“The ocean is a mighty harmonist.” ~ William Wordsworth
Most Favorite-ist Place
If I had to pick a favorite place in San Diego it would have to be Coronado. As a history and royal buff, I had heard of this resort town and the rumored connection between Wallis Simpson and the Prince of Wales at the Hotel Del. After reading Mack’s post, it only further confirmed that if I ever went to San Diego, I NEEDED to go there.
I knew I would love it. I in no way thought I would be ready to pack my bags and move then and there to Coronado. Even going on an unusually chilly and blustery day in San Diego, did not dampen the heart palpitations I got exploring this mer-playground.
Sarah and I decided to grab breakfast right in Coronado. We made a slight detour back to the Westfield Horton Complex, so Sarah could buy a hat. We then hopped in an Uber and drove over the bridge to Coronado.
It was like entering another world. One that was albite posh and impeccably well landscaped. It was different from any neighborhood we had visited, including the luxurious La Jolla ‘hood.
Cafe 1134 was a contradiction to the posh atmosphere Coronado gave off. Yet, at the same time, it was Coronado. I know, I know, I am talking in riddles. Bear with me. It had a hipster vibe that was fitting for the foodie. You ordered at a counter where they had an extensive menu, that also included some delicious and very necessary coffee.
Because it was a chilly morning, we ended up sitting upstairs in their enclosed balcony. On the usually sunny days that San Diego boasts about, you could set up camp in their quaint courtyard on the first floor. The food was yummy and I got a southwestern egg scramble with refried beans,
Coronado was established as a town in 1890, and is predominantly a resort community, with three large resorts located on the peninsula, the most famous of which is the Hotel Del Coronado.
While it is sometimes called an island, it is actually a peninsula or a “Tied island” with a thin strip of land connecting it to San Diego. In 1969 the San Diego-Coronado Bridge was opened, making it easier to access Coronado.
Shops and restaurants line Orange Avenue, creating a nice reprieve after a morning in the sun. While Coronado has that posh resort feel, many of the restaurants and shops, had a more hipster bohemian vibe, somehow seamlessly meshing the two worlds together create a laid back, while still being put together vibe, and further making me fall in love with this quaint seaside town.
Coronado has constantly made the top ten list of best beaches in the US even ranking number one back in 2012 and last year it ranked number 9 on Forbes. Once again I could understand why, because the beach was gorgeous.
Hotel Del Coronado
Guys I am going to try to use my words, BUT it is hard because this is the kind of place, words fail me. It is the stuff you see in dreams, and movies, and it was the California version of Dirty Dancing.
No joke, I expected to see Patrick Swayze and Jennifer grey practicing their moves ANY moment.
In other words it was flipping epic! And yes I just reverted back to being basic.
In 1885 a group of five investors bought up land on Coronado having an idea of creating a resort getaway. They established the Coronado Beach Company thereafter creating various entrepreneurial ventures, including a ferry service, water piping, railroad company and the Hotel Del Coronado.
Construction for the hotel began in 1887 and it had its grand opening in 1888. It is the second largest surviving wooden structure in the United States and one of the few left to represent an American architectural genre. Because of its wooden structure, fire was a real risk and the developers were constantly coming up with new ideas to combat that danger. It was at the Hotel Del Coronado, that electrically lit Christmas Trees were first created.
It became a National Landmark in 1977 and has been used in a multitude of films and has guested many famous people through out the years. The hotel is constantly renovating and updating, while still staying true to the charm of is Victorian roots.
Last year management was taken over by Hilton Hotel and Resorts adding the Hotel Del to its Curio Resort Collection, though still keeping the namesake of the hotel as well as the old fashioned feel.
Exploring Hotel Del
The hotel was only a couple blocks from where we breakfasted on Orange Avenue, and we could easily walk to it. The majority of the Hotel Del is open to the public, the exception being, guest rooms are understandably off limits. The lobby is stunning with a gorgeous chandelier hanging in the middle. Much of the lobby is dark to help preserve the structure, much of which is over a hundred years old.
The hotel is built around a gorgeously sculpted courtyard, and has countless shops and restaurants you can explore which includes the Spreckle Candy Shop named after the sugar magnate who helped save the resort after the California real estate boom crashed.
After exploring the hotel, It was time to hit Coronado Beach. The hotel is built right on it, making it easily accessible as well as convenient for guests and visitors alike.
The sand was white and lushes, with no worries you were going to stab your feet on something sharp. After taking some (or a thousand) pictures we sat down to enjoy the sounds of the ocean.
Alas it was freezing, and while Sarah and I did not want to leave, we decide to go find some warmer clothing and maybe grab
a hand warmer coffee.
We perused the shops in downtown Coronado, gratefully finding some warmer clothes we could snuggle up in. We also stopped at a new favorite coffee shop called Cafe Madrid.
It was a sidewalk coffee kiosk, that had an extensive menu, including a new favorite, an almond milk and honey latte.
our hand warmers coffee, we made our way back to the beach, making a slight detour when the delicious smells from Spreckels beckoned us to stop and pick up some sugary sweet treats. It was hard to restrain ourselves, but I stuck with my ultimate favorite, salted caramels, and Sarah picked up a gourmet toffee candy bar.
Sweet tooth satisfied, we bundled ourselves up, and hunkered down for a relaxing afternoon in Coronado.
Have you ever been to the Hotel Del Coronado? What is your favorite resort you have been too?