Kick off the year at Hotel Del Coronado

JILL WEINLEIN

After graduating from UCLA, JIll traveled the world looking for unique destinations. She’s been writing about her travels for almost 30 years in various publications.

She writes a weekly restaurant review for the Beverly Press and Park LaBrea News. It’s inserted into the Los Angeles Times every Thursday and delivered to subscribers from Hancock Park to Beverly Hills, Hollywood Hills to the Wilshire Corridor.

Kick off the year at Hotel Del Coronado

BY Jill Weinlein

 

Each piece of wood was hand-stripped and stained to its original color. The beautiful, one-of-a-kind, stained-glass Coronation Window and other stained-glass windows have been recreated and restored from historic photos too. Hotel del Coronado’s most prominent stained-glass window that architect James Reid described the stained-glass scene as an “allegorical representation of Coronado” with a landscape background representing mountains, valleys and a bay, was carefully removed for a complete restoration and returned to its original second-story location. These improvements honor the storied past of the hotel while creating new experiences for new generations.

When the hotel opened in 1888, it was built for $600,000 and room rates were around $2.50 per day and included three meals a day. In 1904, The Del made history when it unveiled the world’s first electrically lit, outdoor, living Christmas tree. Holiday lights were strung from the hotel to a nearby Norfolk Island Pine. During the holidays, Epic Entertainment Group enhanced these magnificent trees with a nightly 11-minute light show.

Throughout the hotel are photos hanging on the walls of welcomed presidents, movie stars and discerning travelers looking to escape to one of the most iconic beaches in Southern California.

The Crown Room was considered an architectural achievement when it was built. Spanning 160 feet by 60 feet, without any pillars to interrupt the view and a 33 foot high, paneled in beautiful Oregon, sugar pine ceiling, it looks like the hull of a ship. Wizard of Oz author L. Frank Baum is credited for designing the famous crown chandeliers installed in this room around 1911.

In 1920, this room welcomed England’s Prince of Wales with an enormous banquet, and in 1927 Charles Lindbergh was honored in this room after his successful solo trans-Atlantic flight. Today, this beautiful Crown Room offers an elegant brunch every Sunday.

Besides the charm and Victorian character of the historic Queen Ann design, there are now four other distinctive neighborhood experiences at The Del. The refreshed coastal design of The Cabanas feature guest rooms just steps from the sparkling pool and sun deck. The beachside guest rooms have a terrace and a fire-pit, while the poolside rooms offer guests a private cabana.

This is the year to stay in the newly redone guest rooms in The Views for unobstructed vistas of the rolling waves, boats sailing in the horizon and picturesque sunsets. The gated Beach Village community has a separate personalized welcome check-in center with concierge service. Each of the villas in this quieter complex offer a separate bedroom, spacious living area, marble bathroom with a separate shower and bathtub, and a full kitchen for preparing meals to enjoy inside or out on the terrace or patio. All have ocean, beach and pool views, since numerous pools are strategically placed between the cottages, beach and three-story villas.

The newest neighborhood is Shore House at The Del, offering residential-style whole-ownership, limited-term occupancy residential condominiums.  Another new building I visited while staying at The Del is the 1889 Ice House Museum. Located near the hotel’s historic entrance, it’s next to the Power Plant on Wagers Road. The Museum offers a docent-led walking tour of the Victorian building and gardens with access to exclusive behind-the-scenes areas. There is also a self-guided audio tour daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. It’s a historical tour based on letters, records and oral stories from the staff and previous guests.

During sunset and in the evening, guests can reserve a bonfire on the beach. It’s a favorite tradition at The Del. We wiggled our toes in the sand as we roasted housemade marshmallows and chose a variety of different types of chocolates to melt in-between graham crackers. Guest can purchase items at ENO Market & Pizzeria or the Beach + Taco Shack to take down to the bonfire and enjoy dinner on the beach.

During the day, guests can rent one of The Del’s beach cruiser bikes. Coronado Island is a biker’s paradise as it is flat, so you can ride for miles on paved paths along the Silver Strand to Imperial Beach. Another popular path is to the Coronado’s Ferry Landing, where you can hop on one of the ferry boats with your bike to explore Seaside Village and Downtown San Diego. Bike rentals are available daily on the Wellness Terrace in front of the Spa & Salon.

Start the year with a trip down memory lane at the Hotel Del Coronado. https://hoteldel.com. 1500 Orange Ave., Coronado (619)435-6611.

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