Hotel del Coronado
A view of one of the dining rooms
One of the hotel's many pools
An aerial view of the hotel and the rest of San Diego in the background
The Hotel del Coronado
Map of the resort grounds
Construction of the hotel in 1887
Marilyn Monroe during filming of Some Like It Hot at the Hotel del Coronado, circa 1958.
Backstory and Context
On March 19, 1887, a groundbreaking ceremony occurred amidst much fan fair, and construction formally commenced. At the high point of construction, over 250 men were employed in the whirlwind effort to complete the hotel at record pace. Just shy of one year later, the hotel opened for business. The completely wooden frame construction used an impressive variety of lumber, from Douglas fir and California redwood to hemlock, cedar, white oak, and sugar pine. The diverse varieties of wood throughout the hotel are one of its most notable features. It was an instant success and soon became a center for the nation's elite. Yet, even with the hotel's popularity, Babcock failed to make a profit. The hotel cost a staggering $600,000 to construct and $400,000 to furnish, yet room rates started at $2.50--and that included three meals a day. As a result, it was acquired in 1890 by John D. Spreckles who operated it until 1926 (the hotel stayed in his family until 1948). It continues to be a popular hotel today.
One of the early draws of the hotel, besides its idyllic location and generally lavish appointments, was its early adoption of electricity. Indeed, it was among the earliest major buildings to be fully "electrified." Other innovations included steam-powered hydraulic elevators and telephone connections. Besides hosting numerous celebrities and dignitaries, including aviator Charles Lindbergh, Presidents Franklin Roosevelt, William Taft, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, and Jimmie Carter, and entertainer Charlie Chaplin, it also served as the backdrop for one of Marilyn Monroe's most famous films, Some Like it Hot.
"San Diego Resort History." Accessed June 1, 2015. http://hoteldel.com/about-our-san-diego-resort/history.