El Tigre, highway Tijuana-Ensenada Km. 89 s/n. El Sauzal de Rodriguez, Ensenada
This luxury campsite will have you feeling like a wealthy adventurer out on safari, your tent perfectly arranged at the end of the day with a bottle of white wine chilling on ice.
When we arrived at Cuatro Cuatros we had already been camping up and down Baja California for a week and a half. Gloriously roughing it, there were cold showers, meals over an open fire and an invasion of fire ants. When we pulled through the gate we were ready for some pampering, but not yet ready to rejoin the rest of the world. We were ready to glamp.
Driving past rows of grape vines and two enormous antique shrimping boats set among them, we could see a cluster of large tents in the distance. As if in a scene from Out of Africa, their tan exteriors were practically camouflaged against the desert behind them. We were greeted by Marco Polo, the bellhop/security guard/historian, who helped us transport our luggage to our tent.
After a quick and casual check-in inside the welcome tent, he proceeded to lead us down the vineyard path, passed rows of Merlot grapes (which we sampled as we walked), crossing a wooden bridge that separates the main property from the tent area and dropping us off in front of our luxurious double queen tent with air conditioning, wood burning stove, and wide, wooden veranda looking out over the vineyards and the mountains beyond.
The name Cuatro Cuatros references nature's four elements—earth, wind, fire, and water—coming together in perfect balance and harmony for ultimate comfort. The land on which this development was built is nestled inside the Valle de Guadalupe wine region of Baja California. North of Ensenada, the property sits just a few kilometers from the Salsipuedes Bay on the Pacific Ocean.
Eighteen tents are made from tough Montana Canvas, set over metal frames outfitted with black-zippered doors and windows. All of this is set atop a sturdy wooden platform, smooth enough to walk on barefoot. Woven reed mats are dispersed over the floors. The beds and tables are made from, smooth redwood from the US.
The tents are slightly larger than a standard double in a regular hotel and feel extremely roomy. They are outfitted with sturdy, comfortable furniture: embroidered armchairs, and various small tables and dressers. They also have mini fridges, ready with cold beer, water, and white wine and sodas. Lockboxes join small AC units for the summer, space heaters and a wood-burning stove for winter. Each tent has free Wi-Fi.
The bathroom is a rectangular addition, connected to the rest of the tent by a small glassed-in hallway (don't worry foliage has been planted on either side for privacy). It contains an overabundance of towels, quality bath products, and a rainforest shower with a glass door that opens up to a tiny enclosed porch, creating an intimate outdoor shower area.
In the evening, as the day cooled off, all we really wanted to do was sit on our front porch with some of the wine we had been collecting the past few days in the Valle de Guadalupe and eat bread, local cheese, and olives. Sitting inside the property's tent-style restaurant seemed a shame on a night so lovely, but we were tempted by the white fish with capers and raisins and the corvina with cambray potatoes and olives. The restaurant's menu is BajaMed, a style that transforms the flavors of the Mediterranean with a Baja California twist. A caution to animal lovers: the restaurant in particular but the rest of the property as well uses lots of animal skins as decoration.
Once the final rays of the sun had disappeared over the mountain in front of us, tiny lights began to twinkle in the trees and along the lighted paths leading to the welcome tent and the restaurant. We took our glasses and wandered the path until we came upon the property’s 100-year-old red oak, a few canvas chairs set invitingly below it, and continued our conversation amid the breeze of the vineyard.
Cuatro Cuatros has 20 hectares of Savignon Blanc, Merlot, Tempranillo and Cabernet Franc grapes that they grow for the two wines they sell off the property, one a red blend and the other 100% Savignon Blanc.
We got to take a look at the rows of Blanc on our way up to the ocean overlook earlier that day. Never had the ocean felt so near yet so far away as looking it from the precipitous cliff of Cuatro Cuatros rustic, oceanside Bura Bar. The bar is open to the public but only has hours on the weekends. It's the perfect space for a low-key wedding or special event. You can fully take in the stark contrasts of a place like Baja when you come up over the dry hills that protect Cuatro Cuatros in their tiny valley and you see the enormous sea below you.
If you want to explore the property more there are bikes you can borrow and plenty of well-worn trails for walking. The on-site winery is open every day from 10:00 to 5:00 for tastings, but the day we were there there was no one on duty and as such a tiny winery I imagine this is often the case. Better to make an appointment in advance. They offer two types of tastings (withi three or five wines) that takes place at the property's overlook, 660 feet above the ocean.
The valley where Cuatro Cuatros sits is generally warm during the day and cools down considerably in the evening. If you are the kind of person who needs a frigid hotel room to make you feel normal after a day out in the heat, visit in a milder season (the best time to visit is from the end of September to May). The small floor AC unit will take the humidity out of the air, but it's noisy and never makes the room downright cold.
I myself can imagine being here in every season and each having its own particular charm. If you decide that you just can't bear the idea of leaving, Cuatro Cuatros is also selling residential lots. The first stage of building will take place directly in front of the vineyard with lots ranging from 1000 E2000m2 at $185-250 per square meter.
Travelers who crave outdoor luxury will love Cuatro Cuatros. It's designed in a way that makes you feel pampered while letting the landscape do the seducing of your soul. If you are traveling in Baja California it's an absolute must-stop north of Ensenada, and as part of Valle de Guadalupe's wine trail, your visit can be combined with lots of other activities.
Web Address: www.cuatrocuatros.mx
Total Number of Tents: 18
Published rates: $200-$1,500 (rates seasonal)
Review and photos by Lydia Carey