Our History

Many have speculated that Inn of the Governors rests on the site of the original Governor’s Mansion, but historical documents show otherwise. In fact, just one century ago the Inn’s location was a cavern used to store ice as a water supply during the hot summers. By the early 1900’s, this plot evolved from an ice cavern to a livery stable, then an auto shop in the 1950’s. In 1960 the garage transitioned naturally to a GM dealership. It was about this time that Santa’ Fe’s notoriety as a tourist destination began to take shape. Consequently, in 1965 Mr. Jeff Vander Wolk arranged to build the first 80 rooms of the Inn of the Governors. By 1985, the tourist trade was clearly a permanent part of Santa Fe’s infrastructure and the city saw a growth in hotel rooms. In 1985, Mr. Vander Wolk built another 20 rooms to broaden the Inn’s appeal to the discriminating tourist.

Once the hotel was established, Mr. Vander Wolk embarked on breathing a wholly unique life into the facility based on the teachings of Dr. Edward Deming. Throughout the years, Mr. Vander Wolk had been exposed to Quality Management and the theories of Dr. Deming.

Dr. Deming is known as the father of quality, and is generally considered responsible for Japan’s rejuvenation following World War Two. Through his systems based model and adherence to quality above quantity, the Japanese have become one of the world’s strongest economies. In 1995, Inn of the Governors embarked on their own quality journey, adopting Dr. Deming’s philosophy of quality systems. Through this process, Mr. Vander Wolk also incorporated principles developed by Lincoln Electric and Newcorp Steel, whereby the employees themselves share in the profits of the company in a direct, cash based manner. He then developed an employee based Advisory Council similar to Lincoln Electric’s whereby the employees are involved in the operations of the hotel, and make suggestions that could improve profitability, thereby improving their financial stake in the business.

As the final step in creating the heart of the Inn, Mr. Vander Wolk created a code of values that promotes employee growth through integrity, respect, customer focus, commitment, family, health, joy, leadership quality, and spirituality. Through these values the Inn strives to create a work environment that honors the employee and thereby promotes personal responsibility. These in turn provide a more delightful guest experience.

Inn of the Governors’ has journeyed a long way, from a hole in the ground to becoming a unique vision of hospitality. The journey will never be complete, as we can continually improve the guest experience, maintain the hotel itself, and empower employees to a new level of service. The Inn of the Governors needs you, the guest, to journey with us and provide our compass. Please join us and see what makes Inn of the Governors “Your Home in the Heart of Santa Fe.”