[ON LOCATION] LYDIA GREGORY
There’s no questioning the California coastline’s special allure for planners—heck, for just about anybody—and of its many extraordinary destinations, there’s no doubt The Hotel Del Coronado is right at the top of the list. Built in 1888, over the decades The Del has hosted presidents and moguls, celebrities and socialites. Never one to rest on its laurels, the hotel has continuously evolved and reimagined itself across the decades, never losing sight of its focus on service and offer of unique experiences. Today, The Del is wrapping up a multi-year, multimillion-dollar renovation, restoration and development plan that began in 2018 and, when done, will have added a slew of new and upgraded accommodations (more on that later), plus some extraordinary meeting spaces. Add a breathtaking beachfront location, and the new offer is poised to make The Del the West Coast mecca for the VIP MICE bizcation market.
Danielle Boyles, commercial director for The Del, shares the resort is the only beachfront option for large-scale meetings and groups in San Diego thanks to its over 96,000 sf of flexible event space and myriad outdoor options. “As part of our $400M+ transformation, we’ve unveiled a variety of new and renovated meeting spaces, including the brand-new Southpointe Event Center, which features a 15,130-sf clear-span ballroom, 14,040-sf lawn and is one of the only newbuild event spaces in California that’s just steps from the beach. The range of classic, Victorian-style and modern venues range from the historic Crown Room, Coronet Room and Power Plant to the Cabana Ballroom, Ocean Ballroom, Founder’s Hall and more.” The resort, in fact, offers a whopping total of 60 venues and can easily absorb up to a couple thousand people. Together with their in-house events planning team, cutting-edge AV service offered by Encore and exceptional cuisine, you will be spoiled for choice when planning your event. Fun fact: The Windsor Lawn—ideal for opening receptions and open-air lunches—transforms into an ice-skating rink during the holidays.
And what’s an event without a stellar place for attendees to lay their heads and fun things to keep them entertained? Accommodations at The Del are spread out among five neighborhoods: The Victorian (367 guest rooms and suites), The Cabanas (97 guest rooms), The Views (217 guestrooms and suites), the Beach Village at The Del (78 cottages and villas) and the new Shore House at The Del (75 villas). A boutique hotel within the larger resort, the Shore House—where we stayed during our visit—has a separate lobby area, private pool with well-appointed cabanas and a hot tub plus its own bistro, pool lounge and bar to keep the libations and gourmet bites coming. The villas have anywhere from one to three bedrooms with living areas, fully equipped kitchens and terraces or balconies overlooking the ocean, pool area or Glorietta Bay. Chic, spacious and with The Del’s signature white-glove service, it’s a great option for a takeover.
“We recently had an amazing group with us who bought out our new Shore House at The Del neighborhood,” says Boyles. “They loved everything about the entire resort but wanted a more exclusive footprint for this incentive trip so that their attendees felt truly celebrated.” The attendees loved being able to enjoy all the amenities The Del had to offer, says Boyles, and then having the option to retreat to their own boutique hotel space. “The company was also able to brand Shore House with tasteful placement of their logos so that the attendees felt like it was their very own venue. It was a huge success and several of the attendees decided to extend their stay.”
Beachside resorts are inherently fun—and The Del is no slouch at making the most of its location with group activities and teambuilding events like Beach Olympics, Surf Academy lessons, LED Beach Games and Group Cosmic Golf, among others. We tried out the DIVR Virtual Reality Experience in the (heated) pool, where you put on a VR mask with a snorkel and find yourself swimming with whales and sea turtles or skydiving. And because The Del has such an amazing history, suggest a visit with “heritage manager” Gina Petrone, who can take groups of 20 to 100 on a behind-the-scenes tour of the hotel, hauntings and all. Have VIPs that need some extra down time? Book them a beach Day Bed with F&B service (and WiFi if they want to keep connected) or, better yet, have them spend a morning in the newly upgraded Spa & Salon with its private terrace and pool.
This is a place where a post-meeting buffet line will have mouthwatering steak, split lobster tails, delicate sea bass and savory cauliflower steaks—all as delicious as it is beautifully presented. Outside of the meeting room, attendees have their choice of venues, from the fresh fare at the Taco Shack on the beach (recommended if you get a beach Day Bed) or an ice-cream at Sundae’s to the delicious grab-and-go at ENO Market & Pizzeria, the endless breakfast buffet at Sheerwater or dinner at the resort’s piece-de-resistance, Serea, which specializes in sustainable sea-to-table dining with a Mediterranean twist that is a must. Here, chef JoJo Ruiz has created a menu that’s a treat for refined palates paired with surprising cocktails and a top-notch wine list. Another must? Craft cocktails with a view at Babcock & Story, where attendees can elbow up to the beautifully restored original mahogany bar.
For the remainder of the year, The Del is concentrating on finishing up renovations on the 78 seaside cottages and villas that make up the Beach Village. Two-thirds of these luxury digs are already done, along with its exclusive Oval Pool, with the balance being completed in the fall. Says Boyles, “Beach Village is absolutely perfect for incentive groups and VIPs who are looking for a
more private stay at The Del, given its exclusive experiences