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Island Life at El Cordova Hotel
In Coronado

Story by Greg Aragon

oronado Island is a seaside paradise in San Diego Bay that is full of history, relaxing atmosphere and great weather. The small, resort town is also home to a charming boutique hotel called El Cordova, which I recently discovered on a memorable weekend getaway.

The adventure began when a friend and I drove through Downtown San Diego, crossed the beautiful, 2-mile-long Coronado Bridge and entered the tiny island. Here we made our way a few blocks toward the beach and found the El Cordova, resembling a small Spanish village on a corner, across from the famous Hotel Del Coronado. We then checked into a luxurious one-bedroom suite, overlooking the hotel pool and restaurant.

El Cordova Hotel, Coronado Island
Like a small Spanish village, El Cordova Hotel offers everything one needs for a weekend of exploration and fun (picture courtesy of El Cordova)

Featuring a spacious bedroom with queen bed, and a living room with sleeper sofa, full kitchen, small dining area and large closet, the 500-plus-sq-ft room had everything we needed for a weekend of exploration and fun.

the pool at El Cordova Hotel
The hotel boasts a pool, lush gardens and a serene courtyard for a tranquil getaway (picture courtesy of El Cordova)

Outside the room, the hotel boasts gift shops, an art gallery, spa and salon, bike and beach rentals, a clothing store, and a gourmet Mexican restaurant. The resort also offers guests a tranquil buffet breakfast each morning, in the courtyard, beside the pool and a large trickling fountain. And just beyond the hotel's main entrance is Coronado Beach and an historic old-town, with myriad shopping, entertainment and dining options.

the Coronado Ferry
The Coronado Ferry offers fun trips across the bay to Old Town San Diego

One of the highlights of my Coronado Island visit was a stroll through town to the Coronado Ferry Landing, where we took a nostalgic, 15-minute boat ride across the bay and then walked around San Diego's legendary Gaslamp Quarter. Covering about 16 square-blocks of Victorian-era buildings and modern skyscrapers, the Gaslamp boasts more than 100 of the city's finest restaurants, pubs, nightclubs and retails shops, as well as offices and residential/work lofts.

the historic Gaslamp Quarter, San Diego
The historic Gaslamp Quarter is 16 square-blocks of Victorian-era buildings and modern skyscrapers

Back in Coronado, I strolled down Orange Ave., the town's main drag, and discovered Coronado Brewery, where I experience and crisp, clean and refreshing Coronado Golden pilsner, a light-bodied, delicately hopped session beer, brewed using pilsner malts and Czech Saaz hops.

After the brew, I walked back to El Cordova and enjoyed an authentic Mexican meal at Miguel’s Cocina. Located in the hotel's courtyard, Miguel's is known for fresh seafood and potent margaritas. My meal began with a classic Mexican ceviche with shrimp, scallops and white fish, in citrus juice with diced tomato, onion and cilantro. After mucho ceviche, I devoured a plate of succulent shrimp enchiladas with sautéed shrimp, salsa fresca and an unforgettable white jalapeño sauce with avocado slices.

tacos at Miguel's Cocina, El Cordova Hotel
Miguel’s Cocina serves authentic Mexican seafood and meats dishes
(picture courtesy of Miguel's)

With a full belly I toured the historic hotel property. Originally built in 1902 as a retirement mansion house for wealthy industrialist Elisha Babcock, the El Cordova was converted in 1930 into a Spanish Village hotel and has been updated and expanded several times since then to provide additional rooms and amenities. Today, the hotel-resort is an alluring Spanish hideaway with winding, brick walkways, shady courtyards, lush vegetation and gorgeous, mission-styled architecture.

breakfast buffet at the colorful courtyard of El Cordova Hotel
El Cordova offers guests a buffet breakfast each morning in the colorful courtyard

Besides it's picturesque design, the hotel is also about beach location. It is bordered by the Pacific Ocean to the South and West, San Diego Bay to the North and Glorietta Bay to the East. The majestic Coronado Bridge connects the hotel and Coronado Village to downtown San Diego while the peninsula known as the Silver Strand provides access to a stretch of more beautiful beaches and the gateway to Mexico by land.

Coronado Bridge at sunset
Coronado Island is accessible via the iconic Coronado Bridge
(picture courtesy of El Cordova)

The El Cordova Hotel is located at 1351 Orange Avenue, Coronado, CA, 92118. For more information and reservations, call (619) 435-4131 or visit:

Related Articles:
Grand Colonial Hotel in La Jolla; Passport to San Diego; Bahia Resort Hotel Summer Fun, San Diego; Fall Fun at Hilton San Diego Resort and Spa; Search of the Ghost at the Del Coronado; Grand Colonial Hotel, La Jolla; London – By Way of San Diego

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Let Greg know what you think about his traveling adventure.

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Feedback for Harry Potter at Universal Studios

Going to Universal Studios Hollywood to see the Harry Potter "land" is on my bucket list!!

-- Nancy, Hawaii

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Feedback for A Spring Escape to Maui And Hotel Wailea

I leave here April 21 for Maui and can hardly wait. It'll be my 15th trip, more or less and I love it, and your pictures.

-- Ellie – Port Ludlow, WA

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Hi Greg,

It's not a forest of banyan trees in Lahaina by the harbor. It's one huge tree, about 140 years old. It's an important landmark of Lahaina, and one of our favorite views.We always stay at the Pioneer Inn, overlooking the harbor and the banyan tree. Every evening thousands of mynah birds fly into the tree, chattering and fluttering until they settle down for the night. Otherwise, great article.

-- Virginia – Northridge, CA

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Feedback for Hilton San Diego Resort & Spa

Very nice story, Greg.

-- Maris Somerville – Los Angeles, CA

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