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Author: Subject: Mission Cataviña Hotel- Jan 1 & Jan 4 2016
Whale-ista
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thumbup.gif posted on 1-10-2016 at 01:05 PM
Mission Cataviña Hotel- Jan 1 & Jan 4 2016


For the most part, my recent trip to Baja was relaxing and rejuvenating (despite the misadventures on the highway on the return drive).

I treated my self to nights at the Mission Cataviña Hotel in the middle of the desert area of Baja, on the way south and the way north. It is a lovely hotel, approximately 40 years old- originally built as part of the “new” highway in the early 70s. It has been well-restored by the new operators who have another property in San Quintin called Misión Santa Maria.

PHONE: 200-124-9123
Note: satellite phone, no phone lines south of El Rosario

Email reservations via
lapintacatavina@hotmail.com

PAYMENT: I paid the first night with credit card and got a better exchange rate than when I paid with cash on the return. So- use plastic here! If you are a Discover Baja member, they offer 20% discount. It was about $80-90 for double room with pet surcharge.

PETS: Yes- they allow pets, so I was happy to pay the pet surcharge of $200 MX pesos and share the room with my almost-14 year old poodle. We both enjoyed room 129, which was the closest to the garden behind the restaurant. This allowed easy access for poodle breaks and the reception and food areas. There was also a seating area right outside.



IN-ROOM MEALS: I ordered dinners in the room since pets are not allowed in dining room, and I don’t like to leave the poodle alone in a strange place, esp on the first day of travel when she is already stressed. So I had relaxing and tasty meals both nights, for under $15 US, with wine/beer.

ROOM: The bed was firm, and I covered it with a fleece blanket/sleeping bag before allowing the dog on the bed with me. They had a basic AC/heater set up that the staff helpfully showed me how to operate. The TV offered History channel and CNN International, so I had entertainment.

Even though I carry a small bed for poodle, she is accustomed to sleeping on the bed with me (yes, she’s spoiled), so I carry this fleece bag for warm weather camping and these hotel situations.

(Note: poodles don’t shed, and this has helped me keep her with me even in places that normally don’t allow pets. Also, I forgot this blanket in the room after the first night, and was happy to recover it on the way back north a few days later. Thanks lost & found! I appreciate the help, and noted that on their Customer Service form.)



WIFI: this service was out Jan. 1-2, but had been restored by Jan. 4-5. It is only available in the reception/seating area next to the gift shop.
I knew it had been restored by all the people sitting in the reception area looking intently at their cell phones. I also heard my phone “ping” with messages from family checking on my travel schedule and making sure I was ok.

One person was uploading lots of big photos to Facebook, to document all the mud he and his friends had encountered while riding motorcycles off-trail. I understand the desire to share our adventures online.

Unfortunately, this devoured all the bandwidth, making it impossible for others standing/sitting nearby to use the network for basic email, messages etc. Even when we pointed this out, he kept doing it…

(Note to WiFi users in Baja: please be considerate! Access to WiFi is often very limited in central Baja, so share.)

OUTDOORS: The desert garden behind the hotel is lovely, with interesting metal sculptures in the style of the cave paintings found in the mountains south of here. In the storm-cloud filtered light they were interesting to look at.





There is also an old 1930s era (?) car parked amidst the cacti, and some other older items decorating the courtyard. It created a charming effect.



On Jan. 4 there were several RVs parked overnight out back. I asked the desk if they were now providing RV services and was told no, so I asked one of the RV owners about their arrangements. Apparently, one of them knew the hotel manager, and had made special arrangements for this for his convoy (about 5-6 RVs), so be aware it could be an option if you know who to ask.

The old tennis courts looked pretty unused. Seating areas in the garden next to the courtyard and rear of the property would be nice to use - during better weather!

DINING ROOM: I like the dining room here. It has a “colonial” design to it with lots of wood. The Christmas tree was still up adding a festive touch.



We left early on Jan. 2, before breakfast, to make it to the lagoon for the first whale watching trip of the season, but I took time for a tasty breakfast in the dining room on the way north while poodle ate in my truck. Try the freshly squeezed juices- they are delicious! I did a combination nopal-naranja (cactus-orange) that was quite good.

SERVICE: The service at the reception desk, lost/found staff, and restaurant was professional and quick. During dinner on Jan. 4 I could see they were overwhelmed with a large group, so when I went to order my room service meal, I made sure to be extra-friendly with the servers- they were working hard to manage all the orders.

When I arrived in the late afternoon Jan. 4, after driving thru rain/mud/twisty roads, I went to the bar, and traded in a warm Bohemia from my travel cooler for a cold Negro Modelo- ahhh…. And I added a generous tip to my bill that night once my meal was delivered (with another cold beer).

(Note: no phones in room, staff communicates via radios.)

POOL: There is a nice pool in the central courtyard. It is not heated, and has a dark “kiddie pool” next to the lighted grown up pool. The local spring water is beautiful and gentle on the skin and hair- no harsh minerals like we have at home in San Diego.



I know this because poodle accidentally walked into the dark kiddie pool while we were exploring!



Actually this wasn’t too bad- I scooped her up right away, and since she still had some mud from the lagoon I had considered washing her anyway. I dried her off, and her hair was the softest it’s been in a long time. My hair and skin also felt great after my shower.

GUESTS: I noticed many countries represented when I checked in and later when I ate breakfast. The Swedish family stayed there (we had met at the lagoon the day before), and I chatted with a couple from Slovakia over cactus-orange juice (they had ordered the same). In the lobby/reception area, I heard many other interesting languages.

BOTTOMLINE: This is a convenient and attractive place to stop in the middle of the Baja drive. Almost exactly 300 miles SOB, it offers professional service, tasty meals in a comfortable dining room, with a well-stocked bar.

The food was fresh and well-prepared, and there are many options for diverse appetites.

Allowing pets is smart since so many people travel with them. There are many places to walk with pets, both inside the hotel grounds, and in the back adjacent to desert sculpture gardens.

I shall return!


[Edited on 2-19-2016 by Whale-ista]

[Edited on 12-30-2016 by Whale-ista]




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[*] posted on 1-10-2016 at 06:25 PM


great review Lori!



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David K
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[*] posted on 1-10-2016 at 06:43 PM


Wow! That's a great post... Thanks!!



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[*] posted on 1-10-2016 at 06:50 PM


I love that hotel. It just has a classic older Mexican hotel vibe. The boulder garden is a one-of-a-kind vista.



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[*] posted on 1-10-2016 at 07:24 PM


One of my favorite hotels in Baja.

Wish other hotels in el Rosario, san q and gn would copy them...
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[*] posted on 1-10-2016 at 07:39 PM


before Don Rafa bought and refurbished it I only remember it by their really expensive margies and the roaming herds of cats!
great report, looking forward to visiting again :)

[Edited on 1-11-2016 by willardguy]
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[*] posted on 1-10-2016 at 09:16 PM


A place to visit, hopefully soon. THANKS
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[*] posted on 1-10-2016 at 09:23 PM


We have always enjoyed staying there and even more so since there has been some upgrading---- better A/C and hot water. :-)

Very nice review!

Just one thing to keep in mind. At times they are full because of a bus tour. Fortunately, we have only had that happen once.




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[*] posted on 1-11-2016 at 08:09 AM


We did all the way from Germany and liked the Hotel also :yes:.











Saludos

Elona

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[*] posted on 1-11-2016 at 09:51 AM


We always call ahead for reservations as the alternative if full is not good. Totally agree that the renovations/upgrades make the high price well worth it. Didn't know they offer room service, that's another plus. After a long day driving it's nice to just relax in the room. Thanks for the review.



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[*] posted on 1-11-2016 at 10:04 AM


Great photos Elona, thank you!



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[*] posted on 1-11-2016 at 10:37 AM


When business is slow.



It is a place that is always worth the spluge.

[Edited on 1-11-2016 by DianaT]

[Edited on 1-11-2016 by BajaNomad]




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[*] posted on 2-19-2016 at 09:46 AM


Thanks for the bright sunny photos I was there overnight during a very stormy time in winter, so my photos are rather gloomy and wet. It was also very cold!

Also I just updated the post with info from another discussion.

I appreciate the help with additional Information.




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[*] posted on 2-19-2016 at 05:14 PM


In my opinion, even though the Los Pinos folks did major renovations to the rooms, probably the best thing they did was to upgrade the generators in this off the grid property so that they have electricity all day. Prior owners used to only have electricity after 5pm.
That said, although I they upgraded their generators, I just don't get why they have not installed solar.
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[*] posted on 2-20-2016 at 07:53 AM


Quote: Originally posted by Bajahowodd  
In my opinion, even though the Los Pinos folks did major renovations to the rooms, probably the best thing they did was to upgrade the generators in this off the grid property so that they have electricity all day. Prior owners used to only have electricity after 5pm.
That said, although I they upgraded their generators, I just don't get why they have not installed solar.


In hotels like that, the demand is late afternoon, mornings and evening - but low demand when sun is high overhead. So solar generation time does not coincide with demand time. There are not many simple battery storage solutions for hotels. The best solution in Catavina for a hotel is a diesel generator, until battery storage technology and marketed solutions improve.
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