By Caitlin Trimble
Photos by Antonio Flores
During the last week of October, I spent the weekend at Cabañas CuatroCuatros. Located eight miles away from Ensenada and 18 miles from the Guadalupe Valley, this concept resort is easily viewable from the road and stands out for its circular shaped vineyards, dotted with wooden sailboats used as garden art, and a settlement of fourteen white tents serving as the resort’s hotel.
The luxurious tent feels more like a cabin once you are inside, complete with a wood burning stove, wood furniture, a comfy bed with a white down comforter and white flannel sheets. The tents are set up on raised wooden decks, which elevate you off the ground and provide for better views of the surrounding mountains and vineyards.
The back of the tent opens up into a glass room that serves as the bathroom. The shower stall has two self-contained decks on either side, with exterior wooden walls providing total privacy. The resort prides itself on making guests feel at one with nature, and this is never more apparent than as you take a shower with a full view of hills around you. After you get over the initial sensation that you may be being watched, there is something strangely calming about taking a shower nearly out in the open with rays of sunlight hitting your body.
We arrived right as the sun was setting, and our receptionist Marco Polo urged us to make our way up to the ocean view restaurant bar located on top of a bluff on the edge of the 144 acre property. Even if you are not a guest at CuatroCuatros, the ocean view bar is a highly recommended place to enjoy the sunset with a spectacular view of the Pacific Ocean, Todos Santos Bay, and Salsipuedes Bay. With a glass of wine in hand and the sunset unfolding before your eyes, there is really nowhere else in the Ensenada (and possibly, the world) you would rather be.
CuatrosCuatros produces its own varieties of wine, including Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc, and a mixed wine of Cab, Merlot, and Tempranillo grapes. Both the Merlot and mixed wine were delicious; and the restaurant offers many appetizers such as the delicious fish ceviche we paired our wine with.
The bar is completely out in the open other than a canopy providing shade, and feels more like a lounge as you sit on cloth-covered bales of hay surrounding small tables. In the winter, it probably gets too cold to hang out for a long period of time, but even so it is worth stopping by to check out the view as the sun sets. The view alone is enough to make you temporarily forget about the cold weather.
To get to the bar, you must park at the viewpoint and ride in one of their vehicles down to the bar via a semi-treacherous path. You’ll be glad you are not driving. The entire resort is unpaved. Ladies, leave your high heels at home.
During our stay, the toll road to Ensenada remained closed to traffic, as repairs to the collapsed portion of the freeway were ongoing. In fact, from the ocean-view bar you could see the repair site as soon as night fell, when they would use powerful lamps to light up the construction zone. Locals and tourist alike were forced to take alternative routes for nearly a year to and from Ensenada either via Tecate or the El Sauzal Freeway, better known as the “free road”. This past December, the toll road finally reopened to the great relief of locals, tourists, and the economy as a whole.
During the road closure, the forced detour away from the comfort of the toll road was a great opportunity to discover (or rediscover) the almost equally beautiful free road, which offers spectacular views of the ocean and passes through small towns tucked away in the mountainside. Now that the free road will not be as heavily transited, it is a great way to get to CuatroCuatros during the daytime if you are feeling adventurous.
If you are interested in staying at CuatroCuatros, another benefit of the toll road reopening is that the free road that passes next to the resort will not be as heavily transited — making for a quieter stay for guests. The especially noisy trucks should no longer have a reason to travel the free road at night now. During our stay, this was our only complaint — the sound of the nearby highway— but, even so, was not enough to ruin our stay. Thankfully, it has now returned to being the sleepy rural road that it used to be.
In addition to the resort and the spectacular ocean view bar, the CuatroCuatros also has a restaurant that is open to the public. The restaurant is located near the cabins, housed in a larger tent that has both indoor and outdoor seating. The breakfasts are delicious, and the prices are very accessible especially when considering that this is pretty much the only option around. They offer plenty of Mexican breakfast options such as Chilaquiles, Huevos Rancheros, and Eggs doused in Mole sauce, all served with a side of non-refried black beans and fresh tortillas.
The restaurant is located among the circular vineyards, and can be reached via a lavender-lined bridge from either the cabins or from a public parking lot. Next to the restaurant, they have their own herb garden. Although the ambiance at night is not that lively when compared to restaurants in the nearby Valle de Guadalupe, the restaurant is also a good choice for dinner if you are still hungry after you finally manage to pry yourself away from the ocean view. We tried a delicious margarita pizza with plenty of fresh basil one night that was far more delicious than many others we had tried in Ensenada.
If you plan on staying there, make sure to pack your tennis shoes and exercise clothing. Many guests choose to wake up early and go for a walk or bike ride around the property and up to the various watch points. You can also walk around the vineyard and wooden sailboats, which make a great backdrop for your photos. There is also a more strenuous path leading down to the beach where, if requested, the hotel can set up beach chairs, umbrellas, and can serve you wine. We were told that this is the only nearby sandy beach.
The resort has some complementary bikes for guest use. Other activities include a private sailing tour that is hosted by the owner of the resort, or use of their spa, which is located in the middle of one of the circular vineyards. Both of these latter activities are by reservation only, and should probably be booked in advance of your stay.
Once you’ve explored all that the resort has to offer, make sure to spend at least an afternoon in the Valle de Guadalupe. Take advantage of the hotel’s location to take the back road into the Valle, which is a little bit longer route than if you were to head south to the toll road, and then enter the Valle via its main entrance. If you go the back route, you will pass by the newer, and more popular wineries such as El Cielo and Las Nubes.
We stopped by a brand new restaurant for tapas and wine called Santa Brasa, where he had some delicious wood smoked shrimp tostadas. We then ate lunch at Chef Javier Plascencia’s Finca Altozano, where we ate the most delicious octopus I have ever tried in my life. Both places are located out in the open, and may close seasonally or depending on the weather.
Valle de Guadalupe is characterized by its open-air, or “campestre”, style dining. The outdoor setting is therapy to those of us that visit the Valle to escape city life for a day or a weekend. As the Valle gains more and more popularity both in Mexico and abroad, it is likely that things will start to change quickly. But, for now, soak in all that it has to offer, take it slow, drink lots of wine, eat to your heart’s desire, and enjoy the scenery of one of Baja’s crown jewels.
The cabins can hold between two and four people. If you plan on visiting during the vendimia season, make sure to book well in advance as the cabins sell out quickly. All stays are a two-night minimum, and children are welcome. The resort also hosts various wedding packages, which require that all rooms be reserved by the party and can make finding a room difficult during the wedding season. The pictures of the weddings that have been hosted there look spectacular. For more information on CuatroCuatros, or reservations, visit their website.
Carretera libre Tijuana-Ensenada km 89
El sauzal de Rodriguez,
22760 Ensenada, BC, Mexico
+52 646 174 6595
Caitlin Trimble is a resident of Tijuana and a freelance journalist.