Review: Hilton Diamond Upgrades and Benefits at Hotel del Coronado, Curio Collection by Hilton in San Diego
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Added tip on beach rentals at Hotel del Coronado
Hotel del Coronado is a historic landmark and an iconic hotel property on the Coronado island in San Deigo, California. When the property became part of the Curio Collection by Hilton, I was super excited and have been looking forward to staying there using the Hilton Free Weekend Night Reward.
Hotel del Coronado is a Curio Collection that is part of the Hilton Honors program. Therefore, I used two Hilton Free Night Rewards that are earned from American Express Hilton Aspire Card for a two-night stay at Hotel del Coronado.
If you have two people in your party, both of you can each sign up for the American Express Hilton Aspire Card and upon approval, you each will earn one free weekend night reward that you can use to redeem for a nice 2-day weekend getaway at Hotel del Coronado. You also receive a $500 resort credit ($250 each) that you can use to pay for any expenses at the property upon check-out. The rate at this property in the summertime is outrageously high around $500/night, so using the Hilton Free Weekend Night Reward to redeem for a free stay at this property is a good redemption.
Moreover, there’s also no $35 resort fee when you redeem free nights with Hilton Honors program. If you have any questions, feel free to let me know and I’ll do my best to answer any questions you may have about the credit card and its benefits.
It’s worth noting that it’s not possible to use the Hilton Free Weekend Night Reward for the Beach Village at The Del property because the Hilton free night reward can only be used for Hilton properties that have the standard room type, and theBeach Village at The Del does not have that room type. You can, however, use Hilton Honor points to redeem for a free stay at the Beach Village but it’s a boatload of points!
The rooms at Hotel del Coronado can be expensive. Therefore, if you want to stay at Hotel del Coronado and experience it for free with no resort fees, here’s what you’d do:
If you do not have a Hilton Honors account yet, consider signing up for one here. It’s completely free to join the program.
Apply for the , and provide your Hilton Honors number on the application. The card has a $450 annual fee, but don’t let that scare you. Here’s why:
Each year, you receive $200 airline fee credits, and each card membership year, you receive $250 Hilton resort credit. That is $500 credits that surpass the $450 annual fee already.
You receive one Hilton’s free weekend night reward upon approval and every year you renew your card if you decide to keep the card after the first year.
You receive complimentary Hilton’s top Diamond elite status for better room upgrades, free breakfast, food and beverages credits, and more.
You also receive complimentary airport lounge access.
All the benefits you get out of the American Express Hilton Aspire Credit Card can easily justify the card’s $450 annual fee. I have been this credit card member since its debut.
Once you are approved for the credit card, wait until you receive an email from American Express informing you that your Hilton’s free night reward is available.
In the meantime, if you can, try to hit the minimum spending to receive the welcome sign-up bonus Hilton points. Those points are enough to score another free night at Hotel del Coronado. But there’s no spending requirement to get your Hilton free night reward.
Call Hilton at 1-800-446-6677and let the rep know that you want to use your Hilton free night reward certificate.
The Hilton’s rep will search for availability and help walk you through the whole process to successfully book your free night stay at Hotel del Coronado.
Last but not least, enjoy your stay and all the benefits that the Hilton Aspire credit card gives you such as the airline fee credits for your flights to get to San Diego, room upgrade, $250 resort credit, $30 food and beverages credits to use at Hotel del Coronado for being a Hilton Diamond elite member, etc.
We arrived early around 9:30 A.M. There was only one person at the reception desk and the queue got longer throughout the day. We waited a little bit and the receptionist was able to check me in but the room wasn’t ready for early check-in. She gave me room keys to access amenities within the resort and offered to hold our bags at the bell desk while we waited for the room number that would be texted to my phone number on file when the room was ready.
We could not charge anything to the room because we did not have the room number. To make matters worse, I never received the text about the room number despite that it was 4:30 P.M. already past the hotel’s check-in time 4 P.M. I was not very happy about that and had to queue up at the reception desk again. The male receptionist was pleasant and did attempt to get us a room in the Victorian building. We were given the room on the 4th floor.
As far as room upgrades go, when making the reservation, I put in a note “Diamond member requesting an upgrade to ocean view room,” and that did not do any good!
When asking for ocean view room upgrades for Hilton Honors Diamond elite members:
Hotel del Coronado receptionist insisted that either partial or full ocean view rooms will change my reservation’s rates, meaning I will be charged for the upgrades.
The receptionist stated that Hotel del Coronado is part of the Hilton program but it is independently owned and therefore the only upgrade she could offer is a next category upgrade which is a room with a balcony overlooking the resort’s garden.
Therefore, my suggestion to you is that lower your expectations for Hilton Honors Diamond elite upgrades at Hotel del Coronado. I have researched this before the trip and data points on upgrades at this property have been sporadic or your mileage may vary.
My original standard room Victorian 1 King must have no view or a balcony. The description of that room on the Hilton’s reservation page indicates the following:
This room is located in the original, iconic Victoriann neighborhood with its majestic Queen-Anne architecture and features 1 king bed. No two rooms are alike, and all are full of character. Due to the unique charm of the Victoriann building, balconies and views are not guaranteed for this room type.
So basically the receptionist gave me the same room type category plus a balcony with a garden view. I guess as the old saying goes, it’s better than nothing!
Victorian Building Hallway
Hotel Del Coronado Garden View Room
Hotel del Coronado Garden Patio Room
The garden view room in the Victorian building has a patio area that overlooks the resort’s garden. Honestly, there’s not much to really write home about it.
Each room’s patio is connected and divided but everyone can see and hear one another from the balcony.
The room is dated but that’s expected because the Victorian building is a historical building.
The room itself is a good size room and the king-size bed is nice and comfortable. The pillows are also good.
However, the room has really bad soundproof. You can hear people in and out of their room quite easily. If you are a light sleeper, you may find this not ideal.
The AC in my room did not work either. Fortunately, there’s a good functioning ceiling fan.
The toilet in my room got plugged once, but again that’s anticipated when you are staying in a historical building 🙂
Hotel del Coronado Garden View Patio Room
Hotel del Coronado Garden View Room
Hotel del Coronado Garden Patio Room
Hotel del Coronado Garden View Room at Night
Hotel del Coronado The Views & The Cabanas
The Views and the Cabanas rooms are more modern and much newer than the rooms in the Victorian building. The fire pit at the Cabana rooms looks very inviting. You’ll see those rooms when you search for availability at Hotel del Coronado, but unfortunately, those are not available for complimentary upgrades for Hilton Honors Diamond elite members. So you’ll have to pay for the upgrades.
The Views at Hotel del Coronado
$30 Daily Food and Beverages Credits
Hotel del Coronado offers Hilton Diamond members $15 per person up to two adults in the same room, and that credit can be used for dining and drinks per day.
To use the credit, simply put all eligible food and beverage expenses charged to your room.
You will receive the daily credits upon check-out.
Hotel del Coronado Sundeck Appetizer
Hilton Replaces MyWay Benefits With Daily Food & Beverage Credit Through the End of 2021, Curio Collection U.S. properties are supposed to offer Hilton elite members only $12/person per day and I did receive an email from Hilton specifying that credit amount before the arrival date. But Hotel del Coronado still offers $15/person per day, which is their standard on-property benefit before Hilton made an adjustment to MyWay Benefits this year.
There’s no complimentary breakfast for Hilton Honors Gold and Hilton Honors Diamond elite members. This is true when it comes to Hilton elite benefits at any Hilton’s Curio Collection property. You only receive the food and beverage credits as mentioned above.
Use the $15 Credit For Breakfast at Sheerwater at Hotel del Coronado
Hotel del Coronado does not have an executive lounge for Hilton Diamond elite members.
Other Diamond Benefits
Two bottles of water per stay.
100% elite tier bonus points.
Hotel del Coronado Beach Rentals & Amenities
Hotel del Coronado Beach
The swimming pool called the Cabana Pool is really small and can get crowded. Cabanas can be rented and the rates are anywhere from $100-$350 per day.
Bike rentals cost $45 per hour. But please note that while there’s a nice boardwalk right in front of Hotel del Coronado, the boardwalk is mainly for pedestrians and there are a few signs on the boardwalk that warns about no wheels are allowed.
Beach rentals are also available at the beach but not complimentary for guests or Hilton elite members. The daily rates are:
$30 for a beach umbrella
$25 for a beach chair
$35 for a beach chair with a footrest (see the photo below).
They also have a beach lounge section that includes bar services for $50 per person per day. While the lounge area is on the beach, it’s not close to the ocean.
There’s also a watersport rental by the beach rentals place.
For the spa services, there’s no price on their brochure but I found out that it costs $185 per person for 50 minutes and starts at $275 per person for 80 minutes. Spa guests have access to a small private pool.
Hotel del Coronado also has nighttime beach camping available and it costs $195 for an hour that can accommodate up to 10 people. They provide a fire pit, woods, and marshmallows for a beach camping experience.
Hotel del Coronado Camping Experience
Hotel del Coronado Beach Rentals Beach Chair Vs. Beach Chair With Footrest
Hotel del Coronado Cabana Pool
The location of Hotel del Coronado is excellent. It’s situated right on the beach and within walking distance to several shops and restaurants on Coronado island.
However, if you want to dine at the property, here are a few options:
Serea Restaurant is the famous sea-to-table dining at Hotel del Coronado. It is the only restaurant that reservations are required. Book early if you plan on eating there as availability can fill up days in advance. You can try to do a walk-in, but you will be added to the waitlist in case if there are any cancellations.
However, here’s a tip for you if you cannot get a reservation for the date that you want. They have a bar there that you can simply show up, sit down and order food from there. The food menu at the bar is the same full menu as the restaurant.
All other restaurants do not require reservations. My favorite is the Sundeck bar. I am in love with their Piña Colada drink!
Hotel del Coronado Tips
Lower your expectation when staying at Hotel del Coronado with your Hilton Gold or Diamond elite status.
Expect mediocre “better than nothing” room upgrades and little on-property credits.
If you are a light sleeper, ask the front desk when you check in to help find you a room that may have better soundproof if you are staying in the Victorian building.
If you cannot get a reservation for a specific date and time at the Serea Restaurant at Hotel del Coronado, the restaurant has an outdoor sitting bar that you can simply show up, sit down and order food from there. The food menu at the bar is the same full menu as the restaurant. The bar opens at 5 P.M., go early if you want to sit in the shade.
The cost of beach rentals such as beach chairs and beach umbrellas at the Hotel del Coronado can really add up. The price is mentioned under the Amenities section above. If you are going to rent for more than 1 day, I suggest that you go to the Walgreens or souvenir stores that are within walking distance of the property and buy those beach chairs and umbrellas instead. You will save money and at the end of the stay, you can either resell them, gift them to other travelers, or just leave them there.
For spa services, if the price at Hotel del Coronado that is mentioned under the Amenities section above is too expensive, consider going out of the resort. Right across the street from the hotel, there’s a little place called LUXSA Thai Spa. The massage price is very reasonable. It costs $60 for a 60 minutes full-body massage or $120 for a couple massage. I used this service while we were staying at Hotel del Coronado and can recommend this place. I am not affiliated with LUXSA Thai Spa, you may contact them at 1-619-663-9995 to check availability before heading there.
If the front desk line is too long, consider reaching to Del services with the following methods:
If you do not receive the room number texted to your phone by 4 P.M. check-in time, you can ask the person at the hotel’s bell desk. He or she can look it up on the computer and provide you the room number. The line at the bell desk is a lot shorter.
Text Del services at 619-535-8705 for assistance via text messages.
Within the Hilton app, use the messaging feature to chat with them. Please note that this feature is only available by the property and when you are already there staying at the property.
If you plan on eating, drinking, and beach lounging at the property, expect to pay a lot of money for that. Their cocktails price starts at $17. Spa, beach rentals, watersports, and bike rentals are not cheap either. So if you are going to incur several fees while staying at Hotel del Coronado, here are some suggested ways to get some statement credits through points and credit cards to help to reduce your on-property expenses:
Hotel del Coronado is part of the Curio Collection by Hilton, which means that you can use Hilton Honors points or Hilton Free Weekend Night Reward to redeem for a free stay if you do not want to spend money. The step-by-step details are mentioned under the section How to Stay at Hotel del Coronado For Free in this article that you can refer to.
Refundable Advance Deposit:
Hotel del Coronado allows advance deposit that you can pre-arrange a refundable deposit before arrival. I believe the property told me that it has to be done at least 3 days before arrival. There’s no form to fill out, you simply call the property up at 1-619-522-8100 to request. This is useful if you have statement credit benefits that you need to spend before the expiry date such as the Amex Offers on spending at a Curio Collection by Hilton. The offer usually is to spend $250 and receive $50 back.
Hilton Aspire Credit Card $250 Resort Credit:
If you have American Express Hilton Aspire Card, you receive a $250 Hilton resort credit each year that you can use towards your final bill at Hotel del Coronado. If your resort credit is expiring soon, you can use it for the Refundable Advance Depositmentioned above too.
Be sure to check out our master list of Hilton Promotions and Offers to see if there are any more savings, free nights, and bonus Hilton Honors points promotions that you can stack with your bookings for Hotel del Coronado.
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