San Diego's Hotel del Coronado Celebrates 125th Anniversary

Hotel Del Coronado Exterior Dusk - H 2013
Courtesy of Hotel del Coronado

Hotel Del Coronado Exterior Dusk - H 2013

The resort, which has played a role in Hollywood history since the early 1900s, will celebrate its milestone with year-long events.

The iconic Hotel del Coronado has played host to Charlie Chaplin and Marilyn Monroe's Some Like It Hot throughout its storied Hollywood history, and this year the hotel, which opened in February 1888, celebrates its 125-year anniversary.

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The highlight of the anniversary is a new 208-page Hotel del Coronado History book ($39.95, available through Amazon), compiled by the hotel's historian, Chris Donovan, and including more than 400 photos, many of which have never been published.

"With Some Like It Hot, all the actors have passed away, so the Del is all that's left of that movie," Donovan tells The Hollywood Reporter. "The hotel figures very prominently in the movie."

The Monroe classic wasn't the only film shot at the hotel. The Married Virgin (1918), starring Italian actor Rudolph Valentino, "really shows what the hotel looked like in the early days and shows that not much of the Del's historical look has changed."

The Stunt Man (1980), starring Peter O'Toole, also was shot at the Del. "They actually built a structure on top of our roof and blew it up, which we could never allow today," says Donovan.

The 757-room hotel has benefited from its close proximity to Hollywood. During tough economic times like the Great Depression, the resort stayed alive while others went under because "they didn't have the moneyed crowd of Hollywood so close by." Says Donovan: "If we had been a resort somewhere outside the shadow of Hollywood, we might not have been able to survive."

Even before the dawn of the golden age of Hollywood, the Del played a pivotal role in the beginning stages of filmmaking. As early as the late 1890s, Edison Manufacturing Co. under Thomas Edison and his Edison Studios started making experimental films there. 

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The San Diego mainstay (rooms from $299) sits across the bay on Coronado Island atop 28 oceanfront acres. The Del offers a range of suites up to the 900-square foot resort suite located in the Ocean Towers Building.

The resort's Beach Village (rooms from $600) is a separate enclave of the property with oceanfront cottages and villas right on the water. Amenities include the resort's award-winning spa, nearby shopping and recreational activities. In June, the hotel will mount a historical exhibition paying tribute to the development of Coronado.