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“Reeks of history”
Review of Riverside Hotel

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Riverside Hotel
Ranked #3 of 7 Clarksdale B&B and Inns
Reviewed 14 August 2013

Unfortunately couldn't stay here (completely booked for the blues festival) but spent some time here and was given personal tours by the staff who gave me a history lesson. Saw the rooms and explanations on the history of each one. It is not a modern hotel so have no illusions but if you love the blues and want to stay in a place where all the legends have been, it has to be the Riverside. Great location if you want easy walking to the major downtown places.

  • Stayed: August 2013, travelled solo
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2  Thank RonWamberal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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35 - 41 of 73 reviews

Reviewed 22 July 2013

If you are a blues fan or following the blues highway this hotel is the place to be. The riverside hotel is a place full of history where several music legends such as sonny boy williams and ike turner have stayed. The hotel is still in the style of that time so don't be alarmed by the outside. When you walk in and are welcomed by the current owner 'zee' you will feel right at home. She and her mother advised us to go to 'Red's' where we've had the real blues experience with the greatest talents we ever saw. All music fans and especially blues fans make sure you will visit the riverside hotel and 'red's'.

  • Stayed: July 2013
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2  Thank Niranjan S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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
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5  Thank Bob_Michaels
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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
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2  Thank DrJohnHodgson
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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
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2  Thank PaulJamesSchofield
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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
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Thank mdtaylor67
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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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3  Thank John W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about 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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