“I like Coronado,” our Lyft driver said as we drove down Orange, the island’s main street, on our way to the airport. “It’s got its own feel.”
I couldn’t agree more, sir. Coronado does indeed have its own feel. A feel that I can’t wait to feel again…! It’s small-town and luscious; indulgent with a beach town vibe. Leaving the island – that is just a few miles and one bridge away from downtown San Diego – was hard to do. Why can’t vacations last forever?
Mike and I arrived in sunny San Diego on Saturday, 1/28, to celebrate our 6 year anniversary. We celebrated our one year anniversary in San Diego so it was nice to come back 5 years later. Admittedly, this vacation was a lot more lavish than 5 years ago when I was still in college working as a nanny.
We stayed at the historical Hotel Del Coronado. The 70+ weather was a welcome change to the cold Bay Area weather but we realized on the short flight from San Jose to San Diego that we’d forgotten beach vacation essentials. Mike forgot his bathing suit and I forgot sunglasses. A stop at the mall was first on our agenda. But first, coffee! I excitedly found Nitro cold brew at The West Bean and splurged for a $5 cup. (I get it for free at wok so it was a little hard to swipe my card on that purchase…;)
After purchasing replacements of our forgotten items, we took a Lyft (no more Uber for us!) to Coronado. When we arrived at Hotel del Coronado I was like, “is this for real?!” The hotel is gorgeous! I think I mentioned how pretty it was there at least 5x a day.
At check-in, we were asked if we wanted to upgrade to an ocean view room for $56 more a night but, having been burned before on paying for rooms with a view (word to the wise: not worth it at the Hyatt is San Francisco or for the falls view in Niagara), we declined. What a mistake! Our room’s view was of the parking lot. Every time we walked on the ocean side of the hotel, we regretted not paying extra for the view. How nice would it have been to drinks some champs out on the patio while watching the waves crash in the distance!?
To be fair, we didn’t know the rooms had patios when asked to upgrade… Learning lesson: in the future, if our hotel has a patio and offers an upgraded view, we’re going for it! (No patio, no deal.)
Our missed view opportunity was really the only regret of our stay though so, whose to complain? Right after we put our bags in our room, we rented bikes to cruise around the island. We paid $52 for a half day (4 hours) which wasn’t unreasonable but we found cheaper places just up the street after the fact… Oh, well. We were on a time crunch anyway and the place we rented from was steps from our room.
Our first stop was lunch at Lobster West. I was really excited about this place, having googled places to eat before our stay, and was mildly disappointed. We ordered the grilled cheese with lobster and a crab roll with the intention of spilting them both. It turned out that I like the roll better and Mike like the grilled cheese so we ended up sticking to separate lunches. The food was good and fresh but I expected a different ambiance. I imagined a more authentic beach shake vibe but it felt very …corporate. It was also a little pricey for the portions.
After lunch we biked to the other side of the island on a path that took us through a golf course and then near the water. It was such a pretty and fun ride! And it was early enough that the sun was still shining bright, keeping us warm. We stopped atCoronado Brewery and spilt a flight before biking back to our hotel.
Hotel del Corando is over 125 years old with a history as glamorous as its architecture. Maybe most famously, it was the location of Some Like it Hot with Marilyn Monroe. It is also claimed to be haunted by the ghost of Kate Morgan, a young woman who checked into the hotel and committed suicide. (The cafe on the property has the Kate Morgan Mocha you can order.) Her room, now 3327, is the most requested room at the hotel.
Coronado itself has a downtown area with residential sections but the majority of the island is an army base. Exploring the island was fun but we stayed on the hotel grounds on our first night. After a hot tub sesh, we went to Babcock & Story for dinner, drinks, and live music. We ordered the calamari and California quesadillas (which I will be trying to recreate this month; stay tuned!) for dinner.
While we were eating, Gonzo Gonzalez started playing and we were glued to our seats for the rest of the night. Mike arguably scored us the best table in the place. We each had 2 cocktails and then spilt 2 beers (each time saying, “let’s just spilt one more beer and then go…”).
We literally stayed at this bar all night because of the music! We were sitting right in front of Gonzo. He was SO good. The whole restaurant was mesmerized. It’s cliche but the music literally brought us all together for the night. Barely anyone was talking. We were just there jamming together; ordering drinks and applauding in between songs. Mike and I agreed that it was one of our favorite parts of the trip.
At the end of the night I ran into Gonzo on the way to the bathroom. I couldn’t help but stop him and tell him how great he was! I yelled at him, “you’re feeding my soul!!” He thanked me and gave me a hug, all the while probably thinking man, I’m just trying to pee! Hah. We went to bed with a buzz and good music in our heads. What’s a better way to start a vacation??
To be continued… 🙂