Improving the Chi of a Hotel in Taos, New Mexico

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After touring the Fechin Inn and its ­surrounding six acres of property, feng shui expert Loralee Makela was not surprised that the premier Taos, New Mexico, hotel wasn’t doing as well as expected. Chi, or energy, was stagnant in the business liaisons area and compromised in the prosperity and relationship areas. Even worse, the building was sited so that ­energy was never given a chance to accumulate and flowed right past the entrance.

“Interestingly enough,” says Makela, “those areas corresponded to the issues they were having–client flow, prosperity, liaisons with the town. . . . There was a ­feeling that the town, the politics, and the businesses weren’t supporting them.”

Makela suggested a host of changes, beginning with the removal of the No Trespassing signs and the “scary lighting” that drove away positive chi. To capture the energy escaping past the entrance, she suggested planting trees and flowers, and she installed a water fountain and curved metal sculpture on the area of the property that correlates with prosperity. Because the inn is designed in the shape of a T, and thus misses quadrants in the relationship area, Makela grounded the empty areas with sculptural pieces that are “nurturing and welcoming.” Inside, where energy had become stagnant, she suggested rounding the sharp edges on lobby furniture and changing colors in the guestrooms.

“The feedback they were getting from guests in the east wing was it felt too hot. That was because they had red and earth tones that enhanced negative energy,” Makela says. “Adding metal elements and cool blue on the bedspreads and shower curtains has made people more comfortable.”

While Fechin Inn owner Joe Schepps confesses he was skeptical at the start of the feng shui remodel, these days he’s a believer in the Chinese art. Schepps says relationships in the community have improved, guest visits are up, and, as a result, profits are on the rise. Three months after Makela’s visit, the Fechin Inn won a spot on the Condé Nast Traveler Gold List as one of the world’s best places to stay.

“In the last five months,” Schepps says, “everything has started to change. Curb appeal went up, and we get tons of comments. I thought feng shui correlated to good taste, but it really is more than that. It changed the energy of the property.”

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