Some like it: Hotel Del’s latest remodel recreates the founding glory of 1888

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21 October 2021

Benjamin Harrison, the first president to stay at the Hotel del Coronado, might not recognize its rates, but if he passed through the iconic resort today, he would be familiar with the lobby and lobby.

The Del’s front porch, complete with vintage rocking chairs, was among the key items restored as another completed phase of a $ 400 million multi-phase renovation was unveiled on Wednesday.

“The porch was there in 1888 when the hotel was built,” said Harold Rapoza, general manager of the hotel. “And in 1961, they kind of covered up the front porch and built it. So we’re bringing that historical element back.”

Relying mainly on old photos, the renovators led by David Marshall have sought to restore as much as they could, for the past three years.

“The hardest part was adjusting to the historic veranda with a building that had been so altered,” Marshall said. “We had to undo a lot of things, and we had to modify it, twist it and stretch it in order to put it back in place.”

Also canceled: gender rules at Del.

The hall equipped with a spittoon was originally reserved mainly for men – who sometimes brought their fishing and hunting catches for bragging rights in the rotunda. A gallery of ladies despised him. And single women couldn’t walk into the dining room without a gentleman accompanying them.

Gina Petrone, Del’s heritage manager, said she found blueprints for the original flooring, but it was never installed.

“They were saving, saving money,” she said. “It was never an onyx floor. So plans are not always 100% reliable.” Thus, the architects relied on photos from the Coronado Historical Association, the Coronado Library and other sources.

Petrone was really proud of the stained glass window on the second floor.

Designed by the architect of the Hotel Del James Reid, the so-called Coronation Window was installed in 1888. Relocated over the years, the window has found its way into bars and restaurants, and warehouses.

But when it was restored in the 1990s, “they put it up there on the wrong floor and turned it over,” Petrone said. It was also blazing under its own weight, exposed to the elements.

Now the 133-year-old window is back in its original position – “the way it was meant to be … strengthened to last another 133 years,” she said before touring.

At Wednesday’s opening ceremony, Coronado Mayor Richard Bailey said, “When you look around at all the changes that are happening with the Hotel Del, they continue to offer these kinds of experiences. that guests appreciate and appreciate while remaining true to the history and character of the hotel.

“And as the hotel goes, so does Coronado. It is the jewel in the crown of our island.”

Future work includes 142 additional bedrooms and underground parking, all part of a master plan approved by the City of Coronado in 2008 and the California Coastal Commission in 2010.

This third phase of work follows the opening in summer 2020 of The Cabanas and the new main swimming pool, as well as four dining room upgrades – Sun Deck, Babcock & Story, ENO Market and ENO Pizzeria. This brings the hotel closer to its final debut by September 2022.

Restorations to the porch and lobby – dubbed “the most impactful” by GM Rapoza – removed non-historic additions. A large veranda offers a place to relax. A second entrance staircase (which originally served as the entrance for women) has been recreated and an improved accessible ramp added.

The non-historic windows were also replaced with period windows with red sashes, and 17 stained-glass windows other than the Coronation Window, once lost in time, have been recreated and installed in their original location.

The lobby floor space has been expanded, and historic Illinois oak lumber has been stripped and restored to its original color. The birdcage elevator has received mechanical upgrades, wooden beams throughout the lobby have been reinforced with steel, and new vintage wooden floors and carpeting have been installed.

All fixtures have been recreated based on the Victorian era originals. A new crystal chandelier inspired by the original that illuminated the lobby in 1888 was also installed.

The lobby had been closed 1 1/2 years during the renovation.

Other features guests will see:

  • Main Entrance: In the redesign, guests approach the hotel from Orange Avenue with a new road that frames a view of the hotel’s iconic turret as well as a newly redesigned porte-cochere and central fountain.
  • The Views “Neighborhood”: Located directly on the beach, The Views offers 217 upgraded guest rooms and suites, seaside design in meerschaum and driftwood with new glass balcony railings. The rooms on the ground floor have outdoor terraces with fireplaces.
  • Windsor Lawn: The remake featured new turf, trees, landscaping, lighting and a restructuring of the Paseo Lawns, now located on the north and south ends.
  • Lower Level Stores at The Del: The reopening of lower level stores at The Del began with the opening of doors to Weekends, Clothing, and Beach House, a curated collection of gifts and decorations inspired by life at the beach.
  • Ice House: Built in 1889, it has been restored to serve as a museum. In addition to a permanent and revolving exhibition space, the Ice House Museum will serve as a starting point for historical tours of the hotel, as well as a venue for private events.
  • Power Plant Meeting Space: Originally built to provide electricity to the hotel and Coronado Island, this space has been reinvented as a coworking and meeting space at The Del.
  • A new fitness center was completed in March earlier this year.

Upgrades began in 2019. Changes included Vista Terrace, an outdoor entertainment space with the historic Dragon Tree, and Serẽa, a premium sea-to-table experience with coastal cuisine with raw options. and cooked.

The laundry has been restored with a brick facade, and the original laundry transport systems remain in homage to its working history. In addition, in 2019, the north entrance and the north parking structure were given a facelift.

The Del was closed for three months in 2020 due to the pandemic.

The 2020 renovations included the Cabanas with upgraded rooms with a new pool. The Sun Deck has reopened as a modern beachfront restaurant and rooftop lounge.

Additionally, Babcock & Story Bar has received structural upgrades as well as an updated interior design. The original bar has been refurbished and the exterior awning has been replaced with a wooden trellis. The nearby B&S bakery has also been renovated.

The Del Spa & Salon has had a makeover with new salon spaces for men and women and a Beauty Bar inspired by Marilyn Monroe. (She appeared in the 1959 Del Hotel classic “Some Like it Hot” with Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon.)

But back to Harrison, the country’s 23rd president – from 1881 to 1887.

He may not have paid the lowest rate – $ 3.50 a day, three meals included. But if he stopped in a Tesla Roadster today, he might be shocked at its current costs.

The cheapest room this next Monday costs $ 431, plus a $ 50 “daily mandatory fee” which includes beach yoga, sculpt-tone and meditation classes and a $ 15 Historic Preservation Fund fee. . The most expensive is $ 1,497 (plus $ 50) for the Victorian Two-Bedroom Crown Suite, which covers 1,200 square feet and can accommodate eight people.


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