Post updated on September 4, 2019
For those who truly know me, it’s no secret that I dedicate an extraordinary amount of my time to the pursuit of spontaneous travel deals. It’s not that I embark on these quests with a firm commitment to booking every tantalizingly cheap flight that crosses my path; it’s more of a self-inflicted obsession, an irresistible temptation that leads me through a rollercoaster of emotions, oscillating between the ecstasy of triumph and the agony of defeat.
Yet, through years of relentless scouring for flights, I’ve gleaned a valuable lesson or two. I’ve mastered the art of avoiding exorbitant airfare and developed an intuitive sense of when to seize the opportunity without hesitation. It’s safe to say that I hadn’t meticulously planned a trip to San Diego, let alone a stay at the enchanting Glorietta Bay Inn. However, when the universe presents you with the chance to fly non-stop from OKC to San Diego for a mere $59 each way during peak season, resisting the allure of a spontaneous weekend getaway becomes an almost impossible feat.
Sitting at a corner table in Starbucks, I posed a simple question, twice for good measure. “San Diego, anyone?” My husband was uninterested, but my best friend enthusiastically declared, “Absolutely, yes!” Without further ado, I booked our flights. It was high time for a girls’ trip, and it didn’t take us long to decide that three days of relaxation on the idyllic Coronado Island was the perfect escape.
An island off the coast of San Diego in sunny Southern California, Coronado may not be a well-kept secret, considering its rich history rooted in tourism, dating back to the late 1800s. The small island paradise has stood the test of time, with its legacy deeply intertwined with the development of the iconic Hotel Del Coronado.
Table of Contents
How I Found Glorietta Bay Inn in Coronado (San Diego), California
As we set out to explore the enchanting shores of Coronado, our hearts were set on experiencing the timeless allure of the iconic Hotel Del Coronado. However, reality soon reminded us that luxury comes at a price, prompting me to embark on a quest that has become second nature for every journey I undertake. Digital exploration.
My first port of call is TripAdvisor, a mecca of traveler insights. Here, I diligently sort through the city’s hotels, in this case, Coronado, scrutinizing their rankings and perusing the traveler feedback. I don’t stop there. My pursuit of the ideal lodging involves a meticulous cross-examination of prices and reviews on other websites like Booking and Expedia. After that, I compare prices and reviews on other sites like Booking and Expedia. If it’s a chain like Marriott or Hilton, I compare it with their respective shopping portals.
Tripadvisor is how I found Glorietta Bay Inn. At the time, it was ranked as the 3rd best in Coronado. Beyond glowing reviews, what piqued my interest was its history. Glorietta Bay Inn in Coronado, it turns out, occupies the original residence of none other than John D. Spreckles himself. This man, a luminary developer and proprietor of the famed Hotel Del Coronado, had once called this charming home his own.
Who is John Spreckles and Why is Glorietta Bay Inn Historic
John D. Spreckels is pretty famous around Coronado and the San Diego area as a whole. After all, he was all but Coronado’s founding father and one of the most influential men in the development of San Diego. Spreckels’ imprint on the city’s transformation from an arid expanse to the bustling metropolis we cherish today is nothing short of remarkable. A visionary of unparalleled magnitude, he dedicated a substantial portion of his time and considerable wealth to the place he adored and called home for nearly two decades.
While Spreckels held several stakes in construction companies along the San Diego wharf, the crux of his narrative unfolds with a resounding crescendo when he committed half a million dollars to the Coronado Beach Company, the masterminds behind the majestic Hotel Del Coronado. In a tale characterized by its brevity, by 1890, the reins of this splendid establishment rested firmly in Spreckels’ hands, an ownership that endured until his passing in 1926.
Yet, the Hotel Del Coronado was just one jewel in Spreckels’ crown of acquisitions and investments that elevated San Diego. His portfolio extended its reach, encompassing the city’s newspaper, the extensive rail system, the vital ferry network, and, astoundingly, the entirety of North Island itself. Indeed, there was a time when all but five parcels of land between Coronado and North Island bore Spreckels’ indomitable mark. It is this legacy that renders Glorietta Bay Inn truly exceptional.
The magnificent Italian Renaissance style mansion was more than just a dwelling for John D. Spreckles. It was his cherished dream home. Today, it stands as a luminous boutique hotel, gracing the coveted locale just steps from the sun-drenched shores of Coronado Beach.
First Impressions Upon Arriving at Glorietta Bay Inn
In the world of travel, the initial impressions often set the stage for the entire journey. In the case of my visit to Glorietta Bay Inn, I can confidently say that their staff exceeded all expectations, ensuring a remarkable start to our adventure.
Our day commenced at the unforgiving hour of 2:30 in the morning, a grueling sacrifice to catch an early flight. As we dragged ourselves into the inn, weary from our pre-dawn journey, I was the very embodiment of exhaustion and hunger – a challenging combination, to say the least. I’ve learned to cope with fatigue, but when hunger pangs strike, things tend to escalate swiftly. Arriving at the hotel, it wasn’t even 9 am yet and I was teetering on the edge of hangry. My plan was to quickly drop off our bags and find breakfast.
A Bright Start to Our Stay
There are moments when a warm, accommodating smile can feel like a lifeline, and in that particular instant, the front desk receptionist became angelic. In a stroke of good fortune, our room was not only prepared but also awaiting our arrival. The prospect of unwinding and refreshing ourselves after an early start was a welcomed respite. What followed was equally delightful. The staff at Glorietta Bay Inn extended a warm embrace, inviting us to enjoy a lovely (and complimentary) breakfast on the patio. Indulging in a spread of freshly baked pastries and luscious, ripe fruit would become a highlight of our stay.
Settling into our room after a long day’s journey was a welcome respite. My needs are simple when it comes to a hotel room: a dependable A/C or heater, a coffee maker to kickstart the morning, and a comfortable bed to ensure restful nights. However, I’ve come to truly appreciate the luxury of space, a feature that can elevate a room from functional to exceptional. A bonus, of course, is when the bathroom doesn’t mimic the dimensions of a hallway closet!
Opting for a room with two beds, my expectations were cautiously moderate, given that Glorietta Bay Inn is a boutique hotel. I was pleasantly surprised! The room is set up with a sleeping area, a study, a sitting area, a full kitchenette, a dual vanity area and the bathroom with shower. There were also your typical things like a dresser, closet area and safe.
At Glorietta Bay Inn, some rooms are inside the historic mansion while others are in the motel-like setup. Our room was located on the outside of the mansion with our own small patio area. A tranquil garden hideaway, just around the corner would prove to be a wonderful place to hang out or read a book.
While the room was adequately equipped with all the essentials and more, I couldn’t help but feel that a touch of vibrancy could breathe new life into the space. A set of curtains and minimal decorative accents could work wonders, enhancing the room’s ambiance. This, of course, isn’t a deal-breaker for me, but I recognize that such details can significantly influence the overall experience for some guests.
Admittedly, the room had more of dorm room vibe rather than the cozy feel one might expect from a boutique hotel. That said, as someone who doesn’t linger long within hotel confines, this didn’t weigh heavily on my experience. I speculate that the rooms inside the mansion may be staged differently, evoking a homier feel. Regrettably, I didn’t venture inside any of them to confirm this. Anyhow, here are a few images of our room.
The Amenities at Glorietta Bay Inn
Everybody wants to know what they can expect from a hotel without additional charges. There’s nothing quite like settling in and figuring out you have to pay an extra $10/day just to flip on the TV before bedtime (yes, that has happened) or, worse, discovering there is no coffee pot as you try to peel your eyes open after waking up (yes, that has also happened). Here’s a rundown of the complimentary services offered by the Glorietta Bay Inn.
Guests can log in to WIFI at no charge and I had no connection issues for the duration of my stay.
A simple, but satisfactory breakfast is available for each morning of your stay. The breakfast room is full of various pastries, fresh fruits, boiled eggs, pancakes, and a variety of cereals along with an oatmeal bar. Water, coffee, and a few different juices are also available. You can enjoy your breakfast in the music room or outside on the terrace with the ocean in the distance.
Lemonade and gingerbread cookies are available in the breakfast room each day between 3:00 and 5:00. It’s a nice little refreshment if you find yourself back at the hotel during the afternoon.
If the ocean water is too cool for you to take a dip in, you can take advantage of the hotel’s heated pool. It’s outdoors near the sunny south entrance of the mansion. Many pool supplies and toys are available from the hotel.
Glorietta Bay Inn is right across the street from Coronado Beach. The walk is only about 5 minutes. If you don’t mind schlepping your own stuff around, you can save some cash by loaning chairs and an umbrella from the hotel. Glorietta Bay Inn will provide them for your use along with beach towels, just don’t forget to bring them back! The alternative is renting beach chairs once you get to the beach. Personally, we borrowed some towels and made do.
Should You Stay at Glorietta Bay Inn?
All in all, this was a fantastic place to stay. The hospitality was on point and that’s something that I happen to believe separates the great hotels from the memorable ones. My fondest hotel memories always involve an exceptional staff. Let’s face it, it feels good to feel like someone really cares and appreciates your decision to stay there. I can honestly say that we never passed by a staff member whether in the lobby or on the grounds without being on the receiving end of a smile and a warm greeting. Everybody was SO nice, and we always felt well taken care of.
Despite the need for updates in some of the rooms, the Inn still had a luxurious feel. I’d really like to go back and stay in the main house. The overall experience was well above average, and I appreciate the charm and history of the home. We met a few different people around town, and it was nice to keep hearing from the locals that Glorietta was hands down the best place in town. If you enjoy boutique hotels or would like a little luxury without the price tag, Glorietta Bay Inn in Coronado is a solid choice.
What is there to do at Glorietta Bay Inn?
There’s plenty to do at and around Glorietta Bay Inn in Coronado. The hotel offers an outdoor pool at hot tub, or you can check out beach chairs from the property and walk across the street to the beach. A beautiful golf course is located less than 2 miles away or you can spend the afternoon shopping. Glorietta Bay Inn is located right on the main strip so you can walk to shops and restaurants or jump on the trolley that circuits the island.
What time is the check in and check out?
Check-in is at 3:00 pm and check out is at 11:00 am.
Is breakfast free at Glorietta Bay Inn?
Yes! Breakfast is served in the lobby every morning from 7:00 to 10:30 am. The complimentary breakfast includes bakery items, hard-boiled eggs, and fresh fruits as well as yogurt, oatmeal, cereal, and more. Coffee, tea, milk and a variety of juices are also available.
Does the hotel have on-site parking?
The hotel offers overnight parking access on-site for $15 per night for guests driving to Coronado. If the lot is full, the concierge can help you locate nearby parking.
How to get to Glorietta Bay Inn from the Airport?
If you’re flying in and not planning to rent a car, the easiest and least expensive way to reach the hotel is by Uber. Of course, taxis are also available but are more expensive than ride-share services like Uber or Lyft.
Jenna Walker is a travel writer from Oklahoma who lives with her husband, two children, and three rescue pets. While out and about in the world, she loves spending time outdoors, exploring local culture, and trying new foods. Jenna knows that, often, we overlook our own backyard. You can also find her stories and guides on the website, The Oklahoma Experience.