The Del's distinctive red-tile roofs and Victorian gingerbread architecture have served as a set for many movies, political meetings, and extravagant social happenings. It's speculated that the Duke of Windsor may have first met Wallis Simpson here. Eleven presidents have been guests of the Del, and the film Some Like It Hot—starring Marilyn Monroe, Jack Lemmon, and Tony Curtis—used the hotel as a backdrop.
The Hotel Del, as locals call it, was the brainchild
of financiers Elisha Spurr Babcock Jr. and H. L. Story, who saw the potential of Coronado's virgin beaches and its view of San Diego's emerging harbor. It opened in 1888 and became a National Historic Landmark since 1977
Although the pool area is reserved for hotel guests, several surrounding dining patios make great places to sit back and imagine the scene during the 1920s, when the hotel rocked with good times. Behind the pool area, an attractive shopping arcade features a classic candy shop as well as several fine clothing and accessories stores. A lavish Sunday brunch is served in the Crown Room, from 9:30 to 1:30 pm. During the holidays, the hotel hosts Skating by the Sea, an outdoor beachfront ice-skating rink open to the public. Even if you don't happen to be staying at the Del, gazing out over the ocean while enjoying a drink at the Sun Deck Bar and Grill makes for a great escape. If it's chilly, the fire pits and sofa seating are very inviting.
The History Gallery displays photos from the Del's early days, and books elaborating on its history and that of Kate Morgan, the hotel's resident ghost, are sold along with logo apparel and gifts in the hotel's 15-plus shops. Tours of the Del take place on Tuesday and Friday at 10:30, Saturday and Sunday at 2. Reservations are required.