© Jerry Stanecki

Not much has changed since the last time I was in Santa Fe. It’s still a wonderful town filled with loads of things to occupy and entertain.

There’s the Indian Market, Fiesta, Balloon Festival and a very special time in Santa Fe, Christmas. Oh, there is one new twist since my last visit, Rand Robert Page arrived.

“My shrink asked me if I had any imaginary friends when I was a kid,” Rand explained. “I told him yeah, my parents.”

He is eccentric, out-going and at times even a bit outrageous. Rand Robert Page—Bob to his friends—owns and operates Casas de Santa Fe.

Sitting on the terrace at one of the Casas de Santa Fe properties one evening we talked about life in the Land of Enchantment. This particular property of is overlooking Santa Fe, now the second largest art market in the United States and one of the premier upscale travel destinations in North America.

“It’s not uncommon for a guest to arrive with a large entourage,” Bob said. “Pilot, nanny, maid and assistant. We cater to the rich and famous and never is a story told of their presence.”

Hmmm. I had arrived sans pilot, maid, assistant and I was driving a rental car. You can bet no story would be told about that.

The smell of pinion pine drifted from the fireplace as the cool of evening slipped over the town. It was magical; perhaps it was that magic that helped pry one story out of Bob who, at-all-times, uses no names.

It seems the wife of a very rich attorney from the West Coast called and demanded a certain property. It had to be large enough so the woman could leave the property without her personal maid seeing her.

“She told me the maid was a spy for the husband,” Bob explained. “The woman referred to the maid as a “viper.” ‘That viper would tell my husband everything she sees,’ the woman said. Then added that her lover was coming and needed private access,” Bob said.”
“Did the woman succeed is deceiving the viper and enjoying the fruits of her labor? I asked.

“Most certainly,” Bob answered.

The sun had set and the lights of Santa Fe started to flicker like fireflies.

We were at one of the twenty-four different homes, condo’s, guesthouses and estate houses that comprise Casas de Santa Fe properties.

This one, unit 10 (you can see at www.casadesantafe.com) is a two story home with three bedrooms, a fully stocked kitchen, two full baths, and laundry. A senior vice president of a cruise line —a big believer of plush— owns it.

La Vista Estate, is a rambling old New Mexico style home with swimming pool, four bedrooms, three baths and seven fireplaces? It’s full of antiques and art and it’s yours for $1200 a night.

There’s another property that goes for $1500 a night.

“It’s 8600 square feet of Old New Mexico grandeur. There’s 11 fireplaces in that one, I think,” Bob said. “And seven and a half bathrooms. The man lives there and when we rent the property he goes to Europe of some place.”

What makes Casas de Santa Fe a touch above the rest is the philosophy. Says Bob,” We provide style and service with the belief that the old comfortable way of providing lodging is the best way.”

If you’re a VIP or return guest, Bob provides an exquisite box of chocolates from a dozen different places in the world. The individually wrapped in foil pieces are presented in a box that would make you think you were getting expensive jewelry from Harry Winston.

“We are here to meet every and all needs of our clients, who range from doctors to Hollywood stars and directors to CEO’s,” Bob said. “ All you have to do is walk in. We’ll even arrange for groceries to be stocked when you arrive. If you need a personal shopper, or assistant, we’ll get it for you.”

Bob arrived here in Santa Fe about 14 years ago. Tired and looking for a more relaxed lifestyle, he’d been living in LA and working as the vice president of marketing for Max Factor cosmetics.
“Everybody had business shrinks,” he said. “And of course personal shrinks, It was a very fast pace.”

He got the Max Factor job while doing a stint as a flight attendant. (Like I said, he’s done a lot) The president of Max Factor was on his flight and took a liking to him. By the time they reached their destination, our boy was ready to do some different flying.

He came to Santa Fe to unwind, slow down, relax—which Bob says he has, despite creating a company that specializes in making your vacation a no hassle affair.

All properties are decorated in the famous Santa Fe style. When you check into one of the properties you’ll find fresh flowers, a fireplace in the living room, art on the walls, bathrooms, televisions, cable, VCR’s, complete kitchens, voice message machines and if you need dinner or opera reservations. a baby sitter, or your own private chef, it can be arranged.

Casas de Santa Fe may cater to the rich and famous, but surprisingly the cost is well within range and certainly more than competitive with hotels. Units range from $150 a night in season to $1500.00 a night. They offer last minute deals if you’re flexible, and they’ve introduced age 55 plus rates starting at $125.00 per night.

Checking in Casas de Santa Fe, is like checking into a home as comfortable as your own. . and perhaps, then some.

 

© Jerry Stanecki