A True Vacation in Coronado, California

A True Vacation in Coronado, California

A stay at the historic Hotel Del Coronado is a little slice of paradise for a relaxing vacation in southern California.  During Ava’s fall break from school, we headed to Coronado Island, near San Diego, for several lovely days of fun in the sun while staying at the incredible Hotel Del Coronado.  Read on to learn about this wonderful resort and how you can have a fabulous stay here, too!

About the Hotel Del Coronado

The Hotel’s Inception

Built in 1888, this Victorian style hotel is one of the few remaining wooden beach hotels left today.  The Hotel Del is located on Coronado Island, which sits across the bay from the city of San Diego.  Coronado Beach is often ranked one of the best in the US! 

The concept for the hotel first came about when two San Diego businessmen were so enthralled with Coronado Beach that they decided to erect a hotel on its shores.  They wanted to create an iconic California hotel where “people will continue to come long after we are gone”, they said.  And they do!  People are still coming to this popular and charming seaside resort 150 years later.

The Hotel Del Coronado

The Construction

The Hotel Del is completely constructed of a variety of American hardwoods.  Framing is done in Douglas fir, the exterior is made up of California redwood, white oak is featured in the lobby, and Oregon sugar pine tops off the ceiling in the Crown Room, originally the dining room.  Speaking of the dining room, L. Frank Baum, author of The Wizard of Oz, designed the Crown Room’s chandeliers!

The Del’s Debut

The Hotel Del Coronado first hosted guests in January of 1888.  However the first meal was served in the dining room in February.  Therefore the 19th of February is recognized as the official birthday of the Hotel Del Coronado. 

Hotel Del Coronado was touted to be a health resort with healing sea air, sunshine, and on property fruit trees.  The first rooms were rented for $2.50 a day!  

A Murder Mystery

In the fall of 1892, a young woman named Kate Morgan checked into the hotel under the alias of Lottie A. Bernard.  Five days later, she was found dead on the exterior stairs, leading down to the beach.  The cause of death was ruled a self-inflicted gunshot wound, although skepticism still surrounds this decision.

Her spirit is said to haunt the hotel to this day.  Thankfully, her spirit is said to be relatively harmless.  Those who stay in her room say they occasionally feel a breeze and that the TV turns on and off on its own.  Other than that, guests have reported her fleeting appearance and what are believed to be her occasional antics.  What do you think…do you believe in ghosts?

Amenities on Site

The Hotel Del Coronado is a sprawling property.  The hotel includes a main building which holds the historic Crown Room, shops, and memorabilia throughout.   

The lobby – White Lotus, anyone?!

Dining and Drinks

There are several restaurants on site and we enjoyed every meal we had.  From casual pizza at Eno’s to a beachside taco shack to the Sun Deck Restaurant and Bar with amazing ocean views, the Hotel Del has it all. 

The amazing view from the Sun Deck restaurant & bar

We especially loved Serea, a seafood restaurant located outdoors.  Comfy bench seating at elevated tables, surrounded by tiki torches and overlooking the lawn and the ocean – the location doesn’t get better than this!

A few beach side bars dot the property with elevated menus and cocktails.  The Windsor Lawn is a beautiful raised grassy area lined with palm trees and encircled with a path.  While we were there, corporate receptions were going on almost every evening with fireworks shows!

Fitness and Recreation

The 24-hour fitness center is well equipped with ample equipment.  We spent many a morning here!  We also enjoyed a great session of yoga on the beach, which is complimentary for guests.  Outdoor spin classes are held near the Windsor Lawn for a fee.

The fitness center

Of course the ocean is the big draw with a massive beach right in front of the resort.  Watching sunset here is spectacular!

A fabulous spot for sunsets

Want to try out surfing while in southern California?  The Jamie O’Brien surf experience is located right on site at the Hotel Del Coronado.  The surf lessons promise “world class instruction with the gentle waves of Coronado Island”.

One of the best things to do at the Del Coronado is to walk the promenade in front of the hotel.  Continue on to Ocean Avenue, taking in the incredible ocean views as well as the beautiful homes!

The promenade at sunset

The Pools

There are multiple pools on property, with the main one being the Cabana Pool, located in the center of the resort.  This pool area is large with ample seating and umbrellas as well as a raised area with lounge style beds.  A hot tub is nearby and you can order drinks and food from the bar.  We really enjoyed lounging and swimming here!

Depending on where you stay, you may have access to private pools or private pool areas.

Where to Stay

The Del features several different “neighborhoods” to stay:

  • The Views – This is where we stayed and we loved this area.  It is located close to the beach with amazing views looking out to the sea.  These rooms are modern and well appointed.
  • The Victorian – This is the oldest part of the resort and where the resort had its beginnings.  This historic part of the resort is currently undergoing renovations and is expected to reopen in 2025.
  • The Cabanas – These rooms are located steps from the beach or pool, with their own outdoor fire pit.  Expect to pay a premium here.
  • Beach Villas – These beachfront cottages are gated and private.  Expect to pay a high premium here.
  • Shore House – This area is at the southernmost point of the resort, a bit further from the action of the main resort.  Expect to pay a premium here.

The Ice House Museum

The Ice House is an on-site museum where you can check out memorabilia and learn all about the Del’s history.  

Salon and Spa

The on-site salon and spa are located in the same building as the fitness center.  Both the spa and salon offer a variety of treatments from massages to facials and much more.  

Our Experience

As President Taft said when he stayed here in the early 1900s, it was “the first real vacation I have had for years” and I couldn’t agree more!  The Hotel Del Coronado is the perfect place for this type of vacation, a break from it all.  It is an all encompassing resort with activities, dining, and shopping all on site, which makes it an easy vacation destination. 

The beautiful Hotel Del Coronado

While here, we took advantage of the amenities while doing a few other things as well to round out our southern California vacation.

Del Beach

Orange Avenue

The Hotel Del Coronado sits on Orange Avenue, which makes it very easy to head out to more shops and dining.  We enjoyed shopping and dining on Orange Avenue multiple times during our stay.  Our favorite restaurant was The Henry

The Henry

We ate here for brunch, lunch, and dinner over the course of our stay!  If you make it here, you must try the Go North coffee, it is one of the best coffees I have ever had!

Serving up the best coffee! | The Henry

One morning my sister and I enjoyed a mimosa at Tent City Restaurant, leisurely sipping our drinks while people watching.  The restaurant’s name is a nod to the Hotel Del Coronado’s past when tents lined Orange Avenue to offer budget accommodations to those who could not afford to stay at the Hotel Del.

Ava and her friend had a great breakfast at Little Parakeet Cafe one morning and enjoyed their meal.

Shopping on Orange Avenue was great, with wonderful shops full of treasures.  A special nod to Française, a French home goods store with unique offerings.

A Day Trip to Disneyland

With two teens in tow who really wanted to visit Disney, we spent one full day heading up to Anaheim.  Here is how we did it:

We first took an Uber from our hotel to the Santa Fe Train Depot.  There are two train stations in San Diego, but this one is where the route begins, which means you’ll have the best choice of seats.

From here, we boarded the train (I purchased the tickets ahead of time).

The Pacific Surfliner – on the way to Anaheim

We sat upstairs and on the west side of the train, as this is the side you get amazing ocean views while riding up the coast.  

Once we arrived at Anaheim Station, I inquired at the help desk where to catch the free shuttle to Disneyland Resort.  The lady warned me it would be a bit of a wait.  Disneyland is only a few miles from Anaheim station so we just decided to take an Uber.  However, I share below how to take advantage of this free shuttle service.

Shortly thereafter we arrived at Disneyland Resort!  We spent the first half of the day at Disneyland and the second half at California Adventure.  I rode my favorite ride in all the Disney parks, Soarin’! 

Ava and her friend at Disneyland!

The parks closed at 10 p.m. this night so we headed back to where we got dropped off.  Well, it was very busy as you can imagine!  I requested an Uber and he was just a short bit away.  He then raced us through town and very quickly we were at the Anaheim train station once again. 

We caught the last train to San Diego, which got us in at 1:00 a.m.  From the train station, we caught another Uber to our hotel.  We were so thankful to get back to our room after a long, busy, yet fun day!  I think we finally crashed at almost 2:00 a.m.

PRO TIPS: 

  • First, purchase your train ticket.  Your stations will be SAN (San Diego Santa Fe Depot) to ANA (Anaheim, CA Station).  Disney guests can save 20% on their train fare.
  • Next, purchase Disney theme park tickets with the link on the Amtrak page.  Doing so will save you 5% on theme park tickets.  You simply enter your confirmation number when purchasing the theme park tickets.
  • Lastly, showing your train ticket gets you a free shuttle ride from Anaheim Station to the Disneyland Resort.  Download the A-Way WeGo app, sign up with your email address,  and enter ART or Anaheim as your region.  Next, select “on-demand” and click “Disneyland Main Transportation Center – 14”.  Wait at Bus Bay 12 for the next shuttle to Disneyland Resort.  Once on board, simply show the driver your train ticket and you’ll get this free ride to Disneyland Resort!

CLICK BELOW FOR DISCOUNT TICKET LINKS:

Our trip to Coronado was a true vacation.  With the massive Del Beach, sunshine, promenade, nearby shopping and dining, and even a day trip to Disney, we had a wonderful time in southern California!

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