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Saturday, December 24, 2011


HOTEL HOPPING—My earliest childhood holiday memories outside our home in Golden Hill were our annual trip to the Hotel Del Coronado to see the Christmas lights. We always went on the most crowded days because my dad like yours had to be related to the Darren McGavin father/character in “A Christmas Story.” We see a lot of familiar dad-like traits in that timeless movie.

As an adult, my family set roots in North Park. We now live in a 1915 Craftsman bungalow. While we still visit the Hotel Del on Christmas, our visits during the holidays now include a must-see visit to the Lodge at Torrey Pines and the Grand Del Mar.

Hotel Del Coronado. Since it was built in 1888, the Hotel Del has been a holiday icon as well. The hotel does a wonderful public service in dolling up the venerable Victorian. The lobby tree is still the biggest one any six, sixteen, 26, 36, 46, 56, or 66-year-old has ever seen.

Lodge at Torrey Pines. Built in 2003, The Lodge is one of the most remarkable retro Arts & Crafts hotels in the world. It’s museum quality now. It is special because it represents the Arts & Crafts era architectural period still popular in San Diego. So many of us enamored with bungalow living continue to thank the Evans Family for creating such an enduring work of architectural art both indoors and out.

Grand Del Mar. Up the road from the Lodge is the Grand Hotel Del Mar created by the Manchester Family. The Christmas decoration is traditional and has set the standard for holiday decorating as well as world class lodging and special events hospitality.

An arm and arm stroll through these hotels is a holiday tradition worth keeping or beginning, whether you’re a guest, just looking, dining, noggin’ or having tea.

These hotels are special places that have become architectural icons intertwined with excellence in decor and traditional family values. Special events just seem more special here.

Images: Hotel Del Coronado, one of the grand internationally recognized images of San Diego, is shown decked out for the holidays.

Lodge at Torrey Pines getting ready for the holidays. Tree is a nice touch atop a beautifully restored 1937 DeLuxe Ford woody wagon.

Entrance to the Grand Del Mar during the holidays

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