From the sun-kissed shores of San Diego to the heart of the most magical place on earth, two hotels stand out as monuments to luxury, class, and timeless architectural beauty: The Hotel Del Coronado and Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort. But how do these two iconic establishments stack up against each other? Let’s delve in.
History and Inspiration:
The Hotel Del Coronado, affectionately known as “The Del,” opened its doors in 1888. This National Historic Landmark, with its stunning Victorian architecture, has played host to celebrities, presidents, and royalty throughout its illustrious history. Its unmistakable red-roofed, white wooden exterior and opulent interiors make it a showpiece of the Californian coast.
Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort, on the other hand, transports visitors to the Floridian coast of yesteryears. Opened a century after The Del, in 1988, it’s undeniable that the Grand Floridian borrows heavily from its Californian counterpart’s aesthetic. The Victorian elegance, the sprawling lobbies, and the picturesque waterfront setting echo the charm of The Del.
Scroll Through the Gallery above to more pictures comparing the two iconic hotels
The Aesthetic Comparison:
Both hotels exude a similar air of timeless elegance. The vast, intricately detailed lobbies, the grand staircases, and the meticulous landscaping tell tales of a bygone era of luxury. The overarching theme is a nod to the Victorian age, but each hotel offers its unique touch — The Del with its Pacific Ocean backdrop and the Grand Floridian with its Magic Kingdom vistas.
Upkeep and Maintenance:
While both establishments aim for perfection, on my recent visit to The Del, I couldn’t help but notice a stark contrast in upkeep when compared to Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort. Despite its historical significance, some areas of The Del showed signs of wear, perhaps a testament to its extensive history and the challenges of maintaining a property by the salt-laden sea. I noticed a lot of exterior flaws in the paint for example. This much visual wear and tear wouldn’t be tolerated at the Grand Floridian. At least not in my experience.
Disney’s Grand Floridian, however, seemed pristine. The Walt Disney World Resort, known for its impeccable attention to detail, ensures that the Grand Floridian remains in tip-top shape, retaining its charm and magic year after year. From freshly painted exteriors to immaculately groomed gardens, Disney’s commitment to guest experience and preserving the magic is evident. I know that as the writing of this the lobby and some of the buildings at Grand Floridian are undergoing an extensive refurbishment. That also speaks to the fact that Disney is always looking to improve and keep this property in pristine condition.
While The Hotel Del Coronado and Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort share a kindred spirit in design and elegance, their experiences differ. The Del offers a rich, historical journey on the Californian coast, while the Grand Floridian provides a magical escape in the heart of Walt Disney World, with the added touch of Disney’s renowned maintenance standards.
Both have their unique charm and offerings, and choosing between them boils down to personal preferences: a historic coastal getaway or a magical Disney experience in a setting inspired by history. I say you should visit both! While they look very similar on the outside the experiences will be very different. while walking the grounds of the Del, I couldn’t help but feel like I was touring a new addition to the Grand Floridian that I didn’t know about.
Have you had the opportunity to experience both these iconic hotels? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below!