Posted by: cantmisssd | February 2, 2010

Glorietta Bay Inn

The first time I came to San Diego, I blew out of suburban DC for the great and fabled Southern California coast, grabbed a rental and tore off across the Coronado bridge and into oblivion. I watched the Del looming in the distance, started to understand Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis, but Glorietta Bay Inn was a totally new level of awesome.

This place began as a mansion commissioned by good ol’ John Spreckels back in 1906. It was finished in 1908 and for sure, Spreckels and architect Henry Albright went swank. We’re talking legitimate mansion here, with marble, leather, brass, french doors, music room, solarium, molding on everything… which makes sense since John Spreckels is basically the reason that San Diego exists in any recognizable form. He ran the utilities, the mass transit- heck, the guy paid for San Diego’s railroad connection out of pocket (more on this in a future post). After Spreckles finished with it, the mansion swung to another swank San Diego family: the Copleys (they have a news service, you may have heard of it). It came to the current owners back in 1975 and they’ve done a spectacular job with the restoration.

The rooms are, not surprisingly, spacious and gorgeous. But they’ve also been fantastically modernized with 21st century amenities without sacrificing the historical grandeur. The rooms all come with free wifi, refrigerators, and cd players. They have free continental breakfast every morning that’s actually GOOD food, and refreshments in the afternoon. Plus, the setting is impossible to beat: The veranda is sun dappled and full of songbirds that hop around you without getting pushy, so you can kick back with coffee and some fuel and soak up the local laissez-faire vibe. Reminiscent in good ways of old Caribbean resorts, but if that’s not your style, there’s the music room that’s still got a bit of the old time music action going on.

And I mean, you’re still right across from the Del. It’s pretty well established that the one weakness is the rooms, so why not rock the sweet rooms across the street and then roll through all the opulence of the Del without paying a premium? Sounds like a good deal to me.

Next perk is, not unlike most of Coronado I suppose, the whole pseudo-island is just a few blocks from your door. While I’d probably go crazy if I had to spend more than a few days there, it’s a gorgeous main street they’re working with. It may take a couple of days to work your way through all the independent restaurants and weird stores, and the Glorietta Bay Inn anchors one end of the strip as an awesome base of operations for exploration.

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