The Hotel del Coronado may have been open since 1888, but its history can seem almost too big for a mere 136 years. During its lifetime, the 27-acre beachfront property has been a destination for presidents, movie stars, and royalty, and has itself become a celebrity, appearing in films like Some Like It Hot and My Blue Heaven and looming large in our collective imaginations as one of California’s ultimate seaside leisure destinations.
“In 2023, we celebrated our 135th anniversary here, which was a big milestone,” says Harold Rapoza, Jr, Area Vice President, West, Hotel Operations. “When E.S. Babcock and Hampton L. Storey build this in the late 1800s, their vision was that this would be the best resort on the West Coast, and we feel like we’ve followed through on it.”
Indeed, “The Del,” as locals fondly call it, is a top-tier destination for visitors and locals alike, offering casual and fine dining, a sprawling spa, classic and new activations alike (where else can you try holiday ice skating in San Diego?) and a variety of distinct on-site “neighborhoods” designed to deliver distinct guest experiences. One of them, Beach Village, a gated hotel-within-a-hotel that offers a dedicated check in and personal concierge service, recently completed a major renovation and might just be the Del’s most appealing place to stay.
Here, Rapoza shares the details of his own favorite room at the legendary hotel.
What do you consider to be the best room at the property and why?
Beach Village is very special to me. My favorite room here is 1114. It’s beachfront cottage with an ideal location—you walk out to the patio and the panoramic ocean views are amazing, and there’s also a fire pit and seating on the outdoor patio. There’s a residential feel to the neighborhood that just makes it feel so comfortable, and we just refreshed all the cottages in Beach Village, so it feels elegant but still in line with being on the beach in Southern California. I’d tell my best friend to stay in this room.
How much does it cost per night?
The average rate is about $3,500 per night.
How would you describe the guests and the vibe at the hotel?
There’s a dedicated check in at Beach Village as well as a personal concierge service, so it really feels private and elevated without missing out on the amenities—dining, the spa, fitness center—that the rest of the hotel has. In the cottages, there are multiple rooms so families can come and enjoy spacious living areas, kitchenettes, outdoor living areas, and private pools around Beach Village in addition to the main pool.
What feeling about San Diego do you hope to impart to guests?
People come to San Diego, and specificially to Coronado, for the beaches. Being here, it feels like you’re on your own island but you’re also only four miles from a vibrant downtown with so much to offer. I hear this from people all the time—we have so much to offer at the property, but being able to walk into the quaint town of Coronado or driving across the bridge gives guests that amazing variety.
What’s a local attraction that you always recommend?
We have a wonderful partnership with the San Diego Zoo. It's one of the largest and greatest zoos in the world. It’s very close to us, and has a history that’s similar to ours; they’ve been around for more than 100 years and we’re grateful to have such a partnership. The Padres are also a big draw—a lot of people staying at the Del love to catch a game.
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