There’s plenty to do in Mexicali these days, with a veritable craft beer scene, the unique Mexican Chinese cuisine, and tours exploring the underground basements of La Chinesca—the largest Chinatown in Mexico. With wide streets and a comparatively laidback pace of life, Mexicali is a friendly and agreeable city that is slowly becoming a destination of its own, rather than just a border town to pass through on your way farther south.
As the capital of the state of Baja California, Mexicali draws a lot of business travelers, so nice accommodations are available throughout the city. But perhaps the best and most historic of the accommodations is Hotel Lucerna. The property is over 50 years old and while you can still find traces of that history in throwbacks like their classic Piano Bar (where the Clamato cocktail was invented 45 years ago and still served today), the hotel is thoroughly updated with comfortable and contemporary conveniences.
The property is decked out with all of the posh amenities you would expect from a nice hotel—two pools, a gym, business centers, shops, multiple restaurants and bars, and modern and plush rooms. The outdoor walled parking lot has shade covering and guards who watch over the vehicles. As they are used to dealing with international business clientele, the staff members speak excellent English and are well trained in customer service. The rooms themselves are modern and beautiful, including amenities like coffee makers, hair dryers, box safes, down comforters, and large flat screen TVs. With fountains and palm trees all over the property, the hotel is a lush haven in the middle of the city.
There are multiple options for drinking and dining on the property. Mezzosole is a nice Italian restaurant; La Terraza bar offers casual bites like ceviches, burgers, and hot dogs; Aqueducto Bar and Grill is their popular steakhouse and bar; and Los Portales is their “cafeteria” serving the breakfast buffet. If you’d rather stay in and enjoy your room, room service is available 24 hours and also offers the option to get items from the specific restaurants delivered to your room. And of course, you can’t stay at Lucerna without having a Clamato cocktail at the famous Piano Bar (see sidebar below).
The Lucerna breakfast buffet is good enough to draw locals as well as hotel guests. The impressive spread includes a variety of Mexican dishes like chilaquiles, empanadas, and sopes, as well as American options including eggs served any style. Juices, fruits, yogurt, granolas, and pastries round out the selection.
Because the Lucerna caters to many business travelers, rates over the weekend are usually cheaper than during the week, providing an excellent excuse for a weekend getaway.
Hotel Lucerna, Mexicali
Blvd. Benito Juárez 2151
tel: 011-52-686-564-7000 ext. 3355