Last Updated on December 29, 2023
Something magical happens the moment you cross over the San Diego-Coronado Bridge, and that’s because Coronado has a unique vibe all its own.
Though technically not a true island, Coronado is connected to the California mainland by a thin strand of beach known as the Silver Strand. Nonetheless, it’s one of the most precious jewels in San Diego’s crown and one of her most magnificent places to stay and play.
History, location, outstanding service and value – it’s hard beating this combination when booking a place to stay. Thankfully, my husband and I have a place that as locals, we recommend for anyone coming to vacation in this charming San Diego beach town.
Old-world charm is the first phrase that comes to mind when describing the award-winning Glorietta Bay Inn. This boutique hotel in Coronado was originally built in 1908 as the home of sugar baron John D. Spreckels. A legendary civic giant, his leadership helped put San Diego on the map of national and international commerce.
History of the Glorietta Bay Inn
John Dietrich Spreckels is a highly recognized name in San Diego. It’s because Spreckels did more than any other individual in San Diego’s history to help the city prosper. His visionary leadership was one of the biggest reasons San Diego was seen as an ideal location for commerce.
Though he dedicated much of his energy to the inner workings of San Diego by purchasing the utility and water company, street car system, and establishing the San Diego railroad, Coronado Island was his true love. He invested in the Coronado Beach Company which developed the well-renowned Hotel Del Coronado, then purchased five acres of land overlooking the picturesque Glorietta Bay across from the Hotel Del to build his family mansion.
Over the years, the property was owned by the founder of the San Diego Tribune and later a local realtor. In 1975, its current owners acquired the facility and oversaw a historic renovation to preserve its character and major modernization so the building could be used as an inn.
Staying at the Inn
Famous for its Italian Renaissance architectural grandeur, this stately inn is located directly across from the legendary Hotel Del Coronado. The original mansion houses 11 historic rooms which were once bedrooms, parlors, and the library of the family estate.
Magnificent accommodations even by today’s luxury standards reflect the glory of this epic era with their high ceilings, elegant crown moldings, and impressive antique pieces. Guests staying in the penthouse can take the original brass cage elevator to their expansive third-floor suite.
Eighty-nine historic and contemporary rooms and suites are located throughout the property, elegantly decorated with subtle touches of the sand and the sea. All offer lavish bedding, plush robes and top-end bath products and each room is unique with a “grand chic” throwback feel.
We loved our first-floor historic library room complete with high ceilings, crown molding and an original hand-carved travertine fireplace that made this king-bed room extra special.
Amenities of the Inn
Guests can start their morning with a delightful hot breakfast on the outdoor verandah of the mansion overlooking scenic Glorietta Bay or in the historic and beautifully appointed Music Room complete with a baby grand piano. Afternoon refreshments of various types, Wi-Fi and parking are also included in the daily resort fee.
Other benefits of a stay at the Glorietta Bay Inn include a miniature putting green, heated pool and hot tub with umbrellas and lounge chairs and complimentary beach chairs, beach towels and beach toys.
Can’t Beat the Location
The Inn sits directly across the street from the picturesque, award-winning, white sand Coronado Beach. It’s also just steps away from the fun and fancy boutique and beach shopping and restaurants of Coronado’s main street (Orange Avenue).
Guests can play tennis on one of a dozen municipal courts just one block from the Inn, golf at the Coronado Golf Course – rated one of the best public courses in the nation and a favorite of locals and visitors alike – rent a boat or take a harbor excursion from scenic Glorietta Bay Marina.
The island is ideal for biking, walking, and jogging. Visitors can also book kayaking, paddleboarding and sailing expeditions and even hop on a Gondola Tour.
Theater aficionados will love Coronado’s Lamb’s Player Theatre, Coronado’s boutique theater, Coronado Playhouse, the oldest, longest-running community theater in Coronado, and Vintage Theater, a throwback movie theater with a retro twist.
As San Diego residents, we can vouch for the incredible quality of the plays and actors who perform here – quite impressive for a small beach town.
If you want to check out some of San Diego’s other famous attractions, SeaWorld, Balboa Park, the world famous San Diego Zoo, Old Town Historic Park, Belmont Park, Birch Aquarium at Scripps, Cabrillo National Monument, and the USS Midway Carrier Museum are only a 15-minute drive from the Glorietta Bay Inn.
For those visiting Coronado or locals looking for a perfect weekend getaway, Coronado has several types of accommodations to choose from – ranging from eclectic beach motels to high-end luxury resorts. Because of the magical and historical vibe of the Glorietta Bay Inn, we’re keeping this one at the top of our recommended list of places to stay in one of San Diego’s finest beach destinations.