Construction is seldom without bumps along the way, and this is true during the $200 million, more than four-year, Master Plan upgrade at the Hotel del Coronado. Stacey Ellis, Director of Public Relations, summed it up best when she said, “This whole Master Plan has been a magnificent ballet of juggling and rearranging and will be worth it when our final end goal of a majestically updated one-of-a-kind landmark hotel is complete.”
Besides some of the obvious space issues, temporary employee layoffs may soon be a reality for some employees until different phases of the project are complete. “The Del has gone to great lengths to stagger employee layoffs to impact the least amount of people,” says Ellis. “Approximately 160 employees may be temporarily laid off for a period of time until everything reopens in June 2020, mostly in the retail boutiques, restaurant, and spa areas. The Del notified 25 food and beverage servers, six bartenders, 59 retail workers and 50 spa employees that they may be laid off when the projects begin. All personnel will retain their health benefits and stay in the system, so that they can pick up hours in other areas. Temporary jobs at other same-brand properties are also being explored for displaced employees. The Del is trying to minimize the number of layoffs and hoping to stagger them based on how the construction project progresses.
This week, The Del will close Eno Pizza with indoor seating and an outdoor patio, which served up gourmet pizzas, salads and wine. Located next door, the Babcock and Story gift store will also be closing in January, to make way for the re-imagined new space called Eno Market and Pizzeria, a gourmet style Italian marketplace, which will serve pizzas and grab and go sandwiches, baguettes, salami and olives, and a host of other gourmet items.
The Del’s spa will also be re-imaged sometime in the first quarter of next year. In the meantime, the spa is offering an array of holiday treatments. Holiday specials include Peppermint and seaweed pedicures, warm spiced mug wraps, Babor advent calendar facials and snow mushroom organic facials. The spa has 21 treatment rooms, a pool and fitness center.
Shopping will take on a new look as the lower level retail shops are revamped in a two-phase approach. Phased closures will occur in the first six months of 2020. The updated space, with women’s, men’s, and children’s clothing and specialized stores with luggage, sunglasses and other gifts, will provide an airy, interactive shopping experience.
“Progress on the Master Plan is about to get big and very real when the North Parking Structure opens on November 18,” says Kathy Breedlove, Master Plan Communication Director. The new parking structure has 729 spaces on two lower levels with surface parking. The previous lot only accommodated 236 vehicles. Guests will be happy to know that this added parking will allow The Del to bring back self-parking, with valet parking still available. A peek behind the fences showed a pretty landscaped area complete with green foliage and stairs and elevator towers.
The key to making all this work is clearly marked signage, so guests and visitors know as they drive down Orange Avenue they will now turn off on R.H. Dana Place to access the new parking garage and the temporary new entrance on the north side of The Del. The temporary new entrance will function as the main hotel drop off, complete with check-in and a ramp for ADA accessibility. Be on the lookout for the new signs, which are part of a whole signage campaign that The Del plans to unveil to help alleviate confusion and traffic issues.
The current Orange Avenue entrance and check-in will be gone forever as impending grading and site work ramps up on the new Conference Center and the new 142 guest rooms, called The Shore House at The Del. These new rooms will be the same concept as Beach Village, with whole ownership, limited term use restrictions. Another new parking structure, with one underground level, will be built to accommodate additional guests with a scheduled opening of late 2021.
One component that has taken many committees and agency approvals is the new stop light on Avenida del Sol, which needs to be put in place to accommodate the future grand entrance on the south side. “We are close to approval of the stop light by Caltrans,” comments Breedlove. “At the end of the street, a ramp will be created, replacing the stairs, to better access the beach, with a connected beach walkway to Coronado Shores.”
Work began in September and will finish May 2020 in time for summer on the California Cabanas, which are currently called The Cabanas and house 97 rooms and meeting space. The Ocean Towers, which will be renamed The Views, will begin its renovation in August 2020 and given a face lift with glass railing and roof line updates to make the building more integrated and cohesive with The Del’s overall aesthetic.
The Sun Deck and main pool are closed until June 2020 as they undergo an extensive transformation with stadium seating enhancing connectivity between the two. To offer additional dining, On the Rocks food truck is a new addition for beachside eating and drinking. Food options include bowls and salads, sandwiches and loaded French fries (which I can personally vouch for). We enjoyed the scrumptious Herbivore Fries, which were loaded with vegan bean chili, jalapenos, red onion, cilantro, avocado and vegan cheese. To say they were huge is an understatement and even the three of us couldn’t finish them, and that says a lot coming from French fry lovers. You can also get them loaded Moroccan, Barbacoa or Baja style, or plain for the less adventurous eaters. The cocktail menu includes pitchers, wine, beer, or you can bike and blender up your own margarita or other concoction. There is also a surfboard background and lifeguard tower that make for great photo opportunities.
Built in 1887, the Power Plant is getting a much-needed restoration. It’s fair to say that when it was built, no one anticipated that it would be the core facilities and operational hub for all these years. An important part of The Del’s history, the building is receiving a structural overhaul to preserve it and allow it to stay functioning. During renovation, a hidden fireplace was discovered, and it will be left exposed. The lower level will remain the center for all maintenance and back of house departments. The mezzanine level will be transformed to house a collection of small meeting spaces, which is the first time it will be used for public events.
The original Ice House will be renovated and transformed into a History Gallery where visitors can learn more about The Del’s amazing past. Plans are currently in the works to decide which stories to highlight in the exhibit.
The original Laundry Building, which was in use until 2018, currently houses administrative offices and other spaces during the construction juggling. The conference rooms have fun, laundry themed names. “We love sending memos to people to meet in the Fluff and Fold room or the Knits and Delicates room,” laughs Ellis and Breedlove. The final long-term use is still being determined.
All the pieces of this construction and renovation puzzle have to be staged to come together in a timely manner to recreate the original south facing historic porch and entrance. The Del is working with David Marshall, Heritage Architecture and Planning, to preserve and restore the architectural heritage of this famous landmark. The creation of the famous porch is scheduled to start sometime in 2020, taking about six months to complete, and will be the highlight in the jigsaw juggling of this ambitious Master Plan. (See photos of the porch over the years in this article from February 2017)
Learn more about The Del’s Master Plan Renovation