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“Healthy getaway with loads of charm and great food!”

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Rancho La Puerta Spa
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Tecate
Certificate of Excellence
Washington, D.C.
Level Contributor
32 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
“Healthy getaway with loads of charm and great food!”
Reviewed 14 December 2011

This was my second trip to Rancho La Puerta, but many of the people I met there have returned time and again and it's clear why they keep coming back, despite the slight hassle of having to cross the border. (The process is fairly efficient going into Mexico - we didn't even have to get off the shuttle bus to fill out our visa forms - but upon return from Mexico, there is a very long line of cars going North and you have to take your luggage off the bus, walk through US Customs, and reload. If you depart RLP on the 7:45 am bus, it is likely that the trip will take over 2.5 hours owing to very long lines at the border - RLP advises you to allow 3 hours travel time. I have heard that those able to take the later bus at 10 am get through faster due to shorter lines.) But aside from that, you get to spend a week in a thoroughly lovely campus with extremely attentive and friendly staff and very high quality instruction, ranging from art to meditation to cooking to all kinds of exercise at various levels. A big advantage for those new to certain types of exercise like yoga and pilates is the progressive classes that are great for those who want to start at a very basic level and not have to worry about the class being too advanced. But even experienced exercisers can fine tune their programs and take classes that are not often available at home, such as the wonderful Postural Therapy. The food is really delicious - vegetarian plus fish entrees available on some days - and the small portions are perfect for those wanting to jump start healthier, less caloric eating. But don't worry - you can have as much to eat as you want. There are several presenters each week, most of whom are very interesting and informative, plus musicians and artists and chefs to entertain and /or instruct. And don't miss Bingo night even if you're tempted to skip it - it's really fun. In general, you get great value for your money, especially compared to the pricier places like Canyon Ranch in Tucson, where I have spent many vacations. What Canyon Ranch has that RLP doesn't is a much broader range of hiking options, biking, and a wider range of spa services, such as Thai Massage, along with medical programs and extensive health/fitness testing, as well as an indoor pool for colder months. But if you can do without those things, RLP has the same high quality instruction and attention to detail at a much better price. Talk to the reservations people about the rooms and get a good understanding of the options. They are all lovely, filled with charming Mexican tiles, mirrors and folk art. The Villas rooms are less central to the campus, so you have to walk a bit further to get back to your room. (There is a lot of walking during the day as you go from building to building for classes, treatments, meals, etc., so you may want to be in a more centrally located room. I highly recommend Flores 23. It is very conveniently located and has a wonderful window seat about the width of a single bed that juts out from the room with windows on three sides looking out over greenery, perfect for reading or just relaxing. Unfortunately, the room has two double beds instead of queens, so great for two singles sharing a room, but not so great for couples. Make sure you get the size bed you need! My husband was with me, by the way, and he had a great time, too. There are definitely more women than men, but there is plenty to entertain men and even some male-specific classes, services, and orientation. You can sign up for e-mails to get news of special deals - we paid only $2500 per person for a week, which was a huge savings, and there were no single supplements that week, so it's no wonder that it was pretty much sold out. You can also use the website to see who each week's presenters are and choose your week based on what's interesting to you. As for any safety concerns, the drive there is mostly in the US - you cross over at Tecate and you are hardly over the border before you arrive, as the ride is only about 15 minutes from/to the border (not including time spent waiting in line to get back into the US). There is security on the RLP campus, although it's very unobtrusive (unlike many US cities!) I did notice the highway noise this time, but mostly it's a dull buzz and you can only hear it when outdoors, so it shouldn't be a problem at bedtime. It was about as chilly as it gets when we were there the first week in December, with lows around 30F and highs around 60-64, so we only had lunch outdoors, but in warmer weather all meals are served outdoors. I was told that May and October are great months weather-wise, but it all depends how hot you like it. It's a Mediterranean climate, however, so I don't think you can go wrong whenever you can get away.

Room Tip: Flores 23 is a great room if you want two double beds. Make sure you specify the bed-size you want...
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  • Stayed December 2011, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
5 Thank lovetakingtrains
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Rating summary
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  • Value
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (86)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
new york city
Level Contributor
81 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 72 helpful votes
Reviewed 11 December 2011

I have been to Ranch la Puerta 15 times. The first time was in 1995. The place keeps getting better each year. Guests arrive on Saturday and are picked up and then returned the following Saturday to the San Diego Airport and driven to the border and then directly to the Ranch. It takes one hour and once you enter through the gates of Rancho la Puerta its as if you entered a different world that is calm, safe and remarkable. Everyone speaks English and is very attentive. There are never more than 150 guests and because almost everyone arrives and leaves on the same day there is a sense of comardiere and friendliness that one doesn't find at places like Canyon Ranch. The best activity is the morning hikes that range from a breakfast walk to a 3.5 mike rigorous mountain hike or later in the week a 9 mile hike. After breakfast every hour there are six different classes to choose from until lunch at noon and then in the afternoon the classes begin again. There are no televisions in the rooms which range from small casitas to beautiful villas with fireplaces and private patios. Guests are asked to use their cell phones and blackberries in their rooms. The food is delicious and very healthy. The seating is open for all meals and guests sit with other guests. This is a place where one can easily go by oneself but can go as a couple or with a group of friends. A place where people return again during thr same week annually.

Room Tip: The Villas Luna are beautiful and have the best views.
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  • Stayed November 2011, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
5 Thank travelingdad56
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Seattle, Washington
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed 27 November 2011

I just returned from a week at the Ranch over Thanksgiving week and was very taken back from the level of traffic noise heard all over the entire property. This was my first visit to the highly rated spa and went with a friend who was visiting for the 10th time. I also have another friend that loves the spa and frequents it very often. Both of my friends are very well traveled and have excellent taste and high standards when it comes to the accomodations, services and customer service. So my expectations were high.

What I didn't realize is that not just 1 but 2 major highways run parrell to the property and were added over the 70 years the spa has been in existence. Ear plugs are a must if you are at all sensitive to noise especially for sleeping. And I would suggest using them if you are sitting outside. Hearing trackor tailors downshift and sierns all day long is not my way to unwind from the hecitic pace I have at home. This unfortunately for me detered me for really relaxing and enjoying the beauty of the property. I will not return because of the noise level.
On a positinve note, the staff, instructors and food are all excellent.

  • Stayed November 2011, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
12 Thank Kathy B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
PeterJensenatRancho, Public Relations Manager at Rancho La Puerta Spa, responded to this review, 2 December 2011
Thanks for your comment...and a special thanks for the 4 out of 5 rating despite your concerns about noise! We're sorry it was a bad week for you and the road noise. November is a busy trucking season on the road that runs past our entrance, as well as the toll road across the valley from us and up on a hillside. Over the years the Ranch has done everything it can to deal this problem. When our founders first arrived at the property in 1940 it was by dirt road. The area's growth has been one reason we have acquired over 3,000 acres of our own land so that there are plenty of opportunities to seek quietude on the walks and hikes, both around the accommodations and out in the mountainsides and meadows. Yet despite our resort's huge size, there are parts of the property that can get road noise. Depending on weather conditions (i.e. breezy vs. still) there are other days when it seems unnoticeable. We've also built many of our accommodations over a quarter mile from the road, and we've installed double-pane windows in all casitas. We recommend our "Sol," "Luna" and "Arboles" accommodations that are the farthest from ANY roads (no cars are allowed on property) when sounds, other than bird calls, are a concern. Here's to a quieter world!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
LI
Level Contributor
506 reviews
42 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 180 helpful votes
Reviewed 7 November 2011

We have been going for many years now, and it keeps getting better all the time. As soon as you get off the bus you are transported to another place - and you want to stay in "the moment". The grounds are beautiful , surrounded by mountains. The morning hikes are fun and challenging- always getting you back in time for breakfast and classes
The selection of classes is hugh and you always have the option of doing nothing.
The evening entertainment was superb, and you were still in bed by 9.
Everyone is friendly and makes you feel comfortable.

Room Tip: Choose something centrally located, even if a little smaller- there is alot of walking.
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  • Stayed October 2011, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
5 Thank daylilly50
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Goderich, Canada
Level Contributor
31 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
Reviewed 25 September 2011

This review is dedicated to all men that have a certain level of anxiety bordering refusal when asked to accompany their wife for a vacation to a Spa.
My wife wanted the spa and suggested I could probably forget the facials (although...) but enjoy the rest of the experience.
I thought: It's only a week and I can always exhaust myself with three 2hours walks per day mixed with some rest by the swimming pool. To say that I accepted happily was a generous overstatement.
Everything changed when we were picked up by The shuttle bus at the San Diego airport. We were given a discovery folder with all the activities for the week. There were 11 hours of daily activities and to my amazement from 1 to 10 activities per hour. I kept the walks (one per day at 6am), some of the swimming pool, and reviewed in the bus to the ranch the type of schedule I could have during what to be a very busy week for both mind (nutrition classes, photography and cooking classes) and body (more physical for me and more pampering for my wife).
We had chosen very carefully our villa at reservation time (seclusion and view) and were not disappointed. Very spacious with a private shaded terrace, living room, large dressing room and sizable bathroom.
The entire personnel from (seasoned) instructors to (smiling and helpful) local personnel has made our stay very easy to navigate.
I have to say it is very hard to find some weakness to this very very well managed operation. May be a bit too much emphasis on obesity management, some noise surprises from the close highway (only in certain spots).
As for the Spa I took with pleasure the free massage and was much too busy to venture any further ( we had appointments with my wife to see each other for lunch!!).
Chances for an encore next year are very high and that would be a first for us.

Room Tip: We stayed in room Sol 10, and as a suggestion take the first bus to the ranch at 8am, you will be th...
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  • Stayed September 2011, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
6 Thank Globetrotter1051
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Santa Monica, California
Level Contributor
20 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed 15 September 2011

You may have reservations about going over the border to Mexico, given the craziness going on with the drug trade and all. Fear not. Rancho La Puerta is tucked far away from all that and once you're inside it's completely heavenly. The accommodations are elegant but not pretentious, the food is super healthy, home grown and amazingly tasty, and the fitness instruction goes on all day long at whatever level you want to try for. The hikes are great, and they have cooking classes that, although I didn't attend one, I hear are very informative and fun. Summer is a bit tough there, too hot, but spring and fall are gorgeous. Spa service is not what they are best known for but they do have a lot of treatments and you can get a great massage. And the clincher is that the price is right. Highly recommend.

  • Stayed October 2010, travelled solo
    • Value
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Helpful?
9 Thank CBWritergirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
San Diego
Level Contributor
234 reviews
75 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 84 helpful votes
Reviewed 12 September 2011

Rancho La Puerta is an exquisite property, just over the California, Baja California border. The atmosphere is relaxed, and you can do as much or as little as you want in the most beautiful of surroundings. The food is based on the produce from the Ranch's 7 acre organic garden, and it is delightful. The staff is what makes this place so special, some having worked here for almost 40 years---and others following in their parent's footsteps. Every hour there are at least 5 activities to choose from, early morning hikes of varying difficulty, exercise classes, but also programs, talks, art lessons, and treatments at the spa if you are so inclined. The organic garden is the source for all the Ranch's produce, hands on cooking classes are an optional activity. The accomodations are first class, with comfortable beds, air conditioning, and some with fireplaces. This resort gave me a week's worth of relaxation and restored my energy in ways I could not have imagined.

  • Stayed September 2011, travelled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank fooddr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Rancho La Puerta Spa

Property: Rancho La Puerta Spa
Address: Carretera A Tijuana Km 5, Tecate 92046-3057, Mexico
Phone Number:
Region: Mexico > Baja California > Baja California Norte > Tecate
Amenities:
Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Spa Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Tecate
Number of rooms: 84
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The world's first fitness resort established in 1940, this spa is located right across the border in Mexico and is nestled on 3,000 private acres of rolling terrain. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Rancho La Puerta Hotel Tecate
Rancho La Puerta Tecate

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