#1 – EL MONTE SAGRADO, TAOS, NEW MEXICO – Everyone who’s been to Taos will tell you the same thing. The light is different here. The air is different here. And the colors are different here. In this most spiritual of New Mexico towns sits a thousand-year-old Native pueblo of adobe houses, with Taos Mountain, sacred to the Natives and forbidden to others, towering above it. And on these leafy streets, with a town plaza dating from the 18th Century, remain some of the most beautiful examples of Colonial New Mexican architecture in the state. One of the new examples of this classic architecture is this hotel. El Monte Sagrado means “The Holy Mountain” in Spanish and “Sagrado” can also mean “sanctuary.” This beautiful Southwestern hotel combines a rich blend of Native American, Mexican, Spanish and American-West cultures in a natural, relaxing setting. The Living Spa is one of the best in the area, offering herb-infused treatments using indigenous, organic plants, flowers and minerals. The hotel’s restaurant, De la Tierra, has gathered great acclaim from local foodies. There’s a fascinating sculpture garden here, too, with waterfalls overlooking the “Sacred Circle,” once used by Native Americans for ceremonies.