Recently, five generations of our family gathered to share good times at one of the most famous San Diego beach hotels, the historic Hotel Del Coronado, better known simply as The Del. This is a journal of our multi-generational family reunion.
Day one. The California sun plays hide ‘n’ seek through the morning mist, gently awakening the enchanting seaside village of Coronado. Located on a 5½ -mile-long peninsula that forms the western boundary of San Diego Bay, Coronado’s connection to the city of San Diego is the two-mile long San Diego-Coronado Bridge. The Hotel del Coronado and local attractions made San Diego a great place for our family gathering.
Luring visitors with its charming island atmosphere, quaint picturesque scenery, and magnificent beaches, Coronado is a vacation paradise and aquatic wonderland. In the past hundred years, presidents, royalty, and high society have enjoyed this splendid destination. The vivid imagination of Frank L. Baum, author of “Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz,” was stirred while living in his charming Victorian cottage in Coronado.
The Hotel Del
The gentle surf caresses the golden sands that border the renowned and legendary Hotel Del Coronado, the Victorian masterpiece that is the centerpiece of Coronado Island. The breathtaking oceanfront resort’s classic, white-wooden façade is topped by a striking red, cone-shaped roof with its iconic turrets piercing the horizon. Surrounded by lush green lawns, towering palms, and perfumed flowers, The Del’s signature gardens feature spectacular annuals, perennials and succulents with the newest plants from horticulture’s leading breeders.
The hotel has become a living legend with visits by thousands of celebrities and foreign dignitaries. Fourteen United States Presidents stayed here, including Franklin Delano Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, and most recently Bill Clinton and his family.
Luxury Accommodations fit all Families at The Del
There’s an artful blend of Victorian elegance and contemporary distinction at the Hotel del Coronado not found in any other San Diego beach hotel. Featured are 679 recently remodeled rooms in three distinct buildings, plus 78 cottages and villas in Beach Village.
The Victorian Building, a National Historic Landmark, reflects the resort’s classic heritage blending 19th century ambiance with modern comforts and charming décor.
The Ocean Tower and poolside California Cabana buildings offer serene and tranquil lodging with a modern ocean-themed Caribbean motif.
The Del’s newest accommodations, the cottages and villas at Beach Village provide a secluded retreat with beachfront guestrooms and suites with spacious ocean view balconies and private terraces.
Family Activities at The Del
Families have been coming to The Del since 1888. Beneath daily sunshine, The Del boasts abundant activities for everyone. From seaside bike paths and kite flying to sunset sailing cruises and sand castle contests, The Del’s beautiful stretch of sand and Pacific has much to offer.
The perfect spot for the sports minded, The Del offers year-round fun and activities for children, teens, adults and seniors. Surfing classes and boogie board rentals are available year round.
Bikes for all ages, surreys and deuce coupes are also available for rent. The Coronado bike trail, which runs along Glorietta Bay and the beachfront walk, is safe and easy to navigate.
Kidtopia (for ages 4-12) is designed just for kids, a play area set in an exciting facility featuring bright colors and beach-themed rooms for crafts and playing. Upon check-in, the kids receive DelVentures backpacks with supplies for a popular program which offers a variety of 2-hour activities and 3-5 hour adventures. Who says the grown ups get to have all the fun?
The Spa at the Del offers treatments designed specifically for teen-agers. With a 25-minute Teen Treats Package, guests can choose from Swedish massage, facials and salt scrubs. The Teen Spa Sundae offers sugar scrubs and other sweet options.
Surfing Lessons (for ages 4 and up) and Paddleboarding Lessons (for ages 10 and up) are popular with families.
The Del’s Deluxe Adult Facilities
Adults also get to pamper themselves at the state-of-the art Spa encompassing 21 treatment rooms offering hydrotherapy, organic facials, body scrubs and more, plus relaxation areas for men and women, and steam rooms.
A variety of ocean inspired heavenly treatments and massages are guaranteed to relax and rejuvenate. The spa’s signature line of treatment includes the Shell Coronado Massage, Shell Coronado Facial, Island Sands Body Polish and Goddess of the Sea body wrap.
The FitnessCenter adjacent to the spa offers personal training, weight and cardiovascular equipment, and a studio for aerobics, spin classes and Pilates. Yoga and meditation on the beach are also available for quality mother-daughter time.
Adults can take a break at the Babcock & Story Bar; and ENO, a pizzeria and wine bar serving artisanal pies baked in a wood-fired oven, and small plates, plus the best of California wines.
Dining & Shopping for all ages at The Del
The Del features a variety of new and dramatic dining venues. The energetic culinary team specializes in menu items created from local produce, herbs and spices, and market fresh fish, ensuring a distinctly Southern California dining experience.
1500 OCEAN, the Del’s signature ocean-view restaurant, is set amidst glowing sunset colors. The fine dining menu showcases the freshest Southland coastal cuisine, with selections from Santa Ynez to Cabo San Lucas. Sheerwater features bistro cuisine with a focus on fresh and sustainable seafood, with a variety of meat and vegetarian options, plus some old favorites. It’s open for breakfast, lunch, afternoon light fare, and dinner daily, with special menus for kids.
Recalling a grand era, the historic Crown Room with its magnificent 33-foot sugar-pine vaulted ceiling and crown-shaped chandeliers is the perfect place for family reunion groups to enjoy a delectable and elegant Sunday Brunch. There’s also poolside and Sun Deck Grill for light fare and beverages.
Browsing at the Hotel del Coronado’s shops is lots of fun. An eclectic mix of specialty boutiques and shops feature clothing for the whole family, beachwear, sporting goods, art, antiques, jewelry, toys, souvenirs, and tee-shirts. For those with a sweet tooth there’s Spreckels Sweets & Treats, an old-time candy store featuring fudge, truffles and other favorites for the family.
Trip Planning Details for your Del Coronado Family Vacation
Known for over a century for its lavish service and world-class facilities, the Hotel Del Coronado is accessible from the south by a narrow strip called the Silver Strand. The Mexican border, Tijuana, is 16 miles south, and Los Angeles is a two-hour drive north. An excellent freeway system makes travel by car easy throughout the county.
San Diego International Airport (Lindbergh Field), is served by all major airlines, making it easier for family members from afar to reconnect. Amtrak passenger trains provide service to and from Los Angeles with a stop in San Diego across the bay from Coronado; call 800/USA RAIL for schedules .
Located near to Seaworld of San Diego, the famous zoo, Wild Animal Park and many other popular San Diego family attractions makes The Del a great choice for your active family members who want more than sun n’ sand at their reunion. The Hotel Del Coronado is at 1500 Orange Avenue. Phone your travel agent or the hotel at 800/582-2595 or 619/435-6611 for reservations and group rates, or visit Hotel Del Coronado for more information.
This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question, and stay up to date with current events to ensure a safe and successful trip.