Road Trip: MIssion Inn
The historic hotel in the heart of Southern California
The Mission Inn is the heart of historic downtown Riverside for over 125 years, the original hotel was built in 1876, but by 1935 the hotel had grown into the sprawling complex you can visit today. Frank Augustus Miller traveled the world collecting artifacts and architectural elements to incorporate into his hotel, many are still on display to this day.
When Miller decided to build the St. Francis Chapel on the grounds, he had the building designed around four large stained-glass windows and two original mosaics by Louis Comfort Tiffany. They were salvaged from New York City's Madison Square Presbyterian Church. Inside the Mexican-Baroque styled "Rayas Altar" is 25 feet tall by 16 feet across, carved from cedar and completely covered in gold leaf. Today it serves as a popular wedding venue and offers old world charm in the heart of Southern California.
Eight U.S. Presidents have stayed at the Mission Inn over the years, which hosted Pat and Richard Nixon's wedding and Nancy and Ronald Reagan's honeymoon. It has also had notable guests such as Susan B. Anthony, Henry Ford, Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller, Albert Einstein, Joseph Pulitzer, Booker T. Washington, Helen Keller, Bette Davis and many more.
Today the inn offers a bit of old world glamor and luxury that is seldom seen today, as you wander the hotel's maze of courtyards, hallways, and staircases you can't help but feel that you have been transported far from busy streets of Southern California.
Room's vary in size and decor depending on what part of the hotel your room is located and the style of room you select. But all are luxurious and well appointed. Mine has a view of the pool and was spacious and comfortable. Room rates start at just under $200 per night, plus taxes and fees, parking in the secure garage is $15 per day, however, it is the best option since street parking is restricted during certain hours. Valet is $20 per day (plus tip) and is much more convenient, so be sure to budget for parking.
The inn has four restaurants on the property the Bella Trattoria, a small Italian bistro that serves Southern Italian Cuisine. Duane’s Prime Steaks and Seafood Restaurant, the Inland Empire’s only AAA Four Diamond awarded restaurant. Las Campanas Mexican Cuisine & Cantina. The Mission Inn Restaurant which offers a wide range of options and a season menu.
I had dinner at the The Mission Inn Restaurant and enjoyed the filet mignon with a chocolate lava cake for dessert. The food was excellent and the service staff were attentive and polite. If the weather is nice I suggest dining in the Spanish Courtyard and enjoying the view.
The Presidential Lounge is the hotel’s main cocktail lounge, with live jazz and portraits of each of the visiting presidents. It also serves a menu of appetizers and snacks if you are in the mood for a light meal.
Overall my first stay at the Mission Inn was an excellent experience and especially fun for a fan of history and architecture. The only other property that rivals the Mission Inn in California would be Hearst Castle, which is one of my favorite places in the State.
I found that the Mission Inn's "lowest booking price guaranteed" on their own website proved true, after checking rates with my favorite booking tool the Priceline App and several other hotel sites, missioninn.com was over $40 cheaper than the next booking site.
For more information on rates, ammenties, or to book your stay check out MissionInn.com
Check out more photos from my stay below and follow me on Instagram @TheGentlemanRacer