Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Hotel del Coronado: Perhaps a Glimpse of Heaven

Today I’m excited to tell you about a wonderful resort, where a friend from college and I recently spent a fun weekend together.  I did receive some complimentary services from the hotel in exchange for writing about it, but the opinions expressed are entirely my own.  


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The idea that heaven is a place where angels rest on fluffy white clouds has never held much appeal for me. I've seen for myself (having flown in multiple airplanes) that clouds are just unsubstantial wet mist. I am convinced that the location of the "hereafter" must be something better - perhaps even a conglomeration of all of the best times and places that I have experienced in this life.  I would be quite pleased, in fact, if it would replicate the luxurious and beautiful surroundings of the Hotel del Coronado.


The Hotel del Coronado, or  "The Del" as it is often fondly called, is a luxury resort just across a bridge from San Diego, California.  Coronado has a “island feel” although it is actually a peninsula, connected to the mainland by a thin spit of land called the Silver Strand. A friend and I chose Coronado from various flight destination options for the location of our “girl’s weekend away” last month, because of the beautiful beach, warm weather, and the activities available there.  We deliberated about the expense, but finally decided that Hotel del Coronado was worth the splurge.  I am so happy that we did.
 



Hotel del Coronado has been declared a National Historic Landmark. Just stepping off the beach for a look inside, however, a curious visitor might not immediately grasp its impressive character.  After entering the dim lobby from the brilliant sunlight that illuminates the sparkling blue Pacific Ocean and red roofs of the buildings, it takes one's eyes a few minutes to adjust.  Unless a person stays long enough to allow their pupils to dilate sufficiently, they will miss the intricate features of this beautiful lobby.  The ornate wood details, the heavy chandelier, and the brass cage of the elevator shaft (still operated by a “bell person” in an outfit I suspect has changed little since the 1920's) are all gorgeous. The whole main building gives a feeling of having entered a place of real old-world charm.



I was only a guest at “the Del” for a long weekend; however, I now find that I am homesick for it. I grew fond of the beautiful buildings and became fascinated by the history associated with them.  I loved stepping off the hotel grounds and being right on a beautiful beach. Taking advantage of the rejuvenating services offered by the spa was blissful, as was participating in activities such as a yoga class on the beach. 



While relaxing at night in one of the restaurants, or in a comfortable chair near a fire pit, real-world responsibilities seemed to disappear.  It was so easy to fall asleep in a comfortable bed while listening to the sound of the surf through the open balcony door. Unlike many hotel rooms with poor lighting, there was even a small reading light provided at either side of both beds. 



The bathroom was tiny, but all features had been updated and no detail overlooked, right down to the hotel seal on the extra roll of toilet paper!


When the Hotel del Coronado first opened its doors in 1888, it was a grand and glorious hotel resort. Located in the still vastly unsettled wild west, it was inaccessible except by train - and affordable only by the wealthy.  The resort weathered the years of the depression, World wars, and post-war era. Guests have included numerous American Presidents and British royalty.  L. Frank Baum (author of The Wizard of Oz) was a frequent guest, and is credited as to having designed the beautiful chandeliers in the dazzling Crown Room. The resort has been both a movie set and a place to stay for a variety of movie stars and movie makers, including Marilyn Monroe, Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis during the 1958 filming of Some Like It Hot. A $13 million renovation of the resort was just completed in 2014.



Some people believe one early guest never left the hotel. Kate Morgan was a young woman who checked into the Del in 1892. Five days later she was discovered dead on one of the hotel's exterior staircases, of an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound. Her spirit is said to continue to inhabit the Del and her ghostly pranks are reported from time to time. It seems possible to me that after dying at the hotel, a spirit could easily mistake those surroundings for Heaven! Perhaps that is why she just never felt the need to leave.



My friend and I did leave, and we returned to our homes in Montana and Virginia. We have already agreed, however, that the Hotel del Coronado will be the place for our next reunion. We both can't wait until we return.


If you are interested in learning more about the Hotel del Coronado and its history, there is wealth of information on the hotel website, or in the book Hotel Del Coronado: HISTORY, available from the Hotel del Coronado Retail Department.  I referred to both, as I checked my facts while writing this article. 

I had already drafted this article, when I read (in the book mentioned above, page 194) that L. Frank Baum once compared the Del "to heaven itself." I guess I wasn't the first person to have had that thought!



Have you ever stayed in a historic hotel? Was your visit enhanced by the history of the place?

In addition to this article, I will have a guest post published later this month on the travel blog, Heather on Her Travels. It tells more about the weekend my friend and I spent at the Hotel del Coronado, and our adventures while exploring San Diego.  I hope you will click here to read my guest post, and visit Heather's wonderful blog.

This post may be linked to one of the great link-up parties I follow and list on my blog. Check them out!

Note: In the spirit of full disclosure, this post contains affiliate links, for which I may receive compensation if any purchases are made, and I did receive some complimentary services from the Hotel del Coronado. All opinions expressed, however, are entirely my own.

28 comments :

  1. I love The Del and while it has been a few years. I still remember how charming and beautiful it was! We rented bikes from them and cruised around the island. Thanks for sharing your trip Susan!

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    1. We ran out of time to do everything we would have liked to do. Glad you had fun during your stay at The Del!

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  2. Gorgeous! Never heard of this before. I LOVE historic hotels! We've stayed in several CP hotels across Canada and a few hotels throughout Europe that made the CP Hotels look like youngesters. Loved them all!

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    1. You would love it Diane. And although it is young compared to many European hotels, there is a real "old world" feel to it.

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  3. It sounds a delightful hotel, so pleased you had a great weekend

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    1. It was delightful Heather - and thanks so much for all of your encouragement in writing this. I can't wait to see my other post about it up on your fantastic travel blog!

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  4. You were in my neck of the woods! I live in Coronado and adore the Hotel Del. It is so beautiful and the beach is gorgeous! Every weekend, David and I ride our bikes over to the Del for lunch on the deck overlooking the ocean.

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    1. Lunch at Hotel del Coronado every weekend?! I am SO envious! Coronado is a beautiful place to live!!

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  5. I love that you took the time to go away with a friend. Looks like you picked a perfect spot, the Del looks beautiful.

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    1. A few years ago a couple college friends and I decided we should get together every other year or so. This time, only one friend and I could make it work - but we had a fantastic time!

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  6. Looks absolutely lovely!

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  7. You did a great job writing about and photographing the beauty and history of this wonderful hotel. My husband and I stayed here for a weekend last year, and it was glorious. Can't wait to go back. It looks like you had a great time with your friend! Looking forward to reading more about your weekend on Heather's blog.

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    1. Thanks for the compliment Lana. Glad you got to experience The Del as well. You will love Heather's blog!

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  8. It sounds like a wonderful 'step out of time'. Luxury, and peace.
    I have stayed in some wonderful hotels in India. Palaces in earlier incarnations. I loved them, but heaven for me is more about the majesty of nature than luxury.

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    1. I agree - but when you can have both nature and luxury, that is pretty wonderful too! I always have wanted a cultural experience. And with this visit, I became fascinated by the history of the place :)

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  9. I've never been here but it looks absolutely amazing!

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    1. Maybe it will be a nights stay during a future trip west Rena.

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  10. Wow! What a place. I have only seen it in movies. Looks like you were having a great time.

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    1. I had not yet seen it in a movie Lynn. But I plan to rent Some Like it Hot in the very near future!

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  11. Ok I am booking in right now. This is absolutely heavenly. Great write up Susan. I loved your photographs too as they transported me right there. That pic of you and your pal soaking your toes and raising your glasses? Yes, please. I do love San Diego and I'm going to make sure I make The Del our home base. I've stayed in some pretty wonderful CP Rail Hotels throughout Canada and The Del looks like it could give them a run for their money.

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    1. You would love it Kelly ... maybe we should find a blog conference to attend near there?! :)

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  12. Wow, just wow! Loving it :)

    I would love for you to share your hotel tour with our Thursday Link Up Party- Idea box:

    http://milaslittlethings.com/2015/03/idea-box-thursday-link-party.html

    xx
    Mila
    milaslittlethings.com
    milawayable@gmail.com

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    1. Thanks for the invitation Mila! I would love to share this at your link-up party!

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  13. I live about ten minutes from the Del (as us locals call it). Absolutely love it and whenever someone is in town, it is a must on my list. As a corporate event marketing manager, it is also a go-to for my events. Just one of the best properties in the world, not that I am biased or anything. So glad you had a great time! I try to get there at least once a month. :)

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    1. I am so envious! I love Montana - - but a monthly visit to the Del would be amazing! It far surpasses any expectations that I had. There is definitely some magic there! Thanks for leaving a comment here Heather W!

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  14. The Hotel Del is one of my favorite places. We used to visit every weekend when we lived in San Diego just so we could walk on the beach (our favorite in the area). Sounds like you had a wonderful time! Reminds me we have to get out there again!

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    1. I really want to go back to the Del soon, also!

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Many thanks to everyone who leaves a comment here!