Sunday, September 14, 2008
Coronado, CA -When the Hotel del Coronado first opened its doors in 1888, the United States of America looked far different than it does today. At that time, California was separated from the rest of the country by vast unsettled territories.
The 1848 discovery of gold in northern California had propelled settlement to the West Coast, but even forty years later, much of America’s interior was still unsettled. Imagine what it must have been like for the hotel’s early guests to leave the comforts and culture of the east and travel through the vast remoteness of the west to reach The Del.
In the early days, most guests traveled to The Del by train, and a trip from the east took seven days. Wealthy travelers journeyed in relative luxury, the wealthiest of whom had their own private rail cars that were hitched up to trains back east and unhitched when they reached The Del. To accommodate private rail cars, the hotel had a spur track on property.
Not only was the hotel part of the movement west, it was part of a way of life, which was epitomized by America’s luxurious railroad resorts. These were the watering holes for the rich, the famous, the privileged, the few. In fact, the hotel’s early patrons very likely spent their days traveling by train from one fabulous resort to another. At one time, the Hotel del Coronado was one of many such resorts; today, it is one of the few that has not only survived, but still flourishes as a wonderful world-class hotel.