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  • Jennifer Howard

Hotel Del: Queen of Seaside Resorts

For a very special week of birthday festivities, I had the pleasure of staying at America's most storied seaside hotel, Hotel Del Coronado.

beach cabana


The Del originally debuted in 1888, and was considered an achitectural masterpiece. Founders, Elisha Babcock and Hampton Story proceeded to build what they envisioned would be the "talk of the western world." It was acclaimed for it's spectacular seaside setting and world-famous weather. Wealthy clientele from the Midwest and East Coast would come in by private rail car and often stay for months at a time. Since then, Hotel Del Coronado has welcomed royalty, U.S. presidents, film makers, famed authors, sports figures and celebrities to the likes of Lauren Bacall, Humphrey Bogart, Clark Gable, and Lana Turner. Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon also made a splash in the 1959 filming of "Some Like it Hot," which took place at The Del.


The Del has captured the hearts and imaginations of guests from around the world, and has embarked upon on its next chapter with a $400 Million Master Plan, a roadmap for the future that preserves its storied past while creating new experiences for new generations. This summer, The Del debuted a dramatic restoration of the Victorian front porch, lobby and iconic turret. The goal was to retain and bring back as many historical elements as possible. This included staircases, columns, original exquisite woodwork that has been cleaned, refinished and stained. Historic photographs were used to recreate as many details as possible throughout the lobby and restored front porch. Original stained glass windows have also been restored, including the 6x5 foot Coronation Window, all adding to the lobby's impressive grandeur. The Del also introduced new guestrooms: The Cabanas -- an impressive set of rooms with a modern, social vibe, that include fire pits and ocean views, and the Ocean Towers building, renamed, The Views -- with stunning panoramic ocean views from near invisible glass balconies. In addition, there have been major renovations, upgrades and improvements made to each of the property's restaurants, bars and gourmet markets. The spa, salon, fitness center and pool deck also underwent major renovations. Last, but not least, a long, beautiful driveway has been added preceeding the porte-cochere, sure to elevate the arrival experience of all guests.


Finding your Del state of mind is easy to do with such a wide array of things to do. There are so many ways to be active, adventurous, curious, playful, or restful. Some of my favorite activities include: walking, twirling, splashing along the prestine stretch of beach, complete with covered lounge chairs and day beds. The newly reimagined pool area is complete divinity, also with plush little lounge beds that remind me of a half covered egg. They are so soft and comfortable, and boast gorgeous views of the entire pool, and historic architecture. For those seeking activity, you might try beach yoga, spin, golf, tennis, or renting bikes to ride around the beach or the island. There is even a fun offering on the schedule called, "Mermaid Fitness." For adventure, we recommend one of the Del's watersports: surf lessons, paddle board rentals, or consider heading out on the water on a jet ski or sailing charter.


There are many places on property to enchant your senses with innovative dishes, set against a stunning seaside backdrop. In the morning, we would pop into Eno market for fresh almond croissants and steaming hot soy cafe au laits. Lunch often led us to the newly renovated Sun Deck restaurant, a spacious and beautiful rooftop social hub, overlooking the gorgeous Pacific Ocean. The winding wrap-around deck, complete with plush seating, fire pits, rooftop bar, and endless cool breezes offered casual fare, lovingly prepared. For dinner, we were thrilled to try, Serea, an outdoor, beautiful and elegant sea-to-table restaurant. My birthday eve dinner there (pan roasted ora king salmon) did not disappoint. When you are ready for something sweet, you must pop into, Spreckles, and see the array of gourmet gelato and hand-crafted paleta popsicles that you can dip, drizzle and sprinkle with endless topping and flavor combinations.


I was so grateful to share this experience with my mom, who also loves this iconic property and charming Coronado Island. We love to be restful, enjoy the ocean breezes, eat good food, talk and catch up, dream about owning one of these little beach cottages, take pictures, have fun, and think about all the exciting things to come. While at The Del, there were a few magical things that happened. There was a big concert happening on the eve of my birthday. There was a corporate event happening earlier that day, that culminated with really good live music. Before the concert, we saw everyone looking to the sky, awaiting something special. The emcee said something about a skydiver who had just taken his big jump, and would be landing shortly on property. Before I knew it, there was the skydiver, joyfully gliding through the sky, skillfully turning himself with the handles on the parachute. The emcee said, as the skydiver descended, "follow your dreams, face your fears and take that jump when you are ready." I loved it. The next evening, happy as a clam at my Coronado compound, I held the door open for an elegant older gentleman, and we had the most magical exchange. After complimenting my smile, he wished me a "Shanah Tovah," a good and sweet year. The next morning, there was a giant sandcastle built on the beach, masterfully created, with my birthdate, the words, "Happy birthday" and "Love you."

Don't you just adore synchronicity? Incidents of spiritual significance that ask us to consider the possibility of the divine. As if our inner world and the world around us find ways to communicate through coincidence. I felt an overwhelming sense of peace, as though it will be a good and sweet year. And that I am excited and ready to follow my dreams, face my fears and take my jump. And that my castle on the sand will be right here waiting for me to come back and revel in its magic anytime.

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