If you think you’re priced out of the posh experience of vacationing on San Diego’s tony Coronado Island, you may be in for a pleasant surprise. There are actually many ways to experience the island’s beachy charm. While some may opt for the complete resort experience with all the best amenities at their fingertips, others choose high end boutique accommodations where elegance and history merge in quiet simplicity. Still others prefer the island’s natural beauty from the perspective of an RV or tent with picnic tables and beach fire rings. If you’re looking for a more middle-of-the-road experience, the bungalow-style of El Rancho Motel may be just right.
This simple ten room motel is a great choice if you prefer to spend the bulk of your vacation dollars on island experiences, and simply need a clean, comfortable, and affordable place to rest your head at the end of an exhilarating day. El Rancho Motel is located a few blocks from Ferry Landing on Orange Avenue where a majority of the island’s attractions are within walking distance. Solo travelers, families, and small groups of friends will appreciate the budget-minded motel.
Rooms at El Rancho Motel are categorized by the size of the accommodation. Standard rooms are the most spacious and come in a choice of one or two bedrooms. Economy rooms are slightly smaller, and also come as one-bedroom or two-bedroom accommodations. The larger Standard rooms are a good choice for families with older children or teens who need more space, a small group of adults, or those who just prefer more space. The smaller Economy rooms are suitable for families with small children, couples, or solo travelers. No matter which of the four room selections you opt for at El Rancho Motel, you’ll appreciate their affordability.
All bungalows are share the same minimalist design style; clean white walls reflect the SoCal sunlight that streams through windows with white plantation shutters. Carpeted rooms also have areas of marble flooring. Comfy beds sport cream or white bedding with colorful accent pillows and throws. Wall sconces bathe the rooms in soft light at night. Bathrooms have all marble surfaces with modern glass showers to wash away the day’s sand and salt. Rooms are equipped with flat-screen TVs, mini-fridges, in-room coffee service, microwaves, air-conditioning, and complimentary Wi-Fi. Two-bedroom Standard rooms include cozy seating areas.
Other guests have observed that rooms closer to the back (alley side) are quieter than those at the front of the motel (street side).
In keeping with the minimalist design of El Rancho Motel, the quaint motel amenities are also kept to a minimum. There is a lovely bi-level patio area at the front of the motel with tables, chairs, and umbrellas for shade; enjoy a beer or glass of wine after a long day in the sun, or simply sit back and people-watch. While the motel may be light on on-site amenities, the rich natural landscaping adds to the quaint, pleasant seaside bungalow feel of the property, and the intimate ambiance more than makes up for it.
El Rancho Motel is situated in a perfect location for accessing basic amenities a high-end hotel may have to offer. Who needs a pool when Ferry Landing beach is just blocks away? Why worry about work-out facilities when you can rent bikes, kayaks, surfboards, and paddleboards for fun in the San Diego sun? Forget about a hotel continental breakfast when you can walk three blocks to Tartine, a charming European café with an outdoor patio. El Rancho Motel lets you experience the other side of the island – not the touristy glam and glitz, but the authentic charm of real life on the island.
Motel amenities tips:
There are designated parking spaces in front of the motel as well as in the alley behind the motel. ADA accessible parking is in the alley. Because there are not many rooms, the front office is not staffed 24 hours; if you are checking in outside of hours, simply pick up the phone outside the office to be connected with the manager and receive check-in instructions, or better yet, call when you an hour or to away and they’ll try to make sure they are there when you check in.
Coronado Island is one of San Diego’s favorite neighborhoods, and El Rancho Motel is conveniently located near all the action. The shops and restaurants of Ferry Island Marketplace are four blocks from the hotel. Candelas on the Bay offers upscale dining with an incredible view of the San Diego skyline. Nicky Rottens Bar & Burger Joint is a favorite sports bar, Peohe’s offers sushi with a view, and Il Fornaio Coronado is an upscale Italian restaurant and bakery. Coronado Brewing Company is a casual, kid-friendly brew pub offering local craft brews, and of course you’ll find the requisite chains you love nearby like Taco Bell, Burger King, and Cold Stone Creamery.
Holland’s Bicycles is also located at Ferry Landing, which puts the rest of Coronado Island within easy reach. Ride 15 miles of bike paths on the island, cruise the shops, cafés, and galleries of Orange Avenue, check out water sports rentals at Glorietta Bay, make your way to the opposite side of the island to Coronado Beach – the only white sand beach in San Diego, and explore the historic Hotel Del Coronado. Holland’s also has electric bikes for rent if you need an easier time of it. Tandem bikes and bikes with child seats are also available.
Coronado Island offers vacationers an 18-hole public golf course with amazing ocean views, romantic gondola rides through the Coronado Cays, public tennis courts where you can also take a lesson, and a community outdoor pool, if you prefer your swims chlorinated. You’re so close to Ferry Landing when you stay at El Rancho, that it would be a shame not to take the ferry over to San Diego for a day. Check out Seaport Village, the Gaslamp Quarter, or take in a Padres Game in East Village. The entire downtown area is easy to get around either by walking or by trolley, then just hop on the ferry and return to the island for a good night’s sleep.
El Rancho Motel does not offer any promotions; prices change dependent upon the season as with most Coronado accommodations. If you visit during low-season, you’ll save money no matter where you stay on the island. El Rancho weekend rates are slightly higher than mid-week rates as well. The great thing about this motel is regardless of the season or day of the week, it has some of the best room rates on Coronado Island.