The Incomparable Hotel Del Coronado: Curio Collection by Hilton

Updated: Sep 11

During our 14 day tour of SoCal, Nevada and Arizona, we had the wonderful opportunity to stay at the Hotel Del Coronado and BOY! it did not disappoint! Let me tell you all about it.

P.S. Read to the end to find out how we stayed for free! And how we received $250 statement credit from American Express.

Their Star-Studded History

I’ll first start with the backstory of the Hotel Del (as it is endearingly called by the people in the know…LOL). Yes, everyone knows about the fact that many movie stars stayed at the hotel, to include Marilyn Monroe when she filmed the movie ‘Some Like It Hot’ but did you know that this is the hotel that inspired Disney World’s Grand Floridian Hotel in Orlando, FL?! As a Disney-Enthusiast, that made the Hotel Del even more alluring and attractive to me.

Built in 1888 on the island of Coronado by Elisha Babcock, Jr. and Hampton L. Story, the Hotel Del accomplished what the Founders set out to do… to build a hotel that would be “the talk of the western world” and one that “people will continue to come to long after we are gone”. Here it is 2022 and the place was teeming with beach lovers, surfers, haute cuisine enthusiasts, foodies, vacationers and more.

During the Covid outbreak when travel was reduced to a trickle, they decided to turn lemons to lemonade by renovating their property and building luxury cabanas, villas and residential-style accommodations. With their renovations completed, you will find diverse accommodation that is sure to please the pickiest of guests.

The Victorian - located in the original red-roofed building it was painstakingly restored and renovated to maintain the refined décor of the past, the rooms in the original building will envelope you in the “magic of two centuries” but still cradle you in modern comforts. There is also a rumor that it is supposed to be haunted. Although I don’t believe in ghosts, I stayed at The Views…just in case (LOL).

The Cabanas – accommodations that extend out onto the beach or pool, your room will absolutely come alive in this extra outdoor space replete with seating area and fire pit under a nautical themed canopy. An envy of all who pass by!

The Views – Be in the center of the action without worrying about crowds. Situated directly in front of the beach, your newly renovated balcony room will give you beautiful views of the Pacific Ocean and fragrant air from the ocean breeze. The rooms are well appointed with new décor, furnishings and upscale bathrooms.

Beach Village – in this gated community you will find cottages and villas to include concierge service and exclusive experiences. Oh. Did I mention beachfront?! But of course….

Shore House – Lap of Luxury. Is it a hotel? Is it a house? It’s both! In this oceanfront private neighborhood, stay in residential-style accommodations that are unique to any hotel you have experienced. Amenities include VIP Concierge Service, Private Welcome Experience, Oceanfront Shore House Pool and Pool Bar. Grand Opening is set for Fall of 2022, at the time of this post, they are running a FREE night special if you book 2 nights by September 15, 2022. ACT FAST!!

5 Unique Must-Do Experiences (that we did)

1). Roast – S’mores are an all-time favorite treat for my family. The Hotel Del took it up a notch with their seaside bonfire complete with S’mores kits and water for up to 10 people. The attendants ensure that you do not run out of any items regardless of how many layers of marshmallow, chocolate and graham cracker your S'more has. In addition, you will be able to take home your own Hotel Del Coronado sand bucket that your goodies come in. With the warm sand between our toes, ocean waves just a few feet away and delicious S’mores sweetening our taste buds, our memory making moment was made perfect.

2). Surfing Lessons – Ocean waves are synonymous to surfing…BUT some people (like me and my family) do not know how to surf. Fret not!! You can learn! Directly in front of The Views at Del Beach, is the Del Surf Academy where my children learned how to surf from some of the best Surf Instructors in SoCal. After many wipe-outs and laughs, my kids were able to catch a few waves. The 90 minute surf instruction includes surf boards and wetsuits. If you already know how to surf but left your board at home, simply rent it at the Del Surf Academy. Stand Up Paddle Boards, Body-boards and wetsuits are also available for rent. Hang 10 Baby!!

3). Bicycle, swim and sunbathe – Get Wet! The Pacific Ocean is splendid. Whether you jump in head first or just with your toes, you must allow the Pacific salt water to touch your skin. Afterwards, allow the sun to dry you off. The private beach was not crowded giving lots of elbow room between our family members and other families that were on the beach. Don't forget to rent a beach cabana to relax in after your swimming and biking. Warning: There is a high probability of you falling asleep in the cabana so be prepared! (LOL) If I close my eyes, I can feel the salty breeze and the cool ocean water tantalizing my senses. After you swim and sunbathe, go for a nighttime bike ride with rad wheel lights.

4). Dining at Sun Deck and Serea – Get to Sun Deck early to grab yourself a table with a fire pit and a view! Then order a delicious fruity beverage with an appetizer. Now you are positioned to listen to great tunes and view one of the most electrifying sunsets ever! The fruity beverage kissing my lips and the delicious appetizers dancing on my tongue made for a nostalgic moment that I will not soon forget. Afterwards, we ate dinner at Serea. Their menu was filled with mouthwatering options. It was very hard to choose. By the way, get the bread service with whatever entrée you decide on. You will not regret it.

Aside from the Serea and the Sun Deck, there are more places at the resort to eat and drink. Sheerwater for daily breakfast and dinner

Babcock & Story Bar - Afternoon and Evening cocktails, small plates and music

Eno Market & Pizzeria - Afternoon and Evening (pizza to order and a small market packed with desserts, grab and go meals and bottled drinks (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic).

Beach & Taco Shack - opens daily for fish tacos and fruity beverages

Sundaes - appropriately named here you will find gourmet gelato and paleta popsicles

*Beach Village Dining - Exclusively for Beach village guests

With VIP Access, you will be able to dine at the Windsor Cottage, Beach Village Pool and Windsor Beach Club. Oooh! Fahn-cy!!

5). Celebrate Special Occasions – The staff /management at the Hotel Del certainly know how to make your special moment even more special. In addition to doing a SoCal, Nevada and Arizona Educational tour for our Worldschooling children (students), we were celebrating my 54th birthday and 18th wedding anniversary at the Hotel Del Coronado. Hotel Del did a fine job of delivering a delightful charcuterie plate with champagne to toast our wonderful occasion. If you will be celebrating a special occasion at the Hotel Del, call the concierge prior to your arrival. They will help you create a personalized itinerary, spa treatment, in-room deliveries of delicious snacks and more to make your celebration amazing and memorable.

Can I just be honest and say I underestimated the Hotel Del. I really thought I could do and see everything in a short amount of time, therefore, I only allotted 2 nights. If do-overs were real, I would book at least a 7 day retreat. Although we only had time to do a handful of activities, there were so many more exclusive things to experience at the Hotel Del. If I had more time, I would have gotten a massage & a facial at the spa, did the Ice House and the History Tours. I guess that means I will have to visit the Hotel Del one more time (wink wink).

SCOOTER VIEWS (Inclusive Travel)

As mobility challenged traveler, I always like to give inclusive travel insights to prepare others with differing abilities. I was super-pleased that the entire property was beautifully accessible. I say “beautifully” because it is very obvious that accessibility was not an after-thought. They were purposed in ensuring that scooter/wheelchair accessibility ramps, doors, etc. were part of the architecture and design. You do not know how many times I have frequented a facility where I had to be escorted up a rickety wooden ramp or an elevator located in employee entrances or go half-way around the edifice into an alleyway to a utility elevator to get inside a venue. Well NOT at the Hotel Del. Modern walkways that ushered guests of all abilities from one level to the next adorned the entire property. Automatic doors allowed for easy entrance into all areas. This made it extremely easy to venture out independently. There wasn’t a single public area that I couldn’t get in to!

In addition, the Hotel Del partners with Mobility Source ( on the island who provides rental scooters and beach wheelchairs to guests. Although I will do an exclusive post about Mobility Source in a future post, I wanted to point out that without them, I would not have had the opportunity to watch my children learn how to surf or feel the sand between my toes.

Having access to a mobility scooter and beach wheelchair enriched and elevated my resort experience. Their prices are very affordable and the owner understands how important it is for disabled people to be engaged with the life happening around them instead of just watching from the sidelines. I applaud them for the services and products they provide. Look for my exclusive post soon!!

Feel free to go to to read up on the fabulous resort and book your stay.

How we stayed for free

I can answer that in one word. Points! Many of you know that we have been Worldschooling our children for over 10 years now. When Covid threatened to turn our Worldschooling into Homeschooling, I began to devise a plan to visit 10-15 countries per year once the world opened back up. That is easier said than done with family of four because it can get quite expensive. That is when I stumbled upon the Tricks to Travel course on how to travel for free. Ronnie Dunston, the founder, broke down the strategies that he and his wife used to travel to 100+ Countries for free.

I soaked up the information and began to implement it. In less than 8 months I was able to amass over 1.2 million Hilton Honors Points and 4 free nights’ certificates, 350,000 Marriott Points and over 600,000 airline points (various airlines). Along with the points, I also became a Diamond Member with Hilton, Platinum Member with Marriott, and have status with multiple airlines. Not to mention over 1,600 airport lounges that me and my family can enter for free.

Now, back to the Hotel Del. I used my Hilton Honors points and certificates to book a room in the Traditions. Then using the upgrade template that Ronnie created, I contacted the hotel to let them know that I was celebrating my birthday and anniversary. Platinum members are given upgrades based on availability so I was graciously upgraded to The Views. Also, because I have the Hilton Honors Aspire American Express card, I was able to get a $250 statement credit for using my card for incidentals at the Hotel Del a Hilton Resort. Boom!!

In 2022, I have booked 25 hotel nights that equates to $8000 and 8 round trip airfares equally $4,900 for a grand totally of $12,400. However, I paid $0.00. The other fabulous thing is, I still have lots of points and miles left. Fantastic, right?!

Our Rating

Overall, Hotel Del Coronado earned the rating of 5 out of 5 BELLS (our rating system). From the water fountain of their driveway and all the way to the waters of the Pacific Coast, everything was simply fabulous. Every staff member we encountered were kind, professional and went our of their way to accommodate our requests. We will be sure to visit again, real soon!!

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