Fodor's Expert Review Hotel California
Benito Juárez at Morelos, Todos Santos, Baja California Sur 23300, México See on Map
This handsome structure with two stories of arched terraces and rich, vibrant colors on the walls, is a testament to the artistic bent of owner Debbie Stewart. A deep-blue-and-ocher scheme runs throughout, and rooms, some with ocean views, are decorated with a mix of antiques and folk art reminiscent of Santa Fe, New Mexico. The Coronela restaurant and bar are local hot spots, and the Emporio shop is stuffed with curios, jewelry, and funky natural-fiber clothing from around the globe.
There are only 11 rooms available at this landmark lodging, with room types ranging from standard (queen or two twin beds) to a penthouse suite with a private ocean view patio. All are individually decorated, and showcase paintings and other local artworks.
Baths are as colorful as the living areas at Hotel California, painted in bright tropical colors, with hand-painted shower tiles and artisanal mirrors.
The lobby serves as a virtual advertisement for the thriving local art scene, with colorful paintings, handmade wooden furniture, a Chihuly-esque chandelier, and a central sculpture depicting a bowl filled with watermelon slices.
An art gallery and souvenir shop, Emporio, is located just off the lobby.
The palm shaded oasis of a swimming pool is accessible through the courtyard, and features privacy-friendly foliage as well as comfortable seating like pillow-topped Mexican benches and reclining lounge chairs.
Belgian chef Dany Lamote’s La Coronela Restaurant serves up an eclectic array of dishes spotlighting fresh, local, and organic ingredients. Staff work in a large open kitchen set steps from the lobby, with tables set al fresco around the courtyard fountain.
The restaurant is a premier local event venue, hosting a pairing event during the annual Gastrovino Food & Wine Festival, and serving as a musical showcase during the annual Tropic of Cancer Concert Series (formerly the Todos Santos Music Festival).
The bar at La Coronela is a boutique masterpiece, not to mention the home of an award-winning tequila.
Hotel California is within easy walking distance of all the downtown shopping and dining attractions in Todos Santos. Bus service is available to Cabo San Lucas, San José del Cabo, and La Paz. Rental Cars are recommended for trips to local beaches, or for road trip adventures.
Miguel’s (7-minute walk to Calle Degollado) was once declared by the New York Times to have the best chile rellenos in Baja. It’s a claim owner Miguel Torres takes seriously, and these shrimp and scallop stuffed peppers continue to attract both locals and visitors. Italian themed Café Santa Fe, across from the town square, is another long-time locals’ favorite.
Shut Up Frank’s (7-minute walk to Calle Degollado) is where the locals go for burgers and live sports action. La Garra (12-minute walk on Benito Juárez), at the other end of town, is known for its live music, cold beers, chile rellenos, and vintage movie posters from the Golden Age of Mexican Cinema.
WHY WE LIKE IT
In addition to its status as an historic landmark (it was the first place in town to pump gas and serve cold beer), Hotel California is among the foremost examples of this pueblo magico’s many boutique lodgings. It’s also a venue for many of the town’s yearly arts and culture festivals.
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