In February 1888, the Hotel del Coronado, brought luxury on a scale that could only be appreciated in Southern California with its warm and sunny climate. This Victorian style all wood material hotel and a ocean backdrop, held many firsts with the introduction of electricity and the first outdoor Christmas Tree. This hotel had 399 rooms, with tennis courts, yacht club, Olympic sized saltwater swimming pool. The hotel played host to the very rich and famous Lillie Langtry, Prince of Wales, Douglas Fairbanks, Charlie Chaplain, Mae Murray, Tom Mix, Gloria Swanson, Rudolph Valentino and many others past and present. The hotel was becoming famous as a film location in many silent films: Princess Virtue (1917), Married Virgin (1918), Beyond the Rocks (1922), My Husband’s Wives (1924), Flying Fleet (1929) and many others.
In 1918, Rudolph Valentino, Kathleen Kirkham, Edward Jobson starred in an independently produced movie directed by obscure neophyte Joel Maxwell. In 1920, this movie was in limited release by Fidelity Pictures with the title “Frivolous Wives”. During his time filming at the Hotel del Coronado, Valentino was deemed the hotels most popular guest. A favorite past time for single and married ladies was to lookout for where their movie star hero might be located on the hotel’s property. During each day, from the hotel’s ocean front veranda ladies were his most enthusiastic and appreciative audience. This was shown by a continued and hearty applause whenever they could grab a glimpse of their idol. During his time on set, Valentino took his acting role seriously. by isolating himself in order to prepare for the next day’s filming. Due to his immense popularity, there were many times he was called upon to dine with other famous guests or persons of influence. Although he would love to decline the many invitations he received it was understood as a rising film star, he could not afford to offend his fans and the various movie producers so he took it all in stride. However, truth be told Valentino did enjoy his hotel stay, whether it was fine dining in luxurious surroundings, motoring over scenic roads, a game of tennis, or enjoying a cold swim. Valentino truly loved his time at the hotel, that he came back a couple of years later to make another memorable film in 1922 Beyond the Rocks with Gloria Swanson. The hotel became famous as a vacation playground where Hollywood’s elite would come down for vacation stays.
Here is a YouTube 6.41 clip of Rudolph Valentino near the Hotel del Coronado.