Rosarito is one of my favorite places, just a hop skip and a jump from my home in Los
Angeles (about a 2 1/2 hr drive down the California coast). Believe me, you can’t beat that drive except maybe up the California coast to San Francisco. See Calafia page for directions, once you cross the San Ysidro border between San Diego and Tijuana.
Let me give you a little background on the Rosarito area.
The California Peninsula was originally inhabited by tribal people. The tribal people that inhabited what is now the Rosarito area were called the Kumiai and they called the area Uacuatay which roughly translates to “the big house of the big chief”. Many of the descendants of this tribe still live in the area.
Next came the Spaniards and the Missions. Not only did the Spanish export their culture and language but they also evangelized the local tribes and built 28 Missions. Then came the Ranches and the Rancheros.
Rosarito Beach Pier
Rosarito was originally a suburb of Tijuana but in Oct. 1 1995 it became an independent city. It’s motto being “A horizon of possibilities”. Actually that’s what I’m hoping so let’s begin with Rosarito Beach Hotel.
This Hotel is where I usually stay when I visit Rosarito. It has an amazing history. It was built in 1925 by a Los Angeles business group and then sold to Manuel Barbachano.
Manuel Barbachano is a fascinating man in his own right. Not only a visionary but an entrepreneur and a shrewd businessman. He built what was to become the first electric and phone company in Tijuana. He also bought a small 12 room hunting and fishing lodge called “Rosarito Shores”.
In 1932 he built the foyer and added 50 rooms, The Salon Mexicano Ballroom and The Azteca Restaurant.
He also married the beautiful and talented actress Maria Louisa Chabert. He built her a mansion that has now become the world class Playa Casa Spa and the elegant Chabert’s Restaurant. Pretty soon Hollywood’s elite, actors and actresses, producers and directors were frequenting the hot spot just south of the border. Not to mention any names..... Marilyn Monroe, Rita Hayworth, Orson Wells, Clark Gable and Kim Novak ( we don’t want to be name droppers ).
Rosarito Beach Hotel sits right on the beach and when you are driving south for about 17 miles south on the Tijuana/Ensenada Scenic Toll Road, you will reach the Rosarito City Limits. Continue on the Scenic Road and then exit right at the 4th exit and you’ll arrive
just in front of the Rosarito Beach Hotel which is right on Benito Juarez Blvd (which is the main street in Rosarito).
Rosarito Beach Hotel Entrance
So, let’s check in!!! The first thing you have to notice is the saying above the door it says “Por Esta Puerta Pasan Las Mujeres mas Hermosas Del Mundo”. “The Most Beautiful Women In the World Enter Here”. Gee, I hope they let me in !!!
The foyer is lovely with high beamed ceilings, incredible tile
Beamed Ceiling in Rosarito Beach Hotel
Rosarito Beach Hotel Suite
work and murals depicting Mexican culture. The Rosarito Beach Hotel has about 500 rooms.Some are suites and one bedroom apts. others are just singles. Most all of the rooms face the beach. Right now they’re adding Condos. The last time I was there construction was going on (but it didn’t interfere with my good time). Besides the amazing foyer you might want to check out the miles of beach right in front of the hotel. When I stay at this hotel I run this beach every morning (It’s great for either running or walking). There’s a 591 yard pier on the beach that attracts fishing enthusiasts.
The hotel also has a museum with pictures and artifacts representative of
Rosarito Beach Pier
Rosarito’s history. You will also find replicas of indigenous and mayan art.
There is a little shopping passage (facing the street that’s really cute) where you will find arts and crafts and an art gallery. Paco Garcia and his wife Maria Hernandez own and run the art gallery. They are amazing artists. They show their work all over the world. As artists they
Shopping in Rosarito
have completely different styles. I’m not an art expert but I would be proud to exhibit a painting from either artist. It excites me to be able to walk into their gallery and discuss their work with them. They also have works by other artists.
The Rosarito Beach Hotel has two restaurants. The Azteca Restaurant which is right off the lobby and offers great omelettes and a picturesque view. The
Azteca restaurant’s floor is tiled and has a real wood burning fireplace, giving this restaurant a warm and cozy feeling. Not only can you have omelettes but they’ll also cook your eggs any style with ham,chorizo, bacon or machaca. The other restaurant in the Rosarito Beach Hotel is The Chabert Restaurant. This is a gourmet restaurant specializing in French and Continental cuisine. The most amazing thing about this restaurant is the ambience. I feel I’m either in an Ann Rice vampire
novel or some Russian’s Czars’ dining room!! The Chabert Restaurant is famous for its postre. “The Chabert Supreme” is the specialty.The menu descibes it as ”a sinfully rich truffle pastry filled with whipped cream and topped with a delicious chocolate sauce”. MMM!!! I think you should try that!!!
Another great feature of this hotel is it has an amazing Spa. The Playa Casa Spa offers manicures, pedicures, facials and specializes in many types of massages.The locker room has a sauna and jacuzzi that you are welcome to use. They supply all the necessary robes, slippers ect. This European style spa is quite frankly a work of art.
Rosarito is so close to me that I drive down during the week for a relaxed environment and the beautiful beach, plus don’t forget that facial and massage!! I’ve never had a better one and during the week I can get both for under $100 dollars. Can’t beat that!!!
Casa Playa Spa
This hotel is so reasonably priced it’s unbelievable. I usually travel during the week and I’ve usually phoned the hotel directly. You can phone them in Mexico 011(52)(661) 612 0144 or 612-1111.. From the US you can phone 1(866)ROSARITO. Fax 011(52)(661)612-1125. There address is Boulevard Benito Juarez #31. Rosarito, Baja California Mexico. Like most places in Mexico, Master Card and Visa are accepted.
Now, if like me, your not strictly a tee totaler, but even if you are, there are a couple of bars and entertainment venues right in the hotel!! On fridays and saturdays in the El Zarape Bar in the Salon Mexicano (located in the hotel) they have traditional folklore dancing and Mariachi. There’s a Karaoke bar just before the lobby entrance called the Rosa Rita. It’s a hacienda style bar
Rosa Rita Karaoke Bar
with pictures from 1926 until now. Last but not least the piano bar is just off the Azteca Restaurant.
Let’s say you want to take a little stroll along the Boulevard. I can point out a few great restaurants that are all within walking distance.
Fresh Tortillas at El Nido
First El Nido, (which means the nest). It really is!! The Los Angeles Times describes it this way “ An intimate and romantic setting in the middle of the main strip (Blvd Benito Juarez). An enclosed atrium-like patio... featuring a volcanic rock waterfall, bird sanctuary and thatched roof. Open flame brick ovens and a smell of mesquite smoked meat permeates the
Mesquite Oven at El Nido
air. Rugged decor includes wagon wheels, hanging lanterns, strings of garlic and weathered harnesses.”
After having a fantastic breakfast we started investigating El Nido (this most interesting little restaurant). Mario (one of the
Atrium Patio at El Nido
boomers) led us out to the back where we discovered another little patio. This was not being used and that led to this little bakery. By now I’m feeling like Cortes!! We followed through the bakery and found another little room that was off to one side. We stepped inside and went “what is this?”
A very rustic church. A huge crucifix with a figure of Jesus made out of metal. A tree alter with rustic wooden pews. Wild plants growing everywhere. I’m assuming this is a little church but it sure has a wonderful pagan feel to it. Someone built this tiny chapel in a backroom of a restaurant. This is an obra de arte. Who will see it? Who uses it? Who built it? This is why you will love Mexico.
Little Church at El Nido
All these treasures hidden away. A treasure for you to find and share. Just like I’m doing with you now.
El Nido is cash only. The prices are very reasonable. And I’m really underlining that!! Their phone number is (01152) (661) 612-1430.The website is www.elnidorestaurant.com .
El Nido Bakery
Another reason I like to travel down to Rosarito is the Mexican tile. I stock up, when I go there. I usually travel south towards Calafia and look for the smaller tile shops. There are many bigger shops that cater to their northern neighbors that are more contemporary and accept credit cards. The smaller shops only carry the most amazing collection of Mexican tile. They only deal in cash, no credit cards. Although this might be a bit of an inconvenience, it is well worth it when you see the selection and prices.
I have one other restaurant for you.
The Castle is a magical and romantic restaurant, nestled on a cliff overlooking the Pacific ocean. This restaurant was built by Al Capone in the late 20’s to entertain his Hollywood
The Castle Restaurant
friends!!..... Yes Really!!!
The restaurant is lit by candlelight but the kitchen which is downstairs is fully electric, with a variety of gourmet dishes from an international menu. The Castle has a great selection of regional and imported wines but also a full bar, so enjoy your favorite cocktail while relaxing in front of the ocean
It is located on Carretera Libre Rosarito-Ensenada Km. 36.6,
Playas de Rosarito, Baja California , Mexico 22044. You can e-mail: email@example.com. There phone number is 52 (661) 613-2022. Their website is thecastleatrosarito.com . They are open from 12 noon and I guarantee this restaurant will just blow you away!!!!
The Castle is now owned by the Perez family. David Perez is the proprietor of this charming and enchanting restaurant. Say Hi for us, if you go. We’ll be back there in the next couple of months. Can’t wait!!!
Rosarito Beach is located between two golf courses. Just a few miles north is The Real Del Mar and to the south is the Bajamar Golf Course.
Bajamar Golf Course
The Baja Mar Golf Course has 27 holes and is often called “ The Pebble Beach South of the Border”. This golf course offers a scenic and memorable golfing experience to players of all skill levels and abilities .
The Hacienda Bajamar Hotel offers reasonable rates with or
without golf packages in case you want to have the total golfing vacation or week-end. The Hacienda has 81 luxury colonial style Mexican rooms, with full room service. All rooms have heaters and air-conditioning, either a patio or a balcony, hairdryers, satellite television,telephones and full bathrooms. They have standard or junior suites and of course that gracious Mexican hospitality.
The Dos Lagos Restaurant is a full service restaurant and serves breakfast lunch and dinner. Breakfast begins at 6:00 am and dinner is served until 10:00 pm. The Sand Trap Bar is open from 8:00 am and has live music on friday and saturday. There are Spa facilities with massage, facials etc., two tennis courts and walking and biking trails.
You can travel on the Rosarito Beach, Scenic Route south (Toll Road). The Bajamar is located at kilometer signpost Km 77.5. There telephone is 011-52(646)155-0151. Toll free is 1(888)311-6076.I found a pretty good review of this course at
golfbaja.com. The Bajamars website is bajamar.com.
Real Del Mar Greens
The Real Del Mar Golf Resort and Country Club is north of Rosarito
(half way between Tijuana and Rosarito). The Los Coronos mountain range hugs the fairways and provides a beautiful backdrop. This is a canyon style golf course with rolling hills and a view of the Pacific Ocean. Like the Bajamar there is an on sight hotel for the ardent golfer who plans to get in as much golf time as possible. The hotel is a Residence Inn by Marriot. It has 76 Ocean View Suites. They also have a spa, (offering massage and facials etc.) There’s a fully equipped gym, three tennis courts, basketball court and pool. Wow!! Oh, that’s not all.... They have Tae-bo, kickboxing, karate and yoga for youngsters up to 16. I think there’s a small charge per day to use these facilities.
I found a review of this golf course on the same website (which I highly recommend). golfbaja.com.
Rincon De San Roman Restaurant
The Real Del Mar Golf Resort and Country Club is located at Km. 19.5 on the Scenic Toll road. Take The Real Del Mar off ramp. Their telephone is 011-52(664)631-3401 or Toll free 1(800)662-6180 or 1(800)803-6038.
The Real Del Mar’s website is realdelmar.com.
There is so much to do and see just South of the Border. Comming soon is our Rosarito and Calafia video . So until then.......
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