History of the Rosarito Beach Hotel
One of the oldest and most famous hotels in Baja California
The Rosarito Beach Hotel is one of the most famous hotels
on the Pacific coast of North America. Built in the late 1920's on the site
of an isolated hunting lodge and expanded over the years, it appears as a prominent
feature on most highway maps. A Spanish Colonial-style structure overlooking
a beach that goes on for miles, the hotel created the city that surrounds it.
The founder, Manuel P. Barbachanao, built the first paved highway in the area
to make it easier for his Southern California guests to get to his hotel. He
built the first power company and telephone company in Baja to make life more
convenient when they arrived.
The hotel became a favorite getaway for Hollywood stars escaping the restrictions
of prohibition and the pressures of studio life in an idyllic old-world setting
just a few hours south of Sunset and Vine. Over the years, Orson Welles, Lana
Turner, Rita Hayworth and other screen legends along with several presidents
of Mexico and foreign royalty have patronized the hotel. Barbachanao remained
in charge of his creation until his death in 1954. Today, it is owned and operated
by his nephew, Hugo Torres Chabert, who continues the gracious traditions begun
by his uncle. Many of the hotel staff are children and grandchildren of the
ranchero workers who built the hotel and stayed on to work as cooks, clerks
One of the hotel's most striking features is the spacious, wood-beamed lobby
decorated with original 1920s murals showing different aspects of Mexican history
and culture. Another is the beautifully tiled Olympic-size swimming pool set
in the courtyard behind the original building.
There are 280 rooms in the hotel, including 100 one-bedroom suites in a tower
built in 1992. Most rooms are oceanfront. Two restaurants and a full-service
spa are part of the complex. The Azteca, which looks out over the pool courtyard,
is the casual restaurant. Casa Playa Spa and Chabert's, (the formal restaurant)
are located in the magnificent mansion Barbachanao built for his wife in 1935.
The above content was reprinted with permission of Steve Thomas, Churn Publishing,
Inc. and originally appeared in the Orange Country Metro.
For more information visit the Rosarito Beach Hotel website.