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A Seaside Siren

by Becca Hensley

Just as the current trend for travelers seems to be to journey with a purpose, and for wellness seekers to globe-trot with curative results in mind, the Victorians, more than a century before us, took repose with the idea of getting well or jumpstarting a new, more salubrious life phase when they vacationed.

At the forefront of healthy travel back in the day, Southern California’s 130-year-old Hotel del Coronado, one of the United States’ most fetching grand dame hotels, invited guests to “the spot of earth where doctors have little employment, where all the year is summer.” Referring to itself in a turn-of-the-century brochure as a “sanitarium,” touting its healing sea air, saltwater and luxurious accoutrement, The Del (as regulars know it) offered Turkish baths, nutritious cuisine (debatable by today’s standards), a physician on property and access to the sea’s cures via its idyllic beach. For decades celebutante guests aplenty set the beauty standard, inferring guests would check out as hale, hearty and elegant as regular patrons such as Marilyn Monroe.

Today, with a massive, multitiered renovation nearly complete, The Del continues to provide guests the opportunity to refresh, repose and regenerate beside the sea. Anchored by its iconic original Victorian structure and grounds, The Del has added various contemporary lodging areas, known as neighborhoods, each cleverly sewn into the fabric of the beachscape, each offering modern travelers room options unavailable in the past—such as multibedroom, villa-like suites.

Seamlessly spread out across an ocean-edging expanse, guests can partake of plentiful fitness and wellness activities from surfing lessons to beach spin to yoga, as well as spend time in the new Spa & Salon, an oasis steps from the sand. Following the precepts of its past, the state-of the-art spa showcases the healing attributes of the sea, in treatments such as Sea Salt Stone Massage, Restorative Ocean Facial or the Lavender and Seaweed Body Treatment.

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