About 18 miles north of Las Cruces lies an oasis in the desert with healing waters and an enchanting history.
Hacienda del Camino Real in Radium Springs is a newly renovated hotel and the only natural hot springs resort in Doña Ana County. The 20-acre property offers visitors a relaxing getaway with elegant suites, a selection of hot springs, and views of the Rio Grande.
Juan and Linda Uribe, two realtors from El Paso, Texas, brought the hotel and hot springs back to life after discovering the property in July 2019. Originally, the couple had viewed it as a place to retire, but quickly realized that it could be much more than that.
“We found out that this was a very famous hot springs, and it’s actually the hottest hot spring in the state of New Mexico,” Juan said.
With the encouragement of family, friends, and local connections, the Uribes took the plunge to turn the property into a public hotel and hot springs.
“We just felt we couldn’t keep it to ourselves,” Linda said. “Everybody was like, ‘You should start doing soaking here and doing weddings,’ so Juan, being in business, saw potential, and we made the decision of sharing it with the community.”
A hotel with a story to tell
In addition to its hot springs, another draw of Hacienda del Camino Real is its history, and the Uribes have worked hard to return the hotel to its former glory.
“This is a historic building,” Juan said. “It’s part of the New Mexico history; it’s part of the Las Cruces history.”
Formerly called Radium Springs Resort Hotel, the building was constructed in the late 1920s/early ’30s by Harry Bailey, once a friend of Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid. The hotel included bathhouses connected to the springs, which many people considered therapeutic for arthritis, nerve problems, and other diseases. The Radium Springs Resort Hotel thrived for nearly 50 years before closing. Throughout the years, the building was later used as an art center and even a women’s prison, according to newmexico.org.
“When I bought (the building), it still had the prison doors in each room,” Juan said.
The hot springs on the property also have a rich history and contain the hottest, strongest radium water in the world.
According to the Hacienda del Camino Real website, Native Americans have traveled to the area for hundreds of years. Geronimo, the famous Apache leader, used to camp nearby so he and his tribe could bathe in the springs. Early Spanish settlers and eventually soldiers from nearby Fort Selden also enjoyed the healing powers of the mineral water.
Opening a window to the past
The Uribes said one of their goals with the property is to bring it back to its origins while making it an unforgettable experience for guests.
Linda said, “I just want to have a window to the past and to bring awareness to what this was.”
In line with this intention, the couple has decorated the Hacienda with photos and old brochures showcasing the original hotel and hot springs. They have added a unique flavor to the hotel’s atmosphere with a wide collection of stylish Southern New Mexico and Native American furniture, paintings, and antiques.
The suites in the hotel also have a unique story to tell, with each room carrying a different name and style of décor.
The themed rooms are the Patrones, Agave Suite, Mountain Suite, River Suite, Railroad Suite, Sunshine Suite, Bee Suite, and Flower Suite. In addition, guests can stay in the Bird Box Casita, a 1,000-square-foot house located next to the hot springs.
“I wanted to incorporate anything that was here, already present,” Linda explained about the themed suites.
For example, the Bee Suite is inspired by the bees that help beautify the area, while the Bird Box Casita offers access to bird watching stations.
Another unique aspect of the property is all the animals you will come across during your visit. Guests will find everything from a herd of sheep to chickens, peacocks, ducks, and geese. Visitors may even catch a glimpse of the family dog, a large poodle named Amadeus.
A work in progress
Originally, Hacienda had two soaking options available: the Geronimo Spring, a large pool for up to eight people, and the Luna Spring, a smaller pool for two to four people. However, plans were soon underway to open five more hot spring pools by this fall, as well as the 10 antique individual hot spring-fed tubs indoors.
The additional hot springs include two overlooking the pond and three private hot springs overlooking the Rio Grande.
The hotel also has a gift shop featuring Native American items, a large courtyard area, lots of wide-open space for walking, and places to lounge with friends and family along the river.
As of July, the Uribes were already making progress on another gathering spot on the property with a firepit, while also moving forward with plans to create an area for glamping.
“We bought an Airstream, which is a camper from the 1960s,” Juan said. “We’re remodeling that and will put it next to the river.” The couple plans to add more campers like this to the property, and possibly a few stylish tipis or yurts, along with community bathrooms, showers, and grilling areas.
The Uribes said they want Hacienda to be a place people come to enjoy nature and recharge. “It’s a quick getaway from home,” Linda said. “It doesn’t feel like you’re in Las Cruces or El Paso. It just feels like you’re in your own little world.” Las Cruces resident Shawn Alley, who booked a soak in the Geronimo Spring at Hacienda in March, said he was happy to find hot springs in the area.
“I’ve spent the last few years finding hot springs around the state with my girlfriend,” Shawn said. “It’s really great that we found one so close to home. The pool was bigger than I expected it to be, and it was a nice spot to watch the sunset.”
A bright future
If Hacienda continues to do well, the Uribes said they may add more rooms and services to the hotel, such as a restaurant. Other plans include hosting yoga and Native American ritual workshops on the property. “I see it as being a place to reenergize,
to come and disconnect, and just be able to feel the energy that surrounds this place,” Linda said.
The couple hopes the Hacienda will become an integrated, economic opportunity for those who live in the area.
Visitors to Radium Springs can book a soak or a room at the Hacienda while visiting other attractions in the area, such as Fort Selden Winery, Fort Selden Historic Site, and Leasburg Dam State Park. “We’re not even halfway there to being complete with what this place is going to be like,” Linda said.
For information about Hacienda del Camino Real, visit haciendadelcaminoreal.com or call 915-479-5151
Written and photography by Alexia Severson
Additional photos courtesy
Originally published in Neighbors magazine.
Posted by LasCruces.com