Just the mere mention of San Diego can stir up visions of warm weather, sandy beaches, and fun outdoor activities. Throw in some window shopping and delicious food and your vacation is pretty much complete.
Hotel del Coronado
All of the above were accomplished during a stay at the Hotel del Coronado, located on Coronado Island south of downtown San Diego. This historic hotel was built in 1888 in the wooden Victorian beach resort style. Several Hollywood film companies have taken advantage of the iconic red roof and pristine beach, notably the movie Some Like it Hot starring Marilyn Monroe which was shot on location.
Meander through the hotel’s mall of various shops offering beachwear and supplies for men and women and a unique souvenir gift shop, Est. 1888. A well-stocked candy shop, Spreckels Sweets and Treats, offers vintage goodies and is a delight for little and big kids.
Stroll through the hallway of historical photos and displayed mementos with a timeline of The Del, as the locals call it. Many celebrities and politicians have visited these grounds along with the regular folks.
For activities, you have a choice of relaxing in the immense swimming pool, joining an outdoor stationary cycling class facing the Pacific Ocean, visiting the fully equipped fitness room, or taking the unique Mermaid Fitness water aerobics class. For the latter, participants don a neon-colored mermaid tail over their swimsuits and follow the instructor through a series of exercises in the pool.
The Del has seven restaurants and bars. Select a cup of coffee and pastry from the Babcock and Story Bakery or enjoy a luscious breakfast seated outside with a full view of the ocean and surrounding palm trees at Sheerwater. For a romantic dinner, make a reservation at 1500 Ocean where French Master chef Patrick Ponsaty creates fresh gourmet dishes from a selection of fresh seafood.
As a teenager, I worked at the Del Mar County Fair, a beach ball’s throw to the Pacific Ocean and little did I realize that 50 years later I would be lodging at the luxurious L’Auberge Hotel in Del Mar.
The L’Auberge was rebuilt in 1989 after having been demolished in 1969 because it was in such a state of disrepair. The hotel’s interior are inspired by the blue and green hues of the nearby ocean and abundant trees and flora. One such tree, te Torrey pine, can only be found in two places on earth — the Del Mar region and on Santa Rosa Island.
One step into the open lobby gives a scenic view of the ocean and sky, and the plush velveteen sofas and chairs are welcoming and lead out to the central courtyard. Here, a luscious pool, hot tub, cabanas, comfy lounge chairs, and oversized umbrellas invite you for a lovely rest in the sunshine. If private relaxation is desired, all the guest rooms have a balcony.
To start the day, we had breakfast on the outdoor patio at the Coastline restaurant. With teakwood furniture and amazing views of the Pacific, you can enjoy a casual breakfast right on the property. The creative menu features freshly squeezed juices and a hearty selection of morning food, including their popular and artfully presented breakfast tacos.
Electric bikes are available to cruise down to the beach area and to the nearby Del Mar Village for a bit of shopping. Bike down the street to Jake’s restaurant and try heaven on a plate — the Hula Pie ice cream dessert. This is a huge slice of macadamia nut ice cream placed on a thick chocolate cookie pie crust and drenched in chocolate ganache sauce with a generous topping of peanuts. This is enough for at least two!
L’Auberge is also dog-friendly and special attention is given to ensure that Fido is comfortable, too.
San Diego is blessed with abundant sunshine, gorgeous coastal views, and two hotels that have come to be local treasures. Both the Hotel del Coronado and L’Auberge are ideally situated to explore the best that Coronado and Del Mar have to offer.
All meals, transportation, accommodations, and attractions were provided free of charge for this review.