Director of Public Relations
May 7, 2012
NEW BOOK CELEBRATES ROMANCE HISTORY
AT HOTEL DEL CORONADO
A new book just released by the Hotel del Coronado, Celebrating Over a Century of Romance at the Hotel del Coronado: Engagements, Weddings, Honeymoons and Anniversaries, pays tribute to the resort’s remarkable history of romance.
Starting with its first wedding in 1887 (the year before the hotel officially opened), the 170-page book also includes accounts of A-list celebrities rendezvousing at The Del, along with over 170 photos and other visuals (such as romantic renderings of the hotel during the evocative Edwardian era and vintage honeymoon brochures from the 1930s).
Written by The Del’s historian, Christine Donovan, Celebrating Over a Century of Romance also details romantic life for turn-of-the-century society brides, when marriages were arranged, ceremonies drew thousands of onlookers, and newlyweds honeymooned at places like the Hotel Del for months at a time. Drawings of the famed “Gibson Girl” illustrate what courtship and weddings were like for America’s most privileged couples (one of whom was Julia Child’s parents – he a Princeton graduate and she from colonial ancestry and “old money” – who honeymooned at The Del in 1911).
The hotel’s Hollywood history includes romantic couples from on- and off-screen. Rudolph Valentino wooed Gloria Swanson at The Del – at least onscreen, in Beyond the Rocks, filmed there in 1922, the story of a bride who falls in love with another man during her seaside resort honeymoon. Four years earlier, another Valentino movie filmed at The Del had an even more risqué storyline, when America’s favorite leading man married a debutante just to gain access to her mother (called The Married Virgin, this silent film is available on DVD and contains wonderful footage of the hotel, its gardens and beach). Probably the hotel’s most iconic celluloid pairing was Marilyn Monroe and Tony Curtis in the 1959 film Some Like It Hot, more recently named the number one comedy of all time by the American Film Institute.
Other Hollywood couples have enjoyed the off-screen romance of the hotel, including Bogie and Bacall; Lana Turner and husband Artie Shaw; Kirk Douglas and wife Dianne (their playful poolside photos may have been mandated by a movie studio); Olivia de Havilland and husband Marcus Goodrich; and Errol Flynn and wife Patrice Wymore … just to name a few.
But, much of the hotel’s romantic history has been of “everyday” couples, who have danced, romanced, married and honeymooned at the famed hostelry for more than a century. Although the first “official” wedding occurred at the hotel on September 15, 1888, hotel weddings were a rarity at that time, and Del honeymoons were much more frequent (as a photo of The Del’s c.1888 “bridal chamber” illustrates).
Early honeymooners included Kathleen “Etta” Soden and her husband John, who stayed at The Del for a month, following their 1906 Kansas City nuptials; their daughter and son-in-law followed suit with their own honeymoon in 1931 (although another family included four generations of Del honeymooners).
Celebrating Over a Century of Romance also features less socially prominent unions, including one couple (she a front desk employee) who met on a blind date at “Tent City” in 1920; their photo shows them in front of a striped tent, he in a Navy uniform. Another couple spent just part of a day at The Del during their 1931 honeymoon (a friend who worked in the hotel’s kitchen gave them a tour); their photo – with the hotel in the background – shows a sweet bride with her face buried in the chest of her happy groom, his arm encircling her waist.
Celebrating Over a Century of Romance at the Hotel del Coronado: Engagements, Weddings, Honeymoons and Anniversaries ($34.95) is available in Hotel Del gift shops, on-line at www.hoteldel.com, or via phone orders at 888.236.1357.
Additional books published by The Del are Wish You Were Here, Vintage Postcards from the Hotel del Coronado, An American Treasure with a Storybook Past; Beautiful Stranger: The Ghost of Kate Morgan and the Hotel del Coronado; The Loveliest Hotel You Can Imagine; and Building the Dream: The Design and Construction of The Del.
PHOTOS AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST