November 11, 2013

Family Staycation at the Hotel Del Coronado

It would be a lie if I said the last few weeks have been easy around here.  I know, it probably seems like I spend most of my time checking out cool toys, going places and creating things.  I do.  But there is a lot of behind the scenes work that goes on and I've had to make some big decisions lately.  Stress.  And lack of family time.  So when Craig brought up the idea of heading to the Hotel Del Coronado or "The Del" as most locals call it I required no convincing.  None. 

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I expected to go for lunch and a walk on the beach.  Maybe an adult beverage.  Or two.  But what I got was so much more.  I like to think it might have been a small lesson in karma.   A while back Craig sent a Make-A-Wish child to the Del for his wish - a family vacation.  They were due to arrive on a weekday and because of the nature of Craig's job he really can't leave his desk much during stock market hours.  So I delivered a welcome gift and some colorful Make-A-Wish balloons to the Del for the family.

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The staff at the Beach Village was so incredibly amazing and I kid you not, I almost cried when I saw just how special they had made everything for this family.  They removed standard hotel beds and brought in a bed shaped and painted like a boat for the wish child who was close to Kayla's age. The bathtub was filled with colorful beach themed toys and there were about a hundred other things they did to make things downright dreamy.   Including leaving a cuddly stuffed animal for each child waiting in their beds.

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As we were approaching the hotel, Craig and I were trying to point it out to Kayla and the words "the red castle" slipped out of my mouth because the architecture would certainly remind a 4 year old girl of a castle.  It stuck.  Upon arrival, we sat down for lunch at the Beach Village pool and Kayla who lives to color started drawing her own red castle.

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We ate lunch. Some of us did it at lightning speed in an effort to get right into the pool that was just a few feet away.  Much to our surprise the amazing team at the Beach Village had saved us a cabana, sent over a bottle of champagne for the big kids and were kind enough to ask me first if little Miss Kayla was allowed to have ice cream before just offering it up to her.  Here's the part where you're wondering if they knew I write a blog and I can 1000% guarantee you that they had no idea.  Which I love.  

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And clearly so did Kayla.  Who was all to happy to show off her Haagen Dazs and her duck lips.  Ice cream was followed by more swimming in the pool that was peppered with other families most of which had a child or two not too far off from Kayla in age.  It's hard to get a picture of the three of us because it usually means a stranger has to take it and honestly, I'm awful about asking people to do it.  I'm just so used to being behind the camera.

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And let me just call out the giant elephant in the post.   This is probably why I stay behind the camera...because of course the only picture we got all together involves Kayla's hands in all the wrong places!  Moving right along...

Remember how I said there was a cuddly stuffed animal waiting for the Wish Child upon arrival at the Beach Village?  Well apparently there is a story behind this bunny because that little boy spent a good part of his vacation looking for bunnies that tend to hop around the area as the sun sets.  Which melts my heart because I remember doing the exact same thing with Kayla a long time ago when Craig's dad was sick and we were visiting his parents every weekend.

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The always so-insanely-thoughtful-that-they-must-work-for-Hallmark-or-something Beach Village staff came down to give Kayla a fluffy little rabbit of her own.  There was no question as to whether "Bunny" would quickly become an important person (okay, animal) in Kayla's life.

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He recently underwent an ear reattachment surgery performed by yours truly under dire,  tear filled conditions.  I'm happy to report that Bunny is still with us.  After swooning over bunny for a bit we headed out to the beach.

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The really really gorgeous beach.  Which probably explains why they host so many weddings.  We've already got one to attend on Memorial Day weekend 2014, which I'm super excited about.  And of course Kayla and Craig took off like two 5 year olds instead of one 42 year old and a 4 year old.  There's something about this photo that just makes my heart melt. 

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After some beach cruising and sand digging we decided to check out the grounds of the hotel because similar to La Quinta in Palm Springs, there are restaurants and shops galore.

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Most with a view.  Which is exhilarating.  It's also a nice reminder that we are so lucky to live in San Diego and have this just a few minutes away.  

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Kayla was very impressed with the iconic architecture.  I was impressed that Kayla was impressed.  Craig wanted to find the candy store.  On our way there we strolled through a store filled with Hotel Del merchandise.  Where I was super excited to see one of the very first products I ever featured on my blog.

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Made by a San Diego mom who is truly an inspiration to me.  She's got a bunch of other books out now too.  We did eventually make it to said candy store.  Where I was convinced that Kayla REALLY needed this cereal treat ice cream cone.  Yes, you counted correctly.  I let my child eat junk twice in just a few hours.  We lived a little.

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Then sadly, we had to say goodbye to Coronado and the Hotel Del because I remembered that we had two furry friends at home who probably had a lot of pent up energy (and really needed to pee) by now.


As we headed back over the bridge that Connects Coronado to downtown San Diego Kayla let it be known that she loved Coronado, the Red Castle and her bunny before promptly passing out.  Mission accomplished.  Quite possibly the most amazing family day we've ever had.


If you're thinking about a mini getaway or a staycation, I think you know where I stand.  The Del certainly isn't cheap, but it is amazing.  Even the trash cans are pretty!  I kid you not. Plus unlike other resorts the staff is just ON.  Always.  Every single person we came in contact with was so nice that I was nearly speechless.  Which as you know, doesn't happen often.  I really hope to make it back there this winter when Make-A-Wish has their annual fundraiser there!
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