The reimagination of San Diego's iconic Hotel del Coronado

The iconic Hotel Del Coronado in San Diego was built in 1887, and used as the setting for the 1959 Marilyn Monroe and Tony Curtis film "Some Like It Hot."


By MIA TAYLOR | TravelPulse | Published: March 22, 2019

San Diego's Hotel del Coronado is a legendary property, one that has hosted a long list of presidents over the years and even served as the backdrop for Marilyn Monroe's "Some Like it Hot."

The iconic property is synonymous with luxury and elegance. But even the most revered hotels need a facelift now and then.

In the case of Hotel del Coronado, construction has commenced on a new vision of San Diego's world-renowned seaside resort. With approvals from the city of Coronado and the California Coastal Commission, The Del (as it is affectionately known by locals) has begun implementing a $200 million master plan that was created to be a roadmap for the beloved property's future.

The significant effort will include a phased development to preserve, revitalize and produce new aspects of the property. All of which is slated to be complete in late 2021.

"We have a lot in store for Hotel del Coronado," said General Manager Harold Rapoza Jr. "In 2018 The Del celebrated its 130th anniversary. Now we have the privilege of ushering in this next chapter, in which we rejuvenate The Del's timeless story with restorations and the addition of new, unprecedented experiences that will create memories for generations to come."

Key elements of the reimagination include:


Hotel del Coronado is restoring its bygone sense of arrival with a new landscaped entry featuring a grand view of the iconic red turret.

A lush driveway will harken back to the Victorian era with a new front facade inspired by the property's original front porch and wide veranda featuring two sets of entry stairs.


A new conference center will be constructed on the south side of the resort, which will accommodate events of 800 to 1,000 guests.

The state-of-the-art facility will feature a 15,000-square-foot clear-span ballroom with approximately 10,000 square feet of pre-function and break-out meeting space. The venue will open onto a 14,000-square-foot great lawn with views of the Victorian building and include a loading dock and kitchen.


Plans also include 142 new guestrooms, bringing the property's room count to 898. The new guest quarters will be developed adjacent to the conference center on the south side of the resort, with an array of ocean, bay and pool courtyard views.

The new rooms are being crafted with families and groups in mind, featuring flexibility of adjoining suite options, fully equipped kitchens with premier appliances and indoor-outdoor gathering spaces with a fire feature.

The suites will be developed as whole-ownership, limited term use condominiums, presenting the final opportunity to own resort real estate at the iconic property. Additional enhancements are being made to the existing 97 California Cabana guestrooms, including a design upgrade and the addition of outdoor fire pits, chaises and cabanas.


Hotel del Coronado's culinary outlets are being revitalized as well with the addition of the new Clique Hospitality concept Serea, opening summer 2019. Serea will offer a robust, Mediterranean-inspired menu showcasing the best sustainable seafood and heritage meats that the surrounding region has to offer, prepared by San Diego native and Clique Hospitality executive chef and partner, JoJo Ruiz.

An indoor-outdoor bar will serve as the restaurant's see-and-be-seen focal point and will spotlight specialty cocktails, local brews, and a well-curated, eclectic wine list, making it the perfect place to celebrate the seaside beauty of San Diego.

The property's scenic Sun Deck will feature stunning views and a new 360-degree bar and full kitchen for an elevated poolside experience. A new main pool will feature cabanas and daybeds, with stadium-style seating connecting the pool to the Sundeck.


In addition to the restoration of Hotel del Coronado's original front porch, the multi-phase development will include preservation of buildings that date back to the late 1800s and early 1900s including the Power Plant (which once provided power to the entire island of Coronado), Laundry, Ice House and Oxford Building.

The Ice House will be renovated for use as a History Gallery, a space available for guests and visitors to learn more about The Del's unique and fascinating history.

Outdoor event venues

The Del's Vista Walk event venue will be elevated and expanded into one level, while preserving the legendary Dragon Tree, to offer panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean and the iconic red-roofed turret. The outdoor space will host up to 900 guests.


The majority of the parking will be located underground, with two new underground parking structures, one below the conference center and one on the north side of the property near Beach Village, totaling 1,179 parking spaces at Hotel del Coronado and Beach Village at The Del.

The first phase of The Del's reimagination is already underway and includes development of the north underground parking structures, and restoration of the industrial buildings, as well as the Vista Walk and debut of Serea.

Portions of the first phase are expected to be complete this summer, with the remainder slated for late 2019.

Next up are the California Cabanas room renovations along with the main pool and Sundeck, scheduled to be completed in summer 2020.

Phase two will bring redesign of the main entrance with signalized intersection and improved traffic flow, and restoration of the original entry facade, along with construction of the conference center with its adjoining great lawn and below grade parking; 142 new guest rooms; and street improvements including new landscaped sidewalks around the property and enhanced beachfront walkway connections.