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“unique place, ideal for some of us, but not for everyone”
Review of Riverside Hotel

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Riverside Hotel
Ranked #3 of 7 Clarksdale B&B and Inns
Apopka, Florida
Level 6 Contributor
34 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 61 helpful votes
“unique place, ideal for some of us, but not for everyone”
Reviewed 20 May 2013

I always stay with Rat when in Clarksdale. It is my kind of place, full of history and old times. It is very comfortable for me as I have no problems with a bathroom across the hall. It is not the place for someone needing a modern accommodation with modern conveniences.

You can get lured into spending too much time sitting out front talking to Rat as he personally is a treasure trove of Blues history. And, I have not found anything he says not to be true.

Short walking distance from Red's Juke, the place for real music in Clarksdale. The neighborhood you walk through looks a bit sketchy but both Rat and Red insist it is safe.

Room Tip: Rat will give you the best room available if you ask.
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  • Stayed February 2013, travelled solo
    • Value
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Helpful?
5 Thank Bob_Michaels
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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73 reviews from our community

Traveller rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (21)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Edmonton, Canada
Level 3 Contributor
16 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed 10 May 2013

You may have heard about this place -- it used to be the black hospital where Bessie Smith died, and since 1944 has been a hotel. In the Jim Crow days, it was one of the few places that blues musicians could stay in the area.
The outside of the hotel is really funky, but inside is like going back in History. For me, a part time musician, the spirits in the place made my heart soar.
You may read in other reviews of Frank ("Rat") and his stories. He unfortunately passed away a few weeks ago (Mar 26/13 RIP) and it is run be his daughter, Zee. She and her Mom made the visit even more memorable. Wonderful!

  • Stayed April 2013, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Location
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Helpful?
2 Thank DrJohnHodgson
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level 5 Contributor
68 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
Reviewed 12 April 2013

Although the history of this place is great, it has seen better days; the shared bathroom is ok but I was quite itchy after my stay in the bed of room 6. Rat and his daughter were very friendly and accommodating hosts however, and you can't beat this for blues enthusiasts experiencing the same space as many famous musicians who travelled through Clarksdale.

Location wise it's pretty central and close to the two main music events: Reds and the Ground Zero Blues clubs. Despite the short walk, it's best to drive the couple of streets back however at night.

  • Stayed March 2013, travelled solo
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank PaulJamesSchofield
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Dallas, Texas
Level 5 Contributor
75 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
Reviewed 29 March 2013

May not be a posh hotel with all the amenities but it is dripping with history! Not many places can say a blues great stayed in this room or a Kennedy stayed here but this place can. The real joy is sitting listening to Rat tell you the stories that he saw first hand in Clarksdale!
Clean, comfortable, and walking distance to Red's Juke Joint! I will be returning!

Room Tip: Talk to Rat he will give you the stories that go with each room I stayed in Muddy Waters room!
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  • Stayed February 2013, travelled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank mdtaylor67
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Tucson, Arizona
Level 3 Contributor
16 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 January 2013

Do not be put off by the inauspicious exterior. This hotel is a time capsule of the 1930's Mississippi Delta run by Frank "Rat" Ratcliff. Rooms are clean and warm and Frank will tell you stories that you will not forget: including the time when JFK jr brought fast food along and ate a meal in bed with Frank's Mom ... "What's dat white boy doin' in ma momma's bed?" He will show you room where a 19 year old Ike Turner wrote the ist rock'nroll song "Rocket 88", in 1951 and also the room where Bessie Smith (Empress of the Blues) died on September 26, 1937. He will tell you about Clarksdale natives, Sam Cooke, Son House and Muddy Waters and also give you advice on life. Do not miss a chance to stay at the Riverside AND check out Red's Juke Joint just down the road.

  • Stayed January 2013, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
3 Thank John W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Eugene, Oregon
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 January 2013

If you're visiting a town like Clarksdale you may be interested in more than a stamped out motel room that is exactly the same in every town. The Riverside is not like any other hotel. It is living history presented by a gracious host. In addition, it is clean, very comfortable, and safe, even if it might not appear so on first glance.

Room Tip: Ask Rat which famous musicians have stayed in your room.
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  • Stayed January 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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Helpful?
Thank gibson480
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New York City, New York
Level 3 Contributor
11 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed 26 December 2012

This hotel is one-of-a-kind. A historic and cultural experience, and Rat is amazing. So welcoming and knowledgeable and frankly, hilarious. The location is great, right near all the sites of Clarksdale. Easy to find, good street parking, overall very seamless booking and stay experience. Can't beat the value either, we paid $65 a night.

But be aware this property is not for everyone. The property is very authentic and like staying in a rustic cabin in the woods. Like, really, rustic. Shared bathrooms, old furniture, mismatched accessories, etc. All clean and safe and comfortable, but NOT a "hotel" experience. You will see and interact with other guests, you will share a bathroom, you will feel like you are camping, but for us it added to the experience of Clarksdale.

Do not stay here if you are not excited about experiencing Clarksdale in a very real way. Rat has amazing suggestions for where to eat, what to do and of course, where to see live music.

Bring your own toiletries and some flip-flops/slippers/shoes for heading back and forth to the shared bathroom. Linens and towels were clean, each room has A/C and heat and Rat is so very welcoming, just not the private/sterile environment you might expect from a hotel.

  • Stayed December 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
6 Thank travelingPRgirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Riverside Hotel

Property: Riverside Hotel
Address: 615 Sunflower Ave, Clarksdale, MS 38614-5625
Region: United States > Mississippi > Clarksdale
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 7 B&Bs / Inns in Clarksdale
Number of rooms: 6

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