Some Like It Hot

Shadows at Hotel del Coronado, San Diego by Vic Briggs

Just across from San Diego Bay, on the white sanded beaches of Coronado, rise the magnificent towers of Hotel del Coronado, otherwise known as simply The Del: one of the last surviving wooden Victorian beach resort hotels in America. When it first opened in 1888 it was the largest of its kind in the world.

The Del was home to many firsts in its time: it was the first ever hotel with electric lighting and the first to have an electrically-lighted outdoor Christmas tree, overseen by none other than Thomas Edison.

Legend has it that Edward The Prince of Wales had met Wallis Simpson – the American divorcee whose love would lead to a constitutional crisis in the United Kingdom and the Dominions and would ultimately result in his abdication from the British throne as King Edward VIII in December 1936 – at a grand banquet in the Crown Room of the hotel given in his honour when he visited Coronado in April 1920. Although this was established to be untrue, the royal seal of approval certainly made The Del the “in place” to stay.

The 1920s saw it become the Hollywood’s darling, with Rudolph Valentino, Douglas Fairbanks, Charlie Chaplin and Clark Gable amongst others making it their weekend party home during the Prohibition.

The Great Depression had wrecked havoc on the hotel’s brilliant history and for a while there was talk of demolishing it altogether. For those who had seen it at its height, it may have come as a surprise to find out that Billy Wilder, the director of Some Like It Hot starring Marilyn Monroe (1959) chose The Del as the setting for the fictitious “Seminole Ritz” for his comedy’s Florida segment in great part because it was very cheap to rent.

This timely addition of Hollywood glamour had the desirable side-effect of changing The Del’s fortunes and today, while maintaining its Victorian look, the hotel is as luxurious as any visitor may desire – although it is unlikely to ever regain its spot as one of the “Top 10 Resorts In The World” which it had boasted at its inception some one and a half centuries ago.

About this image: Shadows on Sand on the shores of Hotel del Coronado. Keepsake of a beautiful day spent with old friends and new under the California winter sun.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Treasure

Kiss me, Kate | Unconditional Surrender

I can not grasp it, this moment – the now. It is a memory even as I breathe it in. Always here and yet never fully formed. 

Unconditional Surrender "Kiss" Statue San Diogo

There is controversy surrounding this statue of Greta and George. There are those campaigning to save it. Others would rather see it removed. Doubt is cast both on its beauty and the history of the moment it portrays.

So which is it: the romantic reunion of a couple in love… or a kiss stolen by a drunken sailor from a passer-by?

Thank you to Milford Street for inspiring this post. His image of choice is of a soldier who passes his days in laughter, at a small distance from the above couple in Tuna Harbour Park, San Diego CA, near the USS Midway Museum.

Daily Prompt: Write Here, Write Now


imagesWQDAD88NIn a few hours’ time I’ll be saying goodbye to the sun-baked shores of California. I discover something new to love about this place every time I visit. Whale-watching in San Diego with a friend I have not seen in over a decade was certainly a highlight. Lazing by the pool in Palm Springs under a dazzling December sun was another.

When I first realised that the drive Northwards would take nine hours I was horrified, and yet the rugged beauty of El Camino, swiftly followed by the wavy California 1 highway had contracted time into a mere matter of moments. I could have sworn that we had been driving for no longer than a half hour when we finally disembarked in Carmel for a cinnamon bun and a much needed taste of apple cider.

Then there was Tahoe… It little mattered that there was hardly enough snow on the slopes, watching a whisper of cloud descend upon the lake every morning more than made up for any lack elsewhere.

And of course, it was all the better because I had loved ones to share it with.

I am not fond of goodbyes.