Living 'Island Style'

Walking into Villa 420 at the Marriott Coronado Island on a balmy San Diego morning last March, I had to remind myself I was actually in a major West Coast city. It felt more beachside cottage than metropolitan. Padding barefoot across the new tile floors past the casually elegant furnishings, I stepped out onto my private patio to breathe in the sea air—looking right to see a huge Navy ship slide under the graceful arch of the Coronado Bridge, and left to watch the lyrical white of a boat's sail dancing against the soaring buildings of downtown across the bay.

The comfortable beach luxury of my guest suite prevails throughout the hotel thanks to a $15 million project completed last December that has updated all 300 guest rooms, the lobby, and restaurant. Landscaping redesign has also allowed for new lawn areas overlooking the bay—ideal for private receptions and teambuilding programs. The final piece of the renovation, which will completely revamp the resort's 14,000 sf of meeting space is set for completion this month.

After a regenerating facial in the spa and a wonderful dinner that evening in Current restaurant, I rose early the next morning to check out the two-mile path that edges the bay in front of the resort. By noon, I was enjoying the seven-minute water taxi ride across the bay to the dock at sister property Marriott Marina, which sits next to the San Diego Convention Center and the shops and restaurants of Seaport Village.

As I got off the water taxi a few hours later back at the Marriott Coronado Island, I felt my entire body relax into "island style" and recalled the words of Ellen Slade, director of sales and marketing, upon my arrival. Explaining the feeling of her hotel, she had said, "We want to be different, to have more of a retreat feel." As I looked up at the "beach" resort I called home for a couple of days, I thought, "Well done."

Originally published Aug. 1, 2008

For more ideas, tips, and tools for better meetings and events, get Successful Meetings' weekly e-newsletter delivered to your inbox.