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Glorietta Bay Inn - A Special Find on Coronado Island, Ca.

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When you cross the graceful two-mile bridge from downtown San Diego to Coronado Island, you'll discover a town that has preserved its unique historical culture and a beach that is rated one of the "Top 10 Beaches in North America."

When I've visited Coronado in the past, I stayed at the iconic Victorian-style Hotel del Coronado beachfront resort, nicknamed the "Del."

But on recent visits I discovered another Coronado landmark, the (more affordable!)Glorietta Bay Inn, across the street from the "Del" and one block from the ocean. It also combines old world charm with contemporary comfort.

Built in 1908 as the mansion home of the "Sugar Baron" John D. Spreckles, the inn's charming lobby, sitting porch, and music room complete with a baby grand piano overlooks scenic Glorietta Bay and takes in the Pacific Ocean breezes.

Each time I check in at this charming boutique hotel, the entire friendly staff are so helpful, they make me feel as though I am a part of their gracious family.

Designed with an Italian Renaissance flavor of simple, classic lines, the mansion contains 11 renovated guest rooms that have kept the original light fixtures and, where possible, have maintained 1920's hardware.

The contemporary buildings surrounding the mansion house a variety of 89 standard rooms to family suites.

All the guests enjoy a complimentary continental breakfast, afternoon refreshments, business center, free internet access in-room, heated swimming pool and spa.

Three mornings a week, walking tours of Coronado depart from the lobby of the Glorietta Bay Inn for a guided stroll through the famous island's playground of presidents and princes. It passes the site of the Old Tent City, the magnificent "Del", and the castles and cottages that line the beach and quiet neighborhoods of tree-lined streets that fan out from Orange Avenue.

Orange Avenue, Coronado's one-mile long main street, resembles the center of a quaint all-American village complete with mom-and-pop shops, sidewalk cafes, fine restaurants, theatres, parades and picnics in the park.

Nearby there are golf courses, 15 miles of biking paths, ferries to San Diego, and off-island tours.

Glorietta Bay Inn is so close to all the activity in Coronado that instead of renting a car at the San Diego airport, during my last I booked a $15 taxi and enjoyed exploring Coronado on foot or from the seat of a rental bicycle.

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