Architecture and design

Celebrating Albuquerque Art, Culture and History

Celebrating a story that stretches back over 300 years, historic Old Town is the birthplace of Albuquerque. It has long been a crossroad of the Southwest. Inside and out, Hotel Albuquerque at Old Town — a truly unique hotel in New Mexico — celebrates Albuquerque's culture and history. The hotel design exemplifies Albuquerque architecture, blending New Mexico’s Native American, Mexican, Spanish and Western cultural influences.

Our interior design gives a nod to historical Albuquerque hotels such as the Alvarado Hotel and the Franciscan Hotel, as well as the architectural motifs of John Gaw Meem, one of New Mexico’s most influential architects. Our building’s turn-of-the-century elegance also draws on classic territorial details, prevalent in New Mexico historical buildings and Albuquerque architecture. 

Our exterior also pays homage to the adobe style of many New Mexico territorial historical buildings, with bricks that top our walls. Our grounds include a 19th century-style chapel and courtyard, as well as Spanish gardens and a Victorian-style pavilion.

Our restaurant, Garduño's at Old Town, with its cloth walls, turquoise ceiling, punched tin light fixtures and painted glass windows, is designed to make you feel like you are in a historic New Mexico home.

On the Southeast side of the hotel stands Casa Esencia, one of Albuquerque’s most exclusive clubs and one of its oldest buildings. This historic building dates back to 1783, when it was constructed as a family hacienda by Salvatore Armijo. The home has undergone remodels over the centuries, and now features 17 indoor and outdoor rooms. Despite the modifications, Casa Esencia retains its original, intimate feel and architectural style. With its thick, windowless adobe walls and enclosed courtyard, Casa Esencia allows guests to experience historic Albuquerque in a modern way.

We invite you to discover New Mexico and Albuquerque history through the experience of your stay at Hotel Albuquerque at Old Town.

Design and Architectural Details at Hotel Albuquerque

  • Territorial brick detailing, exterior: traditionally, bricks topped adobe walls to prevent the walls to “melt” in the elements. Bricks were expensive so they were only used along the top of the buildings.
  • Lobby floor tiles are Spanish.
  • Grain chest, in lobby: this dates to the time when El Camino Real - or the Royal Road - was a major transportation route that connected Mexico City with San Juan Pueblo. The route was used by traders, colonists and missionaries beginning in 1598.
  • Metal chandeliers, in lobby: our chandeliers are forged using traditional iron technique at Nambe pueblo and are reminiscent of lighting found in Spanish homes. Note that they give off a soft light. Homes would have been lit by candles, also giving off soft light.
  • Taos-style painting behind the front desk: Historical style paintings by Jon Prud'homme 
  • Wood viga ceiling in lobby and Fireplace Room: the wooden beams seen spanning the ceiling are characteristic of older adobe buildings, as are the latillas, seen between the vigas in the Fireplace Room.
  • Chile ristras: Native Americans traditionally dried chile by stringing them together and hanging them, creating ristras.
  • Pueblo Deco design in the Franciscan Ballroom: this decor speaks to the Pueblo Art Deco period, which also influenced Albuquerque architecture during the 20th Century. Reminiscent of the architecture and design of the historic KiMo Theatre in downtown Albuquerque.
  • Grand tin light fixtures in Alvarado Ballroom: artist Orae Dominguez created these fixtures that show off the historic Spanish Colonial art of punched tinwork.
  • Arches, public spaces: our arches speak to historical Albuquerque architecture seen around town and of the famed Harvey House lunchrooms, hotels & gift shops developed by entrepreneur Fred Harvey to serve railway passengers.

Design Details at Garduño’s at Old Town Restaurant

  • Painted glass panels in Garduño's Restaurant: Traditionally, as families grew they erected glass walls. The panels were then painted for privacy, usually with scenes of farm life or crop growth. 
  • Punched tin light fixtures: Artist Orae Dominguez crafted the punched tin light fixtures. Tinwork became an important craft in the 19th Century.
  • Cloth walls:  As families grew in New Mexico they hung cloth room partitions. These were less expensive than glass partitions which were also used. Cloth is used on the back wall of the restaurant (that's not wallpaper - try touching it!)
  • Turquoise plaster ceiling: Turquoise stones, which were abundant, used to be crushed into a paint and used to cover ceilings. Our turquoise ceiling reflects this tradition.

Casa Esencia

  • Exposed adobe bricks: These are original adobe bricks. Casa Esencia was built in 1783 by Salvador Armijo as a family home.
  • Original custom artwork: The artwork in Casa Esencia features pieces by Mexican artist Yuri Zatarain (sculptural pieces) and Santa Fe artist Amy R. Stein (nude line drawings).