After my hike on Cowles Mountain I hurried to make it back to Coronado Island, just across the bay from San Diego, on time. It’s a special night. It is the one evening a year that the Hotel del Coronado lights up and transforms into a winter wonderland and opens the holiday season with a bang. A bang I wasn’t going to miss.
Walking along the boardwalk, as I got closer to the festivities, I could hear the holiday music get a little louder as I approached. All around me were the sounds of people talking, laughing and enjoying this lovely Southern California night. I saw the strands of lights over the already open ice rink, like strings of pearls sparkling in the open sea air. I jockeyed my way past people from all over, swarming in the area to take part in this festive occasion. In the sand next to me, were the holiday booths and games set up for the childrens entertainment, complete with prizes. Also set up were stage performances, Santa’s Village and of course, the spectacular and famous Christmas tree in the beautiful and historic lobby of the hotel. It all looked like fun and I wanted to stop for a quick game or perhaps a cup of holiday cheer, but I was running out of time. I headed out onto the wide open beach to prepare for the explosive fireworks display yet to come.
Wading out into the chilly Pacific, camera in one hand and tripod in the other, I made my way to a spot where I was hoping I could see the fireworks display and the historical hotel in the same shot. At first I waded out near where the large rocks are in the water, on the side closest to the hotel. The waves were crashing into me and I was getting deeper and deeper in the nippy water. Worried about falling and destroying my camera, I headed back. This wasn’t going to work, I needed to go to the other side of the rocks in less than five minutes because the fireworks were about to begin. I made my way, stumbling over slippery, wet and slimy rocks until I felt the soft sand beneath my water shoes. Much more secure, I hurriedly got up the beach and onto the other side of the large rock area. The beach there was much more level and I was able to make my way farther out into the surf and was still only thigh deep. I set up my tripod and put my camera on. It was a fairly good location. Taking images in the water is difficult with the waves moving the camera. With each wave I had to pick up the tripod, set it back down, compose, shoot and hope the image turned out without blurriness. I peeked at the LCD on the back on my camera on occasion, and was pleased with a couple of shots. I continued to take them until the fireworks were over, one after another in hopes of getting a photo I loved. Applause errupted on the boardwalk next to the hotel. I smiled and agreed with the response. The fireworks were lovely and now everyone on this island can thrust headlong into the holiday season. With the last boom of a firecracker burning out over the ocean, it was announced that it was time to shop, drink and be merry.
Heading back onto dry sand, I looked and the moon rise behind the hotel was becoming quite stunning. The misty clouds covered pieces of the moon as if the man up there was a little shy in coming out. The sky was tranquil, black and friendly. It looked like very dark hot chocolate with a little whipped cream melting and smearing across the surface of the mug. I paused, looking at the moon over the Coronado Shores. These very expensive condos with commanding views of the Pacific, looked amazingly beautiful in the moonlight.
Once back on the boardwalk I stopped to take in the beauty of the Del all lit up against the black sky making it look like an ornament on a Christmas tree. Lights were strung to outline each and every historic line of the building, brightly pointing out it’s shape and size. Once again I set up my tripod to capture the moon next to the famous and iconic turret. The palm trees were changing colors in each successive shot I took. I have a love affair with this hotel. Being a lover of history and architecture, whenever I live in Southern California I make certain I’m close to this architectural and historical beauty. This icon is the center gem and attached to it are the other spectacular hotels, boutiques, restaurants and events that together become a piece of jewelry disguised as a community. It’s friendly here, quiet and now all dressed up and ready for the holidays. Satisfied I had gotten an image I would be happy with, I began to make my way back home, now chilled from being almost waist deep in the cold ocean water. As I walked along, I made a slushing sound on the sidewalk. I found that funny. My water shoes and the bottom of my pants were covered in wet sand. The night air was cool but pleasant, the moon now high in the sky and shining brightly. The man up there decided to come out after all. I took my shoes off and contemplated a hot bath and after that I thought, perhaps some cocoa.
Other Coronado Hotels are (in order of my favorites):
All of these images were taken on Hotel Open House Day last month. None of the images have been touched up to be presented for advertising.
I don’t have images of all the hotels rooms, but most of them.
Glorietta Bay (Main house only)
This historic inn is the former residence of John Spreckles, a previous owner of the Hotel del Coronado. The main house is a step back in time complete with luxurious linens, comfortable beds and grand surroundings. It is my absolute favorite hotel to stay in on the island and I recommend it highly. But again, only in the main house.
As a former Innkeeper I know what bed and breakfasts are supposed to be like and this one is close to perfection. The innkeepers are friendly and helpful. The rooms in the historic home have a rustic look and a comfortable, relaxing feel. The grounds are lovely and inside are lots of spots to sit, relax, and read a book or enjoy a cup of tea.
Although a little bit of a drive down the strand and away from the main village of Coronado, this luxury hotel is an excellent choice. Beautiful and almost every room has a view. Next to the marina and offering lots of activities on the water.
Another historic lodging place this spanish style hotel was the former retirement residence for one of the founders of the island and builders of the Hotel del Coronado.
This hotel has an enviable location along the bay overlooking the spectacular San Diego skyline. It’s no wonder so many wedding receptions happen here.
Another home turned inn on the island steeped in history. This one being linked to Coronado’s naval history. Coronado is the birthplace of naval aviation and much of it started right here.
Although it shows it’s age this historic hotel is charming, quiet and friendly. The rooms are nicely appointed and comfortable.
If you want to stay in a chain hotel rather than stay in one of the historic hotels, this one is very nice. Their center courtyard is the perfect place to enjoy your morning coffee.
Nice, clean rooms at a reasonable price and attached to the best bistro in town.
Clean, spacious rooms and a great location in the heart of the village. Walking distance to everything.
Villa Capri by the Sea
Good sized rooms, some with kitchens.
Clean rooms for those on a budget.
This ‘could-be’ charming motel has clean rooms but shows it’s age. Very charming and perfect for someone looking to stay on the island and not in need of any luxury or frills.