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Coronado’s Crown Manor mansion: designed by Marston House architects Irving Gill and William S. Hebbard

Guests range from the entire Indonesian national swim team to President Bill Clinton

Bill Clinton ate here.
Bill Clinton ate here.

Crown Manor, the palatial 24,000-square-foot mansion at 1015 Ocean Boulevard in Coronado, is billed in its Zillow listing as “the most iconic estate in Southern California.” Originally built in 1902, the home was designed by Irving Gill and William S. Hebbard, two of early San Diego’s most influential architects. They worked in partnership from 1896 through 1907 on some of the city’s most notable private residences, including the Marston House at the edge of Balboa Park. Having received various additions over the years, Crown Manor currently counts 12 bedrooms, nine full baths, and another seven half-baths among its more than 40 rooms.

Built in a Tudor Revival style, the Manor stands out from the Queen Anne Victorians popular at the time (such as The Culver House, another historic home we recently visited up in Carlsbad). Over the years, it’s played host to a variety of guests, ranging from the entire Indonesian national swim team to President Bill Clinton — a guest in the 1990s of then-owner and Democratic political booster Larry Lawrence.

Being wealthy is stressful - you’ll need this spa.

We’re eager to get inside, but first let’s pause a moment to admire the “gabled red brick exterior surrounded by a fortified, gated garden” that at one point was reported to be home to more than 130 species of flora. There’s a massive semi-circle driveway guarded by two gates facing Ocean Boulevard, but garage access is around back, off Loma Avenue.

The formal entry is draped in wallpaper that we’ll assume is period-specific, and the rich wood paneling that runs along the bottom of the walls and frames the doorways thankfully hasn’t been painted over. We also get a hint of the listing’s promise of an “enchanting home filled with elegance and history,” including “marbled floors [and] jeweled chandeliers,” both of which immediately make an appearance.

The living room has even more of the polished wood paneling, plus a marble fireplace, but it’s a shame that the front wall mostly blocks our ocean view from the first floor. We’ll overlook that and instead focus on the gold leaf ceiling, which was painstakingly installed by hand in four- to five-inch sections. A formal dining room offers seating for up to 20 guests, while an adjacent smaller dining area works for family breakfasts or the kids’ table during holiday gatherings.

An entry fit for gentry.

We also see the formal ballroom with grand piano and a separate billiards hall before coming to the kitchen — or, more appropriately, kitchen complex. First, there’s a wine tasting area that’s been redone with tons of stainless steel and solid white quartz. It’s much more modern-looking than anything we’ve encountered so far, probably part of a reported 24-month renovation that was recently completed “to revitalize the infrastructure while preserving the architectural heritage of the property” while “technological innovations affording the most affluent of amenities were seamlessly integrated.”

Next we see the “butler’s pantry,” with more original-looking glass-doored cabinetry and a butcher block prep station along with a nice touch for the help: an ornate chandelier. From there, it’s off to the “industrial style” kitchen, which looks more like the back of house at a medium-sized restaurant and can reportedly pump out food for 100 or more guests at a time.

Passing through the rest of the house, we first encounter a bath that’s fully tiled in red except for the claw-foot tub that looks like it could be original, a stark contrast to the multi-room main bedroom’s “spa/bath” suite that, while exuding the style of a 1990s Las Vegas Strip penthouse, is still somehow nice, with a full wall of book-matched pink marble by the tub. Moving on, there’s a full salon on site, with multiple beauty chairs and a massage room; another bedroom where the walls for some reason are entirely covered in mirrored glass; and a Prohibition-style “speakeasy” outfitted with bar and snug seating and lots more wood.

As part of the interior renovations, an elevator was installed, as was a “Savant Whole House Smart home” technology system, commercial smoke and fire alarm systems, security cameras, and “some of the most recent technological advancements in air and water purification of any residential setting in the world.”

A private gym with sauna and indoor spa round things out inside, while the outside yard features a saltwater pool and spa, offering perhaps more privacy but much less space than the giant saltwater ocean sitting right across the street.

Crown Manor has passed through many hands over the years, including a period in the early 1970s when it was owned by noted former Navy SEAL and local favorite McP’s bar owner Greg McPartlin. Public records show ownership currently lies with Christopher Bower, founder and CEO of the private equity fund Pacific Corporate Group. Until last year Bower, in partnership with the Hilton hotel group (which manages the nearby Hotel Del Coronado), was attempting to turn Crown Manor into a public event space, which would host corporate retreats and overnight guests, much as a hotel would. That may help to explain the commercial nature of some of the upgrades described in the listing. Unfortunately for him, the Coronado Planning Commission denied the request in the summer of 2020.

Shortly after the permit denial, a listing seeking $25 million for Crown Manor (dating to 2018) expired in September 2020. After several months off-market, the Manor was re-listed in mid-May; its asking price of $34 million remains unchanged to date.

  • 1015 Ocean Boulevard | Coronado, 92118
  • current owner: Christopher Bower | listing price: $34,000,000 | beds: 12 | baths: 16 | house size: 24,000
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Bill Clinton ate here.
Bill Clinton ate here.

Crown Manor, the palatial 24,000-square-foot mansion at 1015 Ocean Boulevard in Coronado, is billed in its Zillow listing as “the most iconic estate in Southern California.” Originally built in 1902, the home was designed by Irving Gill and William S. Hebbard, two of early San Diego’s most influential architects. They worked in partnership from 1896 through 1907 on some of the city’s most notable private residences, including the Marston House at the edge of Balboa Park. Having received various additions over the years, Crown Manor currently counts 12 bedrooms, nine full baths, and another seven half-baths among its more than 40 rooms.

Built in a Tudor Revival style, the Manor stands out from the Queen Anne Victorians popular at the time (such as The Culver House, another historic home we recently visited up in Carlsbad). Over the years, it’s played host to a variety of guests, ranging from the entire Indonesian national swim team to President Bill Clinton — a guest in the 1990s of then-owner and Democratic political booster Larry Lawrence.

Being wealthy is stressful - you’ll need this spa.

We’re eager to get inside, but first let’s pause a moment to admire the “gabled red brick exterior surrounded by a fortified, gated garden” that at one point was reported to be home to more than 130 species of flora. There’s a massive semi-circle driveway guarded by two gates facing Ocean Boulevard, but garage access is around back, off Loma Avenue.

The formal entry is draped in wallpaper that we’ll assume is period-specific, and the rich wood paneling that runs along the bottom of the walls and frames the doorways thankfully hasn’t been painted over. We also get a hint of the listing’s promise of an “enchanting home filled with elegance and history,” including “marbled floors [and] jeweled chandeliers,” both of which immediately make an appearance.

The living room has even more of the polished wood paneling, plus a marble fireplace, but it’s a shame that the front wall mostly blocks our ocean view from the first floor. We’ll overlook that and instead focus on the gold leaf ceiling, which was painstakingly installed by hand in four- to five-inch sections. A formal dining room offers seating for up to 20 guests, while an adjacent smaller dining area works for family breakfasts or the kids’ table during holiday gatherings.

An entry fit for gentry.

We also see the formal ballroom with grand piano and a separate billiards hall before coming to the kitchen — or, more appropriately, kitchen complex. First, there’s a wine tasting area that’s been redone with tons of stainless steel and solid white quartz. It’s much more modern-looking than anything we’ve encountered so far, probably part of a reported 24-month renovation that was recently completed “to revitalize the infrastructure while preserving the architectural heritage of the property” while “technological innovations affording the most affluent of amenities were seamlessly integrated.”

Next we see the “butler’s pantry,” with more original-looking glass-doored cabinetry and a butcher block prep station along with a nice touch for the help: an ornate chandelier. From there, it’s off to the “industrial style” kitchen, which looks more like the back of house at a medium-sized restaurant and can reportedly pump out food for 100 or more guests at a time.

Passing through the rest of the house, we first encounter a bath that’s fully tiled in red except for the claw-foot tub that looks like it could be original, a stark contrast to the multi-room main bedroom’s “spa/bath” suite that, while exuding the style of a 1990s Las Vegas Strip penthouse, is still somehow nice, with a full wall of book-matched pink marble by the tub. Moving on, there’s a full salon on site, with multiple beauty chairs and a massage room; another bedroom where the walls for some reason are entirely covered in mirrored glass; and a Prohibition-style “speakeasy” outfitted with bar and snug seating and lots more wood.

As part of the interior renovations, an elevator was installed, as was a “Savant Whole House Smart home” technology system, commercial smoke and fire alarm systems, security cameras, and “some of the most recent technological advancements in air and water purification of any residential setting in the world.”

A private gym with sauna and indoor spa round things out inside, while the outside yard features a saltwater pool and spa, offering perhaps more privacy but much less space than the giant saltwater ocean sitting right across the street.

Crown Manor has passed through many hands over the years, including a period in the early 1970s when it was owned by noted former Navy SEAL and local favorite McP’s bar owner Greg McPartlin. Public records show ownership currently lies with Christopher Bower, founder and CEO of the private equity fund Pacific Corporate Group. Until last year Bower, in partnership with the Hilton hotel group (which manages the nearby Hotel Del Coronado), was attempting to turn Crown Manor into a public event space, which would host corporate retreats and overnight guests, much as a hotel would. That may help to explain the commercial nature of some of the upgrades described in the listing. Unfortunately for him, the Coronado Planning Commission denied the request in the summer of 2020.

Shortly after the permit denial, a listing seeking $25 million for Crown Manor (dating to 2018) expired in September 2020. After several months off-market, the Manor was re-listed in mid-May; its asking price of $34 million remains unchanged to date.

  • 1015 Ocean Boulevard | Coronado, 92118
  • current owner: Christopher Bower | listing price: $34,000,000 | beds: 12 | baths: 16 | house size: 24,000
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