A PLACE OUT OF PLACE: If you were to pause and picture the last time you ice skated, and you could get out of your head for a moment -- because we're very much within our heads when we ice skate, what with the keeping of our balance and such -- and think about the surroundings, what would you recall? The Plexiglas partition that separates the stands from the rink? The instant cocoa vending machine in the far corner? The hockey-ready line layout of the ice? There's a lot to look at, even as you keep your upright posture. But picture, now, gazing upon foamy waves, or perhaps a seagull, or even a row of palm trees. Nope, you're not looking at some tropical mural painted on a wall of your ice rink: You're looking at the real Pacific Ocean, and actual palm trees. Well, that is, if you're standing on the Hotel del Coronado's seasonal rink, one of the most unusual expanses of ice in all the state. The Thanksgiving-to-just-after-New-Year's rink is indeed situated between the turret-topped hotel and the sand, which means you could skate and swim all within the hour. (Let's be honest, though: That water isn't as tropical as the balmy scene set just beyond the waves.)
WANT TO GIVE IT A TWIRL? It costs twenty five bucks per skater and that includes skate rental (though not your swim trunks or waterwings, if you decide to take an after-dip in the water). A pro skater will call upon the rink, to lend tips and instruction, and if you want to bed down for the night at the landmark that's staging the whole icily offbeat scene? There's a Holiday Sea & Skate Package, which includes a $25 resort credit and discounted self-parking.
AND ARE THOSE HOURS... extended come the week of Christmas into New Year's? If you know the Del, you know it absolutely bustles with visitors who want to admire the baubles, bows, and lobby tree. You can bet ice rink hours grow come the end of the year.