At the south end of Coronado, a few blocks from a scenic inlet and a 10-minute walk from the beach, the Glorietta Bay Inn is set in a landmark Italian renaissance mansion that once belonged to sugar baron John D. Spreckels. Built in 1908, the historic home features recently renovated guestrooms and views of the bay and the iconic Hotel del Coronado, along with a pool and a complimentary continental breakfast. Glorietta Bay is located at the start of the Silver Strand, a long, low isthmus bordered by the San Diego Bay on one side and the Pacific Ocean on the other. A scenic highway runs along the length of it, connecting Coronado Island to Imperial Beach on the “mainland.” There’s also a 2.5-mile stretch of sandy beach glittering with silver shells.
YOU SHOULD KNOW The second-floor rooms are only accessible by a flight of stairs.
Each of the unique guestrooms at Glorietta Bay Inn features transitional decor that feels both timeless and fresh, particularly in the recently renovated Mansion rooms. Think upholstered beds with nailhead trim, sofas furnished in a thoroughly modern chintz, fancy crown molding, Coronado artwork, and a palette of taupes and blues that nods to the seaside. Some rooms have bay views. The hotel’s smaller Contemporary rooms -- once reserved for Spreckels’ children and grandchildren -- are nice, though they feature parking lot and street views. The Mansion rooms and suites are more spacious and swanky. You can even book a suite that was once John Spreckels’ handsome bedroom.
For a splurge, the 1,000-square-foot Penthouse Suite has bay windows framing panoramic views, French doors that lead to a large private patio, and a deep jetted tub. The suite is accessible via the home’s original two-person brass cage elevator.
Each of the guestroom bathrooms is unique. In the Contemporary rooms, the bathrooms tend to be on the plainer side, with granite counters, a separate water closet, and a standing shower or a shower-tub combo. The Mansion bathrooms are far lovelier, with bright white square tile trimmed in sea-green subway tile, pedestal sinks or marble-topped vanities, and shower-tub combos. The hotel’s website includes individual descriptions by room.
The inn’s grand foyer is a stunner, with an elegant, colorful rug complementing dark blue walls, crisp white wainscoting, and a marble stairway with beautiful brass accents and leather padded handrails. Light floods through original windows in the front Verandah Room, which has comfortable seating, but the horseshoe-shaped Music Room, meticulously restored to its former glory, is the mansion’s showstopper. The room has nine copper-clad French doors that lead out to the inn’s breakfast patio overlooking Glorietta Bay and the Hotel del Coronado.
You can see the Hotel del Coronado’s signature red turret from the inn’s outdoor pool and hot tub. Chaises line the pool area.
Quiet bay or beach with waves -- you can pick either in this part of Coronado Island. Borrow beach towels and toys from the inn.
The hotel serves a complimentary continental breakfast on its breakfast patio.
Coronado itself can be easily explored by bike -- there are paths covering much of the island. By car, it’s a scenic 12-minute drive on SR-75 South along the Silver Strand to Interstate 5. The I-5 -- more commonly known locally as “The 5” -- is a major north-south freeway. It’s a 15-minute drive north to the on-ramp for the Coronado Bridge, SR-75 North, which also connects with I-5 closer to Downtown San Diego. From I-5, you can access other highways and roads that lead to attractions across the sprawling region. If you want to cross by foot to visit Downtown, there’s a regular ferry service at the Coronado Ferry Landing north of the Coronado Bridge.
If you’re willing to splurge, the Crown Room Brunch at Hotel del Coronado (5-minute walk) is worth every penny. The drop-dead gorgeous space features a soaring vaulted wood ceiling and unique crown chandeliers (Coronado means “crowned”). The brunch itself is exquisite, but the historic elegance is a big part of the experience. Did we mention it’s spendy? No matter what, you absolutely must tour the iconic “Hotel Del,” which is a tourist attraction in its own right. For starters, Marilyn Monroe once frolicked on its beach in Some Like It Hot, filmed at the Del. Take in the rare Victorian wood architecture and treat yourself to an ice cream at the on-site Moo Time Creamery (5-minute walk). For a more affordable meal, Miguel’s Cocina (5-minute walk) is a local favorite with hearty Mexican fare.
Hotel Del’s Babcock & Story Bar (5-minute walk), named for the hotel’s founders, serves classic cocktails and casual bites, along with live music nights during peak season. Leroy’s Kitchen + Lounge (5-minute walk), a laidback gastropub known for its brunch, is another late-night boozing option, though really if nightlife is your jam, you’re better off heading to the mainland for the evening.
WHY WE LIKE IT
It’s not every day you get to stay at an opulent Italian renaissance mansion once owned by a sugar baron. The nearby bay and beach make it an even more of an experience, though there’s a pool, too, if you don’t want to leave the elegant property. And when you’re ready to explore beyond Coronado Island -- Downtown San Diego is 15 minutes away by car -- the freeway is accessible via a scenic sliver of land known as the Silver Strand.