Fodor's Expert Review Hotel Mar de Cortez
Av. Lázaro Cárdenas, between Vincente Guerrero and Matamoros, Cabo San Lucas, Baja California Sur 23410, México See on Map
Another one of Cabo's original hotels, Hotel Mar is only a few blocks from the marina, a block from the main square, near tons of restaurants, bars, clubs, and shopping. The colonial-style property has been operating for over 40 years and remains one of the most affordable in Los Cabos. Great for fishermen with buddies, and travelers on a budget, the suites have up to four beds (and are quite reasonably priced in high season). Rooms are decorated with Aztec bedding and dark tile floors, but most guests spend their time around the pool or exploring the area.
Request one of the newer and quieter rooms toward the back of the property. Also, the onsite restaurant El Cortez serves big breakfasts and a mean margarita.
88-rooms surround a broad, colonial-style courtyard, each furnished with comfortable, vintage Mexican style appointments and accents. Garden view rooms offer a small porch with patio seating that looks out over the pool area.
There are no telephones, and televisions are only included in the garden view rooms.
Walk-in tile showers are a standard amenity in the spacious baths, with sinks inset in a sort of faux pink marble that looks to have been sourced from a 1950s era Miami Beach motor lodge.
A photo above the check-in desk shows the property as it looked in 1972, when it was one of the only lodgings in the area. Both Los Cabos and the hotel have grown significantly since, with a new internet-friendly reading area recently added between the lobby and the on-site restaurant, El Cortez.
The pool dominates the center of the property, a figure-eight-shaped arrangement with colored tiles on the bottom depicting marlin and other local marine life. Guests recline in blue chaise lounges around the perimeter of the pool, reading bestsellers from the lobby library, or snacking on food from the nearby restaurant.
Mar de Cortez used to host a restaurant called Baja Peppers, famed among locals for its excellent $3 breakfasts. Baja Peppers is long gone now, but the $3 American style breakfasts are still a hallowed tradition. Profligate types can ante up a little extra for Eggs Benedict, or for wine with dinner standards like steaks and Mexican specialty dishes.
Beer and salt-rimmed margaritas are the main attractions at the El Cortez bar, which features generous Happy Hour specials from noon to 3, and 5 to 7 p.m. daily.
Set in the heart of the downtown area, Mar de Cortez is within easy walking distance of all the major shopping, dining, drinking, and activities areas. Shuttle service to the international airport in San José del Cabo is offered three times daily.
Restaurant row in Cabo San Lucas stretches for several blocks, from the town square, Plaza Amelia Wilkes, to Marina Boulevard. This palate pleasing stretch is a short walk from Mar de Cortez, and features everything from taquerías and marisquerías to hamburger joints, sushi bars, and Italian style bistros.
The most famous bar in Los Cabos, Cabo Wabo Cantina, is just across the street. Founded in 1990 by singer Sammy Hagar and his Van Halen bandmates, the place is packed daily by those seeking margaritas, comfort food, and live entertainment. People still line up around the block for tickets to Hagar’s series of birthday concerts each October, which feature plenty of rock star cameos.
WHY WE LIKE IT
Mar de Cortez’s cadre of loyal regulars seems more fitting for a long-running bar than a modest, mid-priced lodging. This has less to do with the hotel’s history--Mar de Cortez was only the third lodging built in Cabo San Lucas, after Hotel Hacienda and Finisterra, and the first to be built downtown--than its budget-friendly pricing and warm, personal service.