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“We felt like we were in a castle in Europe!”

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The Mission Inn Hotel and Spa
Ranked #1 of 24 Hotels in Riverside
Certificate of Excellence
Las Vegas, Nevada
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“We felt like we were in a castle in Europe!”
Reviewed 24 August 2011

Amazing hotel! I still can't believe that it's located in the middle of California. This is truly a castle, not a hotel! We stayed in a Glendale Room and just loved it! The view into the 4 story courtyard was breathtaking! The architecture is nothing like you'd ever think you'd find in The States! My family and I went exploring around the hotel every night and found such wonderful hidden corridors, fountains, and terraces. There was something new and interesting around every corner. The room was nice as well, and there was even an entire extra sitting room with a chess/checker board table, which we played on every night. We ate at two of the restaurants on property and both were very good. We will definitely be returning, now that we've found this hidden treasure.

Room Tip: The Glendale rooms are very nice.
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  • Stayed August 2011, travelled with family
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1 Thank AnnMarieGottlieb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Morgantown, West Virginia
Level Contributor
26 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
Reviewed 13 August 2011

My colleagues and I try to stay at this hotel every time we come to Riverside. The rooms are nothing special (though comfortable), but the rest of the hotel is extraordinary. The hotels offers multiple great restaurants and bars, including a tapas bar with live music and one of my favorite Mexican restaurants. The hotel is filled with antiques and lots of beautiful nooks and crannies to explore, including an art museum, a gallery of presidental portraits, an exquisite and elaborate chapel, a large birdcage with parrots, and lots of beautiful architecture. There is a pedestrian mall adjacent to the hotel that offers additional shopping and restaurants. The staff are universally pleasant and attentive.

If you are a light sleeper, you may want to bring ear plugs. Sound from other rooms seems to carry easily, and also the bars outside the hotel seem to draw a rowdy late night crowd on weekends.

  • Stayed August 2011, travelled on business
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Thank Marla_the_Mophead
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
San Francisco, California
Level Contributor
56 reviews
41 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 41 helpful votes
Reviewed 11 August 2011

We have stayed here several times over the years and it never fails to delight. This place is amazing: beautiful old Spanish style architecture, spacious rooms with lovely decor, great restaurants, wonderful staff. It's worth a special trip on its own.

  • Stayed August 2011, travelled as a couple
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Thank junawally
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Laguna Beach, California
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
Reviewed 10 August 2011

I travel frequently for business and pleasure. Perhaps 100's of hotel stays over the years? Mainly in the USA for business and the Southern CA. area for quick getaways. I work in the Luxury industry with accounts that set the standard for superior customer service and can be quite critical if minimal expectations in service and quality are not met.

However this is the first hotel I've ever taken the time to review. Why? Because it is an awe inspiring experience and I absolutely cannot believe how many Southern Californians have no idea it exists. So I am honor bound to spread the word in support of history, art, and architecture. Which are three reasons why you should experience this hotel. And as sappy as it sounds, this place evokes an emotional reaction in me.

First off understand this. This is not only a hotel, but a National Landmark, California Landmark and a National Historical hotel. I've seen some prior reviews that attempt to compare/contrast it to generic chain hotels. You just can't even begin to compare.

So who should stay here and appreciate this stunning piece of California history? I'd urge those of you who appreciate a unique hotel experience, love eclectic architecture, art, Presidential and Hollywood history, lush beautiful surroundings and the food and spa are pretty fabulous as well. It is an incredibly romantic/glamorous place and my personal favorite for a quick getaway with the Husband or friends. I think I'd first and foremost recommend it for couples. Never been to Europe or hankering to go back? I like to joke that staying in this hotel is like a quick trip over seas on the cheap!

This was actually my 3rd stay at The Mission Inn and I am going again in a week to "introduce" one of my friends to the place. But for the purposes of this review I will detail my last stay of 2 days and activites.

Day 1 - We arrived in the late morning. Stopped to say "Hello" and "Pretty Boy/Girl" to the two resident Macaws (parrots)....Napoleon and Josephine. These birds have historical significance to the property. They are wonderfully cute and animated. I love how there are 2 doorman to sweep open the doors making you feel quite grandious! Check in was quick and personable and the front desk employee made every effort to expedite our room. (Sidebar - overall I have always had wonderful and sincere service here from all catagories of employees. Given my customer service standards that is a big deal to me. I can smell insincerity a mile off.) Many of the employees I encountered were on the younger side, but seemed well trained and enthusiastic.

While waiting for the room to be cleaned we had lunch at the outdoor Mexican Restaurant - Las Campanas (there are 4 on site restaurants and 2 lounges). Beautiful patio setting with lush foliage and fountains. You must try the tableside guacamole. If you love guacamole this is about the best I've ever eaten! We also enjoyed a mango margarita.

We stayed in a Junior Suite this time, as they were offering a reasonable upgrade package. However my favorite catagory of room are The Mission Rooms, on the 4th floor, in The Garden of the Sky location. If you stay here spend the extra for the better rooms, especially if it is a romantic occasion. Our JS room ended up being on the 1st level overlooking the hotel entrance, the Macaws, and the Mexican restaurant. I usually don't care to be on a lower floor or in such a busy location, but I will admit it was fun to watch all the activity and hear everyone saying hello to the Macaws in their "parrot voice." I was thankful ,however, that the birds are taken to another location to sleep at night. Our stay was on a Monday - Wednesday so the hotel was much quietier than a weekend and the hustle bustle died down around 10pm. (Sidebar - depending on your room location or neighbors, this hotel can be a bit more noisy than some. Due to its beauty the Mission Inn hosts 350+ weddings a year. There is a lot of celebration going on. If you prefer quiet and relaxation I strongly suggest you plan your get away during the week as opposed to a weekend.) The room itself was spacious, with a large living room. The beds were great...I love beds that are all white sheets, white pillows and large fluffy white duvets! Bathroom was small but functional....darling hand painted tiles on the floor. Lots of large windows. I love an arched window. A nice combination of modernization and maintaining the charms of an older building. Be sure and check out the information book in your room. There is a page of all the famous guests who have stayed there. It's pretty fascinating....numerous Presidents, foreign dignitaries, historical figures such as Helen Keller and Booker T. Washington and quite a roster of Hollywood celebrities. Old and new.

We hung out in our room for awhile then visited Casey's cupcakes, the on site gourmet cupcake shop, which had just won an award from the Food Network. I believe it was "The Cupcake Walk of Fame". Got to love that! I had the peanut butter and chocolate cupcake. Delicious and the packaging of the product was just adorable.

Dinner was at the Mission Restuarant, which is located in an inner courtyard part of the hotel called The Spanish Square. It is a stunningly beautiful place to eat. You can almost fool yourself that you are in another country. They have a delicious bread basket, too! The food was very good and the atmosphere and service certainly enchanced the dining experience.

Later in the evening we explored the property. The Mission Inn takes up a city block so wear some comfortable shoes. You must do this! Grab your hotel map (or just wing it!) and start exploring! Peek in the windows of the Presidential Suites if you can. Go up and down the little staircases and explore each and every cranny. There are visual and historical treasures everywhere. It's a bit maze like but basically easy to navigate. And stop occasionally to look around and up. Go to the rooftop 4th floor and gaze over the domes, bell towers and flying buttresses. Romantic and fascinating.

Day 2 - We walked around the surrounding stores. Not too much here but there are a few interesting consignment and novelty shops. We decided to have the High Tea, which was located in The Presidential Lounge. The Lounge is decorated with portraits of the numerous POTUS's who have visited or stayed here. This is just a guess on my part but I'd bet a Casey's cupcake that few if any hotels can boast this many Presidential guests. (Sidebar - not only did they visit, but Nixon was married here and Reagan spent his wedding night here. But the real story is with Taft. You'll have to visit to find that out!). The tea was very good...I enjoyed the experience although I've had nicer and think they can do a little better on value for the price. Perhaps a larger ratio of savories to sweets? It was almost like a mini desert buffet! Would have liked more than half a scone. But I must say everthing I ate was delicious and we ended up taking half the pastries back to our room. One of the Inn's owners, Kelly, stopped by our table to ask how we were enjoying ourselves. I thought that was gracious and am a big proponent of hands on management. Go and talk to your guests!

Dinner that night was at the Italian restaurant, Bella Trattoria. It is located on the outside of the hotel on Main street. All 3 of our dining experiences were al fresco. By far my favorite way to eat, weather permitting. Another beautiful venue and more great food. They had the best soundtrack playing! Great old Dean Martin " faux Italian" classics.Then an Andre Boticelli duet...which always makes me teary eyed. The sweet waiter assured me it made him cry as well. We capped off the evening with another cupcake purchase...vanilla this time. I swear I am usually not such an eat-o-holic! We took our treat to a private little table on a terrace we'd found on our walk about and made short work of it. We then took another exploratory stroll and marveled at the gothic like room doors in the Cloister wing.

Day three - We had breakfast at the Mission Restaurant again. This is the only place they serve breakfast, other than room service. I've heard they have a great Sunday buffet, although I've never had it. Our breakfast was delicious and cooked exactly to our specifications. Seems like a lot of local business people frequent the hotel for meals. Lot of well dressed professionals in suits. Which in my book beats tourists in swim suits and sweat suits for ambience!

To cap off our mini trip we took the docent led tour of the property. Okay this is another Must Do! You really can't understand or get a proper appreciation of The Mission Inn without taking the tour and getting the whole history. Actually, you should do the tour on your first day. I swear it will enhance your stay. Or if you are not staying here (the tour is open to the general public) I bet another cupcake you're going to want to. We saved the tour for the end because it was my third time taking it. Which may explain to you how I know some of the things of which I've written!

Sadly, we then had to check out. But not before purchasing 2 more cupcakes to go.... (carrot and coconut).

To recap - here is my Must Do list for first timers:
1. Las Campanas table side guacamole
2. Docent led tour of the Mission Inn
3. Evening dinner in the outdoor courtyard at the Mission restaurant
4. Cupcake(s)!
5. Self exploratory night tour of the hotel. Every floor and every wing!

And here is what I still need to experience at the Mission Inn:
1. The amazing day spa - Kelly's. You can smell the aromatherapy wafting out when you walk by. Stop tempting me!
2. The one restaurent I have not eaten at - Duane's. Top notch steak and sea food.
3. Wine tasting and tapas in Duane's lounge.
4. Staying in one of the Presidential Suites. Maybe for my next landmark birthday....

And for my dear Southern California friends (and I say this in the nicest way!) Get over your Riverside snobery. You are sorely missing out and I can assure you your county/city does not have any hotel that can compare to the Mission Inn.

Room Tip: 4th floor Mission Rooms! In the Garden of the Sky wing.
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  • Stayed August 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
12 Thank EverettLaguna
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
75 reviews
28 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 78 helpful votes
Reviewed 9 August 2011

Had a delightful, too brief visit to the beautiful Riverside Mission Inn Hotel & Spa. You have to see it to believe it! The architecture, beautiful grounds and sense of history is not to be missed. The hotel rooms are spacious & nice, food is good and cocktails divine! I don't know if there was self parking, we used valet.
My stay was with a group of girlfriends..there is a spa, nice pool and the surrounding area has plenty of shopping and activities. There were at least 4 weddings being held there the same weekend. Our neighbors in the room next door were a bit noisy, coming in late from a wedding reception. But I pulled out my earplugs...and fell asleep. Can't wait to return and spend several days there with my husband.

  • Stayed July 2011, travelled with friends
    • Value
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Thank ladybug96
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Baltimore, Maryland
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed 7 August 2011

The hotel is beautiful. But on a Saturday night, you might as well sleep in a dance club. Outside my window (which had been broken out and replaced by a sheet of plywood, a raging dance party in the courtyard until mid nit kept me, my wife, and two small kids up... The hotel is full, so we were kindly offered ear plugs... Yeah, those would work well on a 1-year-old.

A five star hotel this might be mid-week, but on the weekends not so much, avoid it... Unless you are here to party all night. Then it might be ok for you.

Room Tip: Avoid the weekends-- it's party central
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  • Stayed August 2011, travelled with family
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7 Thank Todd_on_the_road
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
San Francisco
Level Contributor
21 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
Reviewed 31 July 2011

We had some family business to attend to nearby so we decided to take a tour of So Cal and this was out first stop. We were enchanted by this place. The guy who built the hotel was a collector and had collected bits of wreckage from all over the world and brought it all together in this place. Architecturally, its a hodge podge and reflected his "collections" at that moment: "Oh I've been to Spain......I'll build a Spanish wing....." and so on. It really is a beautiful place. Our room was #420. This room was beautiful with very high ceilings "stone" walls, fireplace etc. The bathroom was smallish but efficient with plenty of towels and good water pressure. The sheets were of decent quality albeit, a little stiff. They provided bathrobe for you to use which I always like. There was a coffee maker - it was one of those Nespresso type things with the pods that actually make pretty tasty coffee. We dont require in-room coffee equipment but I do know for some people that is a deal breaker. They offer a tour which we took and found very informative - all about the buildings and the man who started it all. Taking the tour doesnt actually allow you access to any places that you couldnt go to on your own but it is interesting to get the back-story which you wouldnt get on your own. For that reason we found the tour worthwhile. Staying at the hotel doesnt get you a discount for the tour.
There is not a lot to see and do in Riverside so as a tourist destination this hotel is the only show in town and let me tell you, there are many many tourists wandering around at all times of the day who are not hotel guests. The hotel seems to know this and embrace it, and we did not feel that we, as hotel guests, were given any kind of preferential treatment over all the rank and file tourists who were milling about. If you are looking for something tranquil this may not be the places for you. This places is hopping and busy all the time.
If you stay here, I can almost guarantee that there will be at least one wedding happening during your time there. On the tour we learned that the hotel hosts 350 weddings a year, so you do the math....... Due to the heavy wedding schedule we did not get to see the stained glass inside the church collected from the original owners travels.
There are 3 restaurants. One is a steakhouse - I gather that is the higher end option. Another option is the Spanish patio which is beautiful and we had originally thought we would dine there but after looking at the menu we decided that we would eat at the Mexican restaurant in another patio. We had margarita's, chips and salsa and taco's. It was very hot and we just didnt feel like a meat and potatoes type of thing and it was delightful under the trees in the patio. After dark the lights came on and it was beautiful.
I have to say a few words about the service. Parts of it were very attentive and efficient but I have to say at times I felt it was a bit dismissive. For example, when we arrived the bell man couldnt tell us how far away the self parking was from the check-in desk. You can self-park for free or pay for valet. We would prefer to self park if we didnt have to walk a long way with a bunch of bags. They guy didnt seem to understand our concern and said "oh its not more than a 10 minute walk." Really! A ten minute walk is no problem for us but when you are laden down with bags its another story. Turns out it was not a walk at all, you just entered the hotel from another entrance. We ended up using the valet which we wouldnt have had to do if we had been given accurate info. When we checked in, we asked to confirm which restaurant we had made a reservation with. When we booked the room they asked us if we wanted to book a reservation at one of their restaurants, which we did, but forgot which one. The person at the desk told us that they didnt have that information and we should just call the reservations line when we got to the room. Odd, I thought that they could neither tell us nor find out. When we got to the room we found a mini-bar, but it was locked and there was no key. We never use mini bars but we wanted to use the refrigerator to chill some champagne. We called the desk to find out how were were supposed to get it open and they said we could come get a key if we wanted but our champagne wouldnt fit in there anyway. Odd response I thought. When we checked out we were laden down with bags and I asked a man if we could have one of the trolleys that were standing there to take our things out to the car. He replied "No. We are really busy right now and we need these but we will be happy to help you with your bags." Well thats fine that they are happy to help us but we just wanted to use one of the trolleys for 3 - 5 minutes to get out to the car. I realize I'm knit-picking but I felt these were odd responses and I felt as if I was bothering them with my stupid questions. I wouldnt hesitate to stay here again, it is so lovely, but I would endeavor to try to be more self sufficient next time and not bother the staff with my snively needs.
One more thing. There is no smoking inside the hotel. Operative word here is "inside." There are apparent designated smoking areas outside and within the various courtyards. Its possible that you may have to walk through clouds of smoke to get where you are going. I suppose we have to let them smoke somewhere but I wish I didnt have to walk through it.

  • Stayed July 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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2 Thank DavieWavie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about The Mission Inn Hotel and Spa

Property: The Mission Inn Hotel and Spa
Address: 3649 Mission Inn Ave., Riverside, CA 92501-3364
Phone Number:
Region: United States > California > Riverside
Bar / Lounge Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#4 Family Hotel in Riverside
#4 Business Hotel in Riverside
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:4 star — The Mission Inn Hotel and Spa 4*
Number of rooms: 238
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
This castle-like hotel is next door to the Main Street Pedestrian Mall and a half-mile from the Riverside Convention Center. This historic hotel occupies a city block in downtown Riverside. Guests have included presidents and Pulitzer Prize winners. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Mission Hotel Riverside
Mission Hotel Riverside
Mission Resort Riverside
Inn Mission Riverside Ca
Mission Inn Hotel Riverside

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