Old Hotel Churchill in downtown San Diego.

Faded castle on side of San Diego's old Hotel Churchill.
Faded castle on side of San Diego’s old Hotel Churchill.

My walks through downtown often take me past a large, dilapidated building with a giant faded castle painted on its side. This now sad sight was once the splendid Hotel Churchill, the destination of tourists visiting San Diego a hundred years ago.

The Hotel Churchill was built to accommodate visitors to the 1915 Panama-California Exposition in nearby Balboa Park. The Arthurian theme made visitors feel like they’d entered Camelot, much like the Excalibur Hotel does in Las Vegas today. The building has been abandoned for many years. I remember watching the San Diego Fire Department using the tall edifice for practice, breaking through one window from the top of a firetruck’s ladder.

In 2003 the city designated the Hotel Churchill a local historical landmark. There are plans afoot to restore the old building and convert it into affordable housing.

Touristy hotel was built for 1915 Panama California Exposition.
Touristy hotel was built for 1915 Panama California Exposition.
Old door with spears and portcullis is locked shut.
Old door with fanciful drawbridge and portcullis is locked shut.
Looking up a rusty old fire escape.
Looking up a rusty old fire escape.
Hotel Churchill, a local historical landmark,awaits restoration.
Hotel Churchill, a local historical landmark, awaits restoration.

Here’s a pic I took in February 2015. The old hotel has been fenced off, awaiting restoration…

Hotel Churchill seen in early morning from across C Street.
Hotel Churchill seen in early morning from across C Street.

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Sunrise, palm trees, and Mission Valley Resort.

Sun rises between palm trees above Mission Valley Resort.
Sun rises between palm trees above Mission Valley Resort.

Greetings to the folks at Mission Valley Resort! Thanks for following my blog! My walk to work takes me down Bachman Place, so today I decided to take a small detour and pass by the resort to check it out! Great location! I took several quick pics and the one above turned out best!

Cheers!

Sailboats pass Manchester Grand Hyatt.

sailboats in front of the manchester grand hyatt

This photo shows sailboats on San Diego Bay passing the Manchester Grand Hyatt hotel, those two tall, sandy tan buildings.

Tour guides and pedicab drivers often joke that the downtown skyline resembles a set of tools. The Hyatt buildings resemble straight-edge screwdrivers; America Plaza, which you can see, resembles a phillips screwdriver; and another skyscraper, Emerald Plaza (not visible in this pic) resembles a set of socket wrenches!

Here’s a pic of a non-sailboat taken on a later occasion…

Lord Hornblower passes Hyatt hotel buildings on San Diego Bay.
Lord Hornblower passes Hyatt hotel buildings on San Diego Bay.

Big yachts docked behind Convention Center.

yachts behind san diego convention center

These private yachts are docked directly behind the San Diego Convention Center. Some can be really huge. Most are gorgeous. Over the years, I’ve seen a few that have helicopters or small airplanes!

I took the above photo while riding the ferry to Coronado island. The building jutting up in the background is the Omni Hotel, which stands in the Gaslamp adjacent to Petco Park.

The following pics were taken at various different times:

Large yachts docked behind convention center.
Large yachts docked behind convention center.
Luxury yachts with Coronado Bay Bridge in background.
Luxury yachts with Coronado Bay Bridge in background.
Crew member polishes Vibrant Curiosity.
Crew member polishes Vibrant Curiosity.
Rear of huge superyacht docked by convention center.
Rear of huge multi-level superyacht Majestic docked by convention center.
Oberon docked behind the San Diego Convention Center.
Oberon, a fast yacht support vessel, docked behind the San Diego Convention Center.
A row of private yachts docked in downtown San Diego.
A row of private yachts docked in downtown San Diego.
Looking south toward Hilton hotel behind San Diego Convention Center.
Looking south toward Hilton hotel behind San Diego Convention Center.
Two super yachts with small aircraft seen in April 2015. On the left, the enormous single-masted yacht M5 boasts a seaplane, while the Pacific carries a helicopter.
Two super yachts with small aircraft seen in April 2015. On the left, the enormous single-masted yacht M5 boasts a seaplane, while the Pacific carries a helicopter.
In October 2017 I saw Vava II, a 97-meter superyacht docked behind the San Diego Convention Center!
In October 2017 I saw Vava II, a 97-meter superyacht docked behind the San Diego Convention Center!
The Vava II, built by billionaire Swiss pharmaceutical tycoon Ernesto Bertarelli, is equipped with its own helicopter.
The Vava II, built by billionaire Swiss pharmaceutical tycoon Ernesto Bertarelli, is equipped with its own helicopter.
The brand new, blue-hulled luxury superyacht Chirundos among other impressive ships docked in San Diego in late 2017.
The brand new, blue-hulled luxury superyacht Chirundos among other impressive ships docked in San Diego in late 2017.
Beautiful yachts in a row behind the San Diego Convention Center.
Beautiful yachts in a row behind the San Diego Convention Center.
The beautiful Attessa, with helicopter, docked in San Diego in early January, 2018.
The sleek Attessa, with helicopter, docked in San Diego in early January, 2018.
People walk and jog along the south Embarcadero.
People walk and jog along the south Embarcadero.

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Another sunny day at the Hotel Del Coronado.

view of hotel del coronado on a sunny day

The Hotel Del Coronado is one of my favorite places for a stroll. The beautiful architecture, the white sandy beach, the rich history, the sunshine and leisurely vibe, all combine for a wonderful experience.

The Del’s unique appearance makes it an unmistakeable landmark in San Diego. It’s a classic Victorian beach resort, and one of the largest wooden structures in California. In 1888, when it opened, it was the largest resort hotel in the world!

Today, the spacious beach that it overlooks is routinely considered a top beach in the United States.

Sixteen different American presidents have been guests at the Del, as well as numerous celebrities. These include royalty from many nations, Thomas Edison, Babe Ruth, and loads of Hollywood movie stars: Charlie Chaplin, Clark Gable, Errol Flynn, Vincent Price, James Stewart, Bette Davis and Katharine Hepburn, to name just a few.

L. Frank Baum, author of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, did much of his writing at the Hotel Del Coronado.

Numerous movies have been filmed at the hotel, most notably Some Like It Hot, which starred Marilyn Monroe, Jack Lemmon, and Tony Curtis.

Many photos and signs throughout the amazing hotel remind visitors of its rich past history!

Walkway winds past elegant cottages north of the Del.
Walkway winds past elegant cottages north of the Del.
People enjoy the grassy area in front of the famous beach resort.
People enjoy the grassy area in front of the famous beach resort.
Just relaxing and talking near the beach.
Just relaxing and talking near the beach.
Pushing strollers past some outdoor dining.
Pushing strollers past some outdoor dining.
This herb garden is used for the hotel restaurant.
This herb garden is used for the hotel restaurant.
The immense hotel has all sort of angles and contours.
The immense hotel has all sort of angles and contours.
Chandeliers in Crown Room were designed by Wizard of Oz author.
Chandeliers in the famous Crown Room were designed by Wizard of Oz author.
An interesting study in complex architecture.
An interesting study in complex architecture.
Clock stands on sidewalk among palm trees in front of hotel.
Old clock stands on sidewalk among palm trees in front of hotel.
The iconic Hotel del Coronado is unbelievably gorgeous.
The iconic Hotel del Coronado is unbelievably gorgeous.

Here are three more pics that I took on a somewhat more cloudy day!

View of Hotel del Coronado near the front entrance.
View of Hotel del Coronado near the front entrance.
The Hotel del Coronado is a California historical landmark.
The Hotel del Coronado is a California registered historical landmark.
During the summer facilities are set up for guests on the beach!
During the summer facilities are set up for guests right on the beach!

Boats fill the San Diego Marriott Marina.

Marriott hotel rises behind the marina.
Marriott hotel rises behind the busy marina.

Here’s another look at the beautiful San Diego Marriott Marina. Hundreds of boats find safe harbor in this large expanse of water between a grassy park to the west and the silvery Marriott Marquis hotel. You can see boats of every size and description: sailboats, speedboats, small yachts…

Around Christmas, many of these watercraft are decked with strings of colored lights, glowing Santas, and other illuminated decorations, making for a festive scene at night. Dozens of boats participate in the holiday Parade of Lights, cruising merrily around San Diego Bay.

Throughout the year, it’s fun to watch individual boats gliding slowly in and out of the marina. You can also spot rented Jet Skis, people enjoying kayaks, and others standing on paddleboards.

Marriott Marina with nearby Hilton hotel in the background.
Marriott Marina with nearby Hilton hotel in the background.
Man on paddleboard enjoys calm water in the marina.
Man on paddleboard enjoys calm water in the marina.
One of several ramps to the San Diego Marriott's marina.
One of several ramps to the San Diego Marriott’s marina.
Watercraft for rent at the Marriott Marina.
Watercraft for rent at the Marriott Marina.
Inflatable Christmas dog decorates boat in Marriott Marina.
Inflatable Christmas dog decorates boat in the marina.

Beautiful hotels along the San Diego bayfront.

Beautiful hotels along San Diego Bay.
Beautiful hotels along San Diego Bay.

Visible in this photo, taken from the walking path at the south end of the Marriott Marina, are two prominent hotels on San Diego’s picturesque waterfront. To the left is the elegant Manchester Grand Hyatt, and in the center are the two curved, shining, sail-like buildings of the Marriott Marquis. On the far right you can see the north end of the long San Diego Convention Center.

After gazing awhile at the hundreds of sailboats and small yachts docked in the marina, you might head a short distance west to enjoy views of the grassy Embarcadero Marina Park South and its fishing pier on San Diego Bay.

San Diego bayfront hotels seen through trees.
Two San Diego bayfront hotels seen through trees.
View of Hilton Hotel behind tall masts and trees.
View of Hilton San Diego Bayfront behind tall masts and trees.

You’ll find the Hilton on the other side of the San Diego Convention Center.

Hilton Hotel seen beyond Harbor Excursion ticket booth.
Hilton hotel seen beyond San Diego Harbor Excursion ticket booth.
Marriott Hotel as seen from the bayside walkway.
Marriott Hotel as seen from the bayside walkway.
Looking north from the silvery Marriott toward the sandy Hyatt.
Looking north from the silvery Marriott toward the sandy Hyatt.
The two Manchester Grand Hyatt towers.
One more look at the two Manchester Grand Hyatt towers.

San Diego’s landmark El Cortez Hotel.

san diego's landmark el cortez hotel

The historic El Cortez Hotel, now converted into condominiums, has been an iconic landmark in San Diego since 1926. Decades before gleaming skyscrapers rose to shape our modern skyline, the El Cortez dominated Cortez Hill and was the city’s tallest building.

The large sign on top, illuminated at night, brightly flashes the sequenced letters of “El Cortez” like a beacon out of the past. The El Cortez years ago had the world’s very first outside glass elevator. Known as the Starlight Express, the elevator brought visitors to the hotel’s penthouse restaurant, which featured amazing views of the growing city and the bay below. The hotel also had the world’s first motorized moving sidewalk!

I live several blocks from this wonderful building and love to gaze at it whenever I walk or drive past!

Looking up at the famous El Cortez sign.
Here’s the famous El Cortez sign.
The elegant front entrance of the El Cortez.
The elegant front entrance of the El Cortez.
Looking up at the stately old building.
Looking up at the stately old building.

Ornate facade of haunted Horton Grand Hotel.

ornate facade of horton grand hotel

A registered National Historic Place, the Horton Grand Hotel in downtown San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter is a true architectural treasure. It’s ornate Italianate Victorian facade is based on the famous Innsbruck Inn in Vienna, Austria.

Today’s boutique hotel is a modern restoration of two historic buildings, the Grand Horton, built in 1887, and the Brooklyn Kahle Saddlery. The latter was the residence of Wyatt Earp during the years he lived in San Diego.

The Horton Grand has another interesting distinction. Room 309 is said to be haunted by the ghost of Roger Whitaker, a gambler who was shot dead by a man he cheated in a game of poker. Many guests who’ve stayed in this room have reported objects changing position when they are asleep!

Is that strange, glaring, long-bearded figure in the corner of this photo a vengeful ghost? I hope he didn’t follow me home!

Entrance to elegant Horton Grand hotel in the Gaslamp.
Entrance to elegant Horton Grand hotel in the Gaslamp.
Another wing of the historic hotel.
Another wing of the historic hotel.
The inside courtyard used to be outside!
The inside courtyard used to be outside!
A closer examination of architectural detail.
A closer examination of architectural detail.
The Horton Grand Hotel stands in downtown San Diego's Gaslamp Quarter.
The Horton Grand Hotel stands in downtown San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter.