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Windsor Cottage Restored at Hotel del Coronado

HOSPITALITY: Renovation Part of $400M Expansion

The historic Windsor Cottage at Hotel del Coronado has been remodeled and reopened as part of what the hotel calls its Ocean Concierge Club.

Windsor Cottage is the former home of Wallis Simpson, who later became the wife of former King Edward VIII.

Harold Rapoza
General Manager
Hotel del Coronado

Edward abdicated the throne in December 1936 to marry Simpson because of the scandal over his relationship with the  American socialite and divorcee. Edward became known as the Duke of Windsor following the abdication.

“We’re just excited to bring the cottage back,” said Hotel del General Manager Harold Rapoza. “We’re trying to make it look like how it was originally designed.”

Rapoza didn’t have a figure on the cost of renovating the 1,008-square-foot cottage, but said it was included in a more than  $400 milliion  overall renovation and expansion of the hotel by The Blackstone Group that began in 2019.

“This is just another milestone,” Rapoza said.

The Windsor Cottage was moved from its original location at 1125 Flora Ave. to the Hotel del Coronado in 1999.

“It was on the other side of the (Coronado) island,” Rapoza said. “With the Windsor Cottage located right on the ocean, it has great panoramic views. It’s just a great spot on the resort.”

Evolution

In renovating the cottage, Rapoza said the goal was to update the cottage while keeping its historic significance in mind.

As part of that, the hotel has posted a commemorative plaque tracing the cottage’s history and its connection to Wallis Simpson and the former king.

“You’d be surprised how many people come to the cottage, read the plaque, and see what  that’s all about,” Rapoza said.

Built in 1906 and originally known as Pinewood Cottage, the bungalow was the home of the first commandant of North Island Naval Air Station, Earl Winfield Spencer, who was Wallis Simpon’s first husband. They divorced in 1927.

Rapoza said the renovation preserved the exterior windows and wood siding of the cottage.

Other historic elements,  such as a clinker brick chimney, fireplace, and exposed rafters, were preserved.

A fireplace that was not considered a historic part of the cottage was upgraded to an arts and crafts design using glazed terracotta tiles with flanking bookcases that have wood and glass doors.

“It was important to our ownership to keep all of those elements in tack,” Rapoza said.

An outdoor patio was reconstructed on both sides of the cottage and at the front of the cottage.

The exterior was painted a light brown, a slight change from the darker brown it had been with green accents.

The roof was replaced with red tiles that blend in with the rest of the hotel.

A kitchen was added in a separate building that had been used for a restroom and storage  “so we could have our own menu and offerings that are directly related to the Windsor Cottage,” Rapoza said.

Inside, the flooring was replaced, and plush teak furniture was brought in.

A 10-seat sunken bar was also added, sunken so patrons can see past the bartenders to the shore.

The cottage was reopened in August as part of what the hotel said is its Ocean Concierge Club, described as “a refined take on the  concierge  club  experience mixed with the excitement of a dining club experience.”

The Concierge Club is open to hotel guests for an additional daily fee of $150 per person for adults and $75 per person for children over five. Children under four are free.

The cottage and members beach are also open to premier members of The Del Club.

“The reopening of the Windsor Cottage and debut of the Ocean Concierge Club marks the continued evolution of our significant investment in the restoration and preservation of this historic property,” said Brian Kaufman, managing director of Blackstone Real Estate.

Hotel del Coronado, Curio Collection by Hilton

Built: 1888
General Manager: Harold Rapoza
Headquarters:   Coronado
Business:   Hospitality
Employees:   1,400
Website:   hoteldel.com
Contact: 619.435.6611
Notable:   The Del was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1977.

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