A Pilot’s Christmas Holiday Get-Away – This pilot’s opinion.

 You have been busy all year, making deadlines, getting physicals, meeting currency requirements, flying somewhere for sim work, making go/no go decisions with the client watching closely by, company expectations, a schedule that varies, time away from home, and maybe the need to decide if a student is ready to solo or take a practical test.  Plus, perhaps you volunteer your time to assist with pro-aviation safety organizations, maybe you fly Young Eagles or Air Explorers, and maybe you take time to advocate for your local airport’s survival when it is presented with challenges levied by city councils that may be friendly with real estate developers.

For all you pilots out there who truly deserve a personal gift for your year-round efforts to maintain a professional level that definitely demands being the best one can be, you might like to consider the gift I logged for myself and Margo last Christmas. I scheduled a return trip for this Christmas.

There was little time wasted when I asked friends during a business trip to San Diego last year to recommend the best possible spot for a truly wonderful Christmas celebration.  Instantly, the hands-down response was the historic Hotel Del Coronado on Coronado Island.

So, take a moment to close ForeFlight and tap, “Hoteldel.com/holidays” on your iPad.  A living legend for more than 130 years, the Del celebrates its rich history as the proud host to celebrities, royalty, U.S. Presidents, and beach-loving guests for generations. Built in 1888 by Elisha Babcock, Jr., and Hampton L. Story and designated a National Historic Landmark in 1977, this historic beach resort is a San Diego icon.

It would appear that no one does Christmas better! Seemingly unlimited Decorations and Christmas Trees everywhere. Don’t miss the light show at the grove of towering pine trees orchestrated to music with a finale of snow flurries. The Holiday events begin weeks in advance, and I am told those have been even more expanded this year.

The Victorian section of the hotel remains historic.  A recent partnership with the Hilton group has expanded the property, the available adventures, and the many new room accommodations, that truly allow for an exceptional experience. Skating by the sea, Beachside Igloos, Elf deliveries, Photos with Santa, the Spa and Salon, Specialty Restaurants, including those with oceanside views, Pools and Cabanas, Shopping, the Fitness Center, the Music Playing, and People Watching all are yours!

Last year we booked a beach-level Cabana designed with a patio and a firepit. It allowed for beach access. We were welcomed there by Manny from Housekeeping who brought us some specially requested items that needed some special care. Manny provided it. Hearing the waves and enjoying the panorama and the sunset evaporated all distractions.  The Christmas Eve Buffet in a ballroom with Glorious Chandeliers was incredible.  The Beachside dining for breakfast Christmas morning with our friends at Sheerwater, made the holiday very special. My guests last year are professional area restaurant folks and having a skillful waiter like Gary made for a memorable occasion. I, as a guy who made a living for some time traveling a lot, found it was a pleasure to observe that the entire hotel staff from the valet, like Burton, the desk staff, and the concierge team were all not only efficient but also helpful, friendly and accommodating. The resort concierge and reservation manager, Nicholas, is to be complimented.

You’ll find the details on the various pages of their website.  One important suggestion though. Do not fall prey to the third-party reservation folks who claim discounts. Because of the vast expanded property and electives, there are just too many options at the Del for a third party to adequately interpret and for the first-time guest to be properly informed of.  Book directly with Hotel Del Coronado personnel! Ask about any promotional options that might apply. Be curious. Furthermore, ask to speak to the concierge, and ask their opinion as to how your stay might be enhanced. They will be happy to fully explain everything. The “beach view” may be different than a “full beach view,” which may be different from a “beach-level view.” Do not be afraid to fully preflight your vacation stay!  One hint: Bring along some snacks that you might keep in the room’s refrigerator. No one will invite you to a FSDO afterwards to explore what your 91.103 obligations were but pretend that reg applies, and your stay at the Del will no doubt keep your family and you very, very happy.  – Besides Lindbergh Field (stay on the glideslope!) now San Diego International Airport, Montgomery-Gibbs is a reasonable choice.  – RB – Webmaster SCAUWG.ORG

Skaters at the Hotel Del Coronado, San Diego, CA

Chef Lucio (Sorrento) & Margo at Sheerwater.

Beach front view from our cabana patio.

Margo relaxing on the cabana patio.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *