Travel // Hotel Del Coronado, San Diego and the last part of our trip {California Part Five}

February 14, 2019

The fifth and final part of our California trip, ending with a very special stay at the Hotel Del Coronado in San Diego. - this is a gifted press stay with Turquoise Holidays. 

A few years back, my husband and I visited San Diego as part of working with the tourist board when I was a honeymoon writer. We didn't really know much about the area but saw a ferry to Coronado Island from the city and jumped on. We walked from the ferry landing down Orange Avenue and reached the beach, staying all day until sunset. It was such a magical day and the start of our love affair with Coronado Island. We also loved San Diego and La Jolla, it's proximity to Mexico {for the BEST fish tacos}, the amount of things to do, and how relaxed the area is - especially the airport for flying in and out. Everytime we go back to California, we try and fit a visit in to San Diego and specifically Coronado. A few years back, when with my family, we rented bikes for the day and cycled around the island, all falling in love with this special place. The hotel that we've always seen and admired here is the Del Coronado, set on the very best part of the beach, it's a historic institution, the scene of the film Some Like it Hot and home to many a movie star over the years. These days, yes it has that fab history, but it's also updated itself to become a luxury modern beach resort and one of the leading hotel's in America. We were very lucky to stay here for a couple of nights at the end of this trip, as part of some work with Turquoise Holidays. I'm sure I've said how much we love Turquoise Holidays over the years, after discovering them when we booked our honeymoon back in 2014 and appreciating all their extra touches that make a trip special. I thought that they normally focus on tropical island destinations but was excited to see that Californian road trips are now on their agenda with some of the best properties across the best parts of the state. 

Across the water from San Diego, Coronado Island is linked by a bridge or a ferry crossing. It's not huge, just 1.5 miles across with skyline waterfront views on one side and the beach running along the other. And half of the island is covered in a Navy Seal military base {which is quite exciting when you see them running along the beach as part of their training!}. The rest of the island is home to beautiful streets with quintessential American {dream} homes. The kind that cover themselves in tasteful flags for the 4th July celebrations or have cute dogs that hang out on swing seats when not being walked around the neighbourhood by their friendly owners. It's got such a lovely community here and Orange Avenue is home to cute shops and restaurants with a couple of grocery stores. The kind of place you'd want to retire to, or summer on, and have a little golf cart on your drive for whizzing around the island.

Coronado Beach is regularly voted as one of America's best beaches and it's not hard to see why. A huge sandy expanse lined with dunes and palm trees.

The hotel sits right on the sand and is such an iconic building. This is a newer part of the hotel, the exclusive Beach Village set right on the sand which has it's own concierge/valet service. 

The resort is huge, and has something for everyone. It felt so different to anywhere else we've ever stayed in California and because it's so resorty and set right on the beach, feels super luxurious and like a proper holiday compared to your average road trip stops around the State.

We visited at the start of February, so although the 20c day we had felt like summer to us Brits escaping winter back home, it's still very much winter for Californians so the beach wasn't set out in how it usually would be on warmer days. We got super unlucky with the weather during our stay and had a storm hit for most of it, but we still managed to find the blue sky parts of the day to make the most of. 

It was incredible to us at this time of year though so I imagine that in the summer it would be even better, especially with those striped 50s style beach cabanas where you can order beach service.

We only really scratched the surface of the Del during our stay, partly with the weather and partly because it was Superbowl Sunday {!} but there are seven different restaurants to choose between, three pools, a heavenly spa where I spent an afternoon having a pregnancy massage whilst Ben watched the big game and always something going on activity wise. You can book things like s'mores beach bonfires, called a 'roast' every evening along with attending an outdoor crazy Spin class. It's super child friendly too with daily supervised activities, and you're left with an activity sheet in your room advising you of what's going on around the resort each day. 

But then of course, there's also that beach and ocean just across the boardwalk.

Or this pool if getting covered in sand isn't your thing.

The middle courtyard felt tropical and colonial. Our room was set in the old classic part of main building, looking out over the sea. And the lobby/lift/staircase in the main reception is well worth a visit - we take for granted historic buildings in England but in America this is almost as old as it gets.

There are fun ice cream and bakery stops around the hotel for adults and children alike. I just wished that it had been all-inclusive. I'd say that that's my biggest, and probably only, criticism of this hotel - nothing comes cheap. But then, I guess you wouldn't expect that from a luxury resort. Just be prepared!

Like typical Brits, we had to make the most of the sunshine between the storm systems and were the only ones sat by the pool before it was time to check in to our room. But how could we resist? Trying to soak up every last ounce of vitamin D from the sun before we returned home!

I feel like it should be compulsory for every Californian hotel to have fire pits and string lit terraces like this. It gave us lots of inspiration for revamping our garden when we got home.

Try and request an ocean view room, we loved waking up to the sound of the waves {but laughed one morning as a seagull came onto our balcony and tapped onto the glass at us!}. 

With a huge comfy bed, a big fruit platter left for our arrival and balcony overlooking the sea.

Looking down onto the spa pool below.

This was probably the best way both myself and my husband could spend an afternoon. Him watching the superbowl, and me at the spa! - which I'd highly recommend.

I came out of my treatment to the sun setting. You get the best views from the Del Coronado year round. 

I'm just obsessed with this scene, the sky changing as the sun dropped below the ocean and the lights coming on as it got dark.

We were spoilt for choice with all of the restaurants at the Del, but pizza was calling so we picked up a take-away from ENO, an al-fresco spot open each evening. - which happened to be REALLY good pizza. Naples style pizza in fact. 

Just before going to bed, we had a knock on the door with a fresh milk & cookie delivery! The cutest. There are some really lovely little touches at the Del like this.

There were so many things we loved about this hotel, but I think the Sheerwater breakfast selection has to be up there as one of the best. I don't know about you, but I feel like you can judge a hotel based on it's fruit offerings at breakfast - the Del passed with flying colours with a huge bowl of raspberries and strawberries that kept getting topped up. 

There was almost everything you could imagine, from chia pudding {deeelicious} to all of your classic hot options to fresh omelettes you could order from a menu to desserts like apple cobbler {yep, I was the girl who got dessert at breakfast!}. It depends which package you're on as to whether breakfast is included, and if you're a Hilton member or not, if not you can pay for this treat of a breakfast feast.

During both of our breakfasts it rained - which is really rare for California. But on typical days, you can sit out in the Californian sunshine.

On our second morning, we were allowed to have breakfast in Windsor Cottage. This is usually exclusively for guests staying in the Beach Village at the Del, an even more exclusive area of the hotel where breakfast is included each morning and you get use of this cottage area with the firepits in the evenings. 

Whilst there wasn't quite as much choice as Sheerwater, there was certainly enough for everything we could have wanted and the atmosphere so much quieter and more relaxed. If we come back, I'd definitely look at staying in the Village for a couple of days as an extra special treat in the summer.

We needed to walk our breakfast off, so set off around the island. Walking past the marina opposite the Del Coronado hotel and then up to the waterfront skyline park on the other side. 

As you walk towards Orange Avenue, you'll find beautiful buildings like this old Bank, and the best stationery shop ever. I've visited everytime we've been on the island and remembered it from our very first time here.

The houses and streets between Orange, the beach and the Del Coronado are just out of this world.

 We didn't have time to go into San Diego on this trip, or visit Balboa Park again, but I've written about the city here on previous trips if you're looking for inspiration.

We suddenly realised on this walk just how much we were going to miss America and this Californian living. 

And then sadly, accepted that it was time to leave the Del already and check out. Until next time Coronado... 

// a few photos from La Jolla before we came home.

We'd loved our stay in La Jolla on previous visits so wanted to pop there before we flew home. You can see this post and this for our previous stay in La Jolla and tips, but we couldn't resist stopping at the Baked Bear for an ice cream cookie sandwich just down the coast in Pacific Beach.

You choose your cookie, or brownie, base and then choose your ice cream!

A walk along the coast at La Jolla spotting the seals.

It's worth walking along the coast round to La Jolla Shores.

The last of the tropical palm views for a while.

In search of the best fish tacos. We tried the Taco Stand on Pearl Street in La Jolla and it was super authentic. 

With one last Target, Chipotle and Yogurtland stop, we were airport bound already. Back to San Diego airport where our trip had begun a few weeks earlier - this time with an extra suitcase!

What an incredible, incredible few weeks in California. 

Thank you so much for following along with our adventures. I hope these posts have been helpful to you, as always feel free to get in touch on Instagram. and also let me know if you'd like a general California tip planning guide. 

California, we love you so!

R <3 xx 

{I was a guest of Turquoise Holidays and Hotel Del Coronado, but as always all opinions are 100% my own and I'd only recommend somewhere that I think you would love as much as I did. This an unpaid, gifted stay}.

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