The Lodge Resort at Cloudcroft can’t be judged solely by its Halloween attractions. With one of the world’s loftiest golf layouts, ski slopes on the next ridgeline, a 100-mile view across New Mexico’s White Sands and a mahogany bar once owned by Al Capone, a resident flirtatious ghost named Rebecca nevertheless continues as one of the hotel’s main attractions.
Legend has it that a lumberjack fell in love with a hotel chambermaid sometime near the rip-roaring turn of the 19th century. She liked him okay, but Rrebecca wasn’t just a one-man girl, Jack. The age-old tragedy unfolded: If Jack couldn’t have her, nobody could, etc. And as perhaps the only X-rated ghost in history, Rebecca sometimes turns up luxuriating in one of the hotel’s bathtubs.
At the terminus of a onetime mountain railway, the Lodge gained early fame as a watering hole and summer escape for the social registry of El Paso, Texas. Conrad Hilton managed the Lodge in the 1930s, already boasting a guest list that included Pancho Villa, Judy Garland and Clark Gable. Later came astronauts who trained at an airbase nearby.
Christmas is the most popular time when both the Lodge and Cloudcroft are dressed in the finery of a small-town holiday village. With beveled-glass doorways and lace curtains, the Lodge wears its wreaths and garlands with Victorian grace. Snow adds to the Yuletide mood. The lobby fireplace burns 365 nights a year and Rebecca’s portrait graces the dining room.
– George Ridge
Cloudcroft sits at the center of a circle that includes Ruidoso horse racing, the International Space Hall of Fame, White Sands National Monument and Carlsbad Caverns.