November 25, 2012 by Rob Hurlbut
Hotel Del Coronado Lobby and Christmas Tree
I live right down the street from Hotel Del Coronado. You have no idea how fortunate a person I am to be able to say that. Residents of Coronado know what I mean and visitors to San Diego have a slight idea what I mean, but no one else does. The Christmas season is a quintessential holiday; it involves all five senses. As a person from Denver, I want the rest of the Christmas celebrating world to know exactly what I mean.
In Denver, during Christmas you can stand outside with your eyes closed, breathe in through your nose, out through your mouth and KNOW that you are in Denver during Christmas. After that breath, when you open your eyes you’ll see that what you felt on your skin was the sun, touching you before it touched anyone else. That is the joy of Denver, the Mile High city during the Christmas season.
Outside Hotel Del Coronado
Coronado does suffer from Christmas envy, though no one on the island knows it. It’s not a problem, it just is was it is. Coronado is a quintessential San Diego beach community; all five senses are dominated by the ocean and fish tacos every day of the year. Again, this is not a bad thing but it is NOT a Christmas experience. Palm trees are not pine trees, white sand is not white snow and rolling bluffs are not the Rocky Mountains. When you dream about a white Christmas and roasting chestnuts on an open fire, you are dreaming about Colorado and my beloved mile high city of Denver.
Christmas 2012 in the Lobby of Hotel Del Coronado
This brings me back around to Hotel Del Coronado during Christmas. The Del has been doing Christmas for 125 years and over 100 of those years have involved electricity and decorating trees with electric lights. Yeah, it is the resident expert in San Diego when it comes to lighting up a Christmas tree and launching off the Christmas season.
Vintage Santa Claus Inside Hotel Del Coronado
It’s not just the lobby and roof of The Del that get decorated; every square inch of the place gets the treatment. The Victorian Era was a very beautiful if not cluttered time to make a statement and it was right in the middle of this era that The Del was built. The unsinkable Molly Brown was a Denver socialite that survived the sinking of the Titanic in 1912. Her house in Denver is a museum and my dad used to be a tour guide there. I bring this up because during a tour of the Molly Brown house, you will learn everything you ever wanted to know about the Victorian Era, including the fact that it was very stylish to pack every flat surface in the house with knick knacks. If the term “flaunt it if you got it” existed back then, this is how it was done.
Fish-Eye View Of Hotel Del Coronado – Christmas 2012
Please allow me to talk about photography for a minute or two. I was packing an 8 mm fish-eye lens when I visited The Del on this particular day. I’ve had the thing for almost a year and it has become my permanent accessory. I find it very ironic that wide angle lenses like this are referred to as “fish-eye” because it is the best way to get a human-eye view from a photograph. Besides that, it forces the photographer to physically move closer to their subjects; this is abnormal because for 150 years photographers have been backing away from their subjects just to fit them all in the frame. You don’t have to do that with a fish-eye lens. For the photo above, I was standing right in front of a 25 foot tree yet it doesn’t even come close to filling the frame. I’m telling you now that a fish-eye lens allows you to photograph the world the way you see it rather than the way your camera or lens allows it.
The Incinerator Tower of The Del
And so this concludes my third annual Christmas pilgrimage to Hotel Del Coronado. Shortly after the New Year my 7 year San Diego anniversary will be presenting itself. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing bad to say about Denver, it’s people or the Broncos but, San Diego has the best weather in America. You all know that I’ve been around the world and back again so please believe me; San Diego is a great place to live and Coronado is the best part of San Diego. I like all four seasons, but I love living here because I get to skip the shitty ones. It rained a few times back in January and that was all the winter I had to endure; it’s been in the 70’s and mostly sunny ever since. Yes, this is the life I lead. You can have this life too if you just remember that you can lead a horse to water, but a pencil must be lead. Merry Christmas!