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ABC’s The Bachelor Chris Soules Comes to Indian Country, Stays at Native-Owned Resort

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Chris Soules, of the hit reality TV show The Bachelor on ABC, and his 11 bachelorettes, made a pit stop in Indian country on Monday.

Soules, a farmer from Iowa, took his first getaway date to Santa Fe, New Mexico, and stayed at the Santa Fe Buffalo Thunder Resort and Casino that is owned and operated by the Pueblo of the Pojoaque tribe. The tribe also owns the nearby Cities of Gold Casino.

When Soules arrived in Santa Fe he said that the city would be the “perfect place to fall in love.” And as the bachelorettes arrived, and went to their suite in the resort, one contestant said that the room was “so perfect.”

The resort casino writes, “As seen on ABC's The Bachelor Season 19! An opulent, bi-level suite with floor-to-ceiling windows showcasing the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. This one king bed masterpiece, designed by the Pueblo of Pojoaque's own Governor George Rivera, offers a dining and bar area, living spaces with gas-burning fireplaces and one king bedroom on the first level.The second level, accessed by spiral staircase, offers a view deck, outdoor seating area, two bed sleeping area, soaking tub and mini-bar.”

His dates in the city seemed to go over well (except for a surprise visit from ex-contestant Jordan Branch of Windsor, Colorado, which made the other women upset because she had already been eliminated) too. He took the women on three dates: the first one was a visit to the “Love Guru” for a one-on-one date with Carly; the second was a group date, rafting on the Rio Grande River; and the final date was a hot air balloon ride with contestant, Britt.

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But Soules's visit to the city came with mixed reviews. Although the city was happy to have the exposure, City Councilor Ron Trujillo told the The Santa Fe New Mexican that he was unhappy with one of the scenes on the TV show. “They showed the cathedral [Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi], and instead of saying Santa Fe, it said Sante Fe. S-A-N-T-E F-E,” he said. “Really? They could’ve gotten the spelling right in my opinion. After all, I’m sure it was printed on the check they cashed.”

The check Trujillo referenced was the $50,000 tax credit that the city allotted for the show to be shot in Santa Fe. The money came from the city's lodgers tax fund and was allocated to boost tourism, KOB-TV said.

But Buffalo Thunder spent quite a bit more than that to bring the bachelor to its resort. According to The Santa Fe New Mexican, “the resort and casino underwrote more than $336,000 in costs, including lodging and meals for the cast and crew, over 16 days of filming, said Peter Lovato, Buffalo Thunder’s catering director.”

Fortunately, some say that the $50,000 expense was worth it because the show might spark an interest in viewers to take a trip to the city. “It’s more than one episode,” Randy Randall, executive director of the city’s convention and visitors bureau, told the paper after The Bachelor viewing party at the Buffalo Thunder. “Two for the price of one. Can you believe it?”

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In the next episode, Soules stays in Indian country, and takes his contestants to Albuquerque for its International Balloon Fiesta.