Hotel Del Coronado
1500 Orange Avenue
Coronado, California 92118
Phone: (800) Hotel-Del or (619) 435-6611
The famous Hotel Del Coronado has become a symbol of Southern California style and romance.
Second Review and Update: The Hotel Del is widely known as a romantic, historic hotel. Since its opening in 1888, it has been the backdrop to movies and a large inspiration for L. Frank Baum’s Oz books. But, how family-friendly is it? I came here in September, 2008, and at the time of this writing, my daughters are 8 and 7, and my twin boys are 6. While clearly, those seeking romantic adventure are in their element here, I explored what was available for the younger visitors and found there was a wide array of options for them.
My kids of course enjoyed the ocean view from their balcony in the Victorian part of the hotel. When I was here in 2000, with my baby daughter, we stayed in the Ocean Towers, with its modern décor. The Victorian section of the hotel is a traditional hotel Del experience with the feeling of history imbued throughout its mahogany furniture and fixtures.
We ate in the Sheerwater, the more casual of their restaurants; 1500 Ocean is the upscale dining experience at the Del. The Sheerwater has an outdoor dining terrace, where we could hear the jazz musicians nearby. I loved seeing people dancing to the music. My kids ordered off of the ‘Sun Power Kids’ menu, and played the activities (word puzzles and mazes) while they waited for the food, which arrived surprisingly quickly. The food options for the kids were quite healthy, although chicken strips, a main staple for my boys, were not included. My oldest daughter had an amazing mango smoothie. The other offerings were traditional kids’ favorites: mac and cheese, fish and chips, grilled cheese sandwiches, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, pizza, spaghetti and meatballs. I personally had an awesome cioppino with pesto sauce and a ceasar salad and my husband had the cheeseburger with aged white cheddar and bacon. What a relaxing moment in September, still light out during dinner time with people strolling, dancing, eating, and trying not to release the end of summer, as the sun set over the crashing nearby waves.
After dinner, we strolled through the hotel shops, passing by many that are upscale and devoted to home furnishings and apparel. Yet, many of the shops were completely appropriate for kids, including the Toy Castle, which my kids spent a lot of time in because it had unique items not commonly found, including 3-D cartoon books and other unique books, dolls, toy animals, and crafts. We also visited H.D. Kids & Co., where the nice salesclerk, Arturo, actually played some games with my kids as I shopped. This store sells cute, beach-inspired clothing for kids. There was also the MooTime Creamery, where ice cream is mixed and smashed into customized favorite combinations and the Spreckles Sweets & Treats, and old-fashioned candy store. Additionally, for the Del’s 120th birthday, a special display of historic photos and artifacts from the hotel’s history lined one hall.
After strolling through the shops, the kids loved swimming in the lit Del pool at night, which stays open until10pm. Though this pool is located in the hub of the Del amidst the shops and restaurants, it is gated and only open to guests, so it was, I’m pleased to say, not crowded when we visited, even though the rest of the hotel was bustling with activity.
Some other activities available for kids:
Tent City actually originated in 1900 offering activities for kids during the summer and much of Coronado’s social life revolved around this program in these earlier days. Today, the Del has Tent City Kids’ Camp, offering a variety of fun entertainment activities for kids ages 4-12. Each camp provides a different theme every night where kids make new friends and participate in games and activities and enjoy a meal. Some of the themes include: Knights of the Roundtable, Under the Sea, Wild West, and Holiday Mix-Up. When I peeked in, the kids were making gingerbread cookies and there were a high number of supervisors for the number of kids I saw, which is a comforting reality. The “camps” are three hour stints, typically 6:30 pm to 9:30 pm, and they cost $45.00 for the first child and $40.00 for each additional child.
Kids’ Crafts is an abbreviated version of the camp where kids focus on making one specific craft, which changes daily. For instance during the time of my stay, the weekly agenda for crafts included making: piggy banks, sun catchers, sand art, beach bags, wooden keepsakes, and tie-dye t-shirts. This is a one hour activity (4:00 pm to 5:00 pm) and is a reasonable $15.00 per child.
Seasonal Activities for kids at Hotel Del:
In December, the hotel offers cookie decorating, surrey-sleigh rides and family sunset marshmallow roasts. Guests can even arrange for an Elf-tuck in, where an Elf will come visit your child at bedtime with a stocking of goodies and a bedtime story.
Easter Sunday: The Del has an egg hunt on the oceanfront Windsor Lawn and kids can make a variety of arts and crafts at the Craft Eggstravaganza.
The Fourth of July at the Del is a fun time with activities from hair braiding to poolside bingo to caricature drawing and henna tattoos. This accompanies the many festivities occurring on the Coronado Island, including a main street parade, concerts in the park, and firework display.
So indeed, activities are galore at the Hotel Del Coronado, not just for lovebirds, but for family travelers. All family members can appreciate the magical beauty of the Hotel Del Coronado with events and fun planned just for their age-group.
First Review: Where does one begin to describe the fantasy nature of the famous Hotel Del Coronado? As its signature advertisement boasts, it is "One-third sun. One-third sand. One-third fairy-tale." Indeed you do feel the ambiance of glamour and other-worldliness as you stroll amidst the gardens and around the ocean terrace. The presence of the presidents, entrepreneurs, and movie stars who have mingled and stayed here still feels very much alive. You have quietly entered their world and the sensation tingles as you rise to the top of the Ocean Towers.
My suite at the top of the Ocean Towers was one of the modern renovations of the Del Coronado. Although more quirky, authentically Del Coronado rooms do exist in the main building, my more contemporary suite was complete with all the modern conveniences found in top resorts such as a safe, an ironing board, fluffy Hotel Del Coronado robes, blow-dryers, and two televisions. It was truly like an apartment in upscale safari decor with two balconies that hung over the beautiful beach; a large bedroom complete with lounge chair and ottoman, desk, armoire, and two closets; a fully furnished living room with a second plushly upholstered lounge chair and ottoman, a second armoire and television; a dining room; and a kitchenette.
The modern niceties did not negate the feeling that I had entered a world of sophisticated primitivism set in motion by the upscale safari decor. All of the furniture--the side tables, desks, coffee table, lamps, bedposts were all made of heavy rattan. A jungle print bedspread, faux bamboo weave wallpaper, black and white checkered rattan chairs, faux bamboo-hatch colored lounge chairs and ottoman completed this feeling. The decór itself was very unique, and heightened by the thundering, voracious waves ten floors below.
- The hotel's immediate proximity to the town of Coronado and to the beach are conducive to stroll among the village shops or a romp on the beach. There is no need to get into the car with the youngsters and drive.
- Ramps are located everywhere throughout the inside and outside of the hotel for easy access with a stroller.
- The expansive size of the suites makes spreading baby items very convenient.
- The room contains many lavish chairs and ottomans (described above) for use when nursing babies or reading to toddlers.
The Pacific Ocean lingers beyond the Coronado beach in this picturesque view from my Ocean Tower Suite.
Everything about the set-up of the amenities calls out for romance at this historic hotel. For example, in my suite, an almost entirely glass wall of Florida windows provided the illusion that no barrier existed between my room and the hungry ocean. The remainder of the "wall" was comprised of shutters that, when opened, revealed only tiny slits of wood against the glass, amplifying the feeling that virtually nothing separated me from the beach below--certainly not a true wall. On one of the unimaginably comfortable ottomans and chairs, I gazed at people strolling on the walkways, surfers wading ashore, and an endless expanse of ocean. The mystical coast of Mexico, that in the day vibrated as a soft hue, at night twinkled with vibrant lights from the view inside my suite.