Historic Hotel Del Coronado Entering Last Phase Of $550 Million Renovation

by joeheg

If you’re like me, you often fall into a rabbit hole when it comes to reading about the ownership of historic hotels. The stories of how they move from one owner to another fascinate me, as the stories seem to be a mixture of a soap opera and a reality show.

One such hotel with a rich history is the Hotel del Coronado in San Diego. Built in 1888, the Hotel del Coronado was the largest resort hotel in the world at the time. It was designed by architects James W. Reid and Warren Wood, and was built by Elisha Babcock Jr. and Hampton L. Story. The hotel was a masterpiece of Victorian architecture, with its red-roofed turrets, grand porches, and elegant ballrooms.

Over the years, the hotel has hosted many famous guests, including presidents, royalty, and celebrities. It was the site of the filming of the classic movie “Some Like It Hot,” starring Marilyn Monroe, Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis. The hotel has also played a significant role in American history, serving as a wartime casualty station during World War II.

The Hotel del Coronado has changed hands several times over the years, with various owners adding their own touches to the property. Today, the hotel is owned by Blackstone Group, a private equity firm. They acquired the hotel in September 2015 when they purchased the REIT Strategic Assets & Resorts. Blackstone quickly sold the assets to the Chinese company Anbang Insurance Group but the US Government blocked the sale of the Hotel del Coronado due to its proximity to the Naval Base Coronado.

The other assets were sold with Blackstone Group retaining ownership of the hotel. I can only guess that they decided to turn lemons into lemonade and soon announced a $550 million project to renovate the century-old property. Instead of trying to turn the hotel into a modern version of itself, they took the opposite view and decided to return the hotel to how it looked when it opened in 1888.

The work on the exterior of the hotel earned the property the 2022 Preservation Design Award for Restoration from the California Preservation Foundation.

a large building with many balconiesa large white building with red roofs with Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa in the background

The final phase of the renovation is about to start. The hotel is going to close the Victorian Wing guestrooms beginning in January 2024 for a restoration scheduled to be finished by Spring 2025, at the cost of around $160 Million.

The indoor event spaces begin in October 2023 and have a targeted completion date of Spring 2024. The Victorian guestrooms will be closed beginning in January 2024 and will be completed by Spring 2025. Accommodations will continue to be available in The Del’s other four neighborhoods: The Views, The Cabanas, Beach Village and Shore House.

Bringing a classic hotel back to life but keeping the charm is not an easy task. It takes time and a load of money to do the job right. Fortunately, a company like the Blackstone Group has deep enough pockets to see that the investment in this iconic property will be worth it in the long run.

I can’t wait to visit when it reopens. In fact, this would be a great place to use our Hilton free night certificate as the hotel is part of the Curio Collection.

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary


Christian October 26, 2023 - 11:12 pm

Maybe it’s just my imagination but I see a substantial resemblance to The Grand Floridian at Disney World.

joeheg October 26, 2023 - 11:33 pm

It’s no secret that Disney used the hotel as the “inspiration” behind the design.


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