Hotel del Coronado – San Diego, California - Atlas Obscura

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Hotel del Coronado

L. Frank Baum wrote part of the "Wizard of Oz" series in this wooden Victorian beach resort. 


Since its doors first opened in 1888, the Hotel Del Coronado has hosted presidents, royalty, and perhaps most famously, writers. L. Frank Baum stayed in the hotel while writing parts of his Wizard of Oz series. He also designed the featured chandelier in the hotel’s famous Crown Room.

The “Hotel Del,” as it is known to locals, is just across the water from San Diego. It’s one of the only surviving examples of an American genre of architecture, the wooden Victorian beach resort. You may recognize it as the inspiration for Disney World’s Grand Floridian. It’s a National Historical monument, and the second largest wood structure in the United States.

The hotel is known for many things, including the famous ghost of Kate Morgan; the world’s first outdoor electrically lit Christmas tree; and its featured role in Some Like it Hot, starring Marilyn Monroe and Tony Curtis, and The Stunt Man with Peter O’Toole and Steven Railsback. The resort was considered a wonder of technological structure in the early years, and both Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison counted among its guests.

Today, the Hotel del Coronado has both the original building and a newer wing, but the Crown Room and other featured rooms from past eras remain intact and frozen in time.

Know Before You Go

To get to the hotel, you can drive across the San Diego-Coronado Bay Bridge, which is a dramatic two-mile long bridge with a 90-degree turn at its midpoint. Another option is to take the ferry which departs from the foot of Broadway in San Diego.  If you prefer not crossing the water, there's also a longer route via Interstate 5 south, through Imperial Beach and up the Silver Strand.

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