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A California Creative Couple’s Desert-Modern Hotel in Santa Fe

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A California Creative Couple’s Desert-Modern Hotel in Santa Fe

November 29, 2018

Headed to Santa Fe? May we recommend El Rey Court, located in a circa-1936 adobe motor lodge, formerly the El Rey Inn, situated on five acres of land, where the old Route 66 once passed through. The rehabbed lodgings are the vision of a husband and wife creative team based in Joshua Tree: man of many hats Jay Carroll (creative director, branding specialist, and artist; you may recognize him from the Tokyo guide he put together for us several years ago) and his wife Alison, a veteran of the food world. (You might also recognize the pair from Wonder Valley olive oil and provisions, also their vision.)

“It was all there, and so much of the work was about peeling back the years of layers and really letting the adobe bones do the talking,” Jay says. Take a look.

Photography courtesy of El Rey Court.

the exterior of the motor lodge, which dates to \1936. 17
Above: The exterior of the motor lodge, which dates to 1936.
inside, a desert palette of terra cotta, white walls, and wood beam ceilings. 18
Above: Inside, a desert palette of terra cotta, white walls, and wood-beam ceilings.

The Carrolls spent a year collecting the furnishings and fittings. “We found some great objects and one of furniture around the Southwest—from Santa Fe, Joshua Tree, and everywhere in our travels in between,” Jay says. They also partnered with artists and artisans for a few pieces: turned wood furniture by woodworker Dan John Anderson, a large table in the lobby by Michael May, and ceramic lights by potter Logan Wannamaker.

bold color: a rust striped rug by nordic knots pairs with a paustian modul 19
Above: Bold color: a rust-striped rug by Nordic Knots pairs with a Paustian Modulsofa in mustard,
a one of a kind guest room, layered rugs and a dramatic black headboard include 20
Above: A one-of-a-kind guest room, layered rugs and a dramatic black headboard included.
another guest room, with a tassel hung on the headboard. 21
Above: Another guest room, with a tassel hung on the headboard.
jay partnered with the centinela chimayo weavers, a traditional weaving studio  22
Above: Jay partnered with the Centinela Chimayo Weavers, a traditional weaving studio in New Mexico, for the textile headboards, including the orange ones shown here.
angular wood tables pair with hanging textiles and leather in a sitting area. 23
Above: Angular wood tables pair with hanging textiles and leather in a sitting area.
the couple preserved the building&#8\2\17;s sculptural adobe walls. 24
Above: The couple preserved the building’s sculptural adobe walls.
within el rey (&#8\2\20;the king&#8\2\2\1;) is la reina (&#8\2\20;t 25
Above: Within El Rey (“the king”) is La Reina (“the queen”): a cocktail bar and “watering hole” focused on agave and mezcal. The Carrolls fitted the existing fireplace with tall black tapers, a paper lantern, and a mural by LA artist John Zabawa.
where some rooms are bold in color and layered texture, elsewhere the couple op 26
Above: Where some rooms are bold in color and layered texture, elsewhere the couple opted for stark contrast, as in this corner of La Reina, with black chairs and another Zabawa mural.

The La Reina space was formerly a breakfast room. “That aspect had the most architectural work of the project,” Jay says.

a corner fireplace lined with candles and marked with the hotel&#8\2\17;s e 27
Above: A corner fireplace lined with candles and marked with the hotel’s ethos.
an unexpected moment, high on a wall. 28
Above: An unexpected moment, high on a wall.
the hotel&#8\2\17;s well designed notepaper. 29
Above: The hotel’s well-designed notepaper.
the swim club features a poolside bar, two hot tubs (one indoors and one outdoo 30
Above: The Swim Club features a poolside bar, two hot tubs (one indoors and one outdoors), and a sauna.

To book a stay, go to El Rey Court.

For more hotels in classic American motor lodges, see:

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