- The spectacular circular lobby with its high-domed ceiling and stone stacked walls takes its inspiration from the sacred underground ceremonial structures of the Pueblo Indians called Kivas. The ceiling swirl represents the journey of life and the led lights reflect the thousand lights of wonder
- The crystal in the center of the ceiling is a 90-pound naturally occurring Citrine from Brazil. [Citrine is a semiprecious gem that is valued for its yellow to brownish color and its resemblance to the rarer topaz. Natural citrine is rarer than amethyst or smoky quartz, both of which are often heated to change their natural color to that of citrine. This stone was not heated. It is said to have properties of promoting happiness and well being
- The panes of glass above the entry and aligned to reflect the crystal at sunset
- The plaster finish is called waxed plaster. This effect is created by applying paste wax to the finish surface. There are mica chips in the wax finish
- The rock portion of the walls is Anasazi dry stack (peach and buckskin flagstone) and installed with a tight joint (dry stacked without mortar)
- The torches and all iron work with the corn plant motif were created by Will Wilkins of Hamilton, Montana. (Note: the corn plant is sacred among the native peoples of New Mexico)
- The sun mosaic on the floor is made of a combination of India sandstone and New Mexico limestone. (Amethyst geode is from South America)
The Host Stand
- The desk was designed by David Sargert and is adorned with a rain forest marble top from Mexico and a lace wood veneer from Africa underneath. The base with the carved lizard is mahogany
- The crescent shape of the host stand is a metaphor respecting the sword of Islam
- The nichos (and the arched doors throughout the Biogrande) are trimmed in African ribbed Sapelli mahogany. Sapelli mahogany is a sustainable wood, which is why it was selected for the resort
- The Anaconda is a symbol of rebirth and renewal; it is a snake that lives primarily in water. It has no head and no tail, a symbol for eternity sometimes depicted as a snake eating its head, commonly a figure eight
- The Anaconda is the symbol for God to native South Americans
- The bar top is made of golden mica from Japan with ebonized ash and Brazilian rosewood
- The material at the bottom of the bar is etched copper.
- The bar chairs are covered with an embossed leather in a crocodile pattern
- The top of the banco seats is redwood beryl and ebonized ash with Brazilian rosewood backs
- The scales of the snake are gild finish (gold plated) tile from Italy
- The belly of the snake is a Lexan material (polycarbonate plastic)
The Wine Room
- The motif is Mediterranean
- The dome ceiling is finished with boveda bricks
- The floor is a combination of an Italian limestone mosaic and emprado marble
- The cabinets are made of white oak from Massachusetts
- The iron work on the cabinets was done by Will Wilkins
- The chandelier is from Mexico
- The table is a mosaic pattern of petrified wood from Spain which sits on a brass stand
- The wood on the walls is cork from Portugal, “sapelli” mahogany, oxidized copper, and slate from Colorado
- The sink backsplashes are a fossil mural made from 50 million year-old limestone from Lincoln County, Wyoming. They were collected according to American Assn of Paleontological Suppliers’ guidelines
- The library was designed to mimic an old Texas parlor
- The floors are pine and fir which were distressed to resemble old barn board
- The mantel is an antique and has a Verdi patrician marble hearth
- The trim, wainscot, paneling, and shelves are made of western fir
- Pool table was built 1907-1917 (Owned by Minnesota Fats)
- The library doors are antiques from Mexico
The Sacred CircleIs a green space in the heart of the retreat and surrounded by towering cottonwood trees, some of them several hundred years old. From the very outset of El Monte Sagrado’s construction, architects were concerned with where buildings should not go, rather than where they should go, and this space was conceived as a place of meditation, somewhere to unwind and relax. It is believed that Native Americans held celebrations in this circle in the past.
The Sculpture Garden
- Hewn from slabs of New Mexican Basalt, the three monolithic rock sculpture waterfalls frame a beautiful view over the pools and waterfalls of El Monte Sagrado and the magnificent Sangre de Cristo Mountains in the distance. It is a raw, organic natural space, refined and peaceful at the same time, and stands as a monument to water, the precious liquid upon which all life depends.
The BiolariumIn temperate climates, such as we have in Taos, Living Machines must be housed in protective structures that safeguard the plants and microbial communities from cold temperatures during the winter months. Biolariums are our elegant “greenhouses” that serve also to create beautiful green “living rooms” for people to enjoy all year round.
- It is an essential part of the water conservation program at the resort, and houses a Living Machine™ (water treatment and recycling system). The resort recycles all black and gray water which is used for irrigation only
- The magnificent greenhouses, or Biolariums, adjacent to the swimming pool and El Monte Sagrado’s Living Spa™ are filled with flowering plants and trees
- Biolariums are environmental enclosures that combine architecture, biology and the natural wastewater treatment technology of a living system.
The greatest value in the living system is the inherent potential for reuse
- Agricultural and landscape
- Industrial activities such as cooling and processing needs
- Recreational and environmental uses such as golf courses, parks, and habitat restoration
- The walkway around the resort is Gunnash, which uses recycled coal fired power plant ash (flyash)
- Gunnash is an environmentally safe alternative building material that looks and feels like adobe, but is less expensive, more durable and fire-resistant. Gunnash also avoids many of the environmental problems associated with the manufacture and use of concrete, for example, giving off fewer greenhouse gases than concrete.
- Was created by Alberto Amura of Dharma Living Systems. It provides 160 watts, and cost $15,000. A larger tree that would produce 2 – 3 kilowatts would cost approximately $30,000 to $40,000. It is not yet tied into power – it is currently a sculptural piece.
- There are solar panels on the roof of Biolarium; these offset the power requirements of the Living Machine®.
CenoteThe “swimming pond” near Kama Sutra is a temperature regulated cenote. A cenote is nature’s way of collecting and storing valuable fresh water; typacilly a limestone sinkhole.
Acequia - Snaking its way through El Monte Sagrado, behind the casitas of Tribal, Caribbean, Trout, Magpie, Marrakech and Morocco is the Acequia Madre del Rio Pueblo de Taos. The Spanish settlers built acequias, or irrigation ditches, in the 16th and 17th centuries in order to channel precious water to the arid parts of New Mexico. Today, they still remain an important and invaluable part of New Mexican life and the local acequia association has access rights to check and manage the precious irrigation channel. Although El Monte Sagrado has water rights to the acequia, due to its successful water recycling program, the resort does not need to access the water, and so it can flow through the property and help and serve others.