Hotels, Resorts, and Rentals
Besides the major hotels and “condotels” in the zona hotelera along the beach, San José offers some smaller, reasonably priced inns in the town itself.
A downtown location puts you close to shops and restaurants, with a short drive or long walk to the beach. Condos and hotels along Playa Azul are about a 5- to 10-minute drive from town, depending on traffic.
Rates are given for double occupancy in the high season (holiday rates may be higher) and do not include 12 percent tax and 10 percent service charge, unless otherwise noted. Discounts may be available for stays of a week or longer.
Hotels in Town
Two budget hotels are located on Calle Zaragoza opposite the church. The accommodations are minimal and you’ll hear noise from the street below, but the prices are about the lowest you’ll find anywhere in town. Manager Señor Félix provides clean, if basic, accommodations at Hotel Ceci (Zaragoza 22, opposite the church, tel. 624/142-0051, US$35). It has 14 rooms with ceiling fans, air-conditioning, TV, and hot water.
The rooms at Hotel Diana (Zaragoza 30, tel. 624/142-0490, US$30) also have air-conditioning, TV, and hot water.
Steps from Plaza Mijares, on the same block as the Casa de la Cultura, the charming Posada Yuca Inn (Obregón 1A, tel. 624/142-0462, www.yucainn.com.mx, US$40–50) is something of a mix of a hostel, bed-and-breakfast, and motel. It has three simple hotel-style rooms, each with its own refrigerator, remote-control air-conditioning, and private bath. Additional bunk rooms offer even less-expensive hostel-style accommodations for US$16 per person and US$25 for two. The inn has its own water purification system, so you don’t need to buy drinking water. Walk to the Organic Market on Saturday mornings and return to the inn to prepare your meal in the shared cocina. The owner, Rogelio Lopez, whose nickname is Yuca, grows Mexican oregano, epazote (used in enchilada sauce), and other herbs, as well as vegetables, in several raised beds in the courtyard of the inn; plus there are numerous fruit trees on the property—grapefruit, oranges, guanabano, and lemons. Guests are welcome to pick whatever is ripe. Amenities include a swimming pool, Wi-Fi, and parking at the backside of the building. The inn does not typically offer daily maid service but will change your towels as needed.
Next door, Hotel Posada Señor Mañana (Obregón 1B, tel./fax 624/142-1372, US$40–70) has several rooms connected by a labyrinth of ramps and ladders. Each room has a ceiling fan and private bath with hot water.
One of the oldest hotels in town, Hotel Colli (Hidalgo btw Zaragoza/Doblado, tel. 624/142-0725, US$50) has a dozen small and clean rooms with simple furnishings, newly tiled baths, and hot water in a building just off the plaza. Its rooms come with ceiling fans, air-conditioning, and private baths. Bottled water is a plus, and the friendly service makes for a comfortable stay. As with any of the downtown hotels, noise is likely to be a minor nuisance at night, but all is usually quiet by about 11 P.M. There is secure parking under the hotel.
Many travelers enjoy the authentic Mexican surroundings and hospitality at Hotel Posada Terranova (on Degollado, just south of Zaragoza, tel. 624/142-0534, www.hterranova.com.mx, US$60), located between Plaza Mijares and the Mercado Municipal. Over the years this large residential property has been renovated to hold 29 guestrooms, each with two beds, air-conditioning, phone, and satellite TV. This hotel has a pleasant terrace and a dependable Mexican restaurant (7 A.M.–10 P.M. daily, mains US$10–15).
The Best Western Hotel & Suites Las Palmas (Km. 31, Carr. Transp., tel. 624/142-2131, www.suiteslaspalmas.com, US$85) makes a satisfactory stop for a night on your way in or out of the area. The pros: a friendly staff, reasonable rates, and the possibility of substantial discounts during peak travel times. Easy access to the more local eateries is another plus, and small kitchenettes mean you can stock up on groceries at the Mega the night before a drive to the East Cape. The cons: a front-row seat next to Highway 1 means the sound of traffic will lull you to sleep. Decor is about as basic as it gets. On a recent visit, the room and bath were clean enough, but they didn’t exactly sparkle. Dishes in the cabinet were sticky, and the dish sponge had been recycled.
In the heart of San Jose’s growing art district, El Encanto Inn (Morelos 133, tel. 624/142-0388, U.S. tel. 512/465-9751, www.elencantosuites.com, US$100–160) encompasses two buildings on Calle Morelos. Fluffy towels, king-size beds, and remote-control air-conditioning are a few of the special touches at the newer property, El Encanto Suites. The two-story hacienda surrounds a small swimming pool and courtyard. More economical standard and garden suites are in the original inn. Rooms here are popular with travelers who plan a one-night stopover before heading to or from the East Cape, but recent guests have complained about duplicate charges and other complications with advance reservation payments. A café near the pool serves breakfast and drinks, and you can park for free in a gated, but not guarded, lot across the street. The on-site Ixchel Salon & Spa offers manicures, pedicures, and massage treatments.
Behind the Tropicana Bar and Grill and set back from busy Boulevard Mijares, the Tropicana Inn (Mijares 30, tel. 624/142-1580, www.hoteltropicana.com, US$130–180) has 37 rooms and several suites set around a pleasant courtyard, with a fountain, heated swimming pool (a nice feature for winter stays), and several cages of tropical birds to greet you each day. Rooms and baths are on the small side and should be up for renovation soon, but all the standard amenities are there: phones, air-conditioning, Wi-Fi, small fridge, coffeemaker, and satellite TV. Rooms on the ground level tend to be noisy as other quests pass by or linger by the pool. Inquire whether the multicourse continental breakfast is included with your rate—it’s a pretty good deal. The inn has a spa with a full menu of treatments.
Internationally acclaimed Casa Natalia (Mijares 4, tel. 624/142-5100 or 888/277-3814, www.casanatalia.com, US$150–335) sets the standard for luxury boutique hotel accommodations in Los Cabos. It has become a favorite venue for small weddings and other formal celebrations. Its 14 rooms and two suites are designed with a contemporary, European flair, including original artwork. Private (though extremely small) terraces with hammocks face a heated swimming pool. And the attached Mi Cocina restaurant (6:30–10 P.M. daily, mains US$18–32), run by owner Natalie Tenoux’s husband, Loïc Tenoux, is just steps away. This is not the place for children under the age of 13.
Beach Hotels in Town
Occupancy rates for the hotels along Playa Hotelera have been climbing in recent years to match those of their busier Cabo San Lucas peers, though you may still be able to negotiate a deal during off-peak seasons. Whether you choose a hotel or condo, beware that demolitions, renovations, and new construction are in progress all over this area, even during the peak travel season. There’s a good chance you’ll end up next to, above, or below a noisy construction zone. The hammering, sawing, and drilling typically begins at 8:30 A.M. and lasts till 5:30 P.M. Do your homework before you book.
Situated between the Desire and Posada Real resorts along the zona hotelera, Barceló Los Cabos (formerly The Grand Baja, Paseo del Malecón 5D, tel. 624/146-7500, toll-free U.S. tel. 800/227-2356, www.barcelo.com, US$250 and up) has one-, two-, and three-bedroom suites and was under renovation by a new owner, Spain-based Barceló, in 2009.
At the far northeastern end of the zona hotelera, next to the Estero San José, the 400-room Presidente InterContinental Los Cabos Resort (Paseo del Malecón, tel. 624/142-0211, toll-free U.S. tel. 888/567-8725, www.ichotelsgroup.com, US$290–425) serves some of the best meals around for all-inclusive package guests.
Rooms at the Best Western Hotel Posada Real Los Cabos (Paseo del Malecón, tel. 624/142-0155, toll-free U.S. tel. 800/528-1234, www.posadareal.com.mx, US$120–210 pp) are among the better-value all-inclusive options. They come with air-conditioning, phone, and satellite TV. The property has a pool with two hot tubs and swim-up bar, plus its own restaurant. Most rooms have views of the ocean, too. Rates cover meals, drinks, tips, and tax.
Next door, the Hola Grand Faro Los Cabos (formerly Crowne Plaza Los Cabos, Paseo del Malecón, tel. 624/142-9292, toll-free U.S. tel. 866/365-6932, www.holaloscabosresort.com, US$220 pp and up) is one of few resorts in Los Cabos where you can enjoy a stay free of condo sales pitches, as the property does not have timeshares on-site. Large guestroom terraces and a saltwater infinity pool are two more distinguishing features. Children aged four and up can play in the kids’ club while adults relax by the pool. Meals are standard resort buffets, served in several on-site restaurants. High-speed Internet access costs US$15 per day. The on-site Natura Room offers a full menu of massage, body, and facial treatments (US$90–110 for 50 minutes). The resort offers free and secure parking underground.
On the northeast side of the Crowne Plaza, the Royal Solaris Los Cabos Hotel (Paseo del Malecón Lte. 10, zona hotelera, tel. 624/145-6800, toll-free U.S. tel. 866/289-8466, www.clubsolaris.com, US$145–175 pp) has a water park for kids and serves a breakfast that’s popular among resort-goers. Most of its 389 rooms have ocean views. Entertainment options include a Tehuacan dinner theater show. A free snorkeling tour comes with a stay of six nights or more.
Clothing is optional at Desire Resort & Spa Los Cabos (formerly the Fiesta Inn, Paseo del Malecón, tel. 624/142-9300, toll-free U.S. tel. 888/201-7551, toll-free Can. tel. 800/655-9311, www.desireresorts.com, US$170 pp and up). Reactions ranged from shock to awe when this couples-only establishment opened in 2006, catering to upscale, “liberated” adults. A red and dark brown color scheme with hand-painted murals of scenes from the Book of Kama Sutra set the mood. A clothing-optional pool and whirlpool tub, L’Alternative Disco, and Sensuous Playroom take it over the top. The resort’s 150 rooms and suites have king-size beds and flat-screen TVs, among a complete list of standard amenities. From the beach, curious onlookers can recognize the resort by shoulder-height bamboo screens on the terraces that allow for private sunbathing.
The Grand Mayan Los Cabos (Paseo del Malecón, toll-free U.S. tel. 866/802-0674, www.mexicomayanresorts.com/thegrandmayan/los cabos/index.php, US$155 and up), which opened in 2007, has a stunning reception area and offers a Wednesday-evening Mayan dinner theater performance.
Pueblo La Playa and La Playita
At El Delfín Blanco (Delfínes, Pueblo La Playa, tel. 624/142-1212, tel./fax 624/142-1199, www.eldelfinblanco.net, US$50–80), Osa Franzen maintains several clean cabanas that are situated about 300 meters from the beach with views of the water. The place attracts independent travelers who seek an authentic Mexican experience as well as a good value in accommodations. You may hear the wind rustling through palm-thatched roofs and dogs barking at night, but you’ll also be steps away from the new marina and park at La Playita. Walk to several restaurants or shop in town and cook your own meals in the shared outdoor kitchen.
About 6.5 kilometers past La Playita and Puerto Los Cabos, on the coastal road that hugs the East Cape, La Fonda del Mar Bed and Breakfast (Laguna Hills, U.S. tel. 951/302-1735, www.buzzardsbar.com, US$75–95) has three rooms with palapa roofs, American-style beds, and tile floors. Each has its own half bath but shares a shower. For families, there is a larger suite with a pullout couch and private bath. Guests may order anything off the Buzzard’s menu for breakfast, including the famed eggs Benedict on Sundays. The inn is situated almost on the beach, and it’s a very short walk along an arroyo to the water’s edge. To find La Fonda del Mar, follow the road to La Playita, turn left at the first traffic circle, and go about 6.5 kilometers, following signs for Laguna Hills and El Encanto. The inn changed hands in 2010 and is now under Canadian ownership.
Just steps from the new panga marina, La Marina Inn (formerly La Playita Inn, Pueblo La Playa, tel./fax 624/142-4166, US$60–100) has managed to stay its course through all the development and change around it. This three-story Mexican-style inn is a good choice if you are planning to fish or simply want to stay away from the hustle and bustle of downtown San José. Its air-conditioned rooms each have large showers and two queen beds. There is a small pool and an authentic Mexican seafood restaurant, La Marina.
© Nikki Goth Itoi from Moon Baja, 9th Edition