Savoring San Diego

Time for summer sunsets, cinema, and s’mores

Posted on August 1, 2019

I have already enjoyed three great vacations this summer, and I’m looking forward to even more. The secret to this frequent traveling? Instead of faraway places reached on hot road trips and crowded flights, my husband and I are sampling some of the wonderful resorts right here in San Diego.

We arrived at our first destination, the landmark Hotel del Coronado, less than 30 minutes after pulling out of our driveway in La Jolla Shores. Of course, we’ve been to The Del before, but this was our first time staying in the Beach Village area. Essentially a gated community within the resort, this exclusive zone is comprised of 167 privately-owned luxury cottages and villas, as well as several pools and spas. Our cottage came with a well-furnished balcony, a 180-degree ocean view, and amazing SoCal sunsets.

Beach Village is an exclusive area within the Hotel del Coronado

After dark, we sat around a fire ring on the sand and made traditional s’mores. They were good, of course, but the best part was the view of the iconic hotel, seen through our firelight, presiding over the event.

This experience is open to all hotel guests and day visitors, as is Del Beach, where super comfy beach day beds, lounge chairs, and fringed umbrellas are available for rent, and wait staff deliver food and adult beverages.

Del Beach is the heart of summer fun at the Hotel del Coronado

Roast, a toes-in-the-sand fireside experience, and Del Beach are consummate summer-in-San Diego experiences. The hotel also offers weekly movies on the beach, Mermaid Fit water workouts (complete with fancy tails), and Beach Spin classes on stationary bikes.

Roast is a classic summer beach experience

From Beach to Bay

After our time at The Del, we headed to the Manchester Grand Hyatt on San Diego Bay. Less than six miles separate these five-star properties, but they feel a world apart. One is a renowned Victorian and the other is the tallest waterfront building on the West Coast. What they have in common are top-notch teams of caring staff members.

Our spacious suite on the 37th floor provided a gorgeous view of the Coronado Bridge, beautiful San Diego Bay, and the Convention Center marina. We could also see Embarcadero Marina Park, and soon headed there to hear San Diego Symphony’s Salute to the Padres, which was part of the Bayside Summer Nights series. And what a great night it was! We aren’t even baseball fans, but the music was wonderful, and there’s nothing quite as classic as a San Diego outdoor concert that finishes with fireworks. Bayside Summer Nights concerts conclude on September 1 with the 1812 Tchaikovsky Spectacular.

The Manchester Grand Hyatt presides over San Diego Bay

One of the best things about staying downtown is being able to walk everywhere. Petco Park is five minutes away, the hot restaurants in the Gaslamp Quarter and East Village are just a bit farther. We strolled along the waterfront to Tuna Harbor, the USS Midway Museum, and the Maritime Museum, stopping only long enough to enjoy a fab bowl of clam chowder at The Fish Market.

Speaking of seafood, we both ordered the Chilean sea bass at Sally’s Fish House & Bar and it was world-class delicious. After dinner, we headed up to the Hyatt’s fourth floor for an open-air movie at the Rooftop Cinema Club. It was a trifle chilly, but there were plenty of blankets to go around, the seating was comfortable, and the personal headphones were great. I loved seeing San Diego’s colorful night skyline from this perspective. Rooftop Cinema Club will continue through September.

The Hyatt’s Rooftop Cinema Club offers great views of San Diego as well as good movies

Of the places we’ve been (so far!), the Kona Kai Resort & Spa is the most laid-back, low-rise, and family-friendly. Located at the end of Shelter Island, the resort’s 170 cheerful rooms offer views of San Diego Bay on one side and a beautiful marina on the other. Two pools, three bars, and an excellent fitness center are popular with members of the local Kona Kai Club as well as hotel guests. There’s also a pretty (non-swimming) beach with plenty of sand for wiggling toes and fire rings for making s’mores. Dive-in movies are offered at the pool during the summer, and beach cruiser bikes are available for exploring farther afield. Vessel, the resort’s restaurant, serves tasty meals.

The Kona Kai Resort is on Shelter Island

We rented a kayak from Action Sports and had fun checking out the mega yachts in the marina and paddling over to Kellogg Beach in Point Loma. Guests can also rent a boat — power or sail — and explore the bay. And, the Kona Kai is a convenient place to stay when attending concerts at Humphreys Concerts by the Bay. Performances continue through early November.

Views from the Kona Kai include a beautiful marina

But for now, it’s summer — time to enjoy gorgeous sunsets, outdoor cinema, and yummy s’mores.   Elizabeth Hansen

Kona Kai guests can kayak over to a beach on Point Loma

Roast: Photo courtesy of Adams/Hansen Stock Photos     Hotel Del Coronado: Photography courtesy of Hotel Del Coronado     Rooftop Cinema Club: Photo by Chloe Pedersen     Manchester Grand Hyatt: Photo Courtesy of Manchester Grand Hyatt     Kona Kai: Photography courtesy of Kona Kai