Ensenada ’s hotels are concentrated along Avenida López Mateos and Boulevard Costero. Late-night noise is a concern here, especially if you end up in a room that faces the street. Also, many of the longtime favorite establishments have let standards slip in recent years to the point where we can no longer recommend them.
Aside from peak travel times of July–August, Carnaval (February), and U.S. college spring break (March), hotels are rarely full and rates are negotiable.
The high season in Ensenada is May–September, and weekdays are generally slower than weekends year-round. Rates listed here do not include 12 percent tax, unless specified. Some places also add a 10 percent service charge to the nightly rate.
Hotel Hacienda (Calle 2 #211 at Alvarado, tel. 646/178-2344, US$40) has a good location just one full block from the main drag. Traffic noise is an issue for the rooms that face Calle 2, but all the rooms are well maintained and clean.
Three blocks north of Hussong’s Cantina, Hotel Ritz (Ruiz 379 at Calle 4, tel. 646/174-0501, fax 646/178-3262, US$32) appeals to travelers who don’t need off-street parking and who prefer to stay a comfortable distance from the main tourist drag (but still within the downtown area). Rooms on the lower level are dark; balconies on the more expensive second and third stories are a nice feature.
he northernmost property in the small Desert Inn (Floresta at Bucaneros, tel. 646/176-2601, toll-free U.S. tel. 800/346-3942, www.desertinns.com , US$75–130) chain of hotels in Baja has 50 rooms in a three-story building. Rooms come with air-conditioning, heat, TV, and phone. There are a restaurant and pool on-site but no off-street parking. It’s adequate enough for a place to crash but certainly nothing special.
Hotel Misión Santa Isabel (Costero 1119 btw Castillo/López Mateos, tel. 646/178-3616, fax 646/178-3345, US$39–139) is a large, mission-style building with clean rooms and friendly service—something that seems increasingly hard to find in Ensenada accommodations. Its 57 guestrooms have colonial-style wood furnishings, with modern amenities such as air-conditioning, heat, satellite TV, and direct-dial phones. The welcoming grounds include a restaurant/bar, gift shop, and one of the cleaner swimming pools in town; secure parking is another plus.
Rooms in the mission-style Casa del Sol Hotel (López Mateos 1001, tel. 646/178-1570, toll-free U.S. tel. 877/316-1684, www.casadelsolmexico.net , US$56–100) come with tiled baths, air-conditioning, TV, phone, and Wi-Fi. Services include secure parking and the on-site Bistro Café Sutaza and Essence Spa, with a full menu of treatments. Your morning coffee is on the house.
Suites are a good value at the Baja Inn Hotel Santo Tomás (Costero 609 at Miramar, tel. 646/178-1503 or 800/026-6999, toll-free U.S. tel. 800/303-2684, US$80), which is part of the same group of Baja Inn hotels. Its 80 clean rooms have air-conditioning, heat, and satellite TV, and there’s secure parking and a restaurant.
The well-run Hotel Cortez (López Mateos 1089, tel. 646/178-2307 or 800/026-6999, toll-free U.S. tel. 800/303-2684, www.bajainn.com , US$55) has 75 rooms in a two-story colonial-style building with an attractive lobby. Amenities include air-conditioning, heat, direct-dial phones, and cable TV. Nonsmoking rooms are available. The hotel also has a heated pool, restaurant/bar, and secure parking.
The five-story, 93-room Corona Hotel (Costero 1442, tel. 646/176-0901, www.hotelcorona.com.mx , US$64–83) gives you an in-town location that’s removed from the worst of the noise. Rooms feature bay views, balconies, satellite TV, air-conditioning, and heat. The spa is well appointed and clean. The bar has the feel of a hip ski bar in Switzerland. The secure parking out front can handle any size rig. You can even back your car up to the ground-floor rooms at the front of the hotel.
Popular with the yachting crowd, the Hotel Coral & Marina (Km. 103, exit Mexico 1 at Ensenada Centro, tel. 646/175-0000, toll-free U.S. tel. 800/862-9020, www.hotelcoral.com , US$130–170) has a full-service marina in addition to clean and contemporary accommodations. Its suites have balconies overlooking the marina. There is a restaurant serving alta cocina mexicana, plus a long list of guest services such as a nightclub, heated indoor and outdoor pools, hot tub, sauna, lighted tennis courts, and parking garage. The place is kid friendly to boot.
Posada El Rey Sol (Blancarte 130, tel. 646/178-1601, toll-free U.S. tel. 888/311-6871, US$80–200) is part of the Americas Best Value chain. It has 52 good-sized rooms and a heated pool, spa, restaurant, bar, and enclosed parking. It’s a block from the waterfront, with a friendly and helpful staff.
Overlooking the Pacific Ocean five kilometers north of town, Punta Morro Hotel and Suites (Km. 106, Mexico 1, tel. 646/178-3507, toll-free U.S. tel. 800/526-6676, www.punta-morro.com , US$160–185) has clean and quiet suites, from studios to three-bedroom units. Highlights include well-equipped kitchens, fireplaces, and terraces. The food and spa aren’t at the same level as the accommodations, however.
Ocean views are the best part about a night’s stay at Las Rosas Hotel and Spa (Km. 105.5, Ensenada Road, tel. 646/174-4595 or 866/447-6727, fax 646/175-9031, www.lasrosas.com , US$160–170), which is located six kilometers north of town on Mexico 1. The tradeoffs are small baths and no air-conditioning. Amenities include a restaurant with somewhat pricey food, pool, hot tub, sauna, exercise center, and tennis court.
Once worth the high price, Casa Natalie (Km. 103.3, tel. 646/174-7373, toll-free U.S. tel. 800/562-8254, www.casanatalie.com , US$220 and up), located near the Hotel Coral & Marina, is under new ownership, and prices have climbed even higher. Its suites are furnished to a level rarely seen in Baja. If money is not a factor, this would still be a convenient home base for a weekend of wine-tasting in the Guadalupe Valley.