For the love of lavender and the land. An oasis of sustainable bliss in New Mexico's Rio Grande Valley.
It’s like entering the pages of a storybook. Arriving at the 25-acre Los Poblanos Historic Inn & Organic Farm means mom and I drive down an allée of hundred-year-old cottonwood and elm trees. Rows of vibrant lavender fields and 1930s-era ranch buildings beckon from our right. On our left, acres of well-tended kitchen gardens, a Slovenian bee house and a chicken coop, alpaca and churro sheep field promise charming strolls and culinary delights. Behind us, the setting sun turns the rugged Sandia Mountains their watermelon pink. And ahead, beautifully manicured gardens, blossoming fruit trees at every turn, a row of honeybee hives, and the eponymous silo signal our arrival at one of the southwest’s most magnificent properties. At Los Poblanos—comprised of 45 guest rooms, a certified organic farm, a winsome farm shop, and Campo, its renowned field-to-fork fine dining restaurant— every detail is authentic, intentional and linked in some way to its ethos of sustainability. You can literally see the connection between nature and nourishment before you even park your car.
Steeped in History, Built and Sustained Responsibly
The land upon which Los Poblanos sits was originally inhabited by the Ancestral Pueblo Indians in the 14th century. Many of the original settlers in this area were thought to have come from Puebla, Mexico, a citizen of which is called a “Poblano.” Seminal Santa Fe–based architect John Gaw Meem designed the original Los Poblanos buildings (including the Pueblo Revival Style Hacienda, which now houses the spa). And the gardens were designed by one of the first female landscape architects of her time, Rose Greely. In 1976, the Rembe family purchased the property, eventually expanding the footprint of the business to include agritourism. In the years since, Los Poblanos has been growing and distilling botanicals. What began as a passion for lavender essential oils and botanical hydrosols for artisan spa products has grown to include a line of botanical spirits gin managed by a team of dedicated farmers, gardeners, herbalists, distillers and mixologists.
The farm’s devotion to soil health is seen in the way it carefully rotates its organic crops, practices cover cropping, and embraces no-till farming techniques. But the commitment extends beyond agriculture. The historic guest rooms and suites were designed with eco-friendly materials and using sustainable practices. Solar panels adorn the rooftops, harnessing the power of the New Mexico sun to provide clean energy. Rainwater harvesting systems were put in place to minimize water waste, a precious resource in this arid region.
Wellness in All the Ways
A highlight of my spring visit was the opportunity to participate in some of Los Poblanos’ myriad daily wellness programs. My mom and I took a languid and rejuvenating all-levels early morning yoga class in the wellness yurt set back in a quiet, wooded area of the farm. Every day, we’d check the chalkboard, which reminds guests of the day’s options: Join yoga, Pilates or meditation classes. Take an aromatherapy or herbal workshop. Follow a guided bird-watching tour, or simply unwind in the lush gardens or by the saltwater pool. It’s worth noting: A “Gratitude, groundedness & growth retreat” is on the calendar for November 5–8, 2023—peak season for fall colors in the Rio Grande Valley. It also holds yoga workshops (crow pose, standing poses, yoga fundamentals) throughout the year.
Each meal at Los Poblanos is a culinary masterpiece, featuring farm-fresh and locally sourced ingredients that celebrate the seasons. Word is out locally about the Sunday brunch, where guests can sip lavender lattes while being entertained by the resident peacocks. The dinner menu is exceptional as well, changing daily and seasonally depending on what the land brings forth.
My mom could taste the borage in her asparagus soup, both greens grown on-site. I was so entranced by the provenance of my dinner entree (a braised lamb birria featuring meat from the local Manzanares family Shepherd’s Lamb label, which, according to the menu, “raises the only certified-organic lamb in the state and is among only a few farmers in the country that graze their lamb on wild land”) that I almost forgot how good it tasted.
AHHH, the Spa
The Hacienda Spa is a living testament to the rich history of the Los Poblanos property. The adobe structure was originally built in the 1930s. Its design, a harmonious blend of Spanish and Pueblo Revival Styles, reflects the cultural heritage of New Mexico. The structure was one of Meem’s residential masterpieces, with massive carved doors leading into a Spanish courtyard with a vibrant Moorish fountain at its center. The space drips with Lady Banks’ roses and lush greenery, and kiva fireplaces punctuate the space. As you step inside, you are transported to a bygone era. The historic charm of the building is preserved in every corner, from the hand-carved wooden beams to the intricate tilework.
Like everything else at Los Poblanos, spa treatments are inextricably connected with the farm. The seasonal lavender and honey facial (June through September) begins with a Lavender Skin Care Oil cleansing, followed by a gentle exfoliating scrub. After a cooling facial massage with chilled globes, the technicians use specialized manipulation techniques to promote healing and collagen production then soothe the skin with a lavender, honey and aloe mask (honey courtesy of the Los Poblanos hives). The treatment concludes with a moisturizer that, of course, leaves behind a lingering scent of calming lavender.
As the seasons change, so do the products. The fall seasonal facial taps into the power of fruit acids, bitter almonds and beeswax to heal, restore and brighten skin. A papaya and pumpkin mask is paired with a nourishing facial massage using Los Poblanos Skin Care Oil.
The soul of Los Poblanos, lavender is at the heart of its signature products. The farm’s sprawling fields yield fragrant blooms that are carefully harvested and transformed into essential oils, lavender hydrosol, and lavender-infused bath and body products. Rosemary, another herb cultivated on the farm, and other farm-fresh ingredients find their way into artisanal soaps crafted with care.
Everything about the property, and the experience provided to guests, arises from a deep respect for the Rio Grande Valley’s history, culture, flora and land. If that’s not sustainable wellness, I don’t know what is. lospoblanos.com