Pueblo Bonito bed and breakfast inn– Santa Fe’s Most Authentic, Historic Adobe Pueblo- bed and breakfast shares its history, traditional New Mexico culture and gracious hospitality for 32 years to Santa Fe travelers providing that one of kind historic travel experience like none other. This 156 yr old historic Santa Fe bed & breakfast inn continues a rich New Mexico lodging tradition of the past. Taking the name of the intriguing archaeological site “Pueblo Bonito” of Chaco Canyon in the San Juan Basin of New Mexico, our enchanting downtown Santa Fe, New Mexico vacation lodging destination is a two story, two-and-a-half foot thick adobe pueblo architecturally accurate compound made up of three separate buildings and having a total of 19 Santa Fe lodging rooms! All 3/4 of an acre is surrounded by a massive adobe wall with quaint adobe archways, hand forged wrought iron fences and flagstone steps leading to the downtown streets of Santa Fe.
Pueblo Bonito bed and breakfast inn- Santa Fe was given its name over 87 years ago by Mr. Al Kempineck who purchased the highly sought after massive adobe pueblo-style compound from then prominent U.S Federal Court Judge John McFie in the early 1930’s. Judge McFie served the U.S. Court system from early 1860 to well into the mid 1900’s and was a very respected and well to do gentleman. He was assigned to the Southwest Texas Territory (which included West Texas and all of New Mexico) prior to New Mexico becoming a state in 1912. During his term, many noteworthy southwestern outlaws showed up on the scene, such as Doc Campbell, Billy the Kid, and Pancho Villa to mention only a few. Judge McFie had made for himself a comfortable and fine estate- with a large one story private home boasting high ceilings, separate servant quarters, separate horse stables, and native horno (bread oven). All were made from hand formed adobe bricks creating walls 2 to 2.5 ft thick! When viewing this amazing two-story adobe pueblo-style estate with its distinctive pueblo adobe architecture, Mr. Kemenick fell in love with it. His motivation was to re-create a community style property resembling that of the original Pueblo Bonito in Chaco Canyon. He envisioned a small community of people dwelling together, sharing their daily lives as friends and neighbors, thus the conversion into apartments! Just like the Pueblo Bonito of old (except with indoor plumbing, modern comforts and kiva fireplaces)!
Due to its prime location (in historic downtown Santa Fe, NM just a stone’s throw away from the New Mexico State Capitol building), and comfortable spaces, Pueblo Bonito provided varied necessary services to Santa Fe artists, politicians and community members. Rent as low as $35/month, Pueblo Bonito served as home to many colorful people of the day, some of which are now famous such as Hilare Hiler- southwestern artist. There were non-famous folk as well, such as George Sanders who lived with his family at Pueblo Bonito while serving in Los Alamos as personal bodyguard to Robert Oppenheimer, head physicist of the Manhattan project (see pictures). Ladies of the evening were known to keep house at Pueblo Bonito in earlier days providing services for gentlemen coming in on the Santa Fe Railroad. Even a neighborhood market conducted business out of our San Ildefonso (#20) room as it was located closer to Galisteo Street.
In the 1970’s the property changed hands again, but kept its occupancy as apartments. Better known as “starving” artists apartments (which at that time inhabited much of Santa Fe), an unknown artist who could not make rent one month left behind three murals upstairs on the indoor hallway next to Isleta (#10) and Santa Ana (#9). These murals have been well preserved and boast the original content depictions of Native American culture we celebrate still today!
In 1986, a young newlywed couple residing in Dallas, Texas began this popular Santa Fe bed & breakfast we now know as Pueblo Bonito Inn. Herb and Amy Behm at a ripe young age of 28 and 24 decided to make a go of it. With a background in franchise location and business management and a degree from Georgetown College, Herb took to providing Santa Fe accommodations beautifully! Amy, a recent graduate of Southern Methodist University and originally from Santa Fe, NM shared her background in marketing and sales with a bachelor’s of business degree.
Together, the Behm’s worked side-by-side learning the business of B&B innkeeping. With no other employees but themselves for the first year of business and only 12 rooms (now 19) with breakfasts served to the rooms (not like today with a communal room) the learning curve was great. Their goal was then and still is to provide a relax, welcoming and comfortable atmosphere that provides the true character of Pueblo Bonito at an affordable price, while always desiring a return visit from each of their satisfied guests.
The challenge presented by such a unique, historic property has demanded constant tender loving care due to its age and Herb and Amy’s desire to keep its authenticity as a prime Southwestern property in the heart of charming, historic downtown Santa Fe. Over the past 32 years, the bed & breakfast inn has had several face lifts from adding showers to replacing clay plumbing pipes, completely overhauling the communal area, to replacing the original antique kitchen units in rooms with usable new vanities, to placing phones, adding air conditioners, refrigerators and WiFi for each room, as well as redoing the quaint brick pathways, getting a brand new kitchen for breakfast and afternoon tea service, and lighting the outdoor areas adding to the overall Historic Santa Fe Travel Experience!
Through these growth spurts, we have received numerous encouragements from our guests, support from our community and numerous awards from our industry such as:”Best Preservation Renovation for Historical Significance” in 1988 – Santa Fe Historical Society; “Best of Santa Fe” for Accommodation in 1995- Reporter”; 2nd in “Best of Santa Fe” for Bed and Breakfast 2000- Reporter; Featured in Sunset Magazine “Snowy in Santa Fe” article Jan ’04 issue as well as the Santa Fean Magazine article “10 Best Santa Fe Accommodation” March ’04 issue; 2005 “Outstanding Inn of the Southwest”- bedandbreakfast.com; “Top Lodging” for Santa Fe- Sunset Oct ’10 issue; 2011, 2012, 2016 “Guest Favorite” bnbfinder.com; 2013, 2014, 2015 “Most Likely to Return” bnbfinder.com “Excellent” TripAdvisor 2011-16. Being named after such a wondrous historic site as Pueblo Bonito in Chaco Canyon, Pueblo Bonito Bed & Breakfast Inn has had a big plate to fill. However, it appears that this quaint little Santa Fe B&B nestled in the heart of the old southwest is indeed holding its own and has been a true delight to many of its patrons over the past 32+ years.