Photo courtesy Hotel del Coronado
Just over the picturesque bridge from downtown San Diego, this upscale
community provides many opportunities to relax, recharge, and celebrate while feeling far away from home. Stroll along Orange Avenue to peek into toy stores, bookstores, boutiques, and more. Wander the neighborhoods full of beautiful homes or ride a bike down the pathway next to the sand. Take in views of San Diego’s skyline from Centennial Park. And step back in time with a visit to a historic hotel or museum.
This is not the Hotel del Coronado of old. In addition to rooms in the original 1888 building, two styles of accommodations have opened in the past year for those with more modern desires. Rooms and suites at The Cabanas capture ocean, coastline, or pool views. With patios or balconies on most of the rooms, this is a good place to unwind and fall asleep to the sound of the waves ($494 and up). Rooms at The Views are made for families or more active travelers as the tower sits right on the sand for in-and-out beach access($486 and up).The hotel also added a porch that captures a long-forgotten era of relaxing in a rocking chair. Focused, personal attention from warm staff mem- bers makes for an exceptional stay.
Through Jan. 2, glide around the ice rink at the Hotel del Coronado overlooking the ocean ($35 for 90 minutes). Other holiday offerings on the property include Jingle Roast, a private fire pit on the sand for s’mores and merriment serving up to 10 people ($230 for one hour); the chance to decorate gingerbread houses ($60 per house); special dinners on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day ($175 for adults); holiday movies on the beach, and more.
For a more intimate getaway, venture off the main path and revel in luxury at the historic 1906 Lodge ($272 and up). Your stay includes a daily happy hour, complimentary breakfast, and home- made cookies upon check-in. Renovated completely in 2009 to capture the details of the original property, the inn features fireplaces and spa tubs in many of the 17 rooms to lend a romantic spirit. Bikes, beach chairs, and umbrellas are ready for you to borrow, and the property’s gracious environs will beckon you back after each day’s adventures.
Tartine is a 20-year-old European cafe that turns into a bistro at night. Sweet pastries and coffee cakes as well as savory options such as croque monsieur ($13.50) and quiche ($14.50) are available all day. Or sit on the sidewalk patio and observe the quieter side of Coronado while downing handfuls of the best fries anywhere. You’ll fit in with the locals and maybe feel like one yourself because of the friendly service and cozy space.
The Ice House Museum is in an 1889 building that was a working ice house. It contains photos, serving ware, and other memen- tos from more than a century of events at the Hotel del Coronado. Take in photos of Marilyn Monroe, Babe Ruth, and several presidents, and check out the guestbook to find a famous name on nearly every page. Join the docent-led Legendary Tour ($40 per person, 90 minutes) and get a peek at the tunnel beneath the property.
A great spot for lunch overlooking the beach or sunset drinks, Sun Deck features a global spin on traditional coastal favorites. Spread out around a firepit while you linger over the California Mezze Plate that has veggies, goat cheese, edamame lemon hummus, spinach falafel, and flatbread ($26). Sip a Patio Punch cocktail— vodka, pomegranate liqueur, pine- apple juice, and ginger ale ($17).
The beach features a 1.5-mile strand perfect for biking, jogging, skating, or strolling. Mica lends a golden sparkle to the sand, which is extra fine and soft on your feet. Ornate sandcastles often decorate the long, flat shoreline. Keep an eye out for proposals—they happen regularly in this perfect setting.