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Four pretend guests rate the Hotel del Coronado

Reservations

Hotel Del. Well it certainly put me in a good mood, I was in the lap of luxury. No, not exactly the lap of luxury — but close enough.  - Image by Joe Klein
Hotel Del. Well it certainly put me in a good mood, I was in the lap of luxury. No, not exactly the lap of luxury — but close enough.

No Zeus, No Rasputin at the Hotel Del

  • (Borneo Jimmy edits the “Booze and Cigars” column for The Paris Review and co-writes, with Georges Bataille, “Imbibing This Month” for National Geographic.)

There are no bar stools at the Palm Court bar — just comfy, cushy wing chairs — which should immediately TELL US SOMETHING. And oh the drinks were shit! Or if not shit, weak. Or if not weak, disappointing.

Everywhere you look: crowns. Walls, ceiling. Part of the decor. Crowns like kings wear. Crowns? — oh I get it: coronado.

The Ramoz Fizz was like a nutmeg milkshake. OK, I know. Mixed drinks after all exist to mask the ale. — the acrid intensity of C2H5OH — it’s in fact their only function...but c’mon. ’S got no heat, no punch — what so freaking ever — under all that dairy glop. Okay, well, an R.F. does require a certain knack, and maybe its art, its craft, is that of a bygone era, so how’s about we try a perennial favorite like oh, say, a Tom Collins — now that should be easy.

Bartender!

Mmm, looks yummy — sip, swig — tastes like grapefruit — did he say GRAPEFRUIT? — pshaw!!

When some people think of hotels, they think of swimming.

So I try another, I order another, and whut whut? — he don’t know how. Doesn’t know a Zeus. Is not familiar with it (1 oz. vodka, 1 -1/2 oz. Campari, fill w/ ice, lemon twist.) Well, okay, then make it a Blood and Sand — 1 oz. gin, 1 oz. sloe gin, single large cube of ice. Don’t know it either. And if I've gotta tell him — well — I would certainly rather he know it himself (is it asking too much?) in his mixographic bones. Nor does he know, well, all the great barkeeps of Europe and Connecticut know, even the average, even the lousy barkeeps know, but not this highly trained professional — the crême de la crême de la fabulozoolous HOTEL DEL — who does not know, and cannot prepare: a Rasputin (2 oz. vodka, 1/2 oz. clam juice, anchovy-stuffed black olive)...an RAF Cocktail (I oz. scotch, 1 oz. cognac, straight up — a “man’s drink”)...a Whoopsy (1-1/2 oz. Pernod, 1/2 oz. sauterne, dash of Angostura bitters)...aTwoFiftyTwo(l oz. 151-proof rum, 1 oz. WildTurkey 101 )...a Burnt Sienna (1/2 oz. Kahlua, 1-1/2 oz. carrot juice, sprig of cilantro)...so what to get instead??

If armadillos crawled across the lobby carpet it would not feel any more “gothic.”

Everywhere you look: crowns. Walls, ceiling. Part of the decor. Crowns like kings wear. Crowns? — oh I get it: coronado. “Crowned.” Okay, crown me: I will have a Seagram’s Royal Crown, soda back. Swell — great — at last we’re getting somewhere; now a tall glass of port...what? $7.50 for a short pop of Sandeman Founders Reserve ($14.39 a three-quarter LITER, on average, wherever fine spirits are sold)?!

I watched people play tennis from several angles: from the balcony upstairs, a high window, a restaurant, and I watched them as we walked by.

Harumph, harumph...just enough left for a fine cigar; migod. They want $4.95 for an oh my, I forgot to take note of the BRAND OF CIGAR — no notepad (no memory!) — you call me a writer?? (The Shame! the Shame!) So gosh damn embarrassed I can not can not stand myself. Can’t fake it — Can’t take it — I can’t go on...


I wonder how long the hotel has been serving capuccino, it’s hard to know because they did have karaoke, which is an even newer kind of trend.

Nineteen Postcards from the Hotel D.C.

  • (Applejack Meltzer, filmmaker and poet, is the cousin of frequent Reader contributor Richard Meltzer. His latest collection of verse, Tropic of Nipples, is scheduled for mid-fall release by Black Sparrow. )

Jerry — LuAnne thinks it’s Disneyland, I think it’s a generic large hotel. Every time you turn around there’s a Leroy Nieman painting. Only one, but turn around it’s there: horses & dogs romping along the beach outside the hotel; yellow, orange, brown, white, blue (not a print). Horses?

-Applejack

Ceiling of Crown Room is linseed oil. Why it shines. Every year (ten days) they oil it. On their backs, the scaffold, like Michelangelo!

Terry — Why the eff am I here? To write postcards and piss rainbows (it’s a living). Have got NO INTEREST in the place, believe me. It doesn’t intrigue me, nothing. I’d just as soon be in Lima, Ohio — honest.

-A. Meltzer

Dottie — Very good turkey at the Del Deli — name that decor. “Cave”? “Mineshaft”? “Undersea grotto”? Formerly a seafood takeout? “I Hear a Symphony” and “Penny Lane” on some local oldies station.

-Appie

Scottie — At the Del Deli (open 24 hrs.). Johnny Carson, no, the pseudo-Johnny Carson — dressed just like Johnny circa 70 — eats all the chicken but leaves behind a carrot in his piping hot matzo ball soup.

-Mr. Apples

Snottie — Not as authentically (or even bogusly) chintz-elegant as the Horton Grand. Or as distinctively fake-old. Draperies are painted on the wall above the bed. Acrylic or oils? Too high to tell.

-A.J.

Francis — Could you film Dracula here? No. Wrong atmos. If armadillos crawled across the lobby carpet it would not feel any more “gothic.” (Ditto for rats.)

-Applejacula

Eunice — Twilight at the Ocean Terrace Lounge — stink of popcorn for a five o’clock mile. Ocean, ocean, where’s the ocean? Not rhetorical (nor apparent) — let me ask. Why of course, heh heh, THERE: 200-300-400 yards beyond the tennis courts. Surf’s up!

-A.M. in the P.M.

Punis — A “pleasant” breakfast at the Ocean Terrace Restaurant. Buttermilk pancakes with a side of strawbs. Eggs benedict and tea with lemon. Buttermilk pancakes with — I already said that. On the whatsit with the check: “We prefer Visa — Thank you.” (Eat my dick.)

-Grouchjack Meltz

Doc Flogger — As I live and bathe, the running water is remarkably, preternaturally, SOFT. I wouldn’t kid ya. Softest eau west of the Rockies? And east.

-Jack M.

Sir Tooty — At the Prince of Wales Grille with an e: flaming spinach salad, w/ brandy or somesuch for fuel. Yugg — sweet — should’ve been sterno. On the far wall: HONNI SOIT QUI MAL Y PENSE. The waiter must be Belgian.

-Honest A. Meltzer

Scoopy — Vegetables on my lobster plate: beet, asparagus, baby corn, baby tomato, tater, some strange sort of radish. Total vegetable mass, about that of a large gallstone. Shellfish, howev, is something to write home about (so write my mom for me, o.k.?).

-Hap the Hippo

Pus Pup — Says LuAnne of her lamb chop: “If I got to also eat some of your lobster, and if this happened to be my last meal, it would be acceptable.” (“Autumn Leaves” on the piano by some guy who 40 years ago heard Bud Powell — and never forgot.)

-Apple Butt

Thumbs — A sight for eyes: conventioneers in SWEATERS no money can buy. Where could you buy one? Patternless purple/puce. Green and yellow diamonds. Map of Texas. Grandmas, Martians, blind people knitted them for Xmas. It is crueler to give than receive.

-Applejacque

Weewee — Piano off the lobby. Loveseats with lovesitters. Baldy in a snazz shirt plays “Sophisticated Lady,” Kenny Dorham’s “Blue Bossa,” a Spanish-tinged “Goodbye” segueing into “Granada.” This is not a place to fart.

-Reverend Meltzer

Pope Leo — Palm Court Bar. A Leroy Nieman lookalike, human, to his short blonde hi-heeled date: “What I think I’m trying to say is I would like to get together with you.” She stiffens. Later, they kiss. Later, sits on his lap. Next table, six cigar smokers. Great smoke!

-A/Jack Melts Her

Senator Boxer — Doesn’t seem “serious” enough a dump for any really nasty nazi fascist lifethreatening b.s. to be transacted. For planning then faxing the next massive turning of the screw. But neither is San Diego in general. L.A., Seattle, even San Francisco, but this cozy playpen of zzzz — nope. Benign!

-Franklin D. Meltzer

God of the Jews — Do any lobby women look like whores? No lobby women look like whores. Is the whore look different at the Hotel Del? Do whores here wear grey corporate business dresses?

-Apple Jackoff

Fat Willie — “For Your Safety and Protection: The City of Coronado has an 11 p.m. curfew for minors 17 years of age and under. To cooperate with the City Police, we ask your assistance in observing this curfew.” (Blow me.)

-AP

Junius! — Tantamonny Sochek is playing! “Twist King of the Finger Lakes”! In the Pottawottabotta Room! All the way from Ithaca, Geneva and Watkins Glen! Twist! Again! Like we did last summer! Tantamonny Sochek!

-A. Lying Jackson


MAKE YOUR OWN FUN

  • (Nita Hapsacker is a fitness instructor from Oceanside.)

Well it certainly put me in a good mood, I was in the lap of luxury. No, not exactly the lap of luxury — but close enough. First of all, forgetting everything else, it was very nice to get away, and sometimes it doesn’t matter where you’re going so much as that you’re going and that they say it’s good and it’s not bad. They said it loud enough and I bought it. It was big and old — you have to respect that. And the ocean was there and the food was very good. I slept well.

But I kind of expected everyone to be more stylishly dressed, I was surprised to see people in shorts and jogging suits, and I liked the way that when we went to one restaurant my husband had to wear a jacket — I thought that was good, because at least it said this is special. And I thought everything would be more special. I did see some people dressed kind of in that Palm Springs look. Palm Beach? But not too many.

There was also something faintly musty. Maybe on some level it has to do with age, but there was a slight smell that didn’t have to do with history. I was in Newport once and took a tour of the house of the Kennedys or somebody, and it was very enormous and old but not musty. The mustiness here was a little artificial, it seemed to come from current problems, as opposed to antiquated problems. Maybe the reason that it wasn’t completely luxurious was it’s just too much to cope with for all those people who have to do the dance — the staff of the hotel. It would seem an insurmountable task to keep it up to snuff. But it smelled only some of the time, and it wasn’t obnoxious. Sometimes in the halls, but not in the rooms.

The cigars in the lounge I didn’t mind. Most people can t stand them, but I’m tolerant. It seemed to me that for the time we were in that part of the hotel, and all those smokers were there, it let them have a good time, which was kind of nice — why make a big deal about it? Our room was in the nonsmoking section of the hotel, which was good — I liked that idea. I’ve never been that big about smoking in hotels, in bed, I mean I don t smoke and it does make the air clearer, but then also you don’t have to worry about accidental fires — so that’s very good. If someone wants to set an intentional fire, they can set it in either smoking or nonsmoking — so I don’t worry about it.

We never got around to ordering room service. We were only there one day and had all the places to go. I didn’t play tennis. I wanted to, it was inviting, and I watched people play from several angles: from the balcony upstairs, a high window, a restaurant, which was very peaceful, and I watched them as we walked by. I didn’t go swimming, it was too cold. Was the pool heated? I don’t know. But I wouldn’t have gone in anyway, I don’t swim. But the point wasn’t to go swimming. When some people think of hotels, they think of swimming. Not me. But if there had been a higher atmospheric temperature, perhaps I’d have considered dangling my feet. Don’t get the idea, though, the weather wasn’t nice. It was excellent, and we took a long walk along the sand — it was lovely.

We didn’t have breakfast in the Crown Room because the Unisys people were there. It’s an electronics thing, I think — they were on convention. They didn’t mix with the regular people, the tourist people, they had enough of their own. I guess they spent an enormous amount to rent the full dining room ahead of time. I also suppose people come from all across the country to have breakfast in the fabulous Crown Room and it’s not entirely fair to give it away to Unisys. But it’s really no different than if the hotel was full anyway and everyone got up before you did, and went to breakfast before you — I Can understand that. I’m flexible. We had lunch in the Crown Room. I wasn’t very hungry, but my husband had a nice meal of duck ravioli. This was after we checked out. I had a glass of wine and a capuccino, it was very good. I wonder how long the hotel has been serving capuccino, it’s hard to know because they did have karaoke, which is an even newer kind of trend. So maybe capuccino is that type of concept, although actually capuccino is an old, historic kind of coffee, so who knows?

The more I think about it, the karaoke seems so at cross purposes with the image of the place. I heard about this bar in New York where people put on sumo suits and wrestle sumo style — well the karaoke is just another version of that: rake them in to buy drinks and have a mindless “good time.” Which I was somewhat disappointed at, that sort of logic, because one would assume that people aren’t going there for that. But to the extent that they do have a convention trade, maybe that was the point. Karaoke isn’t just for youth anymore, it’s now a kind of silly middle-aged let’s-have-fun. Seeing it during happy hour was enough to make me go make my own fun, which I did.

I went upstairs and wrote a sentence in my notebook: “A lingering longing of likely soap permeated the air.” I love to write in hotels while I’m there. That was the first sentence. Then later: “Don’t cry for Jojo, but she missed the boat.” That’s Jojo Blena, the main character. It’s called A NICE DAY IN THE WORLD, and where I got the soap, what made me think of it, was they gave you both a face soap and a bath soap — many hotels only give you one. The sink was quite nice, they had a nice wooden shelf over it. The faucets were very handy, very easy to use, a very nice shape. I have no complaints about it. The mirror was good, and the bath was excellent. They gave you bath salts. The placement of the toilet paper — it was hidden at first, beneath a towel, so people might feel you have to keep your eyes open — but I found it, it was fine, I thought it was perfect. The toilet was fine. My husband pointed out that it was crooked, but believe me, it was just fine. The room was fine. It was very small, but you know? It didn’t seem to matter much, because it was cozy. When they took us on a tour and we saw a suite of rooms, and we saw the bedroom, it was exactly the same, so I didn’t feel deprived at all. I didn’t feel the room was too hot, though my husband did — I had a very nice sleep. It’s a good time to raise the point that not everyone’s experience or perception of things is the same.

The TV itself was just fine. The reception was excellent, the size and where it was positioned — they give you a remote, which they should be complimented for, because many hotels don’t and no one should encourage that. But what was on TV was terrible. Of course they’re only responsible for some of that, some of it has to do with the whole nature of programing, but some has to do with them. They had one station that was just ads for various hotels and sights in San Diego. I would have watched that more if they had had more of the Hotel del Coronado on, I’d have watched it several times before getting bored. But the other hotels could only be watched once before you didn’t want any more. And they had CNN and the cable sports station, otherwise it was just normal TV plus advertisements for movies on the pay station. They didn’t have a pornography station, I didn’t see one. They didn’t seem to have as many stations, total, as you would have on regular home TV with UHF. The selection of shows was not good, though I don’t know how much to blame on the hotel and how much on the culture we live in. But I’ve been to other hotels where they do have one free station with old movies on it, and you’ll see some you haven’t seen.

Oh, one thing they did have that was pretty interesting, though they only had it from 6 PM to 12, was movies with Del Coronado content. For instance they had The Stunt Man, no, they didn’t have The Stunt Man the day we were there, they were having it the next day. I would have loved to have seen that again, it’s a very good movie, a classic that many people don’t know about which they would not only enjoy but appreciate — it’s not just a stunt movie, it’s a movie about people. But instead they had Time After Time, was it Time After Time? Or Once Upon a Time? — I forget the title. I couldn’t get into it, I kept confusing it with the other movie which may be called Time Goes By. But it had that guy with the jaw that played Superman, who pretends to be a good actor but he’s really not, George Reeves, no, the later one — I met his ex-wife once, the one he had the children by. Gay Exton I think her name is. Now I don’t know if they ever were actually married, but he was with her forever, then he dumped her, and now he’s involved with someone he’s going to marry, she’s pregnant, she may even have had the baby by now — Christopher Reeves. Reeve. He’s the star of this movie which was actually based on the Hotel del Coronado. Well, not based on it, but it took place at it in someone’s imagination. In the book, not the movie. The movie was filmed somewhere else. I guess if you never saw it and you felt like sitting and watching it, at least it’s a movie. Not made for TV. But that was the only thing on which remotely, to my taste, was available to watch. The sports network, ESPN, I had some interest in catching a glimpse of once in a while, and there may have been takers for the basketball — and that’s a positive thing—but it wasn’t my preferred viewing.

I took the tour while we were there, ten dollars. It gave me more of a personal investment in the hotel. I especially liked the guide who gave it, it’s not often you come across someone with all her lines drawn so boldly. She was very defined, she did not have too many contradictions that one could see. She looked exactly like who she was, which was the most old-fashioned whitebread type person I have seen in quite some time on many levels. But whitebread with caraway seeds. She was in that age range you might call between 55 and 65, probably over 60, extremely well groomed, somewhat stout but not fat, you know that round look with bubble hair — very, very brown and coiffed and rounded. She had an utterly appropriate suit on — “dressed up” for her morning tour. I applaud the fact that she took so much care about her grooming, it was part of who she was — she was herself down to a T. She talked about how the Duke of Windsor married Wallis Simpson, who started out as “just a little Navy wife — who would have known?” She seemed extremely proud of her own husband, who had been a Navy pilot, a captain — “the equivalent of a colonel in the Army.”

You could tell she got a lot of her identity from the hotel, to the point of where she referred to it as “she” and “her.” Which was unnerving to me—not just anthropomorphizing a building — it’s almost psychotic to do that. I mean there are some people with psychological diseases who have trouble with pronouns, and when I heard that, even though the person was obviously not insane, it did disturb me. I just thought that maybe, while she had an interest and it was a good hobby for her, she might have been a bit obsessive about the place. It was hard to tell if she was more an employee or part of management, how closely she felt connected to which side, but as a job she did it with great enthusiasm. Every time we passed a service person, a maid or whatever, she would give a friendly good morning — this is a good day. It may have been part of the tour for her to communicate with the help that way — to show “we’re all one happy family” — but in any case I think they responded well, just as I responded well, because she was so sincere. I am gullible to good advertising, but it has to be good advertising.

For instance, as I’m writing this, I just saw something very good on my TV. It’s a car advertisement and it shows a kid’s wagon rolling in front of the car and the car’s stopping and it says SAFETY. Some people would probably think this is evil — “Kids aren’t safe if you don’t have this car” — but that isn’t what I want to think they’re saying. They’re saying that if you’re going to buy a car you can trust this car. And that’s what you buy anything for. It may be too automatic, but it’s automatic for a reason, because it’s an easy buck. But that doesn’t make it a bad buck. If you were in a world without advertising, you wouldn’t know what to do. You wouldn’t know what to buy. Advertising in a way is a gift, and part of what I like about the Del Coronado is it says that it’s good in a way that I’m willing to buy. But I think that if I just came across it, if we were driving down the street and then saw this big building, I would wonder what the building was, I would want to go look inside it. There is something intrinsically compelling and appealing about the outside of the building that draws you in. And once I was in, if I had the opportunity to stay there, which I did, I would definitely have a good time. The cover would make me like the book and, for the most part, the blurbs on the cover would make me like it even more.

Because when we took the tour and she was telling us about the ghost that lives there, and maybe even two, according to the story, that made our stay more interesting. I loved that part of it — the hotel’s “legends.” At one point I thought the ghost had stolen — or taken, we don’t want to say that anyone had actually stolen — my hat. Never did I think that it might have been an employee. I either thought I misplaced it or the ghost came and took it. Because I honestly don’t remember where I left it. Maybe at the check-in. But it turned out — oh! — this was so nice: someone turned it in to the lost and found! The woman there was so nice and took a very special care of looking for me. I didn’t get to visit the actual lost and found, you call on the phone and say what you’ve lost and you describe it. I told her a brand new dark green woman’s felt hat from The Gap. She said, “Didn’t someone call before?” and I said, “Yes, my husband, but I really would like you to double-check,” and she said, “Just one moment, please.” She came back, put me on hold for several moments, someone else picked up, I said I’m still waiting, then she came back and asked me another question, finally she went back and found my hat! Then she said, “Where are you?”— I was at the phone in the lobby — she said, “Okay, I’ll come to you. I was so appreciative I tried to give her a tip. I had a few dollars in my hand, and I said, “I don’t know if this is appropriate, I don’t want to insult you, but I’m very grateful.” She said, “No, no.” She wouldn’t take it.

And you know, the fact that no one took my hat says something about the Del Coronado: that it was the kind of hotel where they do not keep your hat. Either the people who stay there or the people who run it. And I don’t think it was because they seemed mostly Republican, because Republicans are as bad as anyone else. They must have had a feel for humanity, a sense of empathizing with those who lose things. It might be the way it-is if you’re an actor or actress and you put on the costume of a thing, it makes you feel more like the character of the place, so in some ways going there feels a little like playing. “Pretend.” So maybe the customers go there with preconceptions of the place and behave themselves up to those preconceptions. One of the reasons I had such a good time is that while I did not have specific preconceptions I certainly had the preconception of a good time. And I joined in immediately, I had no trouble joining in. (Of course I would never take their hats.)

I think for the most part it was a safe place. We forgot to lock the car — I forgot, the passenger side — but no one took anything. Today I guess it’s not that easy to find an environment where it feels separate from danger. The guests were very civilized. There weren’t any “tough looking” people. I did eavesdrop on one conversation, a group of women whose husbands were with the convention. Subjects they talked about: their diets, exercising, their dogs, knitting. And their husbands, and their husbands’ sports — whether they played cards, bridge or golf. It was very homogeneous the way each of them talked, there was a standard and everything was or wasn’t a deviation from the standard. I wouldn’t call them necessarily bland, or “squares,” or “cardboard,” but there was a certain rigidity, and a certain standardized look and behavior without any flash, even the golfers — but I did feel safe with them. There was a definite dullness to them — that’s not a judgment, I’m trying to describe what these people were— I just thought they were the median. Median upper middle-class people, but working upper middle-class people. I don’t think they were the squanderous rich, which was what the hotel and the tour were to some extent implying — all the Presidents and stars who’ve stayed there. I think these people worked hard for their money but had their money. And behaved in all the standard, civilized ways. They’re used to all the normal celebrations, and never deviate that much.

But for all its civilizedness, and all its age and splendor — this thing of history — I guess what was missing was a real sense of tradition, of classic history. You know, like when you see these names — Barbizon Hotel, the Ritz, the Plaza — you think of these places and no matter how in or out of current fashion they may be, they still have a sense of tradition that is deeply imbedded, it’s deeper than the contemporary people running them. And somehow, even though this hotel hypes that, and is that — I mean it’s 105 years old — and tries to market and adapt to the concept of being traditional, you still don’t feel the age of tradition. The weight of it and ease of it. The innate ease of it. Which didn’t bother me, but I guess that’s the substance that was missing.


The Turret and the Rock

  • (Lar Tusb is the only Pulitzer Prize winner to hail from Malm, Sweden.)

Where I come from there is a saying: “You read what you write, you write what you read, an old hotel is like a book.” Add magazines then you have the good idea. Reading quite much useful things before you go.

  1. First I read National Motorist. March issue. Page 21. It said: “Hotel Del Coronado Tours. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Takes you through some of the guest rooms, special rooms, and up into the turret.” The turret! The famous turret (let’s see it). On Thursday. We walk up high the stairway...up the tall stairs...inside is redwood...’’What is the machines?” “Surveillance equipment,” said the woman. Also said: Thomas Edison discovered the lightbulb (then he put it in the Hotel). Also: ceiling of Crown Room is linseed oil. Why it shines. Every year (ten days) they oil it. On their backs, the scaffold, like Michelangelo!
  2. Visitor Magazine. Jan./Feb./Mar. Page 8 is the topiary. In my country we don’t have. Is so beautiful, the topiary. In black and white is beautiful. In green is beautiful. I prefer green. Thank you. Hotel! “The living sculpture is the brainchild of Del employee Wayne Buchta, the hazardous material manager in the engineering department of the hotel.” Thanks, Mr. Wayne!

Then the recycle (page 10). Yes, I like the recycle. “Color-coded bins and boxes for collecting recyclables can be found all over the hotel, thus encouraging all Del employees to be aware of what can be recycled. When full, these containers are then emptied into larger bins, then the items are sorted and removed.” Oh good goody! I see these bins. Am happy — about the encouraging.

Advertisement for Hotel Galleria Shops. Alexander Morgan — European Heritage: “North America’s largest producer of European heraldry. Coats of arms, calligraphy, embroideries and monograms.” Oh I will go. On the window more to read. “Family Name Histories covering over 200,000 names — England, Ireland, Wales, Scotland, France, Spain, Germany, Italy, Russia, and many other countries” — perhaps Sweden? — “The Perfect Gift.” For my son Bjorgn — a coat of arms for his coat. Do you have — I ask — the Tusb crest? I have never ask before — don’t even know if there is a one...I spell it out for him (the man). No. No gift!

  1. The Legend of Kate Morgan: The Search for the Ghost of the Hotel del Coronado by Alan M. May. This time is a book. Is terrific. Could not put it down. I am interest — no, not the ghost — I don’t like, don’t like them — ooh I’m scared of! Only the room. Out side of room. Room number...check it up again...number 3312. Not scared of numbers and doors. (But a drink, first.) Put on my shoes. Old part of Hotel. Elevator to 3rd floor...I look...the number...the door. (No touching.) Is fun!
  2. And last but never least to read Rock on the Road: Where Working Hands Hole Up (West Coast ed.) by Jon Morthland. It has all the places. Including the Hotel. Rock bands that have stay at the Hotel: JoJo Gunne, Blind Faith, The Teddy Bears (three members), The Fall, Aerosmith, Kulture Slutz, Portnoy’s Complaint, 1-2-3 Black Light, Hiisker Du (incognito). Motley Criie,The Slickaphonics, Wet Willie (reunion tour), Captain Beefheart, Faster Pussycat Kill Kill. (And many more.)

Bands that have not: Ice-T, Hackamore Brick, Lindsey Buckingham, Dion & The Belmonts, Bob Wills 8c His Texas Playboys, Bad Brains, The Contortions, Was (Not Was), The Streps, Folly, Sister Souljah, It’s a Beautiful Day, Jan & Arnie, Dinosaur Ir., A Good Fuck.

Why do they stay — or not — is what I wonder. What appeals attract rock music? The players. I have never been a player, so I try and put myself in the shoes, what is the conclusion. Is it too quiet for them? Yes. Unless they bring the Walkman. (Cassettes.) Complimentary free mouthwash (so they taste good) — is that why? But many hotels have it. So nothing, really. Unless you count the pool: that’s what it is. And the sea.

All the good reading! Good bye.

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Hotel Del. Well it certainly put me in a good mood, I was in the lap of luxury. No, not exactly the lap of luxury — but close enough.  - Image by Joe Klein
Hotel Del. Well it certainly put me in a good mood, I was in the lap of luxury. No, not exactly the lap of luxury — but close enough.

No Zeus, No Rasputin at the Hotel Del

  • (Borneo Jimmy edits the “Booze and Cigars” column for The Paris Review and co-writes, with Georges Bataille, “Imbibing This Month” for National Geographic.)

There are no bar stools at the Palm Court bar — just comfy, cushy wing chairs — which should immediately TELL US SOMETHING. And oh the drinks were shit! Or if not shit, weak. Or if not weak, disappointing.

Everywhere you look: crowns. Walls, ceiling. Part of the decor. Crowns like kings wear. Crowns? — oh I get it: coronado.

The Ramoz Fizz was like a nutmeg milkshake. OK, I know. Mixed drinks after all exist to mask the ale. — the acrid intensity of C2H5OH — it’s in fact their only function...but c’mon. ’S got no heat, no punch — what so freaking ever — under all that dairy glop. Okay, well, an R.F. does require a certain knack, and maybe its art, its craft, is that of a bygone era, so how’s about we try a perennial favorite like oh, say, a Tom Collins — now that should be easy.

Bartender!

Mmm, looks yummy — sip, swig — tastes like grapefruit — did he say GRAPEFRUIT? — pshaw!!

When some people think of hotels, they think of swimming.

So I try another, I order another, and whut whut? — he don’t know how. Doesn’t know a Zeus. Is not familiar with it (1 oz. vodka, 1 -1/2 oz. Campari, fill w/ ice, lemon twist.) Well, okay, then make it a Blood and Sand — 1 oz. gin, 1 oz. sloe gin, single large cube of ice. Don’t know it either. And if I've gotta tell him — well — I would certainly rather he know it himself (is it asking too much?) in his mixographic bones. Nor does he know, well, all the great barkeeps of Europe and Connecticut know, even the average, even the lousy barkeeps know, but not this highly trained professional — the crême de la crême de la fabulozoolous HOTEL DEL — who does not know, and cannot prepare: a Rasputin (2 oz. vodka, 1/2 oz. clam juice, anchovy-stuffed black olive)...an RAF Cocktail (I oz. scotch, 1 oz. cognac, straight up — a “man’s drink”)...a Whoopsy (1-1/2 oz. Pernod, 1/2 oz. sauterne, dash of Angostura bitters)...aTwoFiftyTwo(l oz. 151-proof rum, 1 oz. WildTurkey 101 )...a Burnt Sienna (1/2 oz. Kahlua, 1-1/2 oz. carrot juice, sprig of cilantro)...so what to get instead??

If armadillos crawled across the lobby carpet it would not feel any more “gothic.”

Everywhere you look: crowns. Walls, ceiling. Part of the decor. Crowns like kings wear. Crowns? — oh I get it: coronado. “Crowned.” Okay, crown me: I will have a Seagram’s Royal Crown, soda back. Swell — great — at last we’re getting somewhere; now a tall glass of port...what? $7.50 for a short pop of Sandeman Founders Reserve ($14.39 a three-quarter LITER, on average, wherever fine spirits are sold)?!

I watched people play tennis from several angles: from the balcony upstairs, a high window, a restaurant, and I watched them as we walked by.

Harumph, harumph...just enough left for a fine cigar; migod. They want $4.95 for an oh my, I forgot to take note of the BRAND OF CIGAR — no notepad (no memory!) — you call me a writer?? (The Shame! the Shame!) So gosh damn embarrassed I can not can not stand myself. Can’t fake it — Can’t take it — I can’t go on...


I wonder how long the hotel has been serving capuccino, it’s hard to know because they did have karaoke, which is an even newer kind of trend.

Nineteen Postcards from the Hotel D.C.

  • (Applejack Meltzer, filmmaker and poet, is the cousin of frequent Reader contributor Richard Meltzer. His latest collection of verse, Tropic of Nipples, is scheduled for mid-fall release by Black Sparrow. )

Jerry — LuAnne thinks it’s Disneyland, I think it’s a generic large hotel. Every time you turn around there’s a Leroy Nieman painting. Only one, but turn around it’s there: horses & dogs romping along the beach outside the hotel; yellow, orange, brown, white, blue (not a print). Horses?

-Applejack

Ceiling of Crown Room is linseed oil. Why it shines. Every year (ten days) they oil it. On their backs, the scaffold, like Michelangelo!

Terry — Why the eff am I here? To write postcards and piss rainbows (it’s a living). Have got NO INTEREST in the place, believe me. It doesn’t intrigue me, nothing. I’d just as soon be in Lima, Ohio — honest.

-A. Meltzer

Dottie — Very good turkey at the Del Deli — name that decor. “Cave”? “Mineshaft”? “Undersea grotto”? Formerly a seafood takeout? “I Hear a Symphony” and “Penny Lane” on some local oldies station.

-Appie

Scottie — At the Del Deli (open 24 hrs.). Johnny Carson, no, the pseudo-Johnny Carson — dressed just like Johnny circa 70 — eats all the chicken but leaves behind a carrot in his piping hot matzo ball soup.

-Mr. Apples

Snottie — Not as authentically (or even bogusly) chintz-elegant as the Horton Grand. Or as distinctively fake-old. Draperies are painted on the wall above the bed. Acrylic or oils? Too high to tell.

-A.J.

Francis — Could you film Dracula here? No. Wrong atmos. If armadillos crawled across the lobby carpet it would not feel any more “gothic.” (Ditto for rats.)

-Applejacula

Eunice — Twilight at the Ocean Terrace Lounge — stink of popcorn for a five o’clock mile. Ocean, ocean, where’s the ocean? Not rhetorical (nor apparent) — let me ask. Why of course, heh heh, THERE: 200-300-400 yards beyond the tennis courts. Surf’s up!

-A.M. in the P.M.

Punis — A “pleasant” breakfast at the Ocean Terrace Restaurant. Buttermilk pancakes with a side of strawbs. Eggs benedict and tea with lemon. Buttermilk pancakes with — I already said that. On the whatsit with the check: “We prefer Visa — Thank you.” (Eat my dick.)

-Grouchjack Meltz

Doc Flogger — As I live and bathe, the running water is remarkably, preternaturally, SOFT. I wouldn’t kid ya. Softest eau west of the Rockies? And east.

-Jack M.

Sir Tooty — At the Prince of Wales Grille with an e: flaming spinach salad, w/ brandy or somesuch for fuel. Yugg — sweet — should’ve been sterno. On the far wall: HONNI SOIT QUI MAL Y PENSE. The waiter must be Belgian.

-Honest A. Meltzer

Scoopy — Vegetables on my lobster plate: beet, asparagus, baby corn, baby tomato, tater, some strange sort of radish. Total vegetable mass, about that of a large gallstone. Shellfish, howev, is something to write home about (so write my mom for me, o.k.?).

-Hap the Hippo

Pus Pup — Says LuAnne of her lamb chop: “If I got to also eat some of your lobster, and if this happened to be my last meal, it would be acceptable.” (“Autumn Leaves” on the piano by some guy who 40 years ago heard Bud Powell — and never forgot.)

-Apple Butt

Thumbs — A sight for eyes: conventioneers in SWEATERS no money can buy. Where could you buy one? Patternless purple/puce. Green and yellow diamonds. Map of Texas. Grandmas, Martians, blind people knitted them for Xmas. It is crueler to give than receive.

-Applejacque

Weewee — Piano off the lobby. Loveseats with lovesitters. Baldy in a snazz shirt plays “Sophisticated Lady,” Kenny Dorham’s “Blue Bossa,” a Spanish-tinged “Goodbye” segueing into “Granada.” This is not a place to fart.

-Reverend Meltzer

Pope Leo — Palm Court Bar. A Leroy Nieman lookalike, human, to his short blonde hi-heeled date: “What I think I’m trying to say is I would like to get together with you.” She stiffens. Later, they kiss. Later, sits on his lap. Next table, six cigar smokers. Great smoke!

-A/Jack Melts Her

Senator Boxer — Doesn’t seem “serious” enough a dump for any really nasty nazi fascist lifethreatening b.s. to be transacted. For planning then faxing the next massive turning of the screw. But neither is San Diego in general. L.A., Seattle, even San Francisco, but this cozy playpen of zzzz — nope. Benign!

-Franklin D. Meltzer

God of the Jews — Do any lobby women look like whores? No lobby women look like whores. Is the whore look different at the Hotel Del? Do whores here wear grey corporate business dresses?

-Apple Jackoff

Fat Willie — “For Your Safety and Protection: The City of Coronado has an 11 p.m. curfew for minors 17 years of age and under. To cooperate with the City Police, we ask your assistance in observing this curfew.” (Blow me.)

-AP

Junius! — Tantamonny Sochek is playing! “Twist King of the Finger Lakes”! In the Pottawottabotta Room! All the way from Ithaca, Geneva and Watkins Glen! Twist! Again! Like we did last summer! Tantamonny Sochek!

-A. Lying Jackson


MAKE YOUR OWN FUN

  • (Nita Hapsacker is a fitness instructor from Oceanside.)

Well it certainly put me in a good mood, I was in the lap of luxury. No, not exactly the lap of luxury — but close enough. First of all, forgetting everything else, it was very nice to get away, and sometimes it doesn’t matter where you’re going so much as that you’re going and that they say it’s good and it’s not bad. They said it loud enough and I bought it. It was big and old — you have to respect that. And the ocean was there and the food was very good. I slept well.

But I kind of expected everyone to be more stylishly dressed, I was surprised to see people in shorts and jogging suits, and I liked the way that when we went to one restaurant my husband had to wear a jacket — I thought that was good, because at least it said this is special. And I thought everything would be more special. I did see some people dressed kind of in that Palm Springs look. Palm Beach? But not too many.

There was also something faintly musty. Maybe on some level it has to do with age, but there was a slight smell that didn’t have to do with history. I was in Newport once and took a tour of the house of the Kennedys or somebody, and it was very enormous and old but not musty. The mustiness here was a little artificial, it seemed to come from current problems, as opposed to antiquated problems. Maybe the reason that it wasn’t completely luxurious was it’s just too much to cope with for all those people who have to do the dance — the staff of the hotel. It would seem an insurmountable task to keep it up to snuff. But it smelled only some of the time, and it wasn’t obnoxious. Sometimes in the halls, but not in the rooms.

The cigars in the lounge I didn’t mind. Most people can t stand them, but I’m tolerant. It seemed to me that for the time we were in that part of the hotel, and all those smokers were there, it let them have a good time, which was kind of nice — why make a big deal about it? Our room was in the nonsmoking section of the hotel, which was good — I liked that idea. I’ve never been that big about smoking in hotels, in bed, I mean I don t smoke and it does make the air clearer, but then also you don’t have to worry about accidental fires — so that’s very good. If someone wants to set an intentional fire, they can set it in either smoking or nonsmoking — so I don’t worry about it.

We never got around to ordering room service. We were only there one day and had all the places to go. I didn’t play tennis. I wanted to, it was inviting, and I watched people play from several angles: from the balcony upstairs, a high window, a restaurant, which was very peaceful, and I watched them as we walked by. I didn’t go swimming, it was too cold. Was the pool heated? I don’t know. But I wouldn’t have gone in anyway, I don’t swim. But the point wasn’t to go swimming. When some people think of hotels, they think of swimming. Not me. But if there had been a higher atmospheric temperature, perhaps I’d have considered dangling my feet. Don’t get the idea, though, the weather wasn’t nice. It was excellent, and we took a long walk along the sand — it was lovely.

We didn’t have breakfast in the Crown Room because the Unisys people were there. It’s an electronics thing, I think — they were on convention. They didn’t mix with the regular people, the tourist people, they had enough of their own. I guess they spent an enormous amount to rent the full dining room ahead of time. I also suppose people come from all across the country to have breakfast in the fabulous Crown Room and it’s not entirely fair to give it away to Unisys. But it’s really no different than if the hotel was full anyway and everyone got up before you did, and went to breakfast before you — I Can understand that. I’m flexible. We had lunch in the Crown Room. I wasn’t very hungry, but my husband had a nice meal of duck ravioli. This was after we checked out. I had a glass of wine and a capuccino, it was very good. I wonder how long the hotel has been serving capuccino, it’s hard to know because they did have karaoke, which is an even newer kind of trend. So maybe capuccino is that type of concept, although actually capuccino is an old, historic kind of coffee, so who knows?

The more I think about it, the karaoke seems so at cross purposes with the image of the place. I heard about this bar in New York where people put on sumo suits and wrestle sumo style — well the karaoke is just another version of that: rake them in to buy drinks and have a mindless “good time.” Which I was somewhat disappointed at, that sort of logic, because one would assume that people aren’t going there for that. But to the extent that they do have a convention trade, maybe that was the point. Karaoke isn’t just for youth anymore, it’s now a kind of silly middle-aged let’s-have-fun. Seeing it during happy hour was enough to make me go make my own fun, which I did.

I went upstairs and wrote a sentence in my notebook: “A lingering longing of likely soap permeated the air.” I love to write in hotels while I’m there. That was the first sentence. Then later: “Don’t cry for Jojo, but she missed the boat.” That’s Jojo Blena, the main character. It’s called A NICE DAY IN THE WORLD, and where I got the soap, what made me think of it, was they gave you both a face soap and a bath soap — many hotels only give you one. The sink was quite nice, they had a nice wooden shelf over it. The faucets were very handy, very easy to use, a very nice shape. I have no complaints about it. The mirror was good, and the bath was excellent. They gave you bath salts. The placement of the toilet paper — it was hidden at first, beneath a towel, so people might feel you have to keep your eyes open — but I found it, it was fine, I thought it was perfect. The toilet was fine. My husband pointed out that it was crooked, but believe me, it was just fine. The room was fine. It was very small, but you know? It didn’t seem to matter much, because it was cozy. When they took us on a tour and we saw a suite of rooms, and we saw the bedroom, it was exactly the same, so I didn’t feel deprived at all. I didn’t feel the room was too hot, though my husband did — I had a very nice sleep. It’s a good time to raise the point that not everyone’s experience or perception of things is the same.

The TV itself was just fine. The reception was excellent, the size and where it was positioned — they give you a remote, which they should be complimented for, because many hotels don’t and no one should encourage that. But what was on TV was terrible. Of course they’re only responsible for some of that, some of it has to do with the whole nature of programing, but some has to do with them. They had one station that was just ads for various hotels and sights in San Diego. I would have watched that more if they had had more of the Hotel del Coronado on, I’d have watched it several times before getting bored. But the other hotels could only be watched once before you didn’t want any more. And they had CNN and the cable sports station, otherwise it was just normal TV plus advertisements for movies on the pay station. They didn’t have a pornography station, I didn’t see one. They didn’t seem to have as many stations, total, as you would have on regular home TV with UHF. The selection of shows was not good, though I don’t know how much to blame on the hotel and how much on the culture we live in. But I’ve been to other hotels where they do have one free station with old movies on it, and you’ll see some you haven’t seen.

Oh, one thing they did have that was pretty interesting, though they only had it from 6 PM to 12, was movies with Del Coronado content. For instance they had The Stunt Man, no, they didn’t have The Stunt Man the day we were there, they were having it the next day. I would have loved to have seen that again, it’s a very good movie, a classic that many people don’t know about which they would not only enjoy but appreciate — it’s not just a stunt movie, it’s a movie about people. But instead they had Time After Time, was it Time After Time? Or Once Upon a Time? — I forget the title. I couldn’t get into it, I kept confusing it with the other movie which may be called Time Goes By. But it had that guy with the jaw that played Superman, who pretends to be a good actor but he’s really not, George Reeves, no, the later one — I met his ex-wife once, the one he had the children by. Gay Exton I think her name is. Now I don’t know if they ever were actually married, but he was with her forever, then he dumped her, and now he’s involved with someone he’s going to marry, she’s pregnant, she may even have had the baby by now — Christopher Reeves. Reeve. He’s the star of this movie which was actually based on the Hotel del Coronado. Well, not based on it, but it took place at it in someone’s imagination. In the book, not the movie. The movie was filmed somewhere else. I guess if you never saw it and you felt like sitting and watching it, at least it’s a movie. Not made for TV. But that was the only thing on which remotely, to my taste, was available to watch. The sports network, ESPN, I had some interest in catching a glimpse of once in a while, and there may have been takers for the basketball — and that’s a positive thing—but it wasn’t my preferred viewing.

I took the tour while we were there, ten dollars. It gave me more of a personal investment in the hotel. I especially liked the guide who gave it, it’s not often you come across someone with all her lines drawn so boldly. She was very defined, she did not have too many contradictions that one could see. She looked exactly like who she was, which was the most old-fashioned whitebread type person I have seen in quite some time on many levels. But whitebread with caraway seeds. She was in that age range you might call between 55 and 65, probably over 60, extremely well groomed, somewhat stout but not fat, you know that round look with bubble hair — very, very brown and coiffed and rounded. She had an utterly appropriate suit on — “dressed up” for her morning tour. I applaud the fact that she took so much care about her grooming, it was part of who she was — she was herself down to a T. She talked about how the Duke of Windsor married Wallis Simpson, who started out as “just a little Navy wife — who would have known?” She seemed extremely proud of her own husband, who had been a Navy pilot, a captain — “the equivalent of a colonel in the Army.”

You could tell she got a lot of her identity from the hotel, to the point of where she referred to it as “she” and “her.” Which was unnerving to me—not just anthropomorphizing a building — it’s almost psychotic to do that. I mean there are some people with psychological diseases who have trouble with pronouns, and when I heard that, even though the person was obviously not insane, it did disturb me. I just thought that maybe, while she had an interest and it was a good hobby for her, she might have been a bit obsessive about the place. It was hard to tell if she was more an employee or part of management, how closely she felt connected to which side, but as a job she did it with great enthusiasm. Every time we passed a service person, a maid or whatever, she would give a friendly good morning — this is a good day. It may have been part of the tour for her to communicate with the help that way — to show “we’re all one happy family” — but in any case I think they responded well, just as I responded well, because she was so sincere. I am gullible to good advertising, but it has to be good advertising.

For instance, as I’m writing this, I just saw something very good on my TV. It’s a car advertisement and it shows a kid’s wagon rolling in front of the car and the car’s stopping and it says SAFETY. Some people would probably think this is evil — “Kids aren’t safe if you don’t have this car” — but that isn’t what I want to think they’re saying. They’re saying that if you’re going to buy a car you can trust this car. And that’s what you buy anything for. It may be too automatic, but it’s automatic for a reason, because it’s an easy buck. But that doesn’t make it a bad buck. If you were in a world without advertising, you wouldn’t know what to do. You wouldn’t know what to buy. Advertising in a way is a gift, and part of what I like about the Del Coronado is it says that it’s good in a way that I’m willing to buy. But I think that if I just came across it, if we were driving down the street and then saw this big building, I would wonder what the building was, I would want to go look inside it. There is something intrinsically compelling and appealing about the outside of the building that draws you in. And once I was in, if I had the opportunity to stay there, which I did, I would definitely have a good time. The cover would make me like the book and, for the most part, the blurbs on the cover would make me like it even more.

Because when we took the tour and she was telling us about the ghost that lives there, and maybe even two, according to the story, that made our stay more interesting. I loved that part of it — the hotel’s “legends.” At one point I thought the ghost had stolen — or taken, we don’t want to say that anyone had actually stolen — my hat. Never did I think that it might have been an employee. I either thought I misplaced it or the ghost came and took it. Because I honestly don’t remember where I left it. Maybe at the check-in. But it turned out — oh! — this was so nice: someone turned it in to the lost and found! The woman there was so nice and took a very special care of looking for me. I didn’t get to visit the actual lost and found, you call on the phone and say what you’ve lost and you describe it. I told her a brand new dark green woman’s felt hat from The Gap. She said, “Didn’t someone call before?” and I said, “Yes, my husband, but I really would like you to double-check,” and she said, “Just one moment, please.” She came back, put me on hold for several moments, someone else picked up, I said I’m still waiting, then she came back and asked me another question, finally she went back and found my hat! Then she said, “Where are you?”— I was at the phone in the lobby — she said, “Okay, I’ll come to you. I was so appreciative I tried to give her a tip. I had a few dollars in my hand, and I said, “I don’t know if this is appropriate, I don’t want to insult you, but I’m very grateful.” She said, “No, no.” She wouldn’t take it.

And you know, the fact that no one took my hat says something about the Del Coronado: that it was the kind of hotel where they do not keep your hat. Either the people who stay there or the people who run it. And I don’t think it was because they seemed mostly Republican, because Republicans are as bad as anyone else. They must have had a feel for humanity, a sense of empathizing with those who lose things. It might be the way it-is if you’re an actor or actress and you put on the costume of a thing, it makes you feel more like the character of the place, so in some ways going there feels a little like playing. “Pretend.” So maybe the customers go there with preconceptions of the place and behave themselves up to those preconceptions. One of the reasons I had such a good time is that while I did not have specific preconceptions I certainly had the preconception of a good time. And I joined in immediately, I had no trouble joining in. (Of course I would never take their hats.)

I think for the most part it was a safe place. We forgot to lock the car — I forgot, the passenger side — but no one took anything. Today I guess it’s not that easy to find an environment where it feels separate from danger. The guests were very civilized. There weren’t any “tough looking” people. I did eavesdrop on one conversation, a group of women whose husbands were with the convention. Subjects they talked about: their diets, exercising, their dogs, knitting. And their husbands, and their husbands’ sports — whether they played cards, bridge or golf. It was very homogeneous the way each of them talked, there was a standard and everything was or wasn’t a deviation from the standard. I wouldn’t call them necessarily bland, or “squares,” or “cardboard,” but there was a certain rigidity, and a certain standardized look and behavior without any flash, even the golfers — but I did feel safe with them. There was a definite dullness to them — that’s not a judgment, I’m trying to describe what these people were— I just thought they were the median. Median upper middle-class people, but working upper middle-class people. I don’t think they were the squanderous rich, which was what the hotel and the tour were to some extent implying — all the Presidents and stars who’ve stayed there. I think these people worked hard for their money but had their money. And behaved in all the standard, civilized ways. They’re used to all the normal celebrations, and never deviate that much.

But for all its civilizedness, and all its age and splendor — this thing of history — I guess what was missing was a real sense of tradition, of classic history. You know, like when you see these names — Barbizon Hotel, the Ritz, the Plaza — you think of these places and no matter how in or out of current fashion they may be, they still have a sense of tradition that is deeply imbedded, it’s deeper than the contemporary people running them. And somehow, even though this hotel hypes that, and is that — I mean it’s 105 years old — and tries to market and adapt to the concept of being traditional, you still don’t feel the age of tradition. The weight of it and ease of it. The innate ease of it. Which didn’t bother me, but I guess that’s the substance that was missing.


The Turret and the Rock

  • (Lar Tusb is the only Pulitzer Prize winner to hail from Malm, Sweden.)

Where I come from there is a saying: “You read what you write, you write what you read, an old hotel is like a book.” Add magazines then you have the good idea. Reading quite much useful things before you go.

  1. First I read National Motorist. March issue. Page 21. It said: “Hotel Del Coronado Tours. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Takes you through some of the guest rooms, special rooms, and up into the turret.” The turret! The famous turret (let’s see it). On Thursday. We walk up high the stairway...up the tall stairs...inside is redwood...’’What is the machines?” “Surveillance equipment,” said the woman. Also said: Thomas Edison discovered the lightbulb (then he put it in the Hotel). Also: ceiling of Crown Room is linseed oil. Why it shines. Every year (ten days) they oil it. On their backs, the scaffold, like Michelangelo!
  2. Visitor Magazine. Jan./Feb./Mar. Page 8 is the topiary. In my country we don’t have. Is so beautiful, the topiary. In black and white is beautiful. In green is beautiful. I prefer green. Thank you. Hotel! “The living sculpture is the brainchild of Del employee Wayne Buchta, the hazardous material manager in the engineering department of the hotel.” Thanks, Mr. Wayne!

Then the recycle (page 10). Yes, I like the recycle. “Color-coded bins and boxes for collecting recyclables can be found all over the hotel, thus encouraging all Del employees to be aware of what can be recycled. When full, these containers are then emptied into larger bins, then the items are sorted and removed.” Oh good goody! I see these bins. Am happy — about the encouraging.

Advertisement for Hotel Galleria Shops. Alexander Morgan — European Heritage: “North America’s largest producer of European heraldry. Coats of arms, calligraphy, embroideries and monograms.” Oh I will go. On the window more to read. “Family Name Histories covering over 200,000 names — England, Ireland, Wales, Scotland, France, Spain, Germany, Italy, Russia, and many other countries” — perhaps Sweden? — “The Perfect Gift.” For my son Bjorgn — a coat of arms for his coat. Do you have — I ask — the Tusb crest? I have never ask before — don’t even know if there is a one...I spell it out for him (the man). No. No gift!

  1. The Legend of Kate Morgan: The Search for the Ghost of the Hotel del Coronado by Alan M. May. This time is a book. Is terrific. Could not put it down. I am interest — no, not the ghost — I don’t like, don’t like them — ooh I’m scared of! Only the room. Out side of room. Room number...check it up again...number 3312. Not scared of numbers and doors. (But a drink, first.) Put on my shoes. Old part of Hotel. Elevator to 3rd floor...I look...the number...the door. (No touching.) Is fun!
  2. And last but never least to read Rock on the Road: Where Working Hands Hole Up (West Coast ed.) by Jon Morthland. It has all the places. Including the Hotel. Rock bands that have stay at the Hotel: JoJo Gunne, Blind Faith, The Teddy Bears (three members), The Fall, Aerosmith, Kulture Slutz, Portnoy’s Complaint, 1-2-3 Black Light, Hiisker Du (incognito). Motley Criie,The Slickaphonics, Wet Willie (reunion tour), Captain Beefheart, Faster Pussycat Kill Kill. (And many more.)

Bands that have not: Ice-T, Hackamore Brick, Lindsey Buckingham, Dion & The Belmonts, Bob Wills 8c His Texas Playboys, Bad Brains, The Contortions, Was (Not Was), The Streps, Folly, Sister Souljah, It’s a Beautiful Day, Jan & Arnie, Dinosaur Ir., A Good Fuck.

Why do they stay — or not — is what I wonder. What appeals attract rock music? The players. I have never been a player, so I try and put myself in the shoes, what is the conclusion. Is it too quiet for them? Yes. Unless they bring the Walkman. (Cassettes.) Complimentary free mouthwash (so they taste good) — is that why? But many hotels have it. So nothing, really. Unless you count the pool: that’s what it is. And the sea.

All the good reading! Good bye.

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