WHEN AMANDA TUCKER WAS 16, she and her mother visited Santa Fe and stayed at the Western-themed Silver Saddle Motel. Located on Cerrillos Road and part of the original Route 66 before the highway’s 1937 realignment bypassed the City Different, the property had been around since the 1950s.

The memory stuck with her for more than 25 years. “I love the idea of this classic motel,” says Tucker, who bought the property with her husband, Rick Goldberg, in 2022. “It had an appeal, even though it was kind of disheveled. I felt it was ready to be revitalized.”   

Together, they transformed it into The Mystic, a stylish 24-room retreat that warmly welcomes travelers and locals alike. Gone is the cowboy kitsch—the lassos and Stetsons, the guest rooms named for Wyatt Earp and other icons of the American West. Instead, Tucker, an interior designer, has created an inviting refuge with vibrant textiles, paintings, and murals from Oaxaca, Mexico; Morocco; and other far-flung places, as well as work by local Native artists. Awash in shades of black, white, and varying hues of blush in modern guest rooms and gathering spaces inside and out, the old Silver Saddle has become a hip hub, with a vibe that Tucker calls “desert modern.”   

The Mystic’s High Desert Hideaway hosts weddings, live music, and other events. Photograph courtesy of The Mystic.

“I love vintage and retro,” she says. “I incorporate it in all my designs with modern. The inspiration was to represent high-desert regions across the world because they have a similar design and cuisine.”

The High Desert Café, Cocktails & Curios restaurant serves an innovative blend of regional cuisine with a modern twist in a streamlined space. Breakfast fare includes Hecho de Mano Tacos, with a variety of fillings. Later in the day, flatbreads include the DayTripper, a luscious blend of pesto, goat cheese, arugula, and wild mushrooms.

If guests haven’t tuned in to The Mystic after a bite and a beverage, they can walk a few steps to the Moroccan Love Pad and bliss out in the comfy, intimate space with low seating and plenty of pillows. Or head out back, where the Silver Saddle’s junk pile has been converted into the High Desert Hideaway, a 13,000-square-foot events venue for weddings, live music, and parties. A refurbished 1960s Shasta trailer serves as an outdoor bar.  

Clearing out that old junk pile yielded a treasure, the restored neon Motel Office sign in the lobby, which is flanked by tall fence-post cacti. Outside, a semi-enclosed hangout space contains a table made from a giant upside-down Chinese elm root. The Mystic is filled with captivating details like this, all reflecting Tucker’s intent to create beguiling spaces. “We wanted to have a space to gather community,” she says.

A refurbished 1960s Shasta trailer serves as an outdoor bar at The Mystic. Photograph courtesy of The Mystic.

Originally from Houston, Tucker and Goldberg started spending time in Santa Fe in 2017 after they bought a few short-term rentals in Tesuque and then opened a wedding venue in Santa Cruz. “Santa Fe has always had this unique tapestry of wanderers, vagabonds, missionaries, Native Americans, a lot of cross-culturalism,” she says. “It’s unexplainable, and that’s the mysticism. There’s some deeper connection.”

The Mystic pays tribute to its Route 66 heritage with two time-capsule rooms that lean into its past with 1940s and 1950s decor such as a Roy Rogers lunchbox and vintage cowboy curtains. When Goldberg met with the owners of the Silver Saddle, he talked to guests and discovered that 80 percent were on a Route 66 tour. “I wanted guests to appreciate the nostalgia of Route 66 in a space where they could find their layer of connection,” he says, “either with themselves or the people that they’re with.

Read more: Along New Mexico's Route 66, the motor lodge is once again hip.

Year built: Circa 1950.
Renovation: 2022.
Don’t miss: The bar’s Mystical Concoctions menu lives up to the motel’s name, with drinks such as the Snake Charmer, Moon Storm, and Rainbow Eclipse.
Neon: A restored Motel Office sign in the lobby.

2810 Cerrillos Road; 505-471-7663, themysticsantafe.com


Take a seat at the Plaza Café’s soda fountain for a burger, a milkshake, and a side order of nostalgia. This classic American diner has been serving Santa Fe since 1905, making it the city’s oldest restaurant. When Route 66 cut through the Santa Fe Plaza, before the 1937 realignment took it right back out again, the Plaza Café served as a beacon. The Razatos family, who bought the restaurant in 1947, continues their legacy with pride, serving such diner staples as club sandwiches and BLTs along with New Mexican food and a bit of Greek fare in honor of their heritage.