Rita Miller shares her most memorable prize ever

Ernest and Julio, the promoters of the competition, gave away five first prizes of a holiday on California and my husband and I were lucky winners. With a choice of five top-notch hotels in different parts of the state, we decided upon Hotel Del Corondo- what a good choice we made!

The hotel sits on the silver sands of the Pacific, over-looking the ocean. It is a National Historic Landmark and you can see why; we fell in love with it at first sight. The extraordinary architecture and fairytale façade gave L. Frank Baum his inspiration for The Wizard of Oz. He stayed there through many winters writing his books.

On our arrival at the hotel we were dazzled by brilliant sunshine and the sleekness of the staff. As the palm trees bobbed it felt as if they were bowing and curtseying to us. The star-spangled surf seems to rise and fall solely for the pleasure of the residents.

Because of its superb location, The Del  (as the locals affectionately term the hotel) has become a playground to kings, princesses and film stars! Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis, Jack Lemon and more, have all slept there! 

As I swooned around the hotel filled with the romance of it all, you would find my husband lying face down on the beach kissing the sand that Marilyn Monroe walked on; the films 'Some Like it Hot' and 'The Stuntman' were both filmed here.

The Del has 113 chefs and cooks to pander to the needs of the guests. We ate one unforgettable meal in the restaurant. The awe-inspiring 'Crown' dining room has huge is regarded as one of the world's architectural masterpieces. There are no nails or interior supports in the 30ft high sugar pine ceiling, which is held together solely by wooden pegs. In the centre there is a magnificent chandelier designed by L. Frank Baum.

Our holiday in Corando was simply magical. Whether you are royalty or just lucky compers like us, you are treated with good manners and service beyond the line of duty.

We left with enough technicolour memories to last us a lifetime.

Rita Miller
Newcastle Upon Tyne

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