Two miles from its international border with San Diego, Tijuana is throwing off its rebellious reputation and evolving into a vibrant cultural spot. As a result, hip urban boutique hotels are emerging to cater for the savvy traveler crowd. But if you’d prefer a familiar base for your time in Baja California’s largest city, there are still plenty of international-standard favorites.
Shopping fans will appreciate the location of Lucerna. The nearby Plaza Rio mall means you can shop ‘til you drop. But for something a little more authentic, walk 15 minutes to the spice-perfumed Hidalgo Market and pick up brightly colored handicrafts. Back at the hotel, there’s a great pool. All 168 rooms have balconies or patios where you can put your feet up with a glass of local wine and watch the sun set over the cityscape.
City slickers looking for guaranteed comfort and quality amenities can always be confident a Marriott ticks the boxes. The international-standard rooms come with pillow-top mattresses and marble bathrooms. The 24-hour gym and rooftop pool has great views over the city. Tijuana Country Club and golf course is just a five-minute walk – so when city life gets too much, there’s always respite on the greens.
Great for sports fans, Gamme Tijuana is a 15-minute cab ride to the city’s biggest stadiums: Caliente Stadium for soccer and Chevron Stadium for baseball. If the kids are in tow, the slide-tastic Aquatica is only 15 minutes in the other direction, across the border in San Diego. Catering for a business-focused clientele, rooms are clean and comfortable and there’s a restaurant on site.
Design devotees will appreciate the aesthetic of Quartz – it’s a step up from the standard city hotel offerings. The reception desk is a colossal slab of quartz setting the cool, clean-lined theme for the hotel. The seating looks like it could be at home in a gallery and the food resembles artwork on your plate. All rooms look on to the garden area.
Mellow millennials will love the character of this micro hotel. It’s a haven of art and design that starts in the lobby. Think mid-century furniture, a light fitting made of vintage tennis rackets, and a host of contemporary art. A homewares and clothing boutique takes up one floor. There’s also a one-chair barbershop. The nine guest rooms are sparsely decorated with bare concrete walls, metal frame beds and exposed pipes. Head to the rooftop bar for yoga sessions.
Located in the financial district beside its sister property, Hotel Lucerna, the K Tower Hotel is an adults-only affair. A champagne at check-in type of place. This contemporary high rise has a popular rooftop bar and sushi restaurant alongside a pool and hot tub with city views. The uber-luxe loft rooms, named after Hollywood legends, dazzle in shades of gold and sumptuous fabrics. The mini bar pleasingly stocks craft beers and Guadalupe Valley wines.
Urbanites will love this little boutique bolt hole set in the heart of downtown Tijuana. The hotel has its own coffee lobby and a restaurant on the top floor but make the most of the eateries and taqueros on the doorstep. There’s one on nearly every corner and a great food market just a block away. The nine bedrooms are hip and huge with colorful zig-zig patterned walls.
Art and modern culture lovers will adore the quirky nature of this street corner hotel. The interiors of the pastel pink Nook are inspired by the cross-culture lifestyle of the border cities San Diego and Tijuana. One side of the hotel faces the street that heads north to the US border. The hallway outside all 17 rooms doubles up as an art gallery and there’s a 1980s-inspired restaurant next door.