Hotel Del Coronado in San Diego completes $400 million expansion

What started inauspiciously more than three years ago with a new underground parking garage has turned into a $400 million makeover of the Hotel Del Coronado, culminating in the opening this week of its first new rooms in 15 years.

The Shore House at the Del, a kind of hotel within a hotel, is a set of 75 upscale residences that went up for sale last year, at prices as high as $5.2 million. Within months, they had sold. Individual one-, two- and three-bedroom accommodations, located a stone’s throw from the ocean, are now available on a nightly basis throughout the year.

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The Hotel Del, instantly recognizable for more than a century with its distinctive red-roofed turret, took care during the lengthy renovation to preserve the iconic property’s old-fashioned feel while upgrading its restaurants, pool and its meeting spaces. and rooms with modern amenities and contemporary design.

The Shore House is no exception. The red shingle roof and facade, with its crimson window frames and clapboard siding, all nods to the resort’s signature Victorian look, are designed to make this brand new building fit seamlessly into the resort complex. 28 acres.

“We wanted to provide a reimagined beach vacation, a very community-focused setting that has a residential flair,” explained Michael Tuesca, Shore House Manager. “The exterior blends in perfectly with the Del campus, with its Queen Anne Revival style, which is echoed in the Shore House facade. So from the outside it looks like it’s always been there, but when you cross the threshold you quickly see it’s a reimagined space.

Pictured are seats for the new Shore House Bistro, which is exclusively for guests of the new Del Coronado Hotel residential area.

(Nancee E. Lewis/For the San Diego Union-Tribune)

As an example, he cites the Shore House Bistro, a restaurant for the exclusive use of those staying at the new property. Upon entering, it feels less like a restaurant and more like a private home – or, as Tuesca puts it, it’s as if you’ve just walked into “your rich friend’s kitchen”.

To add to the cozy ambience, a lounge area with a fireplace and a surfboard hanging above the fireplace.

The Bistro of the new Shore House at Hotel Del

Del Coronado Hotel Spa Manager Michelle Frye and Assistant Retail Manager Jen Gee (right) sample some of the Bistro at Shore House’s offerings ahead of its opening to Shore House guests.

(Nancee E. Lewis/For the San Diego Union-Tribune)

An infinity pool (designed to feel like walking into the ocean from the beach) is also exclusive to Shore House guests. It sits just beyond the bistro’s outdoor dining area and has a direct view of Coronado Beach. The pool has a full bar and private cabanas equipped with refrigerators, big-screen TVs, and safes that can be rented by the day.

The Shore House has its own zero-depth walk-in pool.

The Shore House has its own zero-depth walk-in pool.

(Nancee E. Lewis/For the San Diego Union-Tribune)

“So you have this zero-depth entry where at the end of the pool it literally starts at zero entry and then gently drops down to 5 feet in the middle,” Tuesca explained. “So we imagine it’s more family-friendly or for those who are afraid to swim.”

This bar area serves the swimming pool and the Bistro.

Shore House bartender Charlie Scalzo prepares drinks at the bar, which serves the pool and Bistro.

(Nancee E. Lewis/For the San Diego Union-Tribune)

Individual residences feature gourmet kitchens, all equipped with upgraded appliances, ranging from dishwashers and wine coolers to Sub-Zero refrigerators and Wolf ranges. All have washers and dryers, fireplaces, and lanais with ocean, bay, and resort views.

“They are perfect for large families, people traveling together,” said hotel marketing director Del Coronado. Dennis Chapman. “It’s great for longer stays because of the kitchen, laundry room and their space.”

While much of the sprawling resort faces the beach, the Shore House sits closest to the ocean of all the other guesthouses, as it’s in an area where the strip of sand is much narrower.

One of The Shore House's beachfront units at Hotel Del Coronado

One of The Shore House’s beachfront units at Hotel Del Coronado

(Robert Benson/For Hotel Del Coronado)

The color palette is dominated by shades of blues, sea-foam greens, and beiges to echo the sand of the beach. Faux wood beams and large tiled floors meant to look like patterned hardwood floors complete the resort vibe.

Southpointe Event Center and upper level rooms.

Southpointe Event Center and upper level rooms.

(Nancee E. Lewis/For the San Diego Union-Tribune)

Included as part of the overall Shore House project is the adjoining Southpointe Event Center, which features a 15,000 square foot ballroom and opens onto a 14,000 square foot large lawn, with views of the hotel d ‘origin. One of the first events held at the center will be the Thanksgiving dinner.

Although Shore House residences have been sold as second homes, owners are not permitted to use them 365 days a year. Under sales contracts, owners must abide by what are known as limited use restrictions. A condition imposed by the California Coastal Commission, which is responsible for providing public access to the coast, limits use of the units by Shore House owners to a maximum of 90 days per year, with up to 25 consecutive nights at that time.

Housekeeping staff are making the beds in anticipation of guest arrivals this week.

Housekeepers Jenelle Estacio (foreground) and Melanie Caravlia prepare the beds in one of the rooms at Shore House ahead of the arrival of guests this week.

(Nancee E. Lewis/For the San Diego Union-Tribune)

However, the owners’ units can be rented out for the rest of the year, with Hotel Del sharing a portion of the revenue from overnight stays. Owners and guests have access to hotel amenities, while having their own dedicated entrance and complimentary valet parking and self-parking in an underground garage.

Nightly rates vary throughout the year, but they’re pricey, reflecting not only the units’ more upscale attributes, but also their spaciousness. A check of the hotel’s website shows nightly winter rates ranging from nearly $1,400 for a one-bedroom residence to nearly $5,000 for a three-bedroom beachfront unit. opening is offered for stays through the end of February where the third night of a three-night reservation is free. This offer expires at the end of October.

While Hotel Del has refreshed its hundreds of hotel rooms over the years, it’s not since 2007, when it opened 78 cottages and villas in its Beach Village community, that the resort has added new bedrooms. The 142 new rooms encompassed by the Shore House Residences bring the Del’s total room count to 901.

The expansion is timely, given the extraordinary demand for leisure travel and weekend getaways fueled by a prolonged pandemic. Hotel Del Coronado general manager Harold Rapoza said this year’s summer activities surpassed last year’s, which had already surpassed summer 2019 before the pandemic hit.

A project like the Shore House is a rarity these days for the California coast, not only due to the rapid evaporation of beachfront real estate, but also the strict requirements of the California Coastal Commission, said Alan Reay. , president of Atlas Hospitality Group, an Orange County-based hotel brokerage company. In recent years, the commission has pushed harder for the hotel projects it reviews to include affordable on-site or off-site housing.

Over the years, most hotel developers have paid replacement fees that are supposed to be used to create low-cost accommodations. This was the case over a decade ago when the Hotel Del Coronado’s master plan makeover was approved. He had to pay a replacement fee of $1,080,000, which years later helped fund a campground in the Tijuana River Valley.

“You’ve seen hotels lose business to Airbnb, especially in beach areas where you have a family of six, seven, eight looking for that house they can rent out,” Reay said. “And that fits that gap in the market, especially in Coronado. It’s already very desirable anyway because it’s Coronado but also because it’s Hotel Del.

Rapoza said the Shore House draws guests from across the country, from Texas and Arizona southeast to New York and Chicago, though a large number of bookings come from the Los Angeles area.

The Shore House’s debut is a fitting coda for an ambitious project — the largest in the Del Hotel’s 134-year history — designed to reinvigorate a property that still had considerable appeal but had become dated and out of step with the times. changing travel trends, especially among younger visitors.

“The spirit of the master plan recognizes that the Del Coronado Hotel is a one-of-a-kind treasure and needs to be maintained, so our goal was to preserve the Del for the next 100 years,” Chapman said. “So the Shore House caters to a traveler looking for a different, fresh and contemporary experience, or you can stay in the Victorian, which is that more traditional experience.”

New entrance to Hotel Del Coronado

The hotel’s new entrance offers a much grander sense of arrival, reminiscent of the early days of the Del when guests arrived by train.

(Courtesy of Hotel Del Coronado)

From a new sun terrace and exclusive gourmet restaurant to upgraded meeting spaces and commercial corridor, there is little left untouched on the property. One of the most significant changes, which was a nod to the hotel’s 19th-century roots, is a grand new entrance leading to an expansive veranda which, until its debut last year, was never overlooked. had not been seen for a few years after Marilyn Monroe walked up the hotel steps in “Some Like It Hot”.

Hotel Del Coronado's renovated terrace offers food and drinks with views of Coronado Beach.

Hotel Del Coronado’s renovated terrace offers food and drinks with views of Coronado Beach.

(Kristian Carreon/For San Diego Union-Tribune)

While most of the resort’s rooms have been upgraded and refurbished as part of the masterplan work, rooms at The Victorian have not been refurbished since 2012. There are plans to tackle this remodeling, but it is not there’s no target date yet, says Chapman.

Next up for a refresh, however, is Beach Village where the owners, from January, will cover the cost of interior renovations. The homeowners association, Rapoza said, will pay for exterior renovations.

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