The extensive renovations the Hotel del Coronado has been undergoing were recently completed as the hotel welcomes guests to enjoy the updated and new amenities it has to offer. The Master Plan has been years in the making with an initial plan first approved by the City Council in 2008, and ended with a grand opening of the newest addition, Shore House, on September 16. I had a chance to ask the Del’s General Manager, Harold Rapoza, about that journey.
“The Master Plan was a roadmap for future development at Hotel del Coronado, approved by the City of Coronado in 2008 and by the California Coastal Commission in 2010,” Rapoza explained. “Key elements of the Master Plan included a new main entry, restoration of the front porch of the Victorian Building, the new Southpointe Event Center, and a resort within a resort – Shore House at the Del.”
Together the changes from the Master Plan have been motivated by a desire to restore historic design elements to Del such as the stained glass windows, wicker rocking chairs on the front porch, and many of the construction elements inside and out such as the wood grain inside the lobby or the original brick on the Laundry Room building, as well as to create a holistic approach to the new and existing sections of the property.
The original Victorian building, The Views, Beach Village, The Cabanas, and the new Shore House make up what the hotel is terming the five neighborhoods of the property, each with unique personality and offerings but existing as one overall coastal resort experience.
The hotel has undergone the larger changes and additions of the Master Plan in stages with a handful of elements completed each year since 2019. The Vista Terrace (previously known as the Vista Walk and reconfigured as an outdoor event space), Seréa (a new sea-to-table restaurant that replaced 1500 Ocean), extensive interior renovations to the Laundry Room building for use as an administrative and event space, and an update to the North Entry and parking structure were among the first projects to come to fruition.
“On a three-acre parcel of land at the southernmost tip of the resort, which had previously been a parking lot, we broke ground for Shore House in February of 2020,” Rapoza mentioned. “A short few weeks afterwards, the pandemic hit and California lock downs occurred. With everything in turmoil, it was a leap of faith to resume construction, but our owners had a vision and the confidence in the Del’s future and work resumed.”
Despite complications due to the nature of the pandemic, the hotel was able to see further progress in 2020 and 2021 with a reimagining of the Sun Deck, Cabanas, B&S Bar (named for Babcock and Storey), ENO Market & Pizzeria, the hotel’s front porch and main entry, the addition of a new French themed restaurant and more.
Additionally the Ice House has been restored and now acts as a permanent and rotating museum exhibit space, managed by the Del’s historian. “The new Ice House Museum is housed in the hotel’s historic former working ice house, circa 1889, which has been restored to serve as a museum showcasing the hotel’s storied past,” Rapoza explained. “Admission is free and guided tours are available for a fee.”
A new Event Center capable of hosting up to 1,620 guests in the ballroom and 1,100 guests outdoors on the Southpointe Lawn is also open now. The space includes additional, customizable meeting spaces and classrooms and a pre-function space. “Southpointe Event Center will be the site of numerous galas and special events,” Rapoza noted, “and locals will have an opportunity to experience this venue for the Del’s upcoming Thanksgiving dinner event.”
“We are very excited for people to experience Shore House at the Del, a stunning oceanfront hotel with one-, two-, and three-bedroom residences,” he continued, commenting on another new amenity he’s particularly excited for guests to discover. Shore House comprises of the new buildings along Avenida del Sol, which include contemporary coastal details, well-equipped kitchens, washer and dryer units, large verandas to take in the views, and more.
“Shore House is ideal for longer stays, helpful for local residents who have out of town family visiting, or who wish to enjoy a staycation,” Rapoza added. The 75 residence hotel within a hotel was built with families in mind and an open design concept to encourage connection; whether as a family, with other guests, and with the staff. Experiences like Blue Hour and cooking demonstrations with the chef, and a walk in pool steps away from the beach are some of the new offerings with Shore House that make the space unique.
With the extensive renovations from the $400 million Master Plan complete, Rapoza says the response has been very positive from visitors and guests so far, especially towards the restoration of the Victorian Lobby and the front porch space where visitors have been enjoying recreating scenes from “Some Like It Hot” and taking in the iconic views of the Victorian architecture.
“The intention of the Master Plan was to enhance and preserve the Del as an enduring treasure for generations to come and there are several stand-out experiences that have resulted from this project,” he commented. “The Sun Deck, long a community favorite, was renovated and reopened in the summer of 2020. A newly renovated retail shopping corridor was completed earlier this year. And one of the best times to visit is the upcoming festive holiday season, complete with thousands of twinkling lights, the return of Skating by the Sea, a dynamic light show and more.”
While the Del celebrates the achievement of the Master Plan, Rapoza added that the hotel will continue to make improvements and has plans to start an interior re-design and renovation of Beach Village in 2023.
To learn more about the Hotel del Coronado’s newest amenities, visit their website at https://hoteldel.com/see-whats-new/.
VOL. 112, NO. 40 - Oct. 5, 2022