Hotel Del Coronado History Is Haunting



I don’t live under a rock. Some days I wish I did, but that’s a different story. Thing is, before I took a trip to San Diego in March, I’d never heard of the Hotel Del Coronado. Friends were telling me “OMG, I’ve always wanted to stay there”, and “that place is on my bucket list.” Not a single one of them mentioned, the Hotel Del Coronado history, is haunting.


Famous Guests at the Hotel Del Coronado

I started to research the Hotel Del, to see what I was missing.  In 1888, the western world was buzzing about it (just imagine if they’d had Twitter or Pinterest) , and today its a National Historic Landmark. And how could I have not known it was named America’s #1 wedding destination by the Travel channel? Other claims to fame include the celebrity guest list, you know, Presidents, Charlie Chaplin, Mae West, James Stewart, Walt Disney and many more!


There’s a lot of history at the “Hotel Del” as the locals call it. Marilyn Monroe’s “Some Like It Hot“, was one of over 12 movies filmed on hotel property.


Hotel Del Coronado History & Ghosts

After reading about how grand the hotel is, I discovered not all of the guests had checked out. Anyone else hear The Eagles, “Hotel California” playing right now? Nope, just me, okay. Well, as the story goes, a young woman named Kate Morgan, checked into the luxury hotel on November 24, and five days later killed herself on the beach. During our stay, several people in our group were freaked out by some paranormal activity.

Now, according to my husband, I sleep like a dead person. Could be true, since I don’t have any firsthand experiences to share with you. You can read about Jasmine’s encounter on Simply Real MomsInteresting fact, Jasmine wasn’t staying in Kate Morgan’s old room.


Another fun fact about Hotel Del Coronado history, apparently a male guest checks into the Hotel Del every year at Thanksgiving. He reserves Kate’s old room, and orders room service for two, hoping to meet the Kate Morgan’s ghost. This guy must have a serious obsession, because he’s yet to see the ghost, but continues to return! Oh and since when do ghosts actually eat food?

Room 3327, Kate Morgan’s old room, is the most requested room in the resort. My room, was, well, just a room with a bed. It smelled a bit musty, and didn’t have much of a view. When the Del was built, it was the first to have a hydraulic elevator, and electricity with cutting edge technology. At 125 years old, it shows its age in some places, although the the resort itself  is beautiful. The craftsmanship and exquisite details can be found everywhere!


We were fortunate enough to tour the property with some trivia experts from the Coronado Museum of History and Art. Unless you’re attending a private event, or eating Sunday brunch there, the tour is the key to getting inside the beautiful Crown Room. As the docents told us about the elaborate parties held in the room, I could picture the rich socialites dancing under the crown chandeliers. The exquisite chandeliers were designed by “Wizard Of Oz” author, L. Frank Baum, a frequent guest of the resort. (I highly recommend the tour)

The hotel has so much charm, character, and probably secrets. At night, I found myself thinking, if these walls could talk, what would they say? Or is that Kate Morgan’s ghost I hear…..

All photos used in this post were taken by me and may not be used without my permission. 








  1. What a great place to stay while in San Diego, I hope to stay there one day! I’ve only seen the hotel from the beach. That’s interesting that a male guest comes each year hoping to meet Kate. Ordering food for two, easy, he wants her to feel welcome! Food always makes me feel welcome. 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  2. We once took a family vacation to Los Angeles and San Diego and while in San Diego we visited this Hotel. It was beautiful and the beach was heavenly. We were staying in the city, which I also loved, because we went to sight see. If I ever go back, I would love to stay at the Coronado.

  3. I love the Hotel Del! Growing up on the west coast, it’s hard for me to believe people don’t know about the storied landmark. But then, I know people in the west who have never heard of Hilton Head, so there you go. 😉 I have never seen/heard any of the supernatural shenanigans but, given the age and that dark lobby interior, the stage is certainly set appropriately! Not surprising that Walt Disney was a guest; the Grand Floridian Resort is modeled in part after Hotel Del Coronado. We were lucky enough to visit Coronado and the Hotel this summer also, and can’t wait to get back! (We also really need to get that visit up on our own blog…thanks for the reminder!)

    • Really happy you stopped by Rob! As a former east coast resident, I know people that have never heard of Hilton Head, and I think the locals are content with their secret! I feel fortunate to have visited the Hotel Del and learned much more about the storied history!

  4. See: for the real story. The dead woman was actually Elizabeth ‘Lizzie’ Wyllie, the first police I.D. on the body in 1892. Kate Morgan was the ruthless grifter who put a pregnant (out of wedlock; “ruined”) Lizzie up to an ill-conceived blackmail attempt that went horribly wrong. The target: mega wealthy John Spreckels, owner of the hotel. He was in the White House with Pres. Benjamin Harrison at that moment, negotiating the fate of Hawai’i where his father’s cane sugar plantations were. Lots of good info on the site, plus a double-header book: Dead Move and Lethal Journey. One of the great stories of San Diego history, explained truthfully for the first time.


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