A weekend getaway at Hotel del Coronado in San Diego

In this article our guest author, Susan Foster shares her girl’s weekend getaway at the historic Hotel del Coronado, set by the sea in San Diego, California.

My friend Cherie and I traveled quite a bit together in college and for some years afterwards. These trips came to a halt during the years we raised our children. Recently however, we have enjoyed a girl’s weekend getaway together every-other year. A perk of midlife has been the significant upgrade in the accommodations we can now both afford!

Susan and friend Cherie at Hotel del Coronado in San Diego

Susan and friend Cherie at Hotel del Coronado in San Diego

This year’s destination: San Diego

Cherie is from Virginia and I live in Montana. This year, we chose to meet at the warm coastal resort town of Coronado, just across a bridge from San Diego, California.

A section of the San Diego skyline, and the bridge to Coronado

A section of the San Diego skyline, and the bridge to Coronado

Deciding to splurge, we booked a long-weekend stay at one of the leading San Diego hotels, the historic and luxurious Hotel del Coronado. Built in 1880, it is now an American National Historic Landmark.

A weekend getaway at Hotel del Coronado, San Diego

A weekend getaway at Hotel del Coronado, San Diego

A glitch in our plans!

Our flights were originally scheduled to arrive into San Diego late morning on a Friday, within minutes of each other. Unfortunately, an airplane mechanical difficulty delayed Cherie’s arrival until evening. I found out by reading a text from her just before boarding my own flight:

The text from Cherie

The text from Cherie

Despite feeling horrible for Cherie, the Hotel del Coronado was a lovely place to spend an afternoon alone.

Gardens of Hotel del Coronado in San Diego

Gardens of Hotel del Coronado in San Diego

Our lavish room at Hotel del Coronado had 2 king-sized beds, 2 large tv's, a bathroom, closet, sitting area and ocean-view balcony

Our lavish room at Hotel del Coronado had 2 king-sized beds, 2 large tv’s, sitting area and ocean-view balcony

I explored the sprawling grounds and beautiful building, walked several miles on the hotel’s private beach, ate a lovely ocean-side meal, and watched an incredible sunset from the balcony of our full ocean-view room.

A sunset from the balcony of our full ocean-view room at Hotel del Coronado

A sunset from the balcony of our full ocean-view room at Hotel del Coronado

Once Cherie finally arrived, we salvaged the rest of her day by enjoying a light meal and some talented live music downstairs in the Babcock and Story Bar.

Saturday was a full day!

Wearing the matching outfits we had unknowingly packed, we headed down to the beach for a walk, then consulted the helpful hotel concierge to assist with the planning of our day.

A walk on the beach at Hotel del Coronado, San Diego

A walk on the beach at Hotel del Coronado, San Diego

 Old Town Trolley Tour and a day in San Diego

It had seemed unnecessary to rent a car. A cab from the airport cost about $30 US, and the village of Coronado is an easy walk from the hotel. Coronado offered more than enough to entertain us, but we decided to spend a day exploring San Diego. We purchasing discounted Old Town Trolley Tour tickets ($33 US each) from the concierge, which turned out to be the perfect way to experience the city.

Old Town Trolleys in San Diego

Old Town Trolleys in San Diego

The trolley route covers 25 miles in about two hours, and the driver provides an entertaining and informative narrative. Passengers can get on and off as they please at any of the 11 different points of interest. Trolleys cycle through each stop about every half hour throughout the day.

Typically, I prefer to be “off the beaten path” and avoid tourist-type activities. With our limited time schedule though, I enjoyed the comprehensive overview of San Diego provided by the Trolley Tour. We disembarked at five stops.

Our first stop was Balboa park in San Diego

Home to 15 museums, and a vast number of other interests, several days could easily be spent at Balboa Park. A free, narrated 15-minute tram tour of the park convinced us both to return someday with more time to explore.

Visiting Balboa Park in San Diego

Visiting Balboa Park in San Diego

Next up: Little Italy, San Diego

This hilly community with many enticing shops and restaurants is, according to our driver, the largest “Little Italy” in the United States. Had we desired Italian food, this would have been a perfect place for lunch.  Or – we could have had a pint in the British Pub we discovered there!

A British Pub in the Little Italy of San Diego, located on India Street!

A British Pub in the Little Italy of San Diego, located on India Street!

Visiting Old Town, San Diego

We couldn’t leave without a stop at Old Town San Diego. Established in the 1700’s, we enjoyed walking through the historic buildings.

Exploring Old Town San Diego

Exploring Old Town San Diego

Our concierge recommended El Agave Tequileria. The authentic Mexican food and margaritas (mine was avocado!) were excellent.

Not far from the Mexican border, it was no surprise that the Mexican food and Margaritas were wonderful!

Not far from the Mexican border, it was no surprise that the Mexican food and Margaritas were wonderful!

A stop at San Diego Harbor

You could easily spend an entire afternoon at the San Diego Harbor. We just briefly walked up and down the harbor, but enjoyed seeing the ships and submarines which can be toured there.

Visiting San Diego Harbour

Visiting San Diego Harbour

Shopping at Seaport Village, San Diego

We enjoyed the quaint shops here, and saw some incredibly beautiful jewelry.

Shopping for Jewellery in San Diego

I didn’t know the turquoise stone could be so many colors!

The sea wall was the perfect place to sit and sip a cup of coffee.

Stopping for coffee at Seaport Village, San Diego

Stopping for coffee at Seaport Village, San Diego

The setting sun looked like a ball of fire, back-lighting the sailboats and ships at sea, and the beautiful trees in the park.  We were so enchanted we lost track of time, and missed the last trolley – which we had planned to take to the Gaslamp District, known as the “happening place” for nightlife!

Sunset over San Diego

Sunset over San Diego

Back to Hotel del Coronado

Reevaluating our plan, we took a taxi back to the Hotel del Coronado. Once there, we ended the day with a glass of wine and some tasty snacks.  The February temperatures had cooled enough to need a coat, but we were comfortably warm sitting by an outdoor fire-pit at the Sunset Bar.

Sunset Bar, Hotel del Coronado

Sunset Bar, Hotel del Coronado

Sunday: Relaxation and spa day!

After a walk on the beach we reported to the Del’s Fitness Center, to join a group for a yoga session on the beach.  It was my first yoga experience, and I absolutely loved it, perhaps thanks to the ocean setting!

Yoga on the beach - photo taken from our balcony

Yoga on the beach – photo taken from our balcony

The Spa at the Del offers over 50 different treatments and advance reservations are recommended.  We pampered ourselves with manicures, pedicures, and facials, and enjoyed all of the delightful spa amenities, such as the steam room, hot tub and sunbathing by the infinity pool.

Pampering at the Hotel del Coronado Spa

Pampering at the Hotel del Coronado Spa

We watched the sun set while enjoying delicious “Charred Brussels Sprouts,” followed by salad and wood-fired pizza outdoors at ENO Pizzaria and Wine Bar.

Dinner at the ENO Pizzaria and Wine Bar

Dinner at the ENO Pizzaria and Wine Bar

It would be impossible to fully sing the praises of the Hotel Del Coronado, without making this article much too lengthy. You can read the article on my own blog with more about the history and amenities of this glorious hotel.

Susan and Cherie, toasting a return to Hotel del Coronado with complimentary Mimosas from the Spa at the Del

Susan and Cherie, toasting a return to Hotel del Coronado with complimentary Mimosas from the Spa at the Del

My only complaint is that our stay was much too short. Planning our next reunion will be easy – returning to San Diego and the Hotel del Coronado is a must!

About Hotel del Coronado

Hotel del Coronado is a luxury seaside resort in Coronado, California, just minutes from downtown San Diego. In existence since 1888, the hotel is now a beautiful National Historic landmark and a world-class luxury resort. Rooms rates are from $425 USD; book mid-week for lowest rates and be sure to check the resort website for special offers. Website | Twitter | Facebook

Book Hotel del Coronado and other San Diego hotels through our Hotels Booking Page

Read more about Hotel del Coronado in Susan’s article: Hotel del Coronado – Perhaps a glimpse of heaven

Susan received some complimentary services from the Hotel del Coronado during her stay, however all opinions expressed are her own.

profile pics collageThanks to Susan Foster for sharing her weekend in San Diego.  Susan’s blog the most – of every moment is about making the most of all life’s moments with recipes, tips, inspiring stories and excerpts of life in Montana. You can connect with Susan on Twitter | Facebook | Google+ | Instagram | Pinterest

For more US getaway ideas:

Five Must Try Foodie Experiences in Portland, Oregon
9 Cool things we did in Austin, Texas
Visit Chicago for pizza, popcorn and a walk by the river

Pin It

Hotel del Coronado Pinterest

This article by is originally published at Heatheronhertravels.com – Read the original article here

Click to subscribe to our monthly newsletter, news and reader offers

HOHT newsletter

You’ll also find our sister blog with tips on how to build a successful travel blog at My Blogging Journey

Discover a different side to Ibiza

Ibiza attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors over the summer months, flocking to the island to enjoy the glorious weather and party scene. However, the island also has much to offer during the quieter, off season times. With mild temperatures and a peaceful, down tempo pace, discover a different side to Ibiza this spring.

Discover a different side to Ibiza

Explore to coastline of Ibiza

Ibiza has a rugged and fascinating coastline, which lends itself perfectly to hiking and walking. There are many companies who offer guided walks around the island during the winter months, when the climate is perfect for long, adventurous walks. If you have the stamina, why not head to the highest point on the island, Sa Talaia to marvel at the breathtaking views of the mystical rock Es Vedra.

Explore the rugged coastline of Ibiza

Explore the rugged coastline of Ibiza

Or perhaps enjoy a less challenging walk along the beautiful beach of Ses Salines, a natural wildlife park which is home to, over 200 different species of birds and is a recognised UNESCO World Heritage site. You can choose to discover the island by yourself, or join one of the guided walks. See www.walkingibiza.com for some insider tips and an itinerary of their weekly walking tours.

Puig de Misa in Santa Eularia, Ibiza

Puig de Misa in Santa Eularia, Ibiza

Wine and Dine on Ibiza

If you are a dedicated foodie then never fear, Ibiza still has plenty to offer the discerning diner in the off season. Many bars and restaurants are open all year round, albeit some of them just at the weekends, and many offer great value deals for winter visitors. For a delightful beachside meal – head to the shores of Cala Jondal where you will find the eternally popular Yemanja restaurant, open all year round, and serving some of the best freshly caught fish to be found on the island. The gambas ajillo (garlic prawns) have to be tasted to be believed. Another favourite is the organic cafe La Paloma. Hidden away in an orange grove in the sleepy village of San Lorenzo, the menu offers an unusual combination of Italian and Israeli influences, with many of the ingredients coming directly from their own gardens. We recommend the houmous cordero (spiced minced lamb with houmous) which is served with freshly baked foccacia bread, simply delicious.

Organic Cafe Paloma on Ibiza Photo: PalomaIbiza.com

Organic Cafe Paloma on Ibiza

Shop at the flea markets on Ibiza

It’s a great time to indulge in some retail therapy here in Ibiza, especially in the New Year when many shops offer great rebajas (post Christmas sales). Ibiza Town has a great selection of stores which stay open all year round, and the tree lined streets are literally bursting with great value deals to be discovered by an intrepid shopper. Or why not head to one of the markets which run all year round, check out Las Dalias in San Carlos every Saturday for some hippy style clothes and jewellery, or head further north to the Cala Llenya second hand market which attracts hundreds of people each and every Sunday, who head there to grab a bargain and enjoy the live music in the outdoor bar area.

Las Dalias Market on Ibiza Photo: www.LasDalias.es

Las Dalias Market on Ibiza

Pamper Yourself on Ibiza

If you are seeking some R&R and a little ‘me’ time, then low season Ibiza has lots to offer. With Both Atzaro and Can Curreu rural hotels remain open all year round, so head to their spas for some great winter deals on massages, beauty treatments and yoga classes. A perfect time to spoil yourself in the beautiful surroundings of the Ibiza countryside. And why not, you are most definitely worth it!

Visit Ibiza in springtime

Visit Ibiza in springtime

If you’re searching for a place to stay in Ibiza, take a look at Ibiza Summer Villas, who offer a complete portfolio of villa rentals to suit all tastes and budgets. Rent an entire villa for yourself, your family, and your friends. Each villa exudes Mediterranean luxury living at its finest, and some boast up to 17 rooms. Ibiza Summer Villas has almost 100 gorgeous villas to choose from, with special promotions going on year-round. The Ibiza Summer Villa staff know Ibiza intimately, and can give you the best hints and tips about everything island-related.

Pin It

Ibiza Pinterest

For more island delights:

Tapping into the real Ibiza
Carnivals, jazz and nightlife – the sounds of St Lucia
Swimming, surfing, snorkeling – best beaches of the Dominican republic

This article is originally published at Heatheronhertravels.com – Read the original article here

Click to subscribe to our monthly newsletter, news and reader offers

HOHT newsletter

You’ll also find our sister blog with tips on how to build a successful travel blog at My Blogging Journey

The Grenada Chocolate Festival – a sweet taste of the Caribbean

Calling all chocoholics as our guest author Magdalena Fielden tells us about the Grenada Chocolate Festival that she founded, for a taste of the chocolate created on this Caribbean island with chocolate food and cocktails, visits to the chocolate factory and even chocolate yoga and fashion. All happening in May 2015.

Grenada has a unique chocolate story to tell which I knew could be turned into an interesting and delicious experience. The more I thought about it the more I realised that we had never really worked collectively to promote Grenada’s cocoa history, traditions and the fantastic award winning chocolate that is produced right here on the island.

It was in 2013 that we started to talk about running a chocolate week at True Blue Bay. We had noticed that there was a growing interest in chocolate and workshops to learn how to make chocolate. I wanted to do more than just show people how to make chocolates and so the Grenada Chocolate Festival was born.

Grenada Chocolate Festival

The Grenada Chocolate Company

As my inspiration I looked to the charismatic Mott Green who founded the The Grenada Chocolate Company. It was back in 1999 that Mott helped to organise small-scale local cocoa farmers and workers into a co-operative to produce delicious organic chocolate in a sustainable manner.

I was fascinated by Mott Green and admired his efforts to create chocolate ethically and how he involved the local community. And of course I loved the taste of the chocolate.

Over the years we promoted The Grenada Chocolate Company to our guests, encouraging them to visit the chocolate factory and visit the Belmont Cocoa Plantation to see how cocoa is processed before being turned into chocolate. But it was all very informal with no set itinerary or programme.

A visit to the Grenada Chocolate Company

A visit to the Grenada Chocolate Company

So I set about creating a dedicated chocolate event that would be truly Grenadian, involve as many local artisans and growers as possible and introduce people to different attractions and experiences.

Chocolate making

And so the Chocolate Fest was born. We decided to use chocolate as a loose theme and created a programme that covers everything from art and beauty to fashion and food and encourages people to explore Grenada away from the beaches.

Ingredients for making chocolate at the Grenada Chocolate Festival

Ingredients for making chocolate at the Grenada Chocolate Festival

After a trial event in August 2014, we refined and expanded the programme to create the first proper Chocolate Fest that will run from 8 to 17 May 2015.

Learning about chocolate

Our programme includes experiences such as the Cocoa Chocolate Hash – a hike through a cocoa plantation, as well as the chance to be a farmer for a day at the Crayfish Bay Organic Farm learning how to pick the cocoa pods, harvest the beans and prepare them for processing.

A hike through a cocoa plantation at the Grenada Chocolate Festival

A hike through a cocoa plantation at the Grenada Chocolate Festival

We have partnered with a local school to take a field trip with some of the children to learn about the history of cocoa and how the island’s future depends on having a sustainable farming community. We are also holding a fundraising dinner with proceeds being used to build a playground at the Vendome RC School.

Learning about chocolate at the Grenada Chocolate Festival

Learning about chocolate at the Grenada Chocolate Festival

Chocolate yoga

Contrary to popular belief chocolate does not have to be unhealthy. So we are dedicating a day to exploring its health benefits. The day starts with a yoga session at True Blue Bay’s Sankalpa studio and includes a meditation to appreciate the texture, smell and taste of chocolate. The session also includes tasting the local cocoa tea. Then there are hands on workshops about the health benefits of chocolate.

Chocolate Yoga classes at the Grenada Chocolate Festival

Chocolate Yoga classes at the Grenada Chocolate Festival

Chocolate beauty

Chocolate is also a great beauty aid which will be demonstrated at a mini spa bazaar featuring local organic beauty products. We even offer chocolate themed treatments at True Blue Bay’s Blue Haven Spa.

Trying chocolate beauty products at the Grenada Chocolat Festival

Trying chocolate beauty products at the Grenada Chocolat Festival

Chocolate as an art medium

Cocoa also inspires local artists so we include a visit to the Art and Soul Gallery, owned by local artist Susan Mains, for the opening of the Cocoa Art Exhibition that features paintings, sculpture and batiks.

Cocoa art exhibition at the Grendada Chocolate Festival

Cocoa art exhibition at the Grendada Chocolate Festival

On another day we are inviting local artisans to display their wares at an arts and crafts bazaar featuring crafts, jewellery, art and chocolate.

Art show at the Grenada Chocolate Festival

Art show at the Grenada Chocolate Festival

Fashion show

My daughter, Marie will even be organising a fashion show featuring Grenadian inspired fashion created from batiks and soft tropical fabrics.

Grenadian fashion at the Grenada Chocolate Festival

Grenadian fashion at the Grenada Chocolate Festival

Chocolate tasting at the Grenada Chocolate festival

Chocolate tasting at the Grenada Chocolate festival

The best part – tasting!

Of course we haven’t forgotten about chocolate’s greatest attraction – its taste. And there are ample opportunities to sample our delicious local chocolate with chocolate breakfasts, preparing a chocolate inspired lunch under the guidance of our entertaining cooks, Esther and Omega, chocolate themed dinners and parties.

A cookery lesson at the Grenada Chocolate Festival

A cookery lesson at the Grenada Chocolate Festival

Chocolate treats at the Grenada Chocolate Festival

Chocolate treats at the Grenada Chocolate Festival

Chocolate cocktails

We will even offer tastings of chocolate inspired cocktails, chocolate beer brewed at our on site microbrewery, and local chocolate rums. And what better souvenir to take home than a bar of chocolate you have made under the expert guidance of the team at the Diamond Estate Chocolate Factory.

Chocolate cocktails at the Grenada Chocolate Festival

Chocolate cocktails at the Grenada Chocolate Festival

Learning will be made fun for children with a family fun day at the Belmont Estate where they can take part in activities such as dancing, walking and scooping the cocoa.

Children learn about making chocolate at the Grenada Chocolate Festival

Children learn about making chocolate at the Grenada Chocolate Festival

What more could you ask for from a holiday than combining chocolate with great weather, the warmest of welcomes and the chance to kick back and relax on a beautiful island?

 If you’d like to visit the 2015 Grenada Chocolate Festival

The Chocolate Fest runs from 8 to 17 May 2015. Participation in individual days costs from US$36 for adults and US$20 for children. Some events are free for those staying at True Blue Bay Resort.

Thanks for this article to Magdalena Fielden, organiser of  The Grenada Chocolate Festival who offer a unique visitor experience with their pure and delicious Grenadian organic and sustainable cocoa and chocolate.

Caribtours offers 7 nights at True Blue Bay from £1,221 per person, based on two adults sharing a True Blue Style Room on a bed and breakfast basis, including return scheduled flights from Gatwick and private transfers. A US$300 coupon book offering vouchers for discounts and offers at restaurants, spa, shops and diving at the resort and other outlets nearby. Price based on travel in May 2015.

All Photos by the Grenada Chocolate Festival

Pin It

Read about the Grenada chocolate Festival for a sweet taste of the Caribbean

For more chocolate goodness:

In praise of chocolate – in Bristol
Chocolate with sea salt – a taste of West Sweden at Flickorna Kanold in Gothenburg
The fresh taste of Paris – our gourmet tour of Marché d’Aligre

This article is originally published at Heatheronhertravels.com – Read the original article here

Click to subscribe to our monthly newsletter, news and reader offers

HOHT newsletter

You’ll also find our sister blog with tips on how to build a successful travel blog at My Blogging Journey

Next Page »