Hotel Cortez 002When friends and family come to visit me in San Carlos for the first time, I take them on a tour of the area. The tour includes many points of interest in both San Carlos and Guaymas, and one of my favorite locations to share with them is the Hotel Playa de Cortes.

The Southern Pacific of Mexico Railroad originally constructed the Hotel Playa de Cortes in 1939 on the Bahia Bacochibampo in Guaymas. This hotel is a real architectural and design treat and a must-see for anyone who loves the Spanish colonial style as I do.

The Secretary of the President of the Railroad, Mrs. Tanner, designed the buildings and selected all of the interior furnishings. This hotel would truly make an amazing movie set and I am surprised that someone in Hollywood has not yet discovered the Cortes. The famous Mexican actress Maria Felix was in a film shot at the hotel in 1962.

Whitewashed, thick adobe walls, wrought iron light fixtures, tiled roofs, arched windows and doors all welcome you as you enter the charming courtyard which is lush with bougainvillea and climbing vines. The architectural and design details are so exacting that it is necessary to remind yourself that this hotel was constructed a mere 70 years ago. Instead, you feel you have stepped back in time 300 years and you feel immediately at home and comfortable in the classic and relaxed surroundings.

From the grand lobby with soaring ceilings and hand-wrought iron chandeliers, to the gorgeous dining room with arched windows gazing to the Sea of Cortes the hotel is a visual treat. As you enter the bar and lounge with the massive woodcarvings, and 1940’s style furnishings you expect to see Dean Martin or Sammy Davis, Jr. sipping a scotch on the rocks at one of the small round tables with low-slung club chairs.

I have had the pleasure of meeting people who were at the Cortes “back in the day” when Americans used to fly their private planes to Guaymas and enjoy the deep sea fishing from boats moored at the hotel’s pier. They confirmed what I had imagined; that the guests “dressed” for dinner and the bar was full of people sipping drinks before adjourning to the linen covered dining tables overlooking the Bay. The Cortes currently provides the backdrop for many weddings and receptions and is a favorite lunch spot for the local politicians.

When you are creating your itinerary for your San Carlos, Sonora vacation be sure and add the Hotel Playa de Cortes to your list. This is a site you will not want to miss!


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