Posted on Nov. 30, 2016
If you’re thinking of going away for the holidays but dreading long delays at the airport, you might want to consider the hassle-free option of skipping long-distance travel altogether and staying in San Diego. Families from around the world choose to celebrate the season in our beautiful city — so why not join them? Move the whole team into one of our great hotels and then let the fun begin. Enjoy the decorations, savor great meals, and take advantage of myriad recreational options and holiday activities.
Hotel del Coronado
If San Diegans were asked to name the best Christmas tree in America’s Finest City, the one that graces the Hotel del Coronado would likely be at the top of the list. That’s because visiting the elaborately decorated two-story lobby tree is a beloved tradition for generations of San Diego families. Skating by the sea on The Del’s beachfront ice rink is another favorite holiday activity. The rink will be open until January 2, and a portion of the proceeds benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Other Hotel del Coronado holiday activities include Sunday brunch with Santa, Victorian tea, and a gingerbread house workshop with The Del’s pastry chef. Children staying in the hotel can also be visited at bedtime by an elf, who’ll read them a story and leave behind a stocking with toys and candy.
Of course, the hotel’s popular year-round facilities are all open during the holidays, including Spa at The Del, beach services (comfy chairs, umbrellas, and beach beds), and a large, heated pool. Families can also cozy up around beach firepits and enjoy holiday-themed s’mores. The holiday spirit extends to four-legged guests too — the Del’s pet-friendly policy means your fur babies won’t have to spend the holidays without you.
Marriott Coronado Island Resort & Spa
Less than two miles away on the other side of Coronado, the recently renovated Marriott offers a breathtaking view of San Diego Bay, the Coronado Bridge, and the downtown skyline. Here, in a quiet, low-rise setting, guests take advantage of a wellness center with a yoga studio and lap pool, as well as courts for basketball, tennis, and pickleball.
More recreational facilities, including a playground and bike path, are available at adjacent Tidelands Park. On the other side of the Marriott, a ferry shuttles back and forth across the bay, carrying pedestrians and their bikes to San Diego. In keeping with the wellness theme of this resort, the luxurious Spa at Coronado Island (newly added this past May) offers both healing therapies and indulgent services.
Rooms and suites come in a variety of sizes, but the one- and two-bedroom cottages are the best bets for families. These come with kitchenettes, private patios, and water views. I’m even told that cottage guests can pre-order a personal Christmas tree.
The San Diego Bay Parade of Lights will pass in front of the Marriott on the nights of December 11 and 18, and on the 11th, the hotel is offering a Mexican posada dinner with wine pairing on their private pier. Doesn’t that sound like fun?
The Lodge at Torrey Pines
With a unique location overlooking the Torrey Pines Golf Course, The Lodge is a popular year-round destination and a favorite place to spend the holidays. Handsome decorations create the perfect setting for roasting s’mores, decorating cookies, listening to carols, visiting with Santa, taking family portraits, and having a jolly good time.
In addition, there are hiking trails in Torrey Pines State Park to enjoy, a state-of-the-art spa, croquet, yoga, and a heated pool with an awesome view. And, good news for golfers: Santa (and The Lodge concierge) saves tee times for guests.
La Valencia Hotel
Located in the heart of La Jolla, La Valencia is a favorite place to celebrate special occasions. This is especially true during the holidays, when the hotel’s annual Sea of Lights decorations — tens of thousands of lights from top to bottom — make the Pink Lady look positively magical.
The landmark hotel is celebrating its 90th birthday with a blowout Gatsby Gala on December 15 (see page 68 for more on that), but following the big party, the focus will be on the holidays, with traditional decorations and great meals in The Med restaurant overlooking the ocean. La V, surrounded by countless shops and boutiques, is ideal lodging for last-minute shoppers. It’s also a great spot for folks who just want to collapse by the oceanview pool and wait for Santa to arrive. ELIZABETH HANSEN
Hotel Del Coronado in daytime: Photo courtesy of ADAMS/HANSEN STOCK PHOTOS All other Photography Courtesy of La Valencia Hotel, Marriott Coronado Resort & Spa, Hotel del Coronado, and The Lodge at Torrey Pines