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Enduring Elegance: Ensenada’s Showpiece San Nicolas Hotel and Casino

Enduring Elegance: Ensenada’s Showpiece San Nicolas Hotel and Casino

Situated near the center of Ensenada’s tourist district, the San Nicolas Hotel & Casino has become far more than just another lodging facility for visitors and tourists.

Ensenada’s San Nicolas Hotel has been a favorite of visitors for decades.

In addition to their upscale onsite amenities, which include a picturesque poolside patio, quality dining facilities and a stylish casino, this fashionable boutique property also offers a spacious, newly constructed convention salon that is a perfect venue for trade shows and business conferences.

Originally founded in 1968 by owner, Nico Saad, the hotel has progressively expanded its scope of operation to include a number of activities that promote regional tourism.  Perhaps the most prominent of these are the wildly popular races known as the BAJA 500 and the BAJA 1000, which are organized and managed by SCORE, an organization that was founded by racing champ Mickey Thompson in 1973.

San Nicolas Hotel

The annual BAJA 500 and BAJA 1000 races draw participants and spectators from around the globe.

Prior to his illustrious career as a hotelier and promoter of Baja’s tourist industry, Nico was a well known water skier who became famous for doing trick stunts such as skiing barefoot while flying through the air using an over-sized kite.  He was even invited to join the elite USA exhibition team by the World Water Ski Championship Committee in the early 1960’s.

Hotelier Nico Saad is also highly recognized for his ongoing work promoting tourism in Baja California.

Shortly after the opening of the hotel, he was appointed by the Governor of Baja California as the Federal and State Director of Tourism. Over the years, Nico has also received several notable awards, including ones from Mexico’s Department of Tourism, the State of Baja California Norte, the State of California, the City of Los Angeles, and even the U.S. Department of the Interior and National Park Service.

Today, in addition to overseeing the operation of the 135 room San Nicolas Hotel with the assistance of his daughter, Michelle, Nico Saad continues to actively work toward getting the word out about the numerous attractive reasons to consider Baja California as a premier locale for travel and retirement. Considering his track record, success seems likely. 

Traveling to Ensenada? Talk to a travel agent at is a comprehensive online source of first-hand travel information for the Baja California Peninsula, supported by a full-service tour operator staffed by Baja locals (our “Baja Travel Savants”). We offer Baja travelers expert advice about local restaurants, hotels and vacation rentals, as well as guides, maps and articles about events, sports and activities. We provide bilingual customer support, information and sales seven days a week, 365 days a year. For more information, please call toll-free (US/CAN) 855-BAJA or email us at


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About Tom Gatch

For over a decade, Hooked on Baja author, Tom Gatch, has built a solid reputation as one of the foremost writers and columnists focusing on travel and recreational activities in Baja and southern California. His company, El Puerto Creative Consultants provides professional copy writing services and creative support for business entities on both sides of the border.


  1. Tillie F says

    Nice article Tom

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