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Hotel del Coronado – Iconic Resort in Southern California

San Diego

Location: Coronado Island, California

We rarely stay in resorts or fancy hotels…it’s not usually part of the Grand Adventure budget. But the Hotel del Coronado – iconic resort of Southern California, has been on my hotel bucket list for a long time. Check. Finally we had a chance to spend two nights in this grand old lady.

Hotel del Coronado

Some History

From the hotel’s website here is a brief history of this amazing hotel;

Opened in February 1888, Hotel del Coronado debuted as an architectural masterpiece, acclaimed for its spectacular seaside setting and world-famous weather. Outfitted with electricity and every modern amenity, The Del was a destination resort before the term existed, attracting a wealthy clientele from the Midwest, East Coast, and Europe. These guests – who arrived with their own servants in tow – generally stayed for months at a time.

Although seaside destination resorts were fairly commonplace along both American coasts during the late 19th century, few were as large as The Del or as distinctive. With its one-of-a-kind sweeping silhouette – once likened to a cross between an ornate wedding cake and well-trimmed ship – the Southern California beach resort was recognizable throughout the country and around the world.

Coronado’s island-like allure and year-round sunshine further ensured The Del’s reputation as a standout resort, described as the “unrivaled Queen of seaside resorts … this enchanting spot has no equal in America … or the world.”

Read additional history here.

Today’s “Del”

At 133 years old, this huge, wooden building requires constant maintenance and upkeep. It’s location, beachfront on the Pacific Ocean is beautiful of course, but the sea air, sand, humidity, storms and sun all can wreck havoc on a wooden structure.

Inner Courtyard

Through the years the hotel has expanded to adjoining properties. The original old building still has rooms, but more modern and luxurious rooms are also available in the villa’s, cabanas and high rise hotel next door.

During our visit, the main lobby on the south side of the building is closed for an extensive renovation at a cost of 400 million. The renovation will take the south portico back to it’s original glory. This includes the south facing rooms above the lobby, and the shops below. This extensive work will be ongoing for at least another year. Guest’s enter the building temporarily on the north side portico.

Pool and iconic turret

The huge renovation includes another pool and restaurant. Part of the renovation, the refurbished cabana units, is complete.

Several restaurants are available to guests, a spa and swimming pool as well as a half mile stretch of beautiful white sand beach directly in front of the properties. The town of Coronado is easy walking distance from the hotel and offers shops and restaurants.

Learn more about the ongoing renovations here.

My Visit to the Hotel del Coronado – Iconic Resort in Southern California

We stayed in one of the least expensive rooms the resort offers, and still paid $400 per night plus an additional $40 per day for parking. This is easily $300 per night more than our usual. In comparison (and changing seasonally) other rooms and guest houses throughout the large complex run from $450 to $1600 per night.

Verandah on our room

But honestly, I loved being in the oldest part of the hotel. Our room was small with a small bath, but we enjoyed an unexpected beautiful verandah with a partial ocean view and full interior garden view. The mattress was great.

One drawback to the older part of the hotel is the tiny and slow elevator. I am assuming the south renovation will include a new bank of elevators. Perhaps the north side will be next.

Hilton guarantee Clean Stay

Staff is friendly and abundant. The property, which is owned by Hilton, is working to assure guest safety with masks required and advanced cleaning in all rooms. We did not eat at the hotel but the restaurants are beautiful and we enjoyed the beach bar. Garden’s and landscaping are gorgeous. We were glad that with all the construction going on, the crews started late morning and so we did not feel disturbed.

At the beach bar

Actually the helicopters, fighters and C-17 airplanes out of the multiple naval and military facilities in the area were much noisier than any construction. But it was also very interesting to watch all that activity.

Coronado

While here I did a really long run (eleven miles) south on a path that runs well past where I turned around. The views are beautiful. A nice state park and several condos and marinas are located to the south.

Lunch at Henry’s in the town of Coronado

We walked around the little town of Coronado, had lunch at Henry’s and did a bit of shopping. I loved some of the beautiful Victorian homes and gardens.

Cute Coronado neighborhoods

Traffic can be bad, due to the bridge. Although the bridge is high and long, it’s often backed up so plan ahead, especially on the weekend.

Bucket List Check

It’s always fun to check something off the bucket list, and the Hotel del Coronado – iconic resort in Southern California was one for me. I’m so glad we came. Once in a lifetime I have no doubt.

Dining outside at the Hotel del Coronado

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6 Comments

  • Reply Linda (LD Holland)

    This post brought back great memories of our visit to San Diego and our day at the Hotel del Coronado. How great that you got to stay there for two days. It looks like a great spot for a splurge. Definitely a spot we would like to stay if we ever get back to San Diego.

    May 8, 2021 at 10:36 am
    • Reply Laureen

      A definite splurge for us but worth it!

      May 10, 2021 at 8:19 am
  • Reply Tanya

    I’ve never been to California or San Diego but this looks a great place to stay. I’ll keep it in mind for if we ever get to visit.

    May 9, 2021 at 11:34 pm
  • Reply Sue

    For me this hotel evokes memories of the film “Some Like It Hot” – one of my favourites & the reason I had even heard of the hotel when I visited it many years ago. We didn’t stay but I remember having a bloody mary on the terrace & watching the wind blow up & carry the parasols right across the beach. I’m with you on keeping to a budget when travelling but some places are well worth the splurge! Hotel Del Coronado is clearly one of them.

    May 11, 2021 at 12:54 am
  • Reply Alison

    Oh this sounds like heaven. What a grand old lady she is. I love places like this and I’m so glad they’re renovating/keeping her ship shape 🙂 Perhaps I’ll get there one day. It would be way out of our budget too, but a girl can dream.

    May 11, 2021 at 2:02 pm
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