Bahia Resort Hotel in San Diego
Story and photos by Greg Aragon
ahia Resort Hotel has been a slice of paradise on San
Diego's Mission Bay for more than 50 years. With lush gardens and
swaying palm trees, Mississippi paddlewheel boats and sprawling beach-front
charm, the resort makes a great escape from life's doldrums. Last week
a friend and I snuck away to Bahia for a memorable day and night of
fun and relaxation.
Bahia Resort is a paradise on San Diego's Mission
Our getaway began when we exited the 5 Freeway near
Sea World and found ourselves rounding beautiful Mission Bay, with its
luxury hotels, tiny harbors, and spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean.
When we got to Bahia, we parked beside a small tropical forest surrounding
a large pond with two seals, and then checked into the lobby.
We then drove down a long driveway, past the pool and
tennis courts to our modern suite overlooking the bay. The room was
highlighted by a spacious living area, with sofa, love seat, large TV,
office desk and a kitchenette with sink, refrigerator and granite counter
tops and a coffee maker. There was also a spacious bathroom, and a separate
bedroom with two double beds and another flat screen TV, and free high-speed
The suites most attractive feature was the balcony
overlooking Mission Bay, where we sat watching kayakers and paddle boarders
drift past and fishermen cast their lines in the deep blue water.
Bahia rooms offer great views of kayakers and paddle
Outside the room we enjoyed the rest of the 314-room
Bahia Hotel property, which sits on a secluded 14-acre peninsula, with
one mile of white sandy beach and a year-round Mediterranean climate.
One of our favorite spots was at the seal pond, watching Billy and Gracie,
the resident seals who moved to Bahia from Sea World when they became
blind and could not be released into the wild safely. The black and
tan pair are fed twice a day, providing a fun environment for guests
of all ages.
The hotel's seal pond has two seals who moved to
Bahia from Sea World
Another cool attraction is the Bahia Belle, the resorts
turn of the century Mississippi-style sternwheeler. Offering
cruises across Mission Bay between Bahia and sister property, The Catamaran
Resort Hotel and Spa, the boat features fun and romantic sailings, with
live music, cocktail parties and themed cruises. Guests staying at either
The Bahia or The Catamaran may enjoy complimentary rides around Mission
Bay. The Bahia Belle cruises Wed- Sat evenings in June, and seven days
a week in July and August.
Near the Belle, hotel guests can rent kayaks, pedal
boats and paddle boards. We opted for the latter and practiced our balance
on long surf boards, oaring our way through the calm bay and getting
a great arm workout in the process.
The Bahia Belle takes hotel guests across Mission
Back on dry land we strolled through the propertys
winding paths, lined with thick tropical gardens, well manicured lawns
and trickling streams. Along the way, we breathed in the ocean air and
encountered friendly ducks, wondering across the shuffleboard courtyard.
Bahia is full of friendly guests
For dinner, we experienced Café Bahia, the resorts
signature Mediterranean-inspired restaurant. Nestled in tropical gardens,
Café Bahia serves Southern California cuisine, with a flair for
fresh grilled seafood and prime steaks.
Our meal began on the patio with Corona beers and two
tasty appetizers: a jumbo shrimp cocktail, and fried cherry pepper calamari
with tangy meyer lemon aioli . For the main course I had a tender blackened,
Cajun-styled salmon, topped with an exciting mango salsa, and served
with mushroom risotto and blue lake beans almondine. My friend devoured
the Sriracha-glazed meat loaf, with pork, veal, and Angus beef, served
with red bliss smashed potatoes and roasted corn off the cob.
Café Bahia has a flair for grilled seafood
and prime steaks
After dinner we had a nightcap at the Tangier Lounge,
located next to the Café Bahia. Here in a Moroccan-influenced
room with palm fronds, belt-driven fans and live piano bar, we sipped
martinis and looked back on a wonderful day.
In the morning, I worked out at the fitness center and
relaxed in the Jacuzzi, while my friend swam in the heated junior Olympic
pool, which is surrounded by palm trees and has a classic Hollywood
feel. We then walked about 10 minutes to nearby Belmont
Park, which is located on Mission Beach and features shopping, restaurants
and amusement park rides. While here we rode the Giant Dipper Roller
Coaster, one of two original oceanfront roller coasters still operating
on the west coast.
The resort's junior Olympic pool has a classic Hollywood
Besides all the regular fun at Bahia, the resort also
offer numerous activities such as a video arcade and family movie nights
for kids and their parents, bicycles, a Saturday all-you-can-eat "shrimp
feast," and various themed dining nights and cruises. The hotel
is also planning special beach barbecues for summer.
Bahia makes a great escape from life's daily doldrums
Bahia Resort Hotel is located at 998 West Mission Bay
Drive, San Diego, CA 92109. For more information and current specials,
call (858) 488-0551 or visit: www.bahiahotel.com.
San Diego Resort; Passport
to San Diego; By
Train to San Diego; Coasting
Through San Luis Obispo; Orange
County Oceanfront; Fall
Fun in Santa Monica; Warner
Springs Ranch, San Diego; Laguna