The Hotel Frances is a wonderful example of Santa Rosalia’s picturesque wooden buildings.
You can sit on the wooden boards of the European veranda and look passed mine pilings, tunnels, and rusting machinery to the blue sea. It is easy to imagine you are a visitor from a century past.
The Hotel Frances was built more than a century ago in 1886. However, it burned down a decade later and was rebuilt in 1920. One of the long time hotel managers was Pierre Mayieux.
By 1990, the oldest hotel in Baja California Sur was put up for sale by the Mexican government. Laura, whose family had successfully taken over La Perla hotel in La Paz, saw the hotel advertised in the paper. It had been closed and on the market for five years with the old furniture gathering dust inside. Laura bought it in 1995 from the municipality and made its restoration a personal project, renovating it with care and personal attention.
Laura still managed La Perla and was only able to visit Santa Rosalia twice a month. As a result, she established her friend Irma as the manager.
Inside the hotel you can find squeaky wood floors, polished high ceilings with soothing fans and thick fabric designer wallpaper. There is a rustic wooden desk, an adjacent dining room with finely polished wooden tables and more charming stained-wood details.
The courtyard out back now has a pool surrounded by a mini museum of mining artifacts and implements. The 17 guest rooms, which are entered from the courtyard, are a sort of floral chintz, replete with padded chairs and thick brocaded wallpaper.
The food has always been considered good. Today’s menu features regional and international cuisine along with wonderful seafood.
The hotel rooms are meant to be a throwback to an earlier era. You almost expect to see men in muttonchops, bowler hats and walking sticks and women in long floral dresses with parasols.
*Legend taken from “Baja Legends” By Greg Niemann, 2002 Sunblet Publications p-194