‘I guess some like it hot’, smirks Tony Curtis to Marilyn Monroe on the white sandy beach of the Hotel Del Coronado. Set a stone's throw from San Diego, the island of Coronado encapsulates the essence of Southern California. For one, it’s steeped in the golden age of Hollywood - the setting for Billy Wilder’s glittering, manic comedy about two musicians on the run from the mob who run into sizzling jazz-singing Marilyn. It’s said this is where King Edward VIII first met Wallis Simpson at a banquet in the grand Crown Room and later romanced her at the Windsor cottage, which sits astride the hotel’s front lawn. Not to mention everyone from Obama to Oprah, Katherine Hepburn to Keanu Reeves, Mae West, Clark Gable and Madonna have stayed inside its storied Victorian walls. If Los Angeles’ Hollywood is the city of green juices and diva stars, Coronado’s is a taste of the golden age.
Like LA, Coronado isn’t stuck sentimentalizing its illustrious history. Built in 1888 and now 130 years old, ‘The Del’ is home to an ocean-inspired spa, several cosmopolitan-quality restaurants and an award-winning pristine beach, complete with a luxury beach club. There’s basically no better refuge from San Diego’s world renown tourist spots, like the San Diego Zoo and Sea World.
As you approach the hotel the iconic terra-cotta turrets of this Victorian giant are hard to miss. Within the 757-room complex are serval structures - the original wooden building, a newer higher rise, and an exclusive collection of beach cottages. The decor is simple, reserved one might say. The beds, as expected, feel like the slow hug of a soft cloud. It’s very clean and very unfussy, which is ideal because in truth you’ll spend the whole time sitting on your veranda’s rocking chair staring at that bright blue sea.
Don’t let the history of this place belie you, this hotel boasts all the mod-cons you’d expect from a newer resort. There are spin classes on the beach (complete with Beats by Dre headphones), mermaid fitness in the pool (yes, a plastic tail is mandatory) and Netflix on the hotel TVs. The restaurant prices aren't stuck history either, like everything in this place they too are upscale. For a taste of the coastal cuisine there’s the white table clothed option of 1500 Ocean, but for slightly more relaxed fare with a similar view, there’s beachside Sheerwater that also serves an expansive breakfast buffet. On the topic of buffets, the hotel’s Sunday brunch is something to marvel at. With doughnut-making stations, a seafood bar and made-to-order mimosas it’s created something of a reputation around these parts. With the summer drawing in, the hotel is gearing up for its annual clam bake season and 4th July Del Beach Bash.