Hotel Del Monte

The Hotel Del Monte was a large resort hotel in Monterey, California, from its opening in 1880 until 1942. It was one of the finest luxury hotels in North America.[1] During World War II, it closed and the building was leased to the United States Navy.[2] It was first used by the Navy as a school where enlisted men spent the second, third, and fourth months of an eleven-month course being trained as electronic technicians.

Hotel Del Monte
NPS herrmann hall lrg.jpg
The former Hotel Del Monte, now known as Herrmann Hall
LocationNaval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California, United States
ArchitectsLewis P. Hobart and Clarence A. Tantau
OwnerNaval Postgraduate School, United States Navy

Later the Hotel Del Monte became the Naval Postgraduate School.[1][2] Today, the building is called Herrmann Hall. It contains school administrative offices and the Navy Gateway Inns and Suites, a hotel.


Original hotel, 1883
Drawing of grounds from the book Mexico, California and Arizona; being a new and revised edition of Old Mexico and her lost provinces.(1900)

Charles Crocker, one of California's Big Four railroad barons, established the resort through Southern Pacific Railroad's property division, Pacific Improvement Company, and opened the first hotel June 3, 1880.[3] The first true resort complex in the United States[citation needed], it was an immediate success.[1] Nearby, along Monterey Bay, was a railroad depot where the Del Monte (named for the hotel) served patrons arriving by train.

The property extended south and southeast of the hotel and included gardens, parkland, polo grounds, a race track, and a golf course. Originally used for hunting and other outdoor activities, the hotel's property became Pebble Beach, an unincorporated resort community, and the world-famous Pebble Beach Golf Links. The famous 17-Mile Drive was originally designed as a local excursion for visitors to the Del Monte to take in the historic sights of Monterey and Pacific Grove and the scenery of what would become Pebble Beach.[4] The hotel became popular with the wealthy and influential of the day, and guests included Theodore Roosevelt and Ernest Hemingway, as well as many early Hollywood stars.

Hotel Del Monte in 1915

On February 27, 1919 Samuel Finley Brown Morse formed the Del Monte Properties Company, and acquired the extensive holdings of the Pacific Improvement Company, which included the Del Monte Forest, the Del Monte Lodge (since renamed the Lodge at Pebble Beach), and the Hotel Del Monte.[5]

The hotel's shops included branches of Gump's, I. Magnin and City of Paris.[6]

There have been three buildings on the same site. The first building was designed by architect Arthur Brown Sr., who had been the Southern Pacific Railroad's Superintendent of Bridges and Buildings.[7][3] It was destroyed by fire on June 1, 1887 and was replaced.[3]

Two guests were killed and the hotel damaged in the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.[3] On September 27, 1924, the second Hotel Del Monte building was destroyed by fire.[3]

The current building dates from 1926. It was designed by architects Lewis P. Hobart and Clarence A. Tantau.[2] The Hotel’s famed Art Gallery, which was established in 1907 and quickly became the venue for California's most prestigious artists, was also rebuilt; according to the detailed eyewitness account of Carmel artist Jennie V. Cannon, the space for exhibiting art was expanded.[8]

The Old Del Monte golf course opened in 1897 and is the oldest continuously operating golf course west of the Mississippi River.[3]

The Hotel Del Monte was requisitioned by the Navy at the beginning of World War II and used as a pre-flight training school.[3] In 1947, the U.S. Navy purchased the hotel and its surrounding 627 acres for $2.5 million.[3] In 1951 the United States Naval Academy's postgraduate school moved from Annapolis, Maryland, to its new location—the former Hotel del Monte.[2] The hotel is now Herrmann Hall, the central building of the Naval Postgraduate School.

Arizona Garden, Hotel Del Monte, Monterey. Circa 1885

Also on the grounds are nine additional structures including the Roman Plunge Pool Complex, built in 1918 and designed by Hobart and Tantau, later the architects of the third hotel building. The pool itself was designed by Hobart.[9] The Roman Plunge Solarium was restored in 2012 by architect James D. McCord. At that time the main Plunge was reconstructed as a reflecting pool and its original above-ground finishes restored.[10] The Arizona Garden (1882), originally designed by landscape architect Rudolph Ulrich, is also on the grounds.[9][11]

Humorist Josh Billings died at the hotel in 1885.

Del Monte Foods traces its name back to an Oakland, California food distributor who used the brand name "Del Monte" for a premium coffee blend made especially for the hotel.[12]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c "History of NPS and the Infamous Hotel Del Monte". Naval Postgraduate School. Archived from the original on July 1, 2013. Retrieved June 22, 2013.
  2. ^ a b c d "Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey". The California State Military Museum. Retrieved June 22, 2013.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Hathaway, Pat. "Hotel Del Monte, Monterey". California Views: The Pat Hathaway Photo Collection. Retrieved June 22, 2013.
  4. ^ The Hotel Del Monte, California's Most Historic Resort Publisher: Naval Postgraduate School
  5. ^ "Pebble Beach Resorts | Golf Resorts, Courses & Spa Vacations". Pebble Beach Resorts. Archived from the original on July 23, 2010.[dead link]
  6. ^ Historic Hotel Del Monte Herrmann Hall Naval Postgraduate School Dudley Knox Library November, 2014
  7. ^ Bender, Henry E. Jr. (2013). Southern Pacific Lines Standard-Design Depots. Berkeley: Signature Press. p. 43. ISBN 9781930013339.
  8. ^ Edwards, Robert W. (2012). Jennie V. Cannon: The Untold History of the Carmel and Berkeley Art Colonies, Vol. 1. Oakland, Calif.: East Bay Heritage Project. pp. 45–47, 200. ISBN 9781467545679. An online facsimile of the entire text of Vol. 1 is posted on the Traditional Fine Arts Organization website ("Archived copy". Archived from the original on April 29, 2016. Retrieved June 7, 2016.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)).
  9. ^ a b "NAVAL SUPPORT ACTIVITY MONTEREY" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on March 15, 2014. Retrieved June 22, 2013.
  10. ^ California Preservation Foundation award 2012
  11. ^ "Pacific Horticulture Society - Rudolph Ulrich's Arizona Gardens". Retrieved November 7, 2017.
  12. ^ "Our History". Del Monte Foods. Archived from the original on April 13, 2013. Retrieved June 22, 2013.

External linksEdit

Coordinates: 36°35′52″N 121°52′24″W / 36.597889°N 121.873312°W / 36.597889; -121.873312