The Rosarito Beach Hotel considers all visitors to be important guests, but during June and July one guest in particular stood out.
He went by the name of Mr. Miller but there was no disguising who really was staying at the Baja California resort: Robert Redford.
The legendary actor occupied a two-bedroom penthouse on the 17th floor of the Pacifico Tower, and while he undoubtedly enjoyed spectacular ocean views and famous Baja hospitality, this was a working trip.
Redford was across the border for the filming, at nearby studios, of director J.C. Chandor's "All Is Lost," about a lone man's struggles against the sea.
For the spacious seaside hotel, which is still rebounding from negative publicity generated by drug cartel-related violence in Baja California, the business was much appreciated.
Production staff, including Chandor, occupied 140 rooms. Redford, 75, chose to stay at the hotel over a nearby mansion to be closer to his colleagues.
The actor and hotel staff reportedly did a good job of maintaining secrecy. Redford relied largely on room service and attempted to hide beneath a baseball cap when he did stroll about the hotel grounds.
He was described in a news release as the perfect guest.
Jorge Morales, a waiter at the hotel's Azteca restaurant, said that only one guest that he knew of recognized the true identity of Mr. Miller during his many restaurant visits.
"I told the customer that [Redford] was making a movie and was very tired," Morales said. "Please don't disturb him."
Morales was Redford's personal waiter and often served the actor Puerto Nuevo-style lobster and Don Julio tequila.
Before checking out, the actor posed for photos with Morales and other staff members. They, in turn, were struck by how unassuming Redford turned out to be. "The guy being so famous, how could he be so humble?" Morales said.
Redford also displayed a sense of humor. When asked to identify his favorite Mexican food he responded, "My favorite food is tequila."
He's the latest of many Hollywood stars who have visited the Rosarito Beach Hotel. They include Marilyn Monroe, Frank Sinatra, Rita Hayworth and John Wayne.
Of the drug violence among rival cartels, which two years ago made daily headlines and frightened many tourists into thinking all of Mexico was unsafe, Redford said this: "It's unfortunate, since there are so many areas of Mexico that are safe to visit. More people should know."
"All Is Lost" is due to be released in 2013.
-- Top image shows the Rosarito Beach Hotel. Credit: ©Pete Thomas. Second image shows Robert Redford on the pier in front of the Rosarito Beach Hotel