Hotel Del Coronado Continues Work On Master Plan Improvements - Coronado Eagle & Journal | Coronado News | Coronado Island News: Coronado City News

Hotel Del Coronado Continues Work On Master Plan Improvements

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Posted: Friday, February 1, 2019 4:33 pm

Recently when you walk or drive by the Hotel Del Coronado lately, the only changes you see are the ‘Valet Only’ parking area, with a large construction crane poking its head over the wall. But in a recent interview with Master Plan Communications Director Kathy Breedlove and Hotel Del Coronado Director of Public Relations Stacey Ellis, several behind-the-scenes activities at the 130-year old hotel were characterized as, “Moving fast and furiously,” by Breedlove.

The overarching goal is the execution of the Hotel Del Improvement Plan, which according to Breedlove passed a regulatory hurdle recently. “Our Master Plan was passed by the Coronado Design Review Commission two weeks ago, and they gave us final approval for all the new buildings. For each phase of the development we have gone to Design Review multiple times. For the improvements on the industrial buildings including the Power Plant, the Laundry Building and the Oxford Building. In terms of the Master Plan elements, this trip to Design Review was the last one. There will be reviews for other elements that are not part of the Master Plan.”

The reason for the Valet Parking and the heavy equipment you see, is that the initial major part of the construction is underway, which is the North Parking Structure. Breedlove described progress on that and other related elements. “We are two levels below grade with landscaped surface parking and we anticipate that will take about a year. It will finish up in 2019. There will be almost 800 new parking spaces. When that parking structure is completed, the North Side will become the main entrance to the Hotel on an interim basis. We will be making some improvements to that entrance which will be off RH Dana Boulevard. We will be closing off the current main entrance to start construction on the South part of the property.”

Breedlove said of the South property construction highlights, “The back of the new Conference Center is along Avenida del Sol and will have a 15,000 square foot, clear span ballroom. There is nothing in the way or any columns. The room can be divided into 10 sections and will accommodate a wide range of community events. The new ballroom will be the largest event space on the property. Currently our largest ballrooms (the Crown Room and Grande Hall) can accommodate just over 700 people, seated on six-foot round tables, which seat 10 people. Depending on the set-up and presentation area, the new ballroom could accommodate up to 1,000 people in this configuration. There will be larger, more functional free space. The area is set up to be as functional as possible. In addition there will be natural light in the space, which everybody wants. Plus we will have 14,000 square feet of outdoor space, like the Windsor Lawn is now. Also on the South Side, there will be 142 new guest rooms.”

The recent rain has not adversely impacted the construction schedule, however there was damage done to portions of the Hotel Del during the Dec. 6, 2018 storm. Breedlove said, “The Victorian Building was generally unaffected, including the lower level retail space. Some of the lower level guestrooms in the Ocean Towers and California Cabanas building were affected, along with some of the meeting space in Grande Hall. Due to the water we have had to replace all the carpets and the scope of work is a complete re-do of the interior. We do have a Pavilion tent structure in the parking lot for a big group here now. We have permission from the City to leave the tent up until early March.”

At about the time you start to get a handle on the major construction elements, there are more changes to discuss, a lot more. The Hotel Del’s signature restaurant for decades, 1500 Ocean closed January 1, 2019, and is undergoing a complete remodel and re-branding. The planned re-opening date is May 2019, when it will become a seafood-centric restaurant named Serea, a collaborative project with the Clique Hospitality Group. Clique has hospitality operations in San Diego, Las Vegas, and Washington, D.C. One of their San Diego eateries is Lionfish in the Gaslamp Quarter.

Stacey Ellis noted, “The Hotel Del has a commitment to continuously work to bring new and creative concepts here. Serea will be an exciting property led by Michelin Star Chef Jojo Ruiz. He will keep things new and exciting. Serea will be a place of discovery from a culinary point of view. It will be a seafood-forward concept with a lively bar scene. The room will be more modern and open. There will also be an indoor-outdoor connection. It will be more eclectic and fun.”

Ellis said the other restaurants at the Hotel Del will be assessed as well. “We’ll look at the other outlets in the year to come. The Sundeck Bar Area just needs refreshing. We have a commitment to go through the restaurants and do a concept upgrade. There are even more things in the works.”

Ellis said French Master Chef Patrick Ponsaty, who had run 1500 Ocean will stay with the Hotel Del in a new role as Executive Chef. “Chef Ponsaty will be in charge of overseeing all food, banquets, and brunches at the Del,” Ellis explained. “He now touches everything our guests will eat and drink from the property’s point of view. The menu he created for the last month of 1500 Ocean was incredible.”

Another improvement on the grounds, also expected to open in the May 2019 time frame is the new, improved Vista Walk, located, near the Ocean-side entrance to the Shops at the Del. “Vista Walk is one of the big enhancements to the Del,” Breedlove said. “Now, there’s not a great view and we are making it one level, with a scenic view of the ocean. It will be a great outdoor event space and the area is being elevated. May 2019 is also when the first renovation of one of our industrial buildings will be completed, the old Laundry Building, which is the short red building on the property. Essentially, we are renovating one building at a time. The Oxford Building is where we work and that will also be renovated. When they complete the Laundry Building, we will move from the Oxford Building into there.”

As we concluded, Ellis talked about the valet parking concept and generally addressed business at the Del. “I think the parking is working fine. We had a great holiday season. It was very strong and most of it was leisure business. We are very fortunate to be considered a destination hotel. People want to come see the skating rink and get their picture taken by the Christmas tree. It’s a multi-generational experience.”

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