It's not on the beach, but this hotel in a quiet enclave along one of San José's main boulevards is a delightful, reasonable find. Though the hotel restaurant faces the street, the guest quarters are tucked away at the back of the property around a pool and fountain with tropical birds. The warm yellow buildings frame a pool and palapa bar, and all rooms are outfitted with fine Mexican artwork and textiles. Two suites, El Troje and El Jacaranda, are situated poolside. Compared to the typical price at Los Cabos properties, the rates for the freestanding El Troje make for a very special and very romantic find. The hotel is central to shopping, several restaurants, and is a stone's throw from City Hall and the plaza principal.
Traditional Mexican appointments and accents are the norm: colorful pillows and linens, authentic artworks, antique furniture. The retro atmosphere is not at the expense, however, of modern amenities like air-conditioning, Wi-Fi, and televisions.
The signature suite is Troje, a charming poolside cabana housed within a 100-year-old Tarascan Indian wood cottage.
Colorful hand-painted tiles dominate the traditionally furnished bathrooms, from Talavera style sinks to beautifully accented countertops, mirror frames, and showers.
The hotel’s mascot, Paco the parrot, is one of several birds in residence outside the reception area, which is not a traditional lobby but merely an office for check-ins, check-outs, and concierge service.
Lush tropical foliage, from palm trees and bougainvillea to trained column climbing vines, fringe the spacious courtyard pool area. Additional shade is provided by lounge-side umbrellas, and a palapa which overhands the pool’s swim-up seating area.
Suite 111 has been transformed into a wellness center, Seven Zenses Cabo Spa, which offers massages and salon services like manicures, pedicures, and waxing.
Tropicana Restaurant has been a downtown dining mecca for better than three decades, serving up traditional Mexican fare and international favorites, and spotlighting live entertainment four nights per week. The airy sidewalk café is for people watching over breakfast or lunch, while the exquisitely appointed hacienda style dining room is the preferred place to enjoy dinner and music.
Live music is featured during dinner hours, Thursday to Sunday, 7 to 10 p.m.
Tropicana Restaurant offers a generous cocktail menu, plus plenty of tequila options, and wines from Baja’s Valle de Guadalupe.
The central location puts guests within easy walking distance of all the downtown attractions. Rental cars are recommended for trips to nearby organic farm restaurants, the municipality’s gorgeous East Cape, and of course sister city Cabo San Lucas.
Acclaimed local chef Tadd Chapman operates two restaurants within one block of Tropicana Inn on Blvd. Mijares: Don Sanchez and Local Uno. Both showcase fresh local seafood, grass-fed beef, and produce from the chef’s own regional farm, Sanchez Orgánico.
Don Sanchez is known for its wine program, which includes a temperature controlled indoor cellar, and carry-out sales for those seeking souvenir bottles. Microbrewery Baja Brewing Company is the destination drinking stop in the city’s historic Art District (5-minute walk to Calle Morelos, next door to La Lupita Taco & Mezcal, another popular sipping spot).
WHY WE LIKE IT
Tropicana Inn is one of three benchmark hotels in downtown San José del Cabo (Casa Natalia and El Encanto Inn are the others), a beautifully appointed hotel and restaurant wrapped around a large courtyard bordered by vintage art, implements, and iconography. The location is hard to beat: diners at the sidewalk café look out towards City Hall and the main plaza, hotel guests have views of the vibrant courtyard foliage and lighted swimming pool.