Who We Are
Dr. Gary Rettig (casually, yet respectfully referred to as Doc, Patron or Jefe’) and his wife Shawnie Rettig purchased La Fonda in 2004.
The idea of purchasing a ¼ mile of prime oceanfront property in Baja California Norte, Mexico with a landmark Hotel, Restaurant & Bar expeditiously became a dream of Doc’s when he spotted an ad on the back of the LA Times that La Fonda was for sale. He was instantly in pursuit of his newly acquired dream to own his old haunt. He had recently sold his Newport Beach Chiropractic practice and was ready to write his next chapter.
His equally reluctant wife, Shawnie… whom also had a long on-going history with La Fonda, was intrigued by the prospect, however dually skeptical of owning such a major under taking in a foreign country. However, give it to Doc and his persuasive ways… it only took FOUR YEARS to convince his bride that this was an adventure that could not be passed up!! Reluctantly Shawnie acquiesced and the purchase of La Fonda from the owners Sara and Joe Dmytriw took place.
One of Doc’s frequent quotes is “WOW what a ride!!!” and “WOW” what a RIDE it’s BEEN! The first few years they were launched into a series of learning curves.
La Fonda is known and admired for it’s funk and charm, however The Rettig’s number one goal was to clean the property from one end to the other and back again. At one point they had over 120 employees, and as the number one employer in the small town of La Mision, it created an instant feeling of familia. Shortly thereafter, 10 more hotel rooms were added and the main house was rebuilt as the owners personal residence. The Spa was completed - furnished and opened. A new laundry room was built and two large ocean front decks were constructed off the large restaurant patio. All hotel rooms were redecorated (which included new furniture, mattresses and linens). Many architectural details and structures were added as well including two giant palapas. Business was booming to the extent that a satellite hotel called “Kinda La Fonda” was purchased to provide additional lodging for their patrons. Life was good at La Fonda!!!
AND THEN… 2007/2008 hit and La Fonda fell victim to a triple threat… A fallen economy that decimated the United States (when people are losing their jobs and homes, drinking margaritas and relaxing in Mexico becomes a pure luxury of days-gone-bye). Passports became required and you could no longer use your driver’s license to get back to the States. The REAL Topper was “THE FEAR OF MEXICO”!!! Even the Mexico diehards became reluctant to venture South-of-the Border!
Renegotiations became necessary with the previous owners, Joe & Sara Dmytriw, to help La Fonda get through her troubled times. Discussions between Joe and Doc were amicable and seemingly productive, as Doc offered to pay the note in full but asked for a reduction in monthly payments. However, all discussions and negotiations came to a screeching halt when Sara was unwilling to go forward unless the Rettig’s agreed to turn over 100% of La Fonda should they be tardy or miss a single payment. Not knowing what the future held, the Rettig’s were unwilling to proceed forward, as they felt Sara’s terms were punitive and unreasonable.