The hotel business in Tijuana is not well developed for a city of its size because the vast majority of visitors do not spend the night. The nicer places cater to business travelers from elsewhere in Mexico and overseas. Safe and clean budget hotels are hard to find in downtown Tijuana. Budget travelers are better off continuing south to Ensenada.
Hotel Palacio Azteca (16 de Septiembre/Cuauhtémoc Sur 213, off Agua Caliente, tel. 664/681-8100, toll-free U.S. tel. 888/901-3720, www.hotelpalacioazteca.com, US$60) provides above-average accommodations with large TVs as well as heat and air-conditioning. Guests may use laundry facilities as well as a swimming pool and parking lot.
Renovated in 2008, Hotel Real del Río (J. M. Velazco 1409, tel. 664/634-3100, www.realdelrio.com, US$70) is a good value for business travelers, though street noise can be a nuisance.
Hotel Hacienda del Río (Sánchez Taboada 10606, tel. 664/684-8644, toll-free U.S. tel. 800/303-2684, www.bajainn.com, US$55–80) is a reliable and modern business-oriented establishment with its own restaurant/bar, heated pool, fitness center, and business center. Choose from 130 large rooms and suites, which feature satellite TV, Internet access, and climate control. Ask for rooms at the back of the hotel facing the pool, since the front rooms are at ground level and face the road.
The same company also runs the slightly lower priced Hotel La Mesa Inn (Díaz Ordaz at Gardenias, tel. 664/681-5622, www.bajainn.com, US$50–60).
If you’re driving and want to stay within walking distance of La Revolución, try the Hotel La Villa de Zaragoza (Madero 1120 btw Calles 7/8, tel. 664/685-1832, www.hotellavilla.biz, US$55–70). Rooms are hit or miss, but your best bet is to ask for one of the garden rooms. Amenities include heat/air-conditioning, TVs, phones, parking, and laundry. Nonsmoking and accessible rooms are available. The security guards do a good job, but the front desk staff can be surly.
Relative newcomer Hotel Ticuán (Calle 8 btw Constitución/Revolución, tel. 664/685-8069, toll-free US tel. 877/730-8308, www.hotelticuan.com, US$65–85) has well maintained single and double rooms as well as suites in a central location. Rooms have plasma TVs, phones, and Wi-Fi. Its Restaurant Albahca serves casual fare including salads, sandwiches, and burgers.
Your best choice in this price range is located in the Zona Río: Hotel Lucerna (Paseo de los Héroes 10902, tel. 664/633-3900, U.S./Canada tel. 800/582-3762, www.hoteleslucerna.com/tijuana, US$90–110) has all the amenities one would expect from a large, international business hotel: restaurants, pools, gardens, fitness center, and car rental desk. Ask for a room in the annex if one is available.
The Grand Hotel Tijuana (Agua Caliente 4500, tel. 664/681-7000, U.S./Canada tel. 800/472-6385, www.grandhoteltij.com.mx, US$85–115) was one of Tijuana’s first skyscrapers. With 22 floors and more than 400 rooms, it is a full-service resort, but the walls are thin and you can easily hear what your neighbor is watching on TV. The shopping area here has a ghost-town feel.
In addition to these options, the Marriott (Tijuana Marriott Hotel, Agua Caliente 11553, tel. 664/622-6600, www.marriott.com, US$90–120) and Fiesta (Fiesta Inn Otay at the airport, tel. 664/979-1900, www.fiestainn.com, US$100) chains also have a presence in the city.
Business travelers and well-off weekenders like the Hotel Camino Real (Paseo de los Héroes 10305 and Cuauhtémoc, tel. 664/633-4000, toll-free U.S. tel. 800/722-6466, www.caminoreal.com, US$130) chain for its luxury amenities, such as marble baths and high-end toiletries; however, experiences at this property have been inconsistent in recent years. The rooms are underwhelming, but the staff generally makes up for it with top-tier service. Its Maria Bonita restaurant is open 1 P.M.–1 A.M. Monday–Saturday and 1–5 P.M. Sunday.
© Nikki Goth Itoi from Moon Baja, 9th Edition