Living in Midwest I’ve not gotten to visit California as often as I’d like. I have a whole bucket list of places around the state I want our family to explore, but we it’s not an area we get to frequent often. So, when I had the chance to stay at the famous Hotel Del Coronado (also known as The Del), I was beyond thrilled. For this trip, Adam and Emilie weren’t able to join me so I explored the resort on my own. Spoiler alert…I love this hotel.
The Del is a Hilton Curio Hotel located on the island of Coronado, right outside of San Diego. This National Historic Landmark is a luxury resort built in 1888. For over 130 years it’s hosted presidents, celebrities, royalty, and other guests to the area. With 28 beachfront acres, beautifully appointed rooms, and a ridiculous number of amenities, it’s easy to understand the draw.
I was in awe as soon as I entered the lobby. White oak stained a rich umber color makes up the gorgeous coffered ceiling, fluted columns, and railings for the second floor overlook. An ornate chandelier sparkles in the middle of the room and a golden elevator is tucked away next to the grand staircase. The opulence is breathtaking.
Aside from the elegant decor, the staff at the front desk were amazingly kind and professional. A large group of us appeared at the same time to check-in, but the attendants kept the line organized and moving efficiently, while still ensuring each guest was the focus of their attention.
A convenient option offered by the hotel is luggage storage. With check-in being at 4:00 pm, guests frequently arrive early. In the event a room isn’t ready, The Del will hold luggage so guests don’t have to wait to enjoy the resort. As my flight landed at 10:00 am, I happily took advantage of this benefit so I could immediately head out to the beach.
Hotel Del Coronado offers 757 rooms across their expansive resort. During my visit, I stayed in one of the Victorian rooms in the Historic Hotel section. Located on the third floor of this main building, my room was situated along one of the breezeways overlooking the main courtyard. Side note: This lush tropical garden was one of my favorite places to enjoy breakfast.
Having booked a standard room, I was pleasantly surprised with its spaciousness! Aside from the king size bed and nightstands, there was a tv cabinet, desk, and oversized walk-in closet. Little touches were abundant in the room- a Keurig coffee maker, free bottled water, plush robes, and a welcome message with my name on the screen. I especially loved the luxurious Sea Spray toiletries, a perfect fit for this oceanside resort.
Family Friendly Activities
Hotel del Coronado is conveniently situated right on the beach. I’ve been to a number of beaches over years – on the east coast, west coast, the Bahamas, and in Europe. So when I headed out to Coronado Beach, I hadn’t expected anything out of the ordinary. Just a nice time in the sand and water. But the sand at Coronado Beach is like nothing I’ve ever seen before. It literally sparkles in the sun. It looks like gold flecks are dispersed throughout the sand and the effect is mesmerizing. Combine that with gentle rolling waves and it’s easy to spend a day here.
A great option is to rent a covered day bed, or sand chairs and umbrellas to relax along the beachfront. For more adventurous kids (and adults) surfing and paddleboarding lessons are also available. And in the evenings, there are even s’more roasting stations!
Located on the south side of the resort, steps away from the beach is the main pool. This heated pool keeps the water the perfect temperature, no matter the time of year. Lounge chairs and towels are included for all guests and cabanas are available to rent for additional privacy and shade. Cabanas feature an outdoor sofa and coffee table spacious enough to fit 8 guests. Also included are a stocked fridge with sodas and snacks, cable television, phone access, and a safe to store belongings. It’s worth noting the pool area of the resort was revitalized in 2020, so now it’s even more chic than the image below of the previous layout.
Windsor Lawn and North Paseo Lawn
Located on the backside of The Del, while heading out towards the beach, are two large green spaces, Windsor Lawn and North Paseo Lawn. With all the incredible areas throughout the resort, it’s hard to narrow down favorites, but Windsor Lawn may be mine. As I sat on one of the benches surrounding the oval lawn, I noticed groups of families and friends relaxing together. Parents and children threw a ball, a group of teens shared a blanket for a picnic, and little ones chased bubbles. It’s a great space to let kids play and just enjoy the scenery.
Adjacent to Windsor Lawn, the North Paseo Lawn is also fantastic. One of my favorite experiences while staying was the nightly gathering that occurred at dusk. Guests would come out to North Paseo Lawn and sit together on the grass or along the stone walls to watch the sun set over the ocean. The sunsets are spectacular on Coronado, but the lawn itself provided a beautiful space for people to witness it together.
Upon settling into my room, I conveniently found an activities calendar listing daily resort options. There was yoga on the beach, painting by the sea, walking tours, macrame, mosaics, and ghost tours. Specifically for kids, the resort offered slime making, tie-dye crafts, science experiments, dinosaur, mermaid, and pirate events. Each day featured different adventures for guests to explore and create special memories. There are so many options available at the resort, you could spend an entire vacation here without leaving the property.
The Del features a number of restaurants, including a pizzeria, seafood, bakery, taco shack, and fine dining options. The bakery (open 24 hours) is perfect for a late night snack or early morning breakfast. I also really enjoyed the wood fired pizza at Eno, situated on the back side of the resort with a view of the beach. Sundae’s, the onsite ice cream parlor, and Spreckels Sweets candy shop are sure to be a favorite for anyone with a sweet tooth. And an adorable extra touch outside of Sundae’s is an ice cream themed bench.
The Crown Room
The history geek and avid reader in me, loved the Crown Room. Chandeliers in the shape of the Hotel del Coronado crown adorn the dark pine coffered ceilings of this ballroom. Author L. Frank Baum, who wrote the Wizard of Oz series- my favorite books growing up, designed the chandeliers. Whether or not you’ve read and love the books like I do, this ballroom is magnificent. The room is a popular location for meetings and banquets, but on Sunday mornings it’s the site of an expansive brunch, complete with a gelato bar!
A great benefit to staying at The Del is how walkable the island of Coronado is. From the hotel, it’s only a few blocks to reach the downtown area of the island, a charming collection of shops and restaurants.
I would definitely recommend a meal at Tent City. In the early 1900s, the hotel offered tent accommodations for guests who couldn’t afford to stay at the resort rates. The collection of tents and entertainment venues, collectively known as Tent City, were a favorite among the public and remained for almost 40 years. The name for this adorable eatery is a nod to that piece of the hotel’s history. The menu has a focus on freshly made comfort foods. Meals like salads, sandwiches, paninis, tacos, are prevalent, but more substantial items like ribeye, salmon, and chicken alfredo are also available. There is a breakfast menu as well with a plethora of options – omelettes, quiches, waffles, pancakes, french toast, and more. It’s an intimate restaurant, but the bright clean atmosphere is lovely and outdoor seating is also available.
Adjacent to Tent City is the Coronado History museum. This by donation historical association works to share the island’s history in a way that connects with guests. I definitely enjoyed having a chance to explore the exhibits and learn more about the area.
Nearby are also a number of charming shops. Seaside Papery is an adorable paper goods store with an assortment of stationery products, books, gifts, and souvenirs. Earth, Wind, & Sea carries an eclectic selection of home and garden decor, but also some lovely gifts and bath products. Kids will be excited to wander through nearby Gepetto’s Toys or Fuzziwig’s Candy Factory. I had a great time exploring the variety of stores appealing to all interests.
Wanting to Return
Despite my ever growing list of what I want to see and do in California, I loved The Del so much I am definitely making time to return. The atmosphere, the scenery, the activities make for a perfect getaway. There is so much to do, but it’s all at a relaxed pace. It offers an enchanting family friendly escape.
1500 Orange Avenue
Coronado, CA 92118
Phone: 800-468-3533 (800-HOTEL-DEL)
Website: Hotel Del Coronado