Paradise in San Diego: Loews Coronado Bay Hotel

Jul. 30 2009, Published 5:36 a.m. ET

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If a picture is worth a thousand words, then here’s a pirates bounty of reasons to visit the Loews Coronado Hotel:

Photo gallery here

When you hear the words “Coronado Bay”, most people think of the famous Del Coronado, but the Loews is just 5 minutes down the road, at the end of the island. The bay-side views are spectacular and the accommodations feel at once luxurious and homey.

Of the 439 rooms, including 37 suites, all have bay, marina, pool or garden views. We had a bay view with a small patio, which is basically where we lived for most of 2 days.

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There’s plenty of amenities: 3 pools; 3 lighted bayside tennis courts; the Sea Spa featuring 15 treatment areas for massages, facial and body services; spa manicures and pedicures; steam, sauna, relaxation lounge; a complete fitness center and aerobic studio with group and private classes; plus some you usually don’t see such as a Gondola Company, complete with a serenading gondolier and romantic cruises through the nearby canals.

But by far the biggest pull is the Silver Strand Beach, a beautiful long stretch of sand, which you can easily walk to or jump on the beach tram (free) which picks you up right in front of the hotel.

For the more active (definitely not us) you can rent pretty much anything: bicycle, rollerblade, waverunner, sailboat, motorboat or paddle boat. If you suddenly get the urge to learn how to surf the The Coronado Surfing Academy is on-site for surfing lessons and surf camps for the kiddies.

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You have your choice of the poolside Cantina for snacks and drinks, the Market café for a causal breakfast or dinner and the upscale Mistral, which has its own 3,800-square-foot herb garden. Indeed, my salad tasted like it was just picked. My Tarragon Free Range Roasted Chicken only put us back $24. And the coffee is the best – French-Press, only the best way to make coffee.

Prices are very reasonable -- $5 kids meals, which frankly is what they should be, and inexpensive room service, which is getting harder to find each season. The one drawback was the pool area which was too small for the hotel, but then again, a good percentage of the guests are heading off to the beach for the day.

Two other pluses: they have children’s programs and camps AND a teen club (!) and are pet friendly. In fact, they offer:

-Gourmet room service menus for cats and dogs

-Creature comforts like specialized bedding, leashes, collars, litter boxes (and litter), pooper scoopers and more

-Tail-wagging amenities such as dog-walking routes, pet placemats, water bowls, treats, doggie poop bags and more

-Purr-fect indulgences like rawhide bones, catnip and scratch poles.

-Pet-walking and pet-sitting services

And if Spot wants to learn surfing, they also offer doggie surf lessons, though frankly I’ve never once heard any of my pups express the urge to take up a water sport.

Right now the hotel is offering special summer packages so you can get a good deal on a room and throw in some family fun, golf, spa-ing, gondola ride….



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