Hotel del Coronado reopens after first closure in over a century

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CORONADO, Calif. — The historic Hotel del Coronado started welcoming back visitors Friday after being closed for 90 days due to the coronavirus pandemic.

March 26 was the first time the hotel ever had to close in its 132 years of operation.

“We’ve survived World War II, the 1918 Spanish flu, recessions. This is the first time we’ve actually suspended operations,” said hotel marketing manager Keriann Martin.

The hotel is ready to welcome back guests and so is the Sandcastle Man, Bill Pavlacka, who has been gracing the sand with his talent for the last 12 years. The last three months also looked very different for him.

“Beach was closed, I did a couple here for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, for Memorial Day, but most of the time I wasn’t here.”

His messages in the sand look a little different these days,  marked with reminders like “wear a mask,” which will be mandatory for guests and employees, unless they’re on the beach where social distancing is more possible.

There will be reduced occupancy and modified amenities, like no fitness center or spa for the time being. The hotel will also be starting a new sanitation program.

“When guests check in, there will be a room seal on the door so they’ll know that they have been the only person to access the room since it was thoroughly disinfected,” said Martin.

Other steps include frequent cleaning of things like light switches and door handles, removing excess paper amenities in rooms, plenty of guest-accessible hand sanitizer and contactless check-in and check-out.

A new main pool and remodeled cabana guest rooms are set to open mid-July. Until the pool reopens, guests will be able to borrow sand chairs for the beach and umbrellas for free.

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