Us Gottliebs spent President’s Day weekend at the Loews Coronado Bay hotel. There are two things that are important to note. Presidents Day Weekend is a busy weekend with many area hotels sold out, and the hotel’s lobby was under construction. I had lowered my expectations. Apparently not quite enough.
I called the Loews just a few days before the holiday and explained to the reservations agent that I’m a high maintenance traveler. I like nice things and I make no apology for it. I also explained to him that I wanted either adjoining rooms or a one bedroom suite, the requirement is that there is a door between the two rooms. “It’s not a vacation if I’m sleeping in the same room as my children.” I said. It’s what I always say. He chortled, agreed and set us up with a Grand King Suite. He assured me I’d be delighted. I assured him that I wanted to be delighted.
Let me just say that a Grand King Suite at the Loews Coronado Bay is a wonderful thing. The ceilings are high, the views of the bay are stunning and the bathroom is everything you could hope for in a luxury spa hotel. Unfortunately there was nothing to separate the bedroom from the living room. It was exactly the hotel room I didn’t want for a family of four.
I called the front desk and explained the dilemma. They couldn’t have been nicer or more understanding. After a brief hold I was told that they had a one bedroom suite for us. It would be smaller and a few dollars less but it was vacant and he would send a bellman with keys.
So we waited. And we waited. Then we waited some more.
A very nice and incredibly apologetic bellman arrived with keys and showed us to the second room. It was still very nice, smaller and with a much smaller bathroom but it suited our needs as a family of four that wanted a little privacy throughout the weekend. The views of the bay were soothing and the location was actually better than the larger suite. When traveling with kids it’s nice to be near the teen room and the swimming pool.
We thanked the bellman and reminded him that we needed a rollaway bed as well as some extra blankets and pillows. This was at about 4pm.
At 6pm we called again and they sent the rollaway bed but no pillows or blankets. I asked about turndown service and for the sofa bed to be opened. They assured me that someone would be “right on it”.
At 8pm I called again.
At 8.45 the incredibly sweet operator once again assured me that the housekeeping supervisor would be right there. I ran out of nice and reminded her that I was in a hotel and asking for a bed at 9pm. Shortly thereafter a housekeeper arrived to unfold the sofa bed and gasped audibly to find it bare.
Sometime after 9 I left the room in utter disgust to take a walk with my son and left Mr. G and Jane to wait for housekeeping (who again failed to bring extra blankets and pillows). Mr. G asked if he should tip whomever arrived in the room. I didn’t have an answer, I’m still of two minds.
The hotel manager arrived. Mr. G reported that she was very young and very apologetic. I’m sure she was sweet, everyone was sweet there. Sadly they were mostly incompetent.
The television in the bedroom didn’t get reception on many of it’s channels but we weren’t concerned enough to complain about it. In addition to the shower being tiny, and folks when I say tiny I’m talking about a 3 foot by 3 foot space, the showerhead hardly dribbled. Shower caps were not provided. Again, I’d accepted defeat after the bed fiasco.
We spent a wonderful day by the pool. There are two ping pong tables and a giant connect four. There is plenty of seating, some sofas and a bar. Unfortunately the food is from room service (as opposed to a separate pool service area) so it’s VERY slow. Fortunately the coffee bar in the lobby (even under construction) has fabulous grab and go choices including fresh fruit, pasta salads, healthy sandwiches and little bits of handmade chocolate that you simply must experience.
Although the hotel is located on the bay, you should not confuse this with a beach. I wouldn’t have my kids swimming in the water as it’s mostly full of motorboats. It’s a beautiful view, but it’s better for boaters than for swimmers.
The pool area is really quite lovely and I cannot emphasize enough how much we enjoyed our day by the pool.
The Sunday brunch is similar to other hotel Sunday Brunches. There’s an omelet bar and a lunch area, there are lovely desserts, overcooked vats of scrambled eggs and piles of breakfast meats. Like other hotels it’s hideously overpriced, unlike other hotels it has a Mexican flare. I like Mexican flare, especially when I’m spitting distance from the border.
Our second night was better. We had no requests and it was impossible to disappoint us. We accepted the dribbling water from the teeny tiny shower and left town. In spite of it all we had a fabulous weekend together.
What would alarm me most about this hotel is that upon checking out I said to the woman at the desk, “I’d like to general manager to call me on Tuesday so that I can tell you about my experience here.” She nodded, wrote down my number on a slip of paper and shoved it into a pile. Naturally there was no phone call.
It’s an okay hotel in an okay location but the staff is not so okay.
I’d reserved a Grand King Suite at $450 a night (I know a steal) and then moved to the one bedroom suite at $350 a night. If you can lower your expectations and make your own bed you just might enjoy yourself.