Welcome to Rich Life Travels!
I’m continuing the recap of our recent trip to Southern California, celebrating my husband’s 50th birthday. We call it the “Bill Turns 50 Trip” which began at Madonna Inn and continued to the Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel.
After three nights at the Ritz, we headed south once again to San Diego. More specifically, Coronado.
Neither Bill nor I had ever been to Coronado. I fact, I have not been to San Diego since I was a very small child and have only spotty memories of visiting Sea World with my parents in the 1970s. Bill has only been to San Diego once for a work conference.
Many times Bill and I discussed vacationing in San Diego, staying at Hotel del Coronado. It’s been on our must-stay list for about 15 years. It took a milestone birthday to finally make it happen!
We arrived in the city of San Diego, then took a bridge over to Coronado Island. It’s a long stretch of beachy land, just west of San Diego. From Coronado Island, you can look across the harbor to San Diego.
We entered the 127-year-old hotel and were promptly greeted by a friendly and welcoming staff. I let them know it was my husband’s 50th birthday and told them if there were any upgrades available, we’d want to hear about them!
I had hoped to stay in the main hotel at Hotel Del but when the receptionist told us there were very desirable rooms in other nearby buildings, we decided to take a look. She gave us the key to a room in a building across from the main entrance of the hotel.
Once we saw the patio and the view we knew this would be the ideal room for us. Upgrade!
Located between the main pool and the beach, this series of rooms is just under a fun outdoor bar and restaurant. You would think it would have been noisy but it wasn’t at all.
The room was spacious and comfortable but we spent little time inside. We were either walking around the property, strolling along the boardwalk, eating or drinking something or just watching the world go by from our patio.
This was our view for three days. Why go anywhere with this scene in front of us?
It seems there is always something interesting – or beautiful – to take in at Coronado Beach.
And I could never get enough of the hotel itself. It’s so majestic and stately!
I like to think about the hotel’s 127 year legacy. What were the people who stayed at Hotel del Coronado in the late 1880s like? What did they wear to the beach? What did they do for fun? Did they set up umbrellas on the lawn in 1888 like this family did in 2015?
And what must it have been like seeing Marilyn Monroe and Jack Lemmon frolicking on the beach during the filming of Some Like It Hot? Pretty fantastic, is my guess!
Hotel Del is full of photos from its past and so is the “History” page on their website. It’s worth a visit!
I love the way Hotel Del elegantly blends the conveniences and luxuries of the modern world with the charm and stateliness of the past. The best of both!
During our visit, my husband turned the big 5-0! He only wanted one thing for his birthday: to go paddle boarding for the first time.
Bill’s eldest daughter, Kayla, arranged and paid for her dad to rent a paddle board as a birthday gift (she also sent three cold Stella Artois beers and some chocolate covered strawberries to our room the morning of his big day, She sure loves her dad!).
Here he is trying to decide which board to try.
Since it was his birthday, I did whatever he wanted, whatever he asked. So when he requested that I paddle board with him, I could not say no, even though I am not a great swimmer and the ocean scares me for a variety of reasons. But I wanted to make my 50-year-old husband happy so I sucked it up and joined him.
Rather than each of us having our own board, he chose a board built for multiple people. This one fits up to 8 but I really can’t imagine being on one with more than three.
My husband stands 6′ 7″ so just imagine how huge this board was!!
We dragged that thing – that must weigh 200 pounds – out beyond the surf. At one point, the board flipped over on top of me, and I temporarily went into full panic mode.
Once we were out beyond the break and I composed myself, it was smooth sailing. I sat on the board while Bill paddled and watched porpoises swim by, trying hard not to fall off. Giant boards are very wobbly!
We went back and forth along a stretch of coast before I asked to head back to the beach. After all, who would take photos of this momentous occasion?
I am so happy that Bill finally had his ocean paddle boarding experience. He had a wonderful time and it is such a great memory. I hope we get a chance to try paddle boarding again. Maybe some regular-sized boards next time!
Afterwards, we returned to the room so Bill could open all his birthday cards and gifts that he had brought with him and saved for his special day. So many thoughtful friends gave him cards and gifts.
Later that afternoon, Ed, Bill’s best friend and the person who brought Bill and me together, arrived with his wife, Shana. Bill and I traveled to Italy in 2012 to celebrate Ed’s 50th birthday. It only seemed natural that they would be with us for Bill’s big day!
We had such a great time with them! It’s a good thing when you can find couples you travel well with. We could go just about anywhere with Ed and Shana and have a blast!
That night we went out to dinner on the Hotel Del property. Bill was treated to special birthday dessert – a giant s’mores!
What a special and truly unforgettable birthday celebration!
After three nights, we were sad to leave but happy to have had the pleasure of staying at Hotel Del.
It’s such a treasure!
Have you stayed at Hotel del Coronado?
Have you ever tried ocean paddle boarding?
Make it a rich day!