Hotel Marisol's History
The village of Coronado was established in 1886 when two midwestern investors bought the island and built a seaside resort, the Hotel del Coronado. The town was slowly populated and several small hotels sprang up early in the early 1900s.
The Hotel Marisol began its life as one of these establishments, the Blue Lantern Inn, opening in March 1927. Its architecture is considered Spanish Eclectic, a style that evolved from the tremendous interest in Spanish architecture resulting from the Panama – California Exposition of 1915. The Expo, held in San Diego, commemorated the opening of the Panama Canal and sparked a Spanish style building boom in the city’s centrally located Balboa Park.
The elegant façade of the Hotel Marisol features many of the design elements of the Spanish Eclectic style. What looks like a simple rectangular stucco building actually has many distinct features – arches over windows and balconies, decorative wrought iron grilles, and molded keystone and cornerstone blocks on the first floor.
The hotel’s location between Coronado’s bustling mainstreet and perhaps the nicest beach in the country has helped ensure its enduring appeal. Over the past eighty-nine years, the building has hosted countless visitors seeking the intimate and welcoming experience of our small seaside town. Its names have been grandiose as well as humble – the Hotel Coronado Biltmore to the Village Inn.
The current owners, both Coronado residents, chose the name “Marisol” to honor the building’s Spanish style as well as its proximity to the beach. (Marisol can be loosely translated from Spanish as sea and sun.) The new interior design returns the lobby and living room to its simple and clean lines, with light walls, dark wood ceiling beams, wrought iron lighting fixtures, and ceramic tile flooring for the entry.
The guest rooms also follow simple lines but are distinctly modern in style with sleek furnishings and a subtle color palette. The only nod to the building’s lineage is the choice of retro white subway tile on the bathroom walls, paired with black and white one-inch hexagonal flooring tile.
On the exterior, the years of rough stucco and paint have been peeled away, uncovering the molded cornerstones. The new stucco is smooth and the molded blocks are painted a slightly contrasting color, both to replicate the original design. Decorative grille work has been restored or recreated. New Spanish style lighting fixtures greet guests at street level.
The new hotel sign was modeled after the original Blue Lantern Inn and Café sign seen in vintage photographs, the same size, in the same location.
Finally, the hotel’s garden that began its useful life as area for socializing by the guests, had deteriorated into a storage area. It has been reincarnated as a Mediterranean inspired haven with a travertine stone patio, olive trees in stucco raised planters, brilliant red bougainvillea, simple water features, and citrus trees. Guests are encouraged to enjoy their breakfasts on the patio or relax any time of day, enjoying the sun and ocean breeze.
On August 1, 2014 the original Blue Lantern Inn began a new chapter as the Hotel Marisol Coronado. The owners are proud to revitalize this grand old building, honoring Coronado’s history while paying forward to the city’s future.