Hotel Del Coronado

Famous for hosting 14 presidents as well as for its role in Some Like It Hot, the Hotel Del Coronado is a captivating and elegant “Grand Lady by the Sea”, a timeless beachfront escape that recalls the grand old resorts of yesteryear.

Built in 1888, the National Historic Landmark is situated on the “island” (really a peninsula) of Coronado in the middle of San Diego Bay. Sitting like a Victorian wedding cake, it stands sentinel over an impressively pristine mile and a half of spectacular white beach, its red turrets a stunning contrast to the sand and shore.

Inside, many of the spacious, detailed public areas of “The Del” are right out of a bygone era. The Del’s guest rooms have been upgraded to today’s luxury standards with soft, warm color schemes, rich textiles, and luxurious feather beds, many with ocean views and balconies. Accommodation in the original Victorian building offer a modern take on antique charm, while those in the Tower and Cabana buildings are more contemporary beach-chic.

You can stay in one of the private cabanas on the beach (where Marilyn Monroe stayed  when filming Some Like It Hot) or in the former home of onetime San Diego social figure, Wallis Simpson: It’s said that she  met her future husband here in 1920. She went on to become the Duchess of  Windsor and change the course of  British history. Her house is now part of  The Del property. Pay them homage by dining in the world-famous Crown Room for Sunday brunch.

Behind the beautiful blue waters and landmark resort is Coronado, a simple yet very chic village of little California bungalows and shops along Orange Avenue. Walking here is a quiet pleasure, but if you need a bit more excitement, you can head across the soaring Coronado Bay Bridge into San Diego’s historic Gaslamp Quarter. Once a rather seedy section of town, the neighborhood has undergone an extreme makeover, including restoration of its marvelous 19th- and early-20th-century buildings, which now hold a variety of restaurants and nightclubs. The area has become even more popular as a recreation destination with the addition of Petco Park, a retro-style baseball stadium that is home to the San Diego Padres. The combination of sunshine, sea views, and America’s favorite pastime leaves little for sports fans to desire.