Del Coronado

Built in 1888. Has been recognized as posessing "more historical significance then any other hotel in North America. Ten U. S. Presidents have stayed. Prince of Wales who later became Kine Edward VIII. Marilyn Monroe to Brad Pitt have enjoyed the Del Coronado. It is a fairytale castle rising from the Oceans edge – omne of the legendary places to stay.


A classic historic hotel, The Del was built in 1888 and designated a National Historic Landmark in 1977, it has a rich and colorful heritage. From Marilyn Monroe to Charles Lindbergh, from state dinners to the ghost of Kate Morgan, The Del is a fascinating American treasure with over 115 years of stories to tell. The Del's visionary founders, Elisha Babcock and H.L. Story, dreamed of building a seaside resort that would be "the talk of the Western world." Since then, the resort has become a living legend, visited by celebrities, dignitaries and U.S. presidents. In fact, publisher Rand McNally recognized the Hotel del Coronado for enjoying more fame and historical significance than perhaps any hotel in North America. U.S. Presidents have visited The Del, starting with Benjamin Harrison in 1891. One of the resort's most famous visitors was England's Prince of Wales in 1920. He would later become King Edward VIII, only to give up his throne in 1936 to marry Coronado divorcee, Wallis Spencer Simpson. Many have speculated that they may have first met at The Del. The Del has played host to some of America's greats including Thomas Edison, L.Frank Baum and Babe Ruth. Famed aviator Charles Lindbergh was honored at The Del in 1927 after his successful trans-Atlantic flight. At this lavish banquet, a replica if Lindbergh's plane circled the enormous Crown Room ceiling. Hollywood has been making movies at The Del for more than a century. (The first movie shot at the hotel was in 1901.) In 1958, The Del was the backdrop for the comedy classic Some Like it Hot starring Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon. The resort has also seen a steady stream of celebrity visitors from Charlie Chaplin and Humphrey Bogart to Brad Pitt and Madonna. What Victorian resort would be complete without a resident ghost? Kate Morgan checked into the resort on November 25, 1892 and never checked out. Reports of ghostly happenings have been circulating at The Del ever since, all thought to be connected to the death of this beautiful young woman.

Hotel History: Hotel del Coronado, Coronado, California * 


The renowned Hotel del Coronado is a grand example of elegant Victorian architecture providing one of the most beautiful and popular beach resorts in the United States.

The Del was conceived by two mid-western businessmen, Elisha Babcock, Jr. and Hampton L. Story who bought the entire undeveloped 4,100 acres on the peninsula of Coronado for $110,000. Babcock was a retired railroad executive from Evansville, Indiana and Story the owner of the Story & Clark Piano Company in Chicago.

Babcock and Story hired the architectural firm of Reid & Reid consisting of James W. Reid (1851-1943), Merrit J. Reid (1855-1932) and Watson E. Reid (1858-1944) who were based in Evansville, Indiana. Upon arriving in Coronado, James Reid said, “The next day, such a one as may be found only in Coronado in December, we all visited the beach. No finer location could have been found anywhere.”

Construction commenced in March 1887 with many unskilled Chinese workers who had to be trained on the job by master carpenters, plumbers and other craftsmen from San Francisco and Oakland. Babcock ultimately found enough workers to man the construction site twenty-four hours a day.

The shortage of lumber was solved with contracts for exclusive rights to all the raw lumber production of the Dolbeer & Carson Lumber Company of Eureka, California. Reid built planing mills, kilns, a metal shop and iron works on the site. To speed construction, Reid also installed water tanks, gravity flow sprinklers, two giant cisterns to store rainwater and the first oil furnace in a new hotel. The Mather Electric Company installed electric lighting, a world first. Bricks were fired in a kiln built nearby specifically for the project and rock from quarries in Temecula Canyon was provided by the San Diego Granite Company. Meanwhile, toilet seats were ordered from England, china from France, glassware from Belgium, 21,000 yards of carpet from Lowell, Massachusetts and wooden chairs from a furniture manufacturer in Boston. The hotel’s first general manager, John B. Seghere, had to double as an interior decorator.

Unfortunately, when the spectacular new Hotel del Coronado opened in February 1888, the southern California land boom collapsed. Babcock and Story secured additional funding from John D. Spreckels, Captain Charles T. Hinde, H.W. Mallett and Giles Kellogg. By 1890, Spreckels ultimately bought out both Babcock and Story. The Spreckels family retained ownership of “the Del” until 1948.

The original five-story structure remains intact and in full use along with two newer sections closer to the beach. The Crown Room is still regarded as one of the world’s monumental architectural structures with its high sugar pine ceiling held together only with wooden pegs. There are no nails or interior supports and for many years was considered the largest column-free room in the United States.

After brief periods of ownership by Robert A. Nordblom, Kansas City hotelier Barney Goodman and San Diego businessman John S. Alessio, Chicago-born M. Larry Lawrence became the owner in 1963. For the next twenty years, $40 million was spent repairing and replacing plumbing, electrical, heating, ventilation and cooking gas lines. Because the Del is the world’s largest wooden structure, Lawrence installed one of the most expensive Grinnell sprinkler systems to provide the utmost in fire safety. He also constructed the Grande Hall Convention Center to make the Del one of Southern California’s largest and most successful meeting and convention venues. The hotel is almost completely self-contained with the following back-of-the-house amenities: butcher shop, pastry bakery, upholstery and furniture shops; electrical, plumbing, machine shops; an in-house laundry and dry cleaning facility.

Lawrence was highly respected for his self-made financial success, but no accomplishment was more dear to him than his restoration of one of the world’s most beautiful historic landmarks, the grand dame of American seaside resorts – the Hotel del Coronado.

It is said that more celebrities of the arts, entertainment, sports and political worlds have visited the Hotel del Coronado than any other hotel resort in North America. Notable guests have included Thomas Edison, Charlie Chaplin, King Kalakaua of Hawaii, Vincent Price, Babe Ruth, James Stewart, Bette Davis and Katherine Hepburn. More recently, guests have included Kevin Costner, Whoopi Goldberg, Gene Hackman, George Harrison, Brad Pitt, Madonna, Barbra Streisand and Oprah Winfrey.

The following presidents have stayed at the hotel: Benjamin Harrison, William McKinley, William Howard Taft, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

While the Del has been the location for many movies, perhaps the most famous was Some Like It Hot (1959), starring Marilyn Monroe, Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis.

The Hotel del Coronado was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1971 and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1977.

In March 2016, Blackstone sold Strategic Hotels & Resorts to Anbang Insurance Group, a Beijing-based Chinese insurance company, in a $6.5 billion deal involving 16 luxury American hotel properties including the Hotel del Coronado. Fifteen of the sixteen were immediately transferred to Anbang. However, the sale of the Hotel del Coronado was held up because of concerns expressed by the federal inter-agency Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, which reviews acquisitions of U.S. businesses by foreign investors for possible national security risks. The agency was concerned about the hotel’s proximity to major Navy bases in San Diego. In October 2016 it was reported that the deal had fallen through and the hotel would remain in Blackstone’s ownership.

In August 2017, Hilton Hotels and Resorts took over the management of Hotel del Coronado as part of their Curio Collection.

*excerpted from my book “Built To Last: 100+ Year-Old Hotels West of the Mississippi” AuthorHouse 2017

14 US Presidents, from Marily Monroe to charles Lindbergh, Charlie Chaplin, Humphrey Bogart, Brad Pitt, Madonna, Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon, King Edward VIII, Wallis Simpson, endless list of actors, artists, writers, ...

In 1892, after discovering that he was cheating on her, Kate Morgan decided to leave her husband. She stayed at the Hotel del Coronado that night and her husband broke in and shot her. Today many reports have been made about ghosts and the sounds of gunshots throughout the building. It was the largest electrically lit building outside New York City - Thomas Edison is said to have personally supervised installation of his lamp invention.

The first movie shot at the hotel was in 1901.1958, the hotel was the backdrop for the comedy classic “Some like it Hot”. In 1958, when access to the resort was only via ferry, thousands came every day to watch stars Marilyn Monroe, Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis shoot their scenes.
Fans still come in droves to idyll on the sweeping porch, walk the beach like Marilyn did and take in the spectacular Victorian architecture. Now that Tony Curtis is the only living star from the movie, the Del Coronado is particularly special as an immortal keepsake.

Dean Nelson

Managed by: KLS Resorts
688 rooms with wireless internet connection Rooms

The Hotel del Coronado is just across the bay from downtown San Diego, rising from water's edge on the quaint island of Coronado in San Diego it it one of Amerca's most beautiful beach resorts.

Crown Room (historic ambiance, Whimsical crown-shaped chandeliers, designed by Wizard of Oz author L. Frank Baum, wonderful view, award winning Sunday brunch). 1500 OCEAN restaurant and bar, terrace (Southland Coastal Cuisine). Sheerwater, oceanfront restaurant and terrace with gigantic fire place, offers californian coastal cuisine, a special children's menu with traditional childhood favourites. Serving breakfast, lunch, cocktails, light fare and dinner daily. Babcock & Story Bar, named for the Del 's visionary founders, offers tropical drinks, California premier wines, espresso, and light fare in an oceanfront setting. The Palm Court, overlooking the Garden Patio, offers Victorian Tea every Sunday (and daily during December). Babcock & Story Bakery, serves gourmet coffee, tea and freshly baked breads and pastries. Museum Market,unique gourmet sandwiches, salads, domestic and imported cheeses, pates, and California wines. Open daily. Sun Deck Bar & Grill, Cocktails and grilled favorites with magnificent views of the Pacific and seasonal live entertainment. Splash Bar & Deli, located poolside. Features sandwiches, snacks, and specialty tropical drinks. (Open seasonally) Boardwalk Cafe, Features light breakfast and lunch fare, refreshing smoothies and cool treats. (Open seasonally) Cabana Bar, Right on the sand, features light fare and tropical drinks. (Open seasonally)

The rooms are furnished with a Nintendo Game Cube. At Sheerwater Restaurant they have a special children’s menu with traditional childhood favourites.
Tent City Kids’ Camp
Designed just for kids, this program allows children ages 4-12 to meet new friends, develop new skills, participate in beach fun, create crafts and more (including meals).

Coast Club Teen Lounge
The Coast Club is The Del’s hot spot dedicated strictly to those ages 12 to 17. It features video games, pool, food and drinks, music, TVs, computers to check email and send e-Postcards to friends back home and the chance for teens to meet other people their own age. (Open seasonally.)
The Del also offers teenagers tours and lessons in kayaking, surfing and biking. For those who want to relax and unwind, the Spa at The Del offers spa treatments designed specifically for teens including the Teen Spa Sampler and the Teen Break Package.

Tennis, 2 outdoor pools (Pool Cabana rentals), sandy ocean beach (rental of: Boogie boards, volleyballs, surfboards, wetsuits and umbrellas. Beach chairs are complimentary.), bicycle rental (tandems, kids bikes, trailers and surreys including helmets and locks), the Boathouse offers rentals and instruction for sailboats, speedboats, water skis, jet skis, paddleboats and kayaks, 80 golf courses in the San Diego area, Yoga, Sailing boat or hire including captain, supervised camp for children. The Fitness Center (agelimit not under 18) is fully equipped and also offers a personal trainer. Pilates studio. The new state-of-the-art Spa will include 22 treatment rooms, hydrotherapy, relaxation areas for men and women and steam rooms. Guests will also be able to unwind at the Spa's expansive private terrace and endless pool overlooking the magnificent Windsor Lawn and the Pacific Ocean (scheduled for completion Fall 2006).

Offering 65,000 square feet of meeting space, the Hotel del Coronado is San Diego 's premier meeting resort. There are five meeting rooms plus the Oceanfront Ballroom. It also offers on-site, state-of-the-art technical equipment and professional services provided by Swank Audio Visual including concert-quality audio systems, visual presentation equipment and presentation accessories. A Stage, a hydraulic lift for large production load-in and out, 22-foot ceilings and multiple connected breakout rooms (capacity up to 700 people in one room).

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Our Select Member Hotel

Del Coronado
Country: USA
City: Coronado
Opening date: February 19, 1888

Note from the Host

General Manager

Todd Shallan


1500 Orange Avenue
CA 92118 USA, Coronado

Tel: +1 619 435-6611
Fax: +1 619 522 8262

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