The Del marks 125 years of holiday magic

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Jamie Lee Pricer

Holiday lights outline the Victorian architecture of The Hotel Del Coronado.
Photo courtesy of The Hotel Del Coronado

Thinking of a trip back in time for a holiday celebration, but with world-class, modern amenities? Located on a spit of land joined by a high-arch distinctive bridge to San Diego, the Hotel Del Coronado more than fills the bill.

The Del has been celebrating the holidays in grand tradition since it opened in 1888. In 1904, it introduced the first electrically lighted outdoor Christmas tree

One of the most celebrated hotels in California, the world-renowned and family-friendly Del collects accolades and awards regularly for its spa, wine, cheese and chocolate bar; beachside villas and cottages, dining, lavish service, catering and beach.

The 78–room-and-suite hotel, with its signature Victorian red-tiled roofs and white-wooden siding, stole movie-goers hearts and gained a burst of popularity that has yet to abate when Some Like It Hot, starring Marilyn Monroe, Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis, was filmed there in1958.

But back to what you can expect at The Del during the holiday: First, it’s the resort’s 125th anniversary, and in December, the architectural icon offers classic Victorian decorations, tartan plaid, antique platinum accents, vintage Santas, 100,000 glittering lights, Victorian carolers and a beachfront ice skating rink.

Skating by the sea

For the ninth year, the Del has transformed a spacious grassy area overlooking the Pacific Ocean into an ice rink, with skating sessions offered daily through Jan. 5. A portion of the skating proceeds will benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation of San Diego.

Sunday brunch with Santa

Kids of all ages can visit with St. Nick on Dec. 15 and 22 during The Del’s Sunday brunch. Photos allowed.

An American Christmas

With a nod to yesteryear, The Del will present its annual production, An American Christmas, Dec. 16 to 24, performed by the Lamb’s Players Theatre in the hotel ballroom. The Marshall family — played by 30 performers — welcome you to an interactive feast and celebration set in the year 1913. The Marshalls entertain with stories, songs, dance and laughter, all woven around a four-course yuletide dinner.

Christmas dining

A lavish Victorian buffet dinner in the legendary Crown Room will include live musical entertainment on Christmas Eve. On Christmas Day, the oceanfront ballroom and the Crown Room will feature traditional holiday buffet dinners decked with all the trimmings. Other Del dining choices will offer special holiday menus.

Victorian tea

The Del serves Victorian Tea Dec. 14-24 and 26-31, with the sounds of a harpist in the background.

Holiday recreation

Guests can choose from a variety of activities, including holiday night bike tours through Coronado Island, cookie decorating, crafts for kids, and Kidtopia Camp with holiday scavenger hunts and family s’mores roasts. Little ones will love the “Elf Tuck-Ins,” where they are visited by “real” elves at bedtime. Teens, ages 13-17, can hang out at Vibz teen lounge.

Happy New Year

The good times continue with The Del’s New Year’s gala. The evening will begin at 7 p.m. with a champagne reception, followed by dinner in the ballroom, dancing, plus a champagne toast. Jan. 1 will bring in 2014 with the annual New Year’s Day champagne brunch in the Crown Room.

If you go

What: Hotel Del Coronado

Where: 1500 Orange Ave., Coronado

Rates: Start at $309 through Jan. 4

Information: (800) 582-2595, www. hoteldel.com

You’ve seen The Del

Dozens of movies, television shows and made-for-TV movies have been filmed at The Del. Here are a few of the movies:

1915:Pearl of the Pacific

1929:The Flying Fleet

1939:Dive Bomber

1950s-60s:Some Like It Hot, Cry for Happy, The Easy Way

1970s-80s:The Stunt Man, K-9, My Blue Heaven, Wicked, Wicked

1990 to present:Mr. Wrong

Celebrity guests

The Del has hosted dozens of Hollywood stars and a dozen presidents since it opened in 1888. That list includes stars Lillie Langtry, Charlie Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks, Greta Garbo, Anthony Quinn, Frank Sinatra, Ginger Rogers, James Stewart, Gary Cooper, Kirk Douglas, Judy Garland, Mickey Rooney, Humphrey Bogart, Doris Day, Walt Disney, Lucille Ball, Liberace, Sylvester Stallone, Katherine Hepburn and James Garner, among many others.

Presidents include Benjamin Harrison, William H. Taft, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald R. Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H. Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.