Magazine article Journal of Property Management

The Heart of San Diego: Hotel del Coronado Is a Sprawling Beachside Resort with a Rich 127-Year History

Magazine article Journal of Property Management

The Heart of San Diego: Hotel del Coronado Is a Sprawling Beachside Resort with a Rich 127-Year History

Article excerpt

Directly across the bay from downtown San Diego and just over the famed Coronado Bridge resides the chic, coastal neighborhood of Coronado.

Known as the Crown City, Coronado boasts beautiful beaches, gardens, shopping, dining and one of the nation's most renowned coastal resorts: the historic Hotel del Coronado.


Built early in California's history in 1888, the Hotel del Coronado quickly became a destination for the most elite travelers from the U.S. and around the globe--and it has remained one of the most prestigious destination resorts in the country today.

"Hotel del Coronado is a San Diego icon--perhaps the San Diego icon," said Steve Schackne, Hotel Manager. "The property itself, with its beautiful architecture and spectacular ocean setting, showcases the best that San Diego/Southern California has to offer."

Located on 28 oceanfront acres, the property features lush gardens and an expansive, private beachfront. The resort is designed with three different buildings that house 679 newly renovated guestrooms. There are also 78 oceanfront cottages and villas in the property's Beach Village.

The Hotel del Coronado represents one of the country's most prominent examples of American Queen Anne architecture, with its iconic red-shingled roofline, rambling silhouette and a myriad of turrets, towers and dormers.

"It is often likened to a fairytale castle," Schackne said. "It is very engaging and inviting, not at all imposing the way some Victorian architecture can be. It is also memorable. Once you've seen The Del--or even just seen a picture of it--it stays with you. People all over the world recognize The Del because its architecture is so unique and appealing."


In the late 19th century, seaside resorts were popular along both the Eastern and Western coasts of the U.S. The Hotel del Coronado was the brainchild of two retired businessmen from the Midwest, Elisha Babcock, Jr., and Hampton Story. They envisioned a sprawling yet elegant resort that would be the "talk of the Western world." To make their vision a reality, they brought in architects from the Midwest, lumber and labor from the Northwest and recruited experienced employees from Chicago's finest hotels.

"In the early days, the 1888 construction of The Del put San Diego on the map, drawing the attention of the entire country," Schackne said. "The hotel became the reason folks from the East traveled to San Diego."

The hotel was a trailblazer from the beginning. It was one of few properties of its size to have electricity, along with telephones, elevators and private bathrooms. These exclusive features combined with the picturesque surroundings and near-perfect year-round weather drew affluent travelers from throughout the U.S. and Europe.


Throughout its 127-year history, the hotel has managed to maintain its historic charm, while also evolving into a modern destination for today's discerning travelers.

As a National Historic Landmark (since 1977), the hotel has preserved much of its original history in the building itself, according to Schackne. "It looks very much as it did back in 1888," he said. "Inside, the hotel is always updating its guestrooms and amenities, but the architecture remains the same."

The hotel also honors its history with an extensive archive of vintage photos, brochures and artifacts and seven books about various aspects of the property's history.

At the same time, the hotel knows that it must evolve in order to stay relevant. …

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