Ever walk into a place and get that ripped-from-the-pages-of-a-Stephen-King-novel vibe?
The Hotel Del Coronado (or Hotel Del, as us locals call it) has always felt like that to me. I've been there dozens of times for meetings, dinners, weddings or Christmas tea, but this is the first time I've spent the night. What an odd experience.
My company just held its annual sales meeting at the Hotel Del this week, and the weather was spectacular, of course. I live just across the bridge so I could only justify staying one night while the rest of the 120+ co-workers stayed the week. While I tried to check in, the very friendly young woman at registration was busy getting two apparently homeless women kicked off the couches in the lobby, where they'd appeared to have taken root. She scored big points in my book for protecting the Hotel Del brand, but lost a few for being too preoccupied with the drama to process my registration quickly.
The room I had was on the third floor of the main building, and even though it was a low-rent bayview room, it was spacious, spotless and the beds were amazing. The room was equipped with a ceiling fan, which was a bonus because if I'm going to stay in a beach-side hotel, the last thing I want to do is breathe air conditioning all night.
The bathroom of the room was tiny, and I'm talking cruise-ship-bathroom tiny. The door hit the toilet, the toilet paper was mounted on the back of the bathroom door, and when I blew my hair dry, my elbows smacked into the wall. Tiiiiiny.
Now then, all this seems perfectly normal, right? Well, maybe you've heard that the Hotel Del has a resident ghost named Kate Morgan. Her story's pretty interesting, and I won't go into it here. Let's just say she had a sad and hard life. Oh yeah, and while there's a dispute whether it's murder or suicide, she died in Room 3327. Just down the hall from me. The only sign of this may have been when the lights in the bathroom, controlled by a motion detector, went on a couple of times when I was nowhere near the bathroom.
When I went down to breakfast in the morning, I casually threw out the question, "So, anyone visited by the ghost?" Four people proceded to tell me of weird things happening. One woman heard sobbing as she turned the corner on the third floor but no one was there. Another asked to move out of the old building into the new section when the water in her sink turned on for no apparent reason. Twice. Yet another had a book fall over in a gift shop more than 10 feet away from any other person in the shop.
Now then, the original elevator in the very elegant lobby still has an elevator operator. Or rather, a rotating team of operators. During my time there, the two operators I encountered were kind, twinkle-in-the-eye ancient men wearing uniforms straight from the turn of the century. There were both slightly hunched from decades of swinging their right arms back and forth to open and shut the heavy brass scrollwork around the elevator. And both could be straight from The Shining Part II. I kid you not.
Other than all those quirks, the Hotel Del is really a fantastic resort. The location could not be better, the service was friendly, efficient (generally) and anticipatory. The food was pretty good (not great). Despite being a stone's throw from a bustling village, it still has a slightly off-the-grid feel to it, as demonstrated by the spotty wifi coverage.
Would I go back? You know, if I were the stay-cation sort of person, I would. But only if they put me in the new building. Sorry, Kate.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The legendary Hotel del Coronado is located on 28 oceanfront acres on Coronado Island. Built in 1888 and designated a National Historic Landmark in 1977, The Del continues to maintain its rich history while also offering contemporary conveniences such as unique beachfront dining, an award-winning spa, upscale shopping, recreational activities and the luxurious cottages and villas at Beach Village. The hotel's spectacular setting, impeccable service and award-winning cuisine also makes it the perfect setting for a fairytale wedding. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Resort Del Coronado
- Del Coronado