Hotel del Coronado

Historic Building in San Diego
Image by Don Klumpp / Getty Images

One of the world's most iconic hotels, ‘The Del’ is an all-timber whitewashed architectural fantasy complete with conical towers, cupolas, turrets, balconies, dormer windows and cavernous public spaces that reflect the style of the designers, railroad-depot architects James and Merritt Reid. Acres of polished wood give the interior a warm, old-fashioned feel that conjures daydreams of Panama hats and linen suits. Learn more on a guided 90-minute tour (reserve online or by phone).

The Del achieved its widest exposure when it was featured in the 1959 movie Some Like It Hot, which earned it a lasting association with Marilyn Monroe. Other guests have included 11 US presidents and various world royalty whose pictures and mementos adorn the hotel’s history gallery. There’s speculation that Edward (then Prince of Wales) first met Mrs Simpson (then Mrs Spencer) when he visited in 1920, though the two did not become an item until years later.

There’s an interesting resident ghost story, too, about a jilted woman who haunts the hotel; some claim she silently appears in hallways, and messes with the lights and with the TV screen in the room where she had her heart broken. In case you were wondering – it's room 3327 on the 5th floor in the Victorian building.

For a taste of the Del without a stay, enjoy breakfast or lunch at beach-view Sheerwater restaurant or splurge on Sunday brunch under the grand dome of the spectacular Crown Room, under chandeliers designed by L Frank Baum, author of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.