El Cortez Don Room

The Don Room at El Cortez opened on Thanksgiving Day in 1927 and is nestled atop San Diego’s prestigious Cortez Hill.  This carefully restored landmark has been hosting San Diego ‘s finest events for nearly 100 years! The esteemed Don Room and Terrace is the perfect choice for your special event. The classic and stunningly beautiful octagon shaped Don Room with 24k gold leafed ceiling, is an ideal setting for events and flexible to most any format. Adjoining the Don Room is a 10,000 square foot outdoor Terrace. The area comes alive with exquisite lighting, and our first class bar service offers drinks to delight and warm the spirits. Whatever the occasion our pre-determined layouts offer ease when planning your special event!


The octagon shaped Don Room with 24-karat gold carved ceiling makes a grand setting for an elegant wedding and our 10,000 square foot “urban” Terrace is a generous location for a pre-reception cocktail party or ceremony. The unexpected Terrace fireplace creates a special glow your guests will certainly take pleasure from.

To make each event a perfect signature of our host, we rely upon a small group of preferred caterers. We think the ultimate success of an event comes from the hearts and hands of companies you can trust with your most important occasion. You will find a group of companies listed on our website who are trained professionals dedicated to providing consistent and precise work at this historic site. Our in house exclusives are the best in the business. Our fine event seating is represented by Tavolo Chaise, LLC and their superb equipment never damages our unique and nearly 100 year old floor. There is a myriad of seating options for the Don Room and no matter the style, each set is flawlessly implemented. El Cortez beverage services are provided by Best Beverage Catering. The professionals at ” BBC ” will create a specialty bar for your most discerning guests such as; fruity martinis, cosmos and classic mojitos. If it is delicious wine you want to share, the list is wide-ranging and always complements your chosen menu. Rental of the Don Room and Terrace represents an entire day at El Cortez. We are proud to host your special day, so we do not host more than one event per day. This approach provides a more relaxing, fun and memorable experience for you, your family, and friends. Whether your style is simple elegance or lavish design, our chosen caterers, photographers and event planners concentrate on making your most important day special from start to finish…seamlessly!

Rental of the Don Room and Terrace Includes:

Assistance in Design Themes and Styles
Referrals of Appropriate & Reputable Caterers/Vendors
Scheduling and Attending Meetings with Caterers/Vendors
Facilitating Seating Arrangements
Expediting Food and Beverage Services
Personal Assistance at El Cortez in Months Prior to the Event
Scheduling Onsite Rehearsals
Event Manager to cater to your needs during the evening
Post Evening Cleaning

To help in preparing for your big day, it is a good idea to determine a budget as early as possible as this measure will probably be the most important factor in the planning process. An open dialogue with each other and family members if assisting, of what you both want for your big day and ultimately are able to spend on the wedding makes good sense. This is important not only for both of you, but will also assist your vendors. It is considered key information for potential caterers, venues, florists, bakers, etc. to know in advance how much you are able and willing to put into the various elements of the day without adding financial strain. We are happy to assist with a variety of packages and pricing points to meet your imaginings without breaking the bank!

The Don Room

Events at El Cortez represent attention to detail well considered and carefully planned. We offer the finest and most experienced event services to keep you stress-free and able to focus on other matters regarding your function. Food and beverage is important to the success of an event, and we offer a wide array of options. Signature drinks using both alcoholic and alcohol free ingredients are presented with a lively twist. Our preferred caterers have been carefully chosen for their experience and approach to their unique use of ingredients. Chefs who focus on menus that are local, and organic with focus on seasonality are those with whom we most love to work! Set an exciting mood for your San Diego wedding or special event with the lively sounds from one of our preferred disc jockeys, and enlist the services of one of the many professional photography artists recommended by our Don Room experts. We also provide recommendations for invitation experts, floral designers, and other vendors to make your event a true expression of your unique style!

The Terrace

The Terrace at El Cortez provides 10,000 square feet of unobstructed outdoor space for your guests to mingle and chat as they delight in the ambiance of its urban fireplace. If it is your wedding that brings you to El Cortez, the fountain is a popular focal point where couples join in marriage under a grand, vine covered gazebo. Décor may include an arbor, a rose lined path of topiary and hurricane candles are often used to light a romantic path. The Terrace has also been used for a winter themed event with man-made snow and accented with beautiful blue lighting. Whatever your theme, allow our venue to serve your dream event!

Contact: Kathi Skillman

(619) 338-8338