Reports are in that Hotel California in Todos Santos, Baja California Sur, Mexico is not the Hotel California from The Eagles’ song, but it might as well be. In fact, which ever Hotel California The Eagles’ WERE singing about must pale in comparison to the Hotel California in Todos Santos. That’s a bold statement and it’s a bold statement that I mean with every ounce of art-appreciator in me.
The hotel had been closed for years when it was rediscovered by a man and his wife four years ago. They set out on a mission to revamp the dilapidated spot and passed the test with flying colors. Debbie, by way of western Canada, runs the place now, but her late husband, John, was the one with the eye for all of the art–and the art is impossible to ignore at this hotel. From the moment you walk into this boutique hotel, you’ll notice beautiful things. There are beautiful lamps, tables, chairs, carpets, doors, lanterns, and even beautifully colored walls–particularly of teal and lime green. Debbie explained to me in conversation that her husband always said, “People are afraid of color”. But he wasn’t. And Hotel California is a tangible pallet of lively color and unique decor.
The rooms are individually decorated, each with a personality of its own. Don’t count on having a phone, television, internet, or even hair dryer at Hotel California. These amenities don’t facilitate the hotel’s primary function: to help you indulge in the charming art town of Todos Santos. But the beds are deeply relaxing, covered with a down comforter, and the rooms have terraces with tables that will help you to enjoy a bottle of wine while overlooking the pool or the Pacific Ocean–just minutes away from Todos Santos..
The hotel’s restaurant is fortunate enough to have the world renowned chef, Chef Dany, in house and Chef Dany makes no mistaking in impressing those dining. From tequila based meals to an all-day-roasted duck, Chef Dany not only cooks with love, but he offers a cooking class for groups in his own kitchen at Hotel California, too. I took the cooking class with friends with whom I was traveling and we all loved it. Not only did we love it, but his assistance in the kitchen helped to make the meal we cooked ourselves one of our favorites of the trip. And I learned a lot. Like how to turn sticks of rosemary into skewers for freshly caught Yellowtail.
The hotel’s bar loses no limelight next to Chef Dany, however. The bartenders were willing to make my personalized favorite: wine+sprite+ice without question and they even charmed me into my new favorite drink, papaya margarita, which they make in house with fresh papaya.
Although not quintessentially Mexican, the hotel softly plays familiar and relaxing music, like Jack Johnson, throughout the hotel and I have to say…I liked it! Live music fills the courtyard on weekend evenings and some of Hollywood’s finest mix in with the tourists and locals alike without a bump in the road.
Any trip you take to Baja Sur should include a trip to Todos Santos and a stay at the Hotel California–where you can check in but may never want to leave. (I had to say it!)
By: Elizabeth Seward