dozen air conditoners between me and pool!) On the way to the room (fourth floor of spa section) we were treated to a long walk along bare walls and bright lights...very cold and analytical feeling. Our glass shower (bathroom had both glass shower and separate tub area) leaked gallons of water onto the floor (we own glass shower at home and know the deal). Large shower door was obviously missing a gasket or rubber dam at floor level.

Wifi costs $10 a day, and cell service was all but dead. The casino was a bit smoky (no big deal) but consisted of 90% slots....like a low end vegas casino. We spent all of 5 minutes there.

The TOWA course is very average; ended up playing at BLack Mesa instead (no comparison; very very nice).

We ended up dining at the Inn at Loretto (Luminaries) and loved the ambiance there...so we packed up and moved there the next morning. No regrets..it was wonderful and right on the Santa fe walking map.

if you're going to the Hilton for a business trip, ok. but for a weekend getaway (even for golfers),, find a REAl resort.

  • Stayed October 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank tedmbrady
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Boulder, Colorado
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed 9 October 2009

We spent 5 days at the resort, which includes casino, spa, convention center and golf course. Overall the grounds and building are beautiful in a great location just outside Santa Fe. Our room was clean and well appointed. No problems with housekeeping. A couple annoyances - loose bathroom fixtures, lack of locks on the windows - gave the impression of a hurry to finish the job. Also, we booked a room on the concierge level, but it was unavailable at check in. Though barely a year old the concierge level is apparently under renovation. The resort was still going to charge us for the more expensive room and we had to request a rate change or vouchers for similar services elsewhere in the resort. The interior decor is great. Indoor and outdoor pool areas wonderful, though indoor pool was cold! Check in and check out were quick and easy. There are several restaurants on the property and service is slow, but the food was good. The spa is wonderful and we used it twice, but both times fire alarms interrupted our treatments. In speaking to employees this is apparently a common occurence as many parents leave their tweeners or younger unattaneded while they go to the casino. Many false alarms ensue. The spa staff was quick to offer compensation without any request on our part. Our biggest complaint - the lobby concierge was the worst we have encountered anywhere! He was never at this desk, just a sign directing you to the front desk, where they could not answer your questions. The one time we had the manager roust the concierge from his back office (?nap) he was surly, rude and of no help whatsoever.
Overall a very beautiful resort with many nice amenities, but in need some some service improvements. Also, why $15/day to use a 400 sq ft fitness center?

  • Stayed September 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
6 Thank skinzgame66
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
L.A.
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed 8 October 2009

I am going to sound like a snob--but I will write this review anyway. Just know that I am not a snob.
We were visiting family and we thought it would be nice to stay at the buffalo Thunder/Hilton since it is a fairly new hotel and the pictures look nice. The reviews had me a bit concerned but I have ignored reviews in the past so...
The lobby is nice--as pictured. For those of you who are from California, or any other state that does not let you smoke indoors, you will notice the smell of smoke from the casino area in most of the hotel. I think they try and filter the air from the casino and it ends up circulating throughout the hotel. But I will say, our room did not smell like smoke. Our room was located in the wing with the indoor pool/spa area. Staff was nice, but I got tired of being asked how I liked the hotel, and "don’t you just love this hotel?" The rooms are fine--not Excellent--but fine. I hate tub/shower combo bathrooms, but that is just me. Bed was comfortable--newer Hilton beds. The kids enjoyed the indoor pool, and the workout room is adequate.
The lobby is the most striking feature of the hotel--high ceilings, lots of local Native artwork, new, native inspired furniture--Nice. It would be helpful if they would open the bar that is attached to the lobby, so that people might get a glass of wine and sit in that open area and visit, and enjoy. But as it stands--there is a small bar attached, and it is not open for use, so people sit for a few minutes in the lobby area and then move on.
Ok here is where I sound like a snob----the hotel apparently gives a lot of free (comped) rooms away to locals in order to encourage the hotel to appear fuller and more used than it is. I talked with numerous people who were staying there for free. the hotel staff admitted that they comp a lot of rooms, and the hotel is losing money (lots of money). So what you end up with is a portion of people who, if asked to pay, would not stay in the hotel. These are people who treated the hotel as a playground. There were two parties on our floor (separate parties) and they literally took cardboard boxes and filled them with ice so they could keep their beer on ice in their rooms. (I checked--rooms were comped).
My wife used the spa and even though she just called up asking if they had an opening—they laughed because she was their only customer for the past two days. Her comments when she returned were that “it was nice—not awesome—but nice” just to give you an idea—it will run you about 165/hr.
As for the Restaurant (Red Sage). Yes the menu is very good, and the wine list is more than adequate, but the prices are "creative". $30 for 4 scallops, and 54$ for a bottle of wine that retails for $17. But I will say that here is where you will not find the Free room crowd. They will not be bothering you here. Great Cocktails though--had several--Damn the price. The restaurant was empty on a Friday, and Sat night. Enjoyed the food but our whole table agreed that the price was 30% higher than it should have been. I pay outlandish prices in NY, Napa, Rome, LA, Paris, Chicago, Etc etc.---but Puaque NM??
The hotel is not in Santa Fe, it is 15 minutes north of the edge of Santa Fe. 20 minutes at least to the shopping area (old square of Santa Fe where everyone visits). So other hotels closer are the ticket if you are looking for the "Santa Fe" experience.
I am not sure what Hilton was thinking with this property--maybe "build it and they will come"
Maybe
Maybe not

  • Stayed October 2009, travelled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank DrDoctor3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
st paul, mn
Level 5 Contributor
58 reviews
46 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 53 helpful votes
Reviewed 7 October 2009

I would highly recommend the suites for a group of friends/ family for a good time. They have a functional common living area including full refrigerator/ freezer/ cupboards and stove/ oven/ dishwasher. This is a great place to spend several days! The price is expensive but worth it. There are 2 large bedrooms off the main area with large beds/ bathroom in each. The common living area also has a pullout couch. On the downside, the continental breakfast is a disaster. The people who run it are not very good at stocking items and the overall area to get food is too small and crowded.

  • Stayed October 2009, travelled with friends
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank chroy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Richmond, Virginia
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed 28 September 2009

We decided to try this hotel for a couple of nights prior to going to Santa Fe near the Plaza. This is a huge resort property - the setting is beautiful, the rooms are spacious, and since the property just opened in 2008, its new.

After arriving on a Sunday evening, we were very disappointed to find a resort this size, with multiple restaurants, none was open for service. The front desk staff also gave unreliable information regarding their food service. We were finally directed to the deli in the casino and told it was open until 10 pm. It was approximately 9:30 pm. The front desk "supervisor" said "if they are not open come back and let me know." She did not offer the proper customer service experience and call to make sure the deli was open for us. We then went down to the "smoky" casino only to find the "deli" was closed off with a chair and they said they were closed. We decided to complete this adventure and report to the front desk supervisor that the deli was indeed closed. We then were astonished to be told to go to the gas station nearby for "a great deli sandwich." We could not believe it!! It was 9:30 in the evening and could not get service! The Hilton needs to provide "Customer Service Training" quickly.

Our room was spacious, nice flat screen TV, nice size bathroom with separate shower and separate bathtub w/shower. Lighting needs improvement.

Spent one day at the pool which was lovely with private cabanas and comfortable lounge chairs. Another disappointment - the pool bar was supposed to be open from 12:00 to 6:00 pm - it never opened. I went directly to the front desk and talked to the "Manager on Duty" to inquire if the pool bar would be open. I was told "yes" and he would have someone come out ASAP. No one showed up!!

We still will probably give this hotel another chance because it has great potential. Improvement is definitely needed in Customer Service!!!

  • Stayed September 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank jmhRichmond_Virginia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Colorado
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed 28 September 2009

My husband and I just got back from a trip to the Hilton Santa Fe Buffalo Thunder Resort and Spa. I honestly have to say I was a bit worried by some of the reviews that I read here before we left but can now say that it was a great place to stay. It is located about 12 miles north of Santa Fe but we knew this ahead of time (I do my homework). We are the type of people that like "new" as opposed to "historic" places to stay. There really isn't anywhere to stay on or near the plaza (downtown) that is new. We were actually thinking about booking the Hilton Santa Fe Plaza (which is downtown) and I'm really glad they were booked the weekend we wanted to go. The Hilton Plaza looked very old from the outside. It reminded me of an old school Holiday Inn/Days Inn etc and I think they had exterior entrances. It was also located on a very busy street near the plaza. Here are some of our comments about Buffalo Thunder:

Service - We thought the service was good. The bellman, front desk, housekeeping staff, and bar staff were very nice and friendly. Not once was someone actually rude to us as I read in some of the other reviews noted here.

Pool - Ok so the pool was a bit chilly but that was not the main reason for our trip anyways. The lounge chairs and cabanas were very nice and comfortable. The pool bar was only open on the Saturday that we were there but what can I expect it's Sept in Santa Fe. We didn't mind because we were only there for an hour or so each day to unwind before dinner and just brought a soda and a couple snacks with us to the pool.

Food - We were there 3 nights and only ate in the hotel once. We had dinner at the Sports Bar on the casino floor (1st night there after a long drive). The food was ok not great. We definately did not intend on eating a lot at the hotel to begin with. In Santa Fe we had breakfast at Zia's Diner the first day and Tia Sopia's the second. Zia's diner was showcased on the food network's Diner, Drive-In, and Dives. Tia Sopia's was supposedly "the" place to have breakfast in Santa Fe. We preferred Zia's over Tia's. Tia's was more of a meat and egg kind of place (no veggies) and Zia's had veggies that I could choose from to put in my omlet that I smoothered with their green chile. For lunch my husband had a burger from Bert's Burger Bowl which was also showcased on the food network. I'm not much of a burger girl but he said it tasted like an In-n-Out burger. For dinner we did not have to travel far. About 5 minutes down the road there is a restaurant called Gabriel's. Great Mexican food. We actually ate there both nights for dinner it was so good and reasonably priced. They make guac table side and also make their own tortillas. I would definately recommend this place if your staying at the Buffalo.

Casino - nice change for us as we do not frequent Las Vegas

Smoke smell - Ok so you can definately smell the smoke from the casino that flows upstairs into the lobby and onto the hallways where the rooms are. We could not smell smoke in our room. If you can't deal with the smoke smell don't stay here. It's as simple as that.

Couple other notes:

We did not get charged for entering the fitness area which you need to enter to access the pool.

If you are bringing your dogs (we did) there is not a lot of grass for them to do their business. We had to walk about 5 minutes to get to the grassy patch. No big deal unless you just can't get up in the morning to walk your dog.

Decor was beautiful and the hotel was very clean.

Oh yeah I almost forgot - parking does seem to be a bit of a problem on the weekend. We had to park farther from the lobby entrance on Friday and Saturday. They do have valet parking if that's your thing.

  • Stayed September 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank BeachLover4567
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Hilton Santa Fe Buffalo Thunder

Property: Hilton Santa Fe Buffalo Thunder
Address: 20 Buffalo Thunder Trl, Santa Fe, NM 87506-2790
Phone Number:
Region: United States > New Mexico > Santa Fe
Amenities:
Business Centre with Internet Access Casino and Gambling Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#7 Spa Hotel in Santa Fe
#9 Luxury Hotel in Santa Fe
#11 Business Hotel in Santa Fe
#20 Family Hotel in Santa Fe
#23 Romantic Hotel in Santa Fe
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:4 star — Hilton Santa Fe Buffalo Thunder 4*
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Also Known As:
Hilton Santa Fe Golf Resort & Spa At Buffalo Thunder Hotel Santa Fe
Hilton Santa Fe Golf Resort And Spa At Buffalo Thunder
Hilton Santa Fe Hotel
Santa Fe Hilton
Hilton Santa Fe Buffalo Thunder New Mexico

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