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Summer fun at Bahia Resort Hotel in San Diego

Bahia 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 mini-vacation.
Our getaway began near Sea World, when we 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.
In our suite overlooking the bay, we found 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 Internet.
The suite’s 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.
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. 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.
Another cool attraction is the Bahia Belle, the resort’s “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 hotel may enjoy complimentary rides around Mission Bay.
Near the Belle, we rented paddle boards and practiced our balance on long surf boards, oaring our way through the calm bay and getting a great arm workout in the process. Back on dry land we strolled through the property’s winding paths, lined with thick tropical gardens, well manicured lawns and trickling streams. Along the way, encountered friendly ducks, wondering across the shuffleboard courtyard.
For dinner, we experienced Café Bahia, the resort’s 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, a jumbo shrimp cocktail, and fried cherry pepper calamari with tangy meyer lemon aioli. Next I had a tender blackened, Cajun-styled salmon, topped with an exciting mango salsa, and served with mushroom risotto and blue lake beans almondine; and 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.
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. We then walked to nearby Belmont Park (, which is located on the 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.
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.
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:
-Courtesy Photo

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