After enduring a rough period where the place lost some of its former luster, Don Eddie’s Landing was sold several months ago but as the old saying goes, when one door closes, another one opens.
The new owners have been busy renovating the place ever since they first took possession, working tirelessly over the summer and early fall, leaving no stone unturned as they went over the entire facility from top to bottom, inside and out.
It’s been a lot of work but their goal is to bring Don Eddie’s Landing back to it’s glory days of years past; back to when it was a San Quintín icon for travelers and fishermen alike.
A Little History
Located just a little over four hours south of San Diego, the San Quintín Bay boat ramp has launched countless anglers seeking to take advantage of the world class sport fishing in the local waters targeting yellowtail, tuna, white and black seabass, grouper, lingcod, white fish, halibut, barracuda, a variety of reds and other popular bottom fish, filling ice chests and providing stories and bragging rights to last a lifetime.
And located just a few steps away from the dock of this fishing haven you will find Don Eddie’s Landing; a large, bay-front compound that was the culmination of a lifelong dream of Heriberto Marquez Gonzalez, the original Don Eddie.
Eddie Marquez was born in Tijuana and migrated as a young with his family to the U.S. where he honorably served in the U.S. military and spent part of his time in service overseas.
Over the years he developed what would become a lifelong love for the sea and especially fishing – almost more than anything else – and would make frequent fishing trips down to San Quintin.
Eventually he would purchase Ernesto’s – an historic establishment where RV’ers would park along the waters of the San Quintín Bay. On that large parcel he would build a very successful business that would include a hotel, restaurant and bar, becoming one of the most popular destinations for fishermen heading south of the border.
Over time, Don Eddie Marquez would turn his dream into a San Quintín landmark.
Simply known as “Don Eddie” to countless visitors, he came to be well loved not only by visitors but also by his employees, local fishermen and the entire San Quintín community.
Don Eddie was enjoying life and living his dream but late one night in April of 2010, all of his hard work burned down in a fire that started in the kitchen after the restaurant had closed.
It was a massive blow for Don Eddie Marquez and just nine months later he would suffer a massive heart attack, passing away just days later in January of 2011.
Many who knew and loved him commented that he never really got over the heartbreak of the loss.
His son Carlos (Tony, as many knew him by), would take over the task of cleanup and in spite of the distance separating him from his family and career up near the border, he made a valiant effort to rebuild and bring the business back.
Running a hotel, restaurant and bar is a full-time job and splitting his time between the two obligations became an increasingly heavy burden for Carlos to carry. The strain began to show with a growing list of unhappy customers complaining of leaky roofs, uncomfortable beds, no hot water or sometimes no water at all, no power at the RV hookups and a restaurant that was rarely, if ever open anymore.
It became clear over time that the only solution was to sell his father’s dream.
A “New” Eddie Steps Up
V. Eddie Handley was a general contractor in the U.S. and had always dreamed of owning a Rancho.
His lovely wife Angelica had always promised to follow him wherever his next adventure took them and when the stars aligned over the San Quintin Bay, a deal was struck to purchase Don Eddie’s Landing.
When they purchased the bayside property earlier this year, they both knew full well the size of the task ahead of them. Living here in San Quintín for almost a year now, they took ownership of the property last May and have worked non-stop ever since on renovations and upgrades.
He shared with us that “as a contractor, I have always looked at properties I can rebuild and we love new adventures. Don Eddie’s has everything we want, it is a very special property and we are here to stay; to bring Don Eddie’s back to its glory days!”
Driving up to Don Eddie’s Landing today, you immediately sense that things are indeed changing, starting with a brand new red block wall out front and a new, arched entrance.
Looking around the property, you immediately notice the updated and eye catching paint colors along with the busy staff moving about the well maintained landscaping of the grounds. But even with all the work going on, Eddie and Angelica always try to stop and greet each new guest as they arrive, welcoming them with a cold, complimentary beer after a long drive.
Peeking inside some of the units, you’ll see clean and updated rooms with new beds, mattresses, pillows and bedding, along with new towels and bathroom fixtures. Drinking water and coffee makers are now available in all of the rooms and new tankless water heaters have been installed, helping to ensure that no hotel guest should ever run out of hot water.
In fact, the entire water distribution system on the property has been completely overhauled, thoroughly cleaned and flushed, with much of the older plumbing repaired or replaced including a new pump, pressure tank and filter system.
And to make sure everything stays sealed and dry, most of the roofs at the hotel have just been replaced.
Much of the electrical system is being upgraded as well and very soon, travelers driving a motor home or pulling a trailer will find every single RV space offering full hookups with dependable, 220v 50amp service.
“We have a plan, and it includes bringing back a lot of the nostalgia of the past along with new, modern amenities,” shared Eddie as we strolled over to Lulu’s, their onsite restaurant and bar.
Stepping inside, we see the newly installed venting windows and skylights as well as a fresh décor that really helps to accent their million dollar view of the bay from their large windows that frame in the dining area and serve as a gorgeous backdrop to the entire bar area.
Stopping by the kitchen we were delighted to see Julio – Don Eddie’s great chef that many of you will remember from years ago when the restaurant was a favorite with travelers and locals alike.
He’s back now, preparing some of his classic favorites as well as introducing several new and delicious dishes including a great selection of tasty appetizers to enjoy while watching a game in the restaurant or just relaxing with good friends, having a cold one at the bar.
Lulu’s is now open 6 days a week – closed on Mondays – and they are encouraging all of the locals to come out and enjoy their family friendly restaurant where you can enjoy the best view of the bay of any of the local establishments.
Eddie let me know that “there’s always something on one of the wide screens every afternoon and evening at Lulu’s with the best in Boxing, Football, Baseball, Basketball and Soccer with Karaoke on Friday and Saturday nights.”
And if all that wasn’t enough, Eddie has also started some new construction on their adjacent property to the north, where Don Eddie’s will soon be offering new, expanded services for travelers seeking more options in accommodations. Stay tuned!
A Dream Come True
All that I can say is… Don Eddie’s Landing is definitely back! There’s a new Eddie at the helm today and the renovation and expansion could not have come at a better time.
The new municipality of San Quintin is experiencing a period of accelerated growth and combined with the big increase in tourism this past year, even more hotel rooms are needed today, just to be able to keep up!
Thanking Angelica and Eddie for the tour and their warm hospitality, I stepped outside and took a stroll along the water’s edge of their property fronting the bay.
The late afternoon’s sun was glimmering across the water as the high tide pushed up into the bay. Right then, as if on cue, a long line of pelicans flew by on their journey south and just for a moment, I could hear old Don Heriberto chuckle across the water, fondly remembering the old man’s grin and sense of humor.
And right then I sensed he must really be thrilled to see his dream be brought back to life once again; now with a new Eddie and his wife Angelica here to welcome us all back…