Hotel California

Located on a small peninsula outside the city of San Diego, the legendary Hotel Del Coronado (Coronado, CA) is a familiar sight to many with its stunning white-washed façade and red-roofed tower. Opened in 1888, it is considered one of the last standing examples of the wooden Victorian seaside resorts that were once so popular. In fact, the Del, as it's affectionately known, was once a playground for the rich, famous, and privileged who flocked there for its numerous amenities and modern technology. In its early years, the hotel was one of the largest buildings in the country to have electric lights. It also had telephones, elevators, a fire alarm system, and bathrooms with water pressure, which was a rarity at the time. Throughout the years, the Del has managed to overcome difficult periods, such as the Depression and World War II, by adapting to the times. Its constant reinvention continues to this day. Recently, the hotel introduced Beach Village, a collection of 78 luxury beachfront cottages and villas; a state-of-the-art fitness center; and the highly anticipated Spa at the Del, a 12,000-square-foot health and wellness retreat.

 The legendary Hotel Del Coronado has achieved landmark status with its recognizable red tower.
The legendary Hotel Del Coronado has achieved landmark status with its recognizable red tower.

Inspired by its location overlooking the Pacific, the 21-treatment room spa features a menu reflecting the therapeutic benefits of sun, sand, and sea. The Ocean Massage ($185, 50 minutes) and Sea Salt Scrub ($270, 80 minutes) both start with a hydrotherapy bath utilizing sea salt to help balance the skin's moisture level. In addition, there's the Sea Kissed Scrub ($155, 50 minutes), the Coastal Paradise Peel ($155, 50 minutes), and the Sunshine Honey Wrap ($155, 50 minutes).

Spa-goers can relax in the whirlpool before or after their treatments.
Spa-goers can relax in the whirlpool before or after their treatments.

The menu also features four packages that correspond to the location-oriented theme. For example, the Sea Voyage ($290, 1 hour 45 minutes) includes a salt scrub, a Swedish Massage, and a soothing hand and foot treatment. The Sand Voyage ($290, 1 hour 50 minutes) involves a Del Facial, a Swedish Massage, and a treatment for the delicate eye area. Guests interested in a more inclusive package can opt for either the Sun Voyage ($450, 3 hours), which features a sea enzyme wrap, a Swedish Massage, and a foot treatment, or the Sky Voyage ($740, 5 hours) with its hydrotherapy session, seaweed treatment, Swedish Massage, Del facial, and manicure and pedicure.

The new Beach Village cottages are an example of the Dels reinvention.
The new Beach Village cottages are an example of the Dels reinvention.

Although the spa currently relies on products from Babor and Epicuren, spa director Amber Loose intends to revise the menu and introduce new product lines later this year. "I think it is very important to keep up with the trends," says Loose. "It's also good to change services to keep things interesting for our repeat clientele." With the updated menu, Loose plans to offer additional treatments for men and brides. It will also feature makeup consultations, glycolic peels, and 20-minute soaking sessions that make use of the spa's two hydrotherapy tubs. The new menu, however, will continue to feature the spa's location-oriented theme.

Guests will soon be able to gather around the blazing fire on the spa terrace for after-hours reflexology treatments.
Guests will soon be able to gather around the blazing fire on the spa terrace for after-hours reflexology treatments.

Spa-goers can also book a Feng Shui haircut and style with celebrity stylist Billy Yamaguchi at his namesake salon at The Del. Author of Feng Shui Beauty (Sourcebooks, 2004), Yamaguchi is responsible for integrating the ancient art of Feng Shui with hairstyling. "Our goal is to help everyone express their personal power and inner beauty," says Yamaguchi. "Each of the Feng Shui elements is an identifier. It gives me an idea of people's personality types and lifestyles. I assess their body type and face shape, putting it all together to find the look that is best for them."

The reception desk can be found in the lavish boutique.
The reception desk can be found in the lavish boutique.

For the athletically inclined, the spa offers a host of fitness classes in addition to its comprehensive fitness center. Group classes such as Boot Camp and Yoga are often offered outside, taking advantage of The Del's award-winning beach. In the early morning hours, guests looking for an extra source of inspiration or motivation can watch the Navy SEALS in action as they train on that same esteemed stretch of sand.

Many of the spa's treatments are inspired by The Del's seaside locale.
Many of the spa's treatments are inspired by The Del's seaside locale.

With 65 employees on staff, 20 of whom work full time, the spa is able to accommodate 252 treatments in a single day. Loose enlists the help of Secret Shoppers to ensure the spa continues to offer a consistent level of service. "We have three secret shopper programs," says Loose. "One is quarterly, one is monthly, and the other is at random." The info garnered from the experience is then used to coach and counsel the staff. "The leadership team sits down with each associate on an individual basis to go over the shop," says Loose. "We highlight the positive and discuss the areas of opportunity."



Opportunities are what Loose intends to take advantage of when looking toward the future. Weddings are one missed opportunity she'd like to remedy by offering better packages that cater to couples and bridal parties. She is also planning to offer small groups the chance to experience reflexology treatments after hours outside on the spa terrace. With a toasty blaze in the fire pit and a tranquil vanishing- edge pool, it's the ideal place to kick back with friends and a glass of champagne. The Del's newest addition will certainly have spa-goers toasting.

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