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“Hands Down, a large bit of heaven”

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Rancho La Puerta Spa
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Tecate
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed May 9, 2012

Just returned from my seventh visit to RLP. I'm not going to go on here, because what Deborah Szekey and her family have accomplished on these 3,000 acres above Tecate has rightfully become the stuff of legend. I would like to say, however, that the "dangerous border" news, if it were to ever to be applied to Tecate, is just a joke. RLP is beloved by the locals and I think the large Catholic church in town would more likely be a place for problems than The Ranch. Secondly, if you are a man and think this place might not be your glass of beer, think again. The resources of this place are such that you can make your stay be about anything you want and, believe me, from a physical culture perspective, you could not exhaust or overwhelm the equipment, trainers and environs available here. Don't believe in magic? You might after a visit. I've been fortunate to travel a lot of the world, am physically active and backpack a lot. Hands down, this is my favorite all-round destination.

  • Stayed: May 2012, traveled as a couple
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10  Thank L7imbo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed May 4, 2012

I just returned from my first trip ever to this lovely, relaxing, inspiring enclave on the San Diego border. To call it a 'destination spa' does not begin to describe all the wonderful experiences that are possible at a week's stay at "The Ranch". It is honestly one of the best places I've ever been to and my friends and I are all planning to return again next year - as most people do judging by the huge numbers of people who were returnees the week I was there (April 21 - 28 - it's a required Sat. arrival unless you want to wait to see if they have room last minute).
The Ranch is run by the founding family. Their generosity and philosophies still dominate to give the place a warm family feel, making the guests feel like they are part of a big group gathering. Met lots of nice people!
The food is FABULOUS - the veggies are grown in their own organic gardens which we visited and ate straight from the dirt .There was plenty of food too, not spartan spa fare. No meat or poultry but delicious fish dishes many nights. I am a big foodie and I thought I was in heaven at every meal!
I can't say enough good things about the variety and quality of the classes offered as well as the spa treatments. I especially benefited from their 'healing therapy' treatment which was extremely painful but made my ongoing neck and shoulder pain go away. It was amazing! (and gets booked up so reserve in advance). Each week there are visiting lecturers. I thought the quality of those speakers was a bit spotty......
I went with 2 friends and we had the biggest accommodations - a 2 BD 2 bath 'villa' with a kitchenette. It was a stand-alone structure so no worries about noise (although things quieted down by 9pm) There are all sorts of room configurations. The rooms aren't super fancy, pretty simple with a Mexican flavor.
I highly recommend the morning hikes. It may be tough to imagine getting up early but it's part of a new healthy outlook. There are all kinds of hikes for different abilities but it's certainly invigorating! Eating good healthy food and exercising has carried over in my home life too - a most important benefit of this trip!!!
I took their advice and booked my treatments in advance. I thought I wanted to have later afternoon times as the day was winding down. But there are still good classes at 4pm that aren't given at other times of the days, so it's better to vary your times.
We took a cooking class with visiting chef, Kate Sherwood. The cooking classes are in a beautiful complex up in the organic gardens. The atmosphere is wonderful and professional. The focus that night was meze and I learned some new techniques. I never knew you could grind split peas in a spice grinder without breaking the thing! :) Used that with fresh peas to make pea falafel. The group of 14 or so of us divided up 1 or 2 and all made dishes for a delicious smorgasbord of a dinner (with wine! a treat at the Ranch)
Note: Weather.com gives the wrong info for Tecate. You must choose Tecate CA NOT Mexico to get the right info. The other Tecate Mexico is about 2 hours away in the desert. We packed for 90-100 degree weather but it was more like 60-70 degrees - with rain. A bit on the chilly side - surprising! This week is supposed to be warm, so it's all over the place in the spring.

Room Tip: The rooms are spread out over a wide area. There are all sorts of room configurations. If you have...
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  • Stayed: April 2012, traveled with friends
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8  Thank AmericanInHeidelberg
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 29, 2012

My wife and I have been going to "The Ranch," as old-timers call it, for 17 consecutive years now, and if anything we enjoy it more each time we go. It is a beautiful property with gorgeous landscaping (courtesy of the founder's daughter, a landscape architect), many miles of hiking trails, and the finest facilities including numerous gyms, spa facilities, swimming pools (3), tennis courts, and beautiful free-standing single or duplex cottages for guest lodging. The rooms are spacious, private, and comfortable. The weather is exceptional, ranging from pleasantly warm to pleasantly cool and sunny. In 17 weeks there we have had not more than 3 or 4 days of rain. The spa therapists are excellent, and the fitness staff are exceptional -- all enthusiastic and fully engaged in their work. There are a wide variety of classes offered, with several to choose from in every time slot. Meals are served in a beautiful large dining hall at tables set for 2 to 8 people. The food is healthy, beautifully presented, and delicious -- mostly vegetarian, with a seafood option at several dinners each week. There are several guest presenters each week -- lectures, musical performers, etc -- and a movie every night. A series of nutrition lectures are extremely informative. Other guests are invariably nice and friendly, and we've formed a number of good and lasting friendships there. Although it is located just outside of a Mexican border town, do NOT worry about your personal safety there. You are taken there by charter bus from the San Diego airport (ca. one hour) and returned the same way. The property itself is a totally safe and secure enclave. The Ranch is considerably less expensive than some of the other top-rated spas, but every bit their equal or superior. Finally, and perhaps over-all most important, you will invariably feel MUCH better when you leave than you did when you arrived.

Room Tip: There are about 4 levels of accommodation at a range of prices. The villas are VERY spacious, in my...
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  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank BobConklin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 23, 2012

I went to the Rancho on a recommendation from a friend. It was a week filled with wellness and positivity. I did not realize before the experience, how helpful such a week would be to me. Every morning we went on a hike in the most beautiful mountains. Every day we partook in activities aimed at improving fitness. I have brought many of the habits I had learned there home, and continue to work toward wellness on my own. I would definitely return to this place of wellness and inspiration. The time we spent there was truly special and unique.

  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled with friends
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2  Thank Juniperrose
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 10, 2012

I wanted to go to the ranch for 4years, and finally went in march 2012
It's safe,clean & the hikes, fitness classes& food were all excellent.if you like spa services those were top notch..Cooking classes were a great add on to my week in their new state of the art cooking facility.met some interesting friends while in tecate too.this is a good couples,girlfriend, solo vacation & great value..would do again... mt kuchama is beautiful & the ranch hikes are challenging but fun.

Room Tip: A-1has view of mountain from patio
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  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Sanwil
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 4, 2012

I just returned from my third visit to the Ranch. It's not just a spa, it's an overall wellness experience. In addition to the spa treatments; they have daily pre-breakfast hikes, an incredible array of fitness offerings (my favorites are weight circuit training, yoga, and pilates - the water classes are also great during hot weather); other classes for stretching, foam rolling, meditation, etc; and very tasty and healthy organic food. Also they have lectures on various health topics.

Activities not to miss:
- The breakfast hike to their organic farm/cooking school, which includes a tour of the garden
- Thursday night bingo, if you enjoy snarky humor laced with sexual innuendos :-)
- The mountain hikes offer much better scenery/views than the shorter hikes. You have to start pretty early (like 6:15 am) but you'll be back in plenty of time for breakfast.
- If you enjoy cooking, be sure to sign up for a class at the cooking school (extra charge)
- My favorite massage was the "watsu" massage - a shiatsu massage done in a pool that was heated to 96 degrees. Blissful. If you enjoy being in the water, this is definitely worth trying.

Lest you be worried that you won't get enough to eat, being that active and then being served "spa food" - there are options at every meal to take extras. Breakfast and lunch are buffet style. Dinner is brought to your table with set portions, but there is always an option for the table to ask for extra bread or a platter of grilled vegetables. I was often healthily hungry when I arrived for a meal, but always walked away satisfied.

As a single traveler, for each of my three visits I was in a ranchera (the smallest lodging) in the Flores section. It was plenty spacious for one person, and each of the casitas has its own nice sized patio. This year my patio was very sheltered and private, which was awesome for doing a little sunbathing.

I would not be particularly concerned with the travel warning posted for this location - it is very safe on the grounds of the Ranch, and there really is no reason to venture off the grounds, unless you're dying to go get a steak or a beer in Tecate.

Room Tip: Rooms on the far end of Flores (i.e. #10, #13, #14) will have a patio that's more private. Flor...
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  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled solo
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4  Thank bikerider57
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 27, 2012

Rancho La Puerta is a spa resort. It is a lovely spa resort. It is in Mexico. A short ride east from San Diego and just across the border at Tecate, Mexico. It seemed very safe and it was easy to cross the border. The staff from Rancho meet you at the border and help you to cross.
I'm sure there was a time when Rancho La Puerta was very remote. It is located in a small valley that is filled with oak trees. These days urban sprawl from Tecate encroaches on the resort. Also, a new four lane highway from Tijuana to Mexicali passes by the resort and contributes some traffic noise.
The resort property is beautiful and is maintained to the highest standards. Accommodations are in individual cottages throughout the 3000 acre property. The rooms are very nice and the service is excellent.
The main point of the resort is pleasing the customer and the resort takes pains to accommodate guests. This being said, the main focus is on exercise and excellent spa food. There are many classes, many gyms, many pools and fantastic hikes. The class instructors are great! The equipment is top notch. There are towels, water, robes, etc available for guest use. There are washing machines to use, free of charge, to keep work out gear clean. In the evening there are movies and lectures.
The food is very good spa food. No meat, little seafood, little cheese. Lots of flavor, lots of vegetables, lots of beautiful presentations. No alcohol is served. You may bring alcohol to the resort and there are wine openers and glasses in the rooms (I recommend stopping at Bevmo in San Diego by the airport on the way to the ranch).
A week at the resort will leave you refreshed and feeling great. I already want to go back.

Room Tip: Expect to walk everywhere. Bring more exercise clothes. Bring wine. The room group "Florez"...
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  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled as a couple
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6  Thank soettu
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

Address: Carretera A Tijuana Km 5, Tecate 92046-3057, Mexico
Phone Number:
Location: Mexico > Baja California > Baja California Norte > Tecate
Amenities:
Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Spa Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
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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