Mountain retreat

Views and golf at a new temple of luxury near Ruidoso
A.C.

Bring a pair of binoculars to New Mexico's sleek new Inn of the Mountain Gods: From most rooms you can spy elk grazing each morning beside rippling Lake Mescalero.

Opened in March by the Mescalero Apache Tribe, the low-slung hotel and casino looks more Rockies contemporary than traditional Native American, with modernist bronze sculptures by indigenous artist Alan Houser adorning the corridors. The lobby and adjoining lounges, warmed by copper-and-stone fireplaces, open onto a three-story floor-to-ceiling window affording brilliant panoramas of an undulating Ted Robinson-designed golf course and the sawtoothed Sierra Blanca mountains.

At the house restaurant, Wendell's, entrées range from bone-in filet mignon with a Cabernet reduction to lobster tacos with Asian slaw.

INFO: Inn of the Mountain Gods Resort and Casino (273 rooms and suites from $149; 287 Carrizo Canyon Rd.; www.innofthemountaingods.com or 800/545-9011) is near Ruidoso.