I help people plan San Diego vacations so I can tell you that Coronado Island hotels are the most frequently requested accommodations. Why? Coronado delivers what most visitors are looking for.
There are gorgeous white sand beaches that are perfect for a quintessential California beach day filled with sunshine, swimming, boogie boarding, surfing and more. It’s also convenient — Coronado is easily accessible to and from the airport via Uber, a quick ferry ride to downtown, and within a (usually) easy drive to popular attractions like Balboa Park and San Diego Zoo. And, of course, there are fantastic Coronado hotels to choose from.
The question of where to stay in Coronado can be answered with the right information. Truthfully, most people ask for Hotel del Coronado and there’s a good reason for it. But if a larger, busy resort doesn’t suit you or if you’d like a lower price point, you can find alternatives.
Keep in mind that during peak season, especially if you book last-minute, any of the Coronado Island hotels will price at a premium — including the hotels that are more budget-friendly. It is always best, especially if you need a family room, to book as far in advance as possible.
Where to Stay in Coronado, CA
The San Diego hotel that our readers book the most is Hotel del Coronado, Curio Collection by Hilton. The reason for this is because it's our best full-service beach resort and located on a beach that is regarded as one of the best in the nation.
There is a lot to know before you book and I've gone to great pains to explain the pros and cons of each building especially given that they're in the middle of an exciting, multi-year renovation (don't panic — people are booking in and still having a great time). If you are considering booking Hotel del Coronado, please read our guide.
The long roster of activities includes everything from private evening s'more roastings to outdoor spin class steps from the sand. The breakfast buffet (complimentary for two guests when you book the Virtuoso rate) is excellent and the new Serea sustainable seafood restaurant is just what the hotel needed. They've gone to great lengths to improve the dining experience and it's paid off.
We have a lot of repeat guests and many feel they get the full San Diego experience without ever leaving this Coronado beach resort. I can confidently say that the best way to book it is with our Virtuoso amenities and if you feel otherwise, let me know.
Rooms I like: The Ocean View Victorian King Studio Suite has a view from the balcony (most have balconies) over the resort to the ocean. While its living room isn't completely separate from the bedroom, it is nice to have the additional seating (sofa can turn into a sofa bed for two) and space. Families of six can fit into Double Queen Victorian Studio Suite with its two queen beds and queen-sized sofa sleeper.
Beach Village at The Del is the Hotel del Coronado's private enclave of luxury villas and cottages. If you are a luxury traveler and want the most upscale San Diego beach hotel possible, this is your choice.
Accommodations that range between one-room to three bedrooms are outfitted like designer residences. Some have full kitchens. Guests of Beach Village and local members have access to the seasonal Windsor Beach Club and an elevated level of service. Beach Village guests also have access to everything on the main Hotel del Coronado resort, but guests of the main resort can't access the Beach Village pools let along walk into the enclave. So, it's less busy and more private.
You can also book in with Virtuoso amenities that include breakfast for two at Sheerwater, a $100 spa credit, and more. For this, you'll have to send me your dates. Rooms start at $799/night in the low season but it helps to get a feel for their rates on Hilton as sometimes it can be nearly double that.
Rooms I like: The entry-level villa rooms offer two queen beds and a twin sofa sleeper so are a good solution for families of five. We also encourage you to check out the cottages with outdoor soaking tubs on the patio.
If you're looking for a Coronado boutique hotel with excellent service, consider the 17-room 1906 Lodge. You get quite a bit included with your room rate from breakfast to wine and hors d'oeuvres to complimentary beach gear and beach cruisers to use during your stay.
The location a block away from bustling Orange Avenue means that you're set amid stunning residences so it's quieter. But then again, you're also within about two blocks of Hotel del Coronado and the beach in front of it.
It's also a historic property, built in 1906 originally as a boarding school, so no two rooms are exactly alike. There isn't a restaurant, bar, or fitness center onsite but there are plenty of nearby options.
Rooms I like: Families will want to take a look at the Garden Double Queen Spa Guestroom which sleeps five. The best room for couples is the Grand King Spa room which has an in-room spa bathtub.
Another question I'm asked frequently is what we think of Loews Coronado Bay Resort. What causes some to pause before booking, is its location about 4 miles south of the hustle of Orange Avenue. But, here's what you need to know.
This Coronado Island hotel's goal is to make it so that guests experience the best of San Diego without leaving. They do this partially through the Flavor by Loews program where they integrate locally-caught seafood, locally-brewed beers and distilled spirits, and more into their menus. Some of the produce is actually grown onsite in a lovely garden that guests can walk through or read a book in.
Silver Strand State Beach is a golf cart ride or about a 10-minute walk from the lobby. They have a seasonal beach stand there with chairs, umbrellas, and snacks but it's staffed by lifeguards and one of the best San Diego beaches. They do run a shuttle to Orange Avenue if you'd like to shop or eat lunch or dinner at one of the popular Coronado restaurants. And, they offer a long list of resort activities from yoga on the beach to water sports.
It always depends on the season, but you typically will pay significantly less here than at Hotel del Coronado which is important to note for people who prefer larger resorts. Part the reason is due to a more remote location but I would say the accommodations and facilities are not quite at the same level.
Rooms I like: Bay View King Suites have a fantastic view and a separate living room with sofa bed.
After driving over the Coronado Bridge, head right to Coronado Island Marriott Resort & Spa. It's on the opposite side of the island from the popular Coronado Central Beach in front of Hotel del Coronado (many Marriott guests take out the hotel bikes to get to this beach), but it's close to the Ferry Landing and offers views of the downtown skyline.
Recent renovations have drastically improved accommodations. The main pool overlooks the bay; a wellness facility offers classes, tennis, and more; and the spa is fantastic. If you are a Marriott Bonvoy member, it's a good choice.
Rooms I like: I'm a fan of keeping parents in king beds, if that's what they're used to, and all room types can sleep five, even the king rooms between the sofa bed and rollaway bed (extra fee applies for rollaways). The cottages are the nicest accommodations but the Executive Suite is a (usually) reasonably-priced way to get a separated living room and bedroom.
This award-winning coastal boutique hotel, nestled on a quiet street, is just one block away from the beach. When you're done strolling the beach, there are multiple dining options and attractions within walking distance, making this one of the best places to stay on Coronado Island.
At just 15 rooms, Hotel Marisol Coronado is perfect for couples seeking an intimate lodging experience. If you are planning a trip with a large group, you can rent the whole hotel if you book it far enough in advance.
After a long day of sightseeing, shopping, or beachcombing, you can relax and enjoy the coastal breezes in the secluded private courtyard. When it is time for bed, sink into the Casarovea Italian bed linens, and luxurious pillow-top mattresses.
Rooms I like: The Junior Suite features a bit more space for those needing to stretch their legs with a King size bed and a wide sleeper sofa. It's the only accommodation for up to four guests.
Glorietta Bay Inn is one of the Coronado Island hotels that is within a short walk of Coronado Central Beach. It's just across the street from Hotel del Coronado and another good choice for people who enjoy historic hotels.
This hotel in Coronado was once the home of John D. Spreckels, who is credited with putting San Diego on the map. Rooms are named for their position in the home but also after his grandchildren and even his yacht. Complimentary breakfast is included for all guests as there isn't a restaurant onside, but guests are spoiled for outside dining options given its prime location.
Here, you're also right across the street from the the San Diego Bay (some rooms offer bay views) and the water sports activities like kayaking, powerboat rentals, and more.
Rooms I like: If you can book into one of the Mansion Rooms, they have more charm with period furniture and original fixtures.
A little further up Orange Avenue from Glorietta Bay Inn, but still across the street from Hotel del Coronado, is El Cordova Hotel. People like this boutique hotel for its Spanish-style lobby and rooms and also for its location in the thick of the action on Orange Avenue. Again, walk across the street to one of the best Coronado beaches.
This is one of the best Coronado Island hotels for those who require kitchens as most accommodations have them. You can go to Miguel's Cocina onsite for lunch or dinner or take a dip in the courtyard pool.
Rooms I like: It can be difficult to sleep larger families in this part of Coronado but we like the two-bedroom and one-bedroom suite options (and think, if you're booking in advance, that you'll like the price).
FAQs About Planning Your Coronado Island Trip
Why Should I Stay in Coronado?
Coronado is one of the most popular San Diego tourist neighborhoods for romantic holidays, family vacations, and staycations. People like that the affluent city has a small-town feel with its well-manicured homes and Orange Avenue main street. It’s also close to the airport, downtown, and other major attractions.
In addition, the beaches here are a huge draw partially due to the mineral mica in the sand that causes it to shimmer with gold. Coronado Central Beach is consistently rated as one of America’s best beaches. Many Coronado beach hotels provide paid parking and access to the beach, should you want to visit for the day.
Does the Location of a Coronado Hotel Really Matter?
Some make the mistake of assuming that since Coronado is small that it doesn’t matter what part of the island you stay on. This is true in the sense that you’ll have a great time no matter your location. However, when choosing between Coronado Island hotels it’s important to understand how far (or not) they are to the Coronado Central Beach and the heart of Orange Avenue.
For example, Loews Coronado Bay is located on gorgeous Silver Strand State Beach, but 4 miles south of Orange Avenue. Coronado Island Marriott is located near the Ferry Landing Marketplace so you’d drive, ride bikes or take a long walk to Coronado Central Beach. Hotel del Coronado is right on Coronado Central Beach and several boutique hotels on this list are within a block or two of it.
What Are the Best Resorts in Coronado?
The two best resorts are Hotel del Coronado and Loews Coronado Bay. Both offer easy access to stunning beaches, full-service spas, multiple dining outlets, swimming pools, and water sports. Coronado Island Marriott is also a popular resort but most guests ride bikes across the island to Coronado Central Beach for beachgoing.
Which Coronado Hotels Are Best for Families?
Any of these Coronado hotels will suit families. However, when visiting San Diego with kids most families prefer to stay in Coronado beach hotels like Hotel del Coronado and Loews Coronado Bay. These two also provide access to family activities like beach s’mores (Hotel del Coronado) and family movies.
Larger families should take a look at the usually reasonably-priced one and two bedroom suites at El Cordova Hotel.
When Is the Best Time to Visit Coronado?
There isn’t a bad time to visit Coronado, but it is most popular in the summertime, thanks to the gorgeous sunshine and lack of humidity. It’s during this time of the year, that people sunbathe and enjoy the ocean most on area beaches.
If you prefer smaller crowds, try visiting in the offseason which is early spring, fall, and winter outside of major holidays. Speaking of holidays, the historic Hotel del Coronado is the place check into between roughly Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day with all of its holiday activities including an oceanside ice rink.
People use still use the beach, albeit a bit differently, in non-summer months. You can still swim and sunbathe if weather permits but the ocean temperatures might be a little chilly.
You can enjoy the shopping and beautiful architecture of Orange Avenue year-round. Learn more about the best time of year to visit San Diego.
How Do I Get to Coronado Island Hotels from the Airport?
Most people take an Uber or car service from San Diego International Airport to Coronado. You will be treated to breathtaking views of the San Diego skyline as you cross the famous Coronado Bridge. Without traffic, the drive should take about 20 minutes, shorter if staying at Coronado Island Marriott which located at the base of the bridge.
Should I Take the Coronado Ferry?
Yes! Plan to take the Coronado Ferry at least once. It is easy and recommended when going between downtown San Diego and Coronado for sightseeing. It’s particularly pretty at golden hour or after sunset when the nighttime skyline reflects on the bay.
A ticket is just $5 each way and it’s the oldest working wood ferry in the country. Keep in mind that it’s not usually a practical solution for an airport transfer considering you’d need to take an Uber or taxi to the ferry, ride across the bay on the ferry, and then likely catch another Uber to your Coronado hotel with luggage in tow.
Do I Need to Rent a Car?
Coronado is one of the best places to base yourself in San Diego if you don’t want to rent a car. Not only do you save on parking — it’s difficult to park on Coronado to begin with and most hotels charge handsomely for the privilege. Biking and use of golf carts to get around are highly encouraged.
The San Diego Zoo and Balboa Park museums are reached in about 15 minutes. If you’d like to sightsee in North County, you may want to consider a car rental.
Things to Do on Coronado Island
Most Coronado hotels put you within walking distance of the action. Coronado Central Beach’s usually mild waves and sparkling sands make it probably the area’s most famous attraction, but there a lot to do on Coronado Island.
The historic Hotel del Coronado is also a popular attraction. The Coronado Historical Association offers tours of this 130-year-old landmark, and you can enjoy its dining, shopping, and Del Beach rentals, even if you’re not an overnight guest of the hotel.
If you crave more fun on the water than you can get from the beach, you can enjoy kayaking, sailing, jet-skiing, and boating on the bay. You also might even see a dolphin or a sea lion while you are out having fun on the water.
If you prefer to keep your feet on dry land, you can explore the island by taking a walking tour or renting a beach cruiser to explore the 15 miles of bike paths. The miles of trails and flat terrain makes Coronado Island a great place to ride bikes.
Ferry Landing Marketplace is where you’ll catch or disembark from the ferry. It’s a small waterside entertainment area with a small beach, shops, and great dining.
Where to Eat in Coronado
Coronado is also an excellent spot for foodies. Most of the best Coronado restaurants are casual in nature but there are a few fine dining experiences sprinkled in. All are easy to access from Coronado Island hotels.
Consider starting your day with breakfast at the iconic Clayton’s coffee shop whether you opt for Mexican food or diner classics or grab some coffee and donuts from the takeout window. Lil Piggy’s has some of the region’s best pulled pork, brisket, sausage, ribs, and chicken. There’s plenty of great seafood to choose from, including Bluewater Boathouse Seafood Grill, Lobster West Coronado, and Saiko Sushi. If seafood isn’t your thing, you can also get hand-cut Waygu steaks at the Stake Chophouse and Bar or delicious Asian cuisine at the Westpac Noodle Bar.
Finally, stop into MooTime Creamery, a 50s inspired ice cream shop that has been named one of Travel Channel’s “Best Ice Cream Parlors To Vist” and has been serving up handcrafted ice cream, sorbet, and frozen yogurt in homemade waffle cones since 1998.
What are your favorite Coronado Island hotels?