Press Room

Presidential Visitors at the Hotel del Coronado


Benjamin Harrison (1889-1893): In conjunction with a cross-country train trip, President Benjamin Harrison arrived in San Diego early on the morning of April 23, 1891, becoming the first in-office president to visit the city. Almost immediately, President and Mrs. Harrison were conveyed to Hotel del Coronado for breakfast, where they were greeted by a delegation of dignitaries, including Governor Henry H. Markham and Baja California Governor Luis E. Torres. Afterward, Harrison returned to San Diego by boat across the bay, with a sendoff serenaded by the Coronado Band, which a local newspaper reported could “vie with any band in the country in discoursing good music.”

William H. Taft (1909-1913): William H. Taft had a sister living in Coronado, whom he visited in April 1900 (before his presidency). In 1915, Taft returned to Coronado and stayed at The Del, probably to attend San Diego’s Panama-California Exposition, commemorating the opening of the Panama Canal.

Franklin D. Roosevelt (1933-1945): Franklin D. Roosevelt had a long history with Hotel del Coronado, starting in 1915, when he was Assistant Secretary of the Navy, in conjunction with San Diego’s Panama-California Exposition. An especially noteworthy Del visit began on October 1, 1935, when President and Mrs. Roosevelt arrived for San Diego’s California Pacific International Exposition. Regarding his Hotel del Coronado visit, a local newspaper reported: “The chief executive enjoyed an inspiring view of the broad Pacific, where a goodly part of the Untied States fleet rode at anchor, the lights from the warships shedding their glow over the temporary White House.” President and Mrs. Roosevelt continued their close ties to Hotel del Coronado, returning in 1938, and again during World War II, in part because their son, James, was stationed in Coronado.

Lyndon B. Johnson (1963-1968): Lyndon Johnson, accompanied by Mrs. Johnson, attended President Nixon’s Hotel del Coronado state dinner for Mexican President Gustavo Diaz Ordaz in 1970.

Richard M. Nixon (1968-1974): President Richard Nixon hosted a state dinner in the hotel’s historic Crown Room for Mexican President Gustavo Diaz Ordaz on September 3, 1970 (the first state dinner to be held outside the White House). Among the 1,000 people in attendance were former President and Mrs. Lyndon Johnson and Governor and Mrs. Ronald Reagan. The dinner was also attended by Hollywood celebrities such as Frank Sinatra and John Wayne.

Gerald R. Ford (1974-1977): President Gerald Ford attended an economic conference at The Del in April 1975. Ford made other visits to the hotel in 1980, 1991, 1992, and 1993.

Jimmy Carter (1977-1981): When President Jimmy Carter attended the AFL-CIO Building and Construction Trades convention in 1979, a reception was given in his honor at The Del on October 11. Carter returned to the hotel in October 1989 with the Habitat for Humanity project, and again in 2011-13 for The Carter Center.

Ronald Reagan (1981-1988): Ronald Reagan was a longtime Hotel del Coronado visitor, starting with his days as a Hollywood actor, and continuing through his presidency. During their marriage, Mr. and Mrs. Reagan – along with their children – were also frequent guests. In 1970, then California Governor Ronald Reagan, accompanied by Mrs. Reagan, attended President Nixon’s Hotel del Coronado state dinner. President Reagan returned to The Del on October 8, 1982, when he hosted talks with Mexican president-elect Miguel de la Madrid. After Reagan’s death, Mrs. Reagan stayed at Hotel del Coronado for the home-porting ceremonies of the USS Ronald Reagan.

George H. Bush (1988-1992): An avid tennis player, President George Bush stayed at Hotel del Coronado both before and during his presidency.

Bill Clinton (1993-2001): Although President Dwight D. Eisenhower was the first president to land at Coronado’s North Island Naval Air Station, President Clinton (aboard Airforce One) used the airfield many times for numerous visits to Hotel del Coronado during his presidency.

George W. Bush (2001-2009): President and Mrs. Bush stayed at The Del in August 2005, when they attended a 60th anniversary celebration of V-J Day at nearby Naval Air Station North Island. Mrs. George W. Bush also visited The Del in March 2001.

Michelle Obama, wife of Barack Obama, visited the hotel in March 2007, along with her two children, Malia and Sasha. At that time, Obama was a Senator from Illinois, campaigning for president. Unfortunately, a last-minute change in plans prevented Senator Obama from accompanying his family on their Coronado vacation.


The first vice presidential guest was Adlai Ewing Stevenson, who served during Grover Cleveland’s second presidency, and visited The Del in 1893. During his stay, Stevenson had his hair cut in the hotel’s barber shop, where Vincent Surr, a bootblack, remembered: “My recollections of the great man are rather mixed and consist principally of a figure swathed in a barber’s sheet, from which some kind of a head emerged.” Surr had a clearer view of Stevenson’s private secretary or valet: “What made him a conspicuous figure was his remarkable likeness to Uncle Sam, as depicted in the comic papers.” Years later, Adlai Ewing Stevenson II (grandson of the first Adlai Ewing Stevenson) visited The Del in 1952.

Other vice presidential visitors have included Spiro Agnew, Hubert Humphrey, Walter Mondale, and Dan Quayle, as well as Tipper Gore, wife of Vice President Gore.

In addition to the family members referenced above, presidential offspring who have visited Hotel del Coronado include Julie Nixon and David Eisenhower, Steve Ford, Ulysses S. Grant, Jr., Robert Todd Lincoln, and James Roosevelt.