When you think of San Diego, doesn’t the iconic and historic Hotel del Coronado come to mind? Its red roof is visible from just about anywhere on Coronado Island, which is just across the bay from downtown, and almost everyone has seen or heard of it whether or not you’ve been to San Diego.
My family and I stayed at Hotel del Coronado during an October visit to San Diego, and whenever I told someone where we were staying — or where we’d stayed — they’d inevitably say, “Oh, that place is supposed to be really haunted, isn’t it?” So in addition to delving into all the amazing reasons to stay at what employees like to call “the Del,” I thought I’d give you a bit of haunted history of this 125-year-old hotel, as well.
Apparently all the hauntings are centered around one young lady, who checked into the hotel in 1892, but never checked out… Kate Morgan, a 24-year-old, arrived at the hotel alone on Thanksgiving Day, waiting for a gentlemen to join her. Witnesses say a woman matching her description had been arguing with a male who then abandoned her aboard a train while traveling to the island.
Kate, described by employees as unhappy, sickly and sorrowful, remained at the hotel for five days before taking her own life with a gun. After she was identified, it was learned that she was married but estranged from her husband and was perhaps waiting to meet up with a lover.
Apparently her room on the third floor and the gift shop are where most of the ghostly activity occurs. Lights flicker on and off, TVs turn on and off, things fly off shelves, doors open and close, and there are footsteps, voices and abrupt temperature changes. The only thing strange I can say we experienced (and we did stay on the third floor) was a knocking at our door shortly upon arrival only to look through the peephole and see nary a soul. The phone also rang just one time when we entered the room. Perhaps, that was her way of welcoming us to the hotel … or perhaps someone had the wrong number!
Our stay at the Hotel del Coronado was fantastic and a highlight of our visit to San Diego. Read more about What to do in San Diego. I was amazed at how old this hotel is, yet how well they have modernized it without losing its historic feel and character. Everything in the room felt up to date, yet traditional, from plenty of outlets to the furnishings to the electronics. The Del is also now part of Hilton’s portfolio, so you can use Hilton Honors points to book a free stay at this classic San Diego property.
The view from our room was absolutely unbeatable and one of the best I’ve experienced. We especially enjoyed watching the Navy Seals, who are based on Coronado Island, swim down the coast one morning and watching jets and helicopters fly over routinely!
One of the best ways to see Coronado is by bike. We rented bikes from Pedels at the hotel and took a flat, 6-mile tour around the island, pedaling around San Diego Bay and through some of the island’s charming neighborhoods.
We also rented body boards and a surf board to fully take advantage of the gorgeous beach (named Best Beach in American in 2012), pretty large waves and surprisingly comfortable water temperature of the Pacific ocean.
While many of the hotel’s restaurants are pretty pricey, the on-site ENO Pizzeria & Wine Bar is a more reasonable and kid-friendly option. You can also walk or bike down Orange Avenue, the main strip the hotel sits on, to numerous local restaurants. We also made a quick stop at Vons, the local grocery, to stock our fridge with water, snacks and breakfast items.
My 7-year-old son also had a ball completing a Treasure Hunt with clues set up by the hotel for kids, completing the final clue to get his “reward” from the candy shop. Suffice it to say, we were not ready to leave “the Del” when it was time to move to our next stop!
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