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“Little Bit of Local Luxury”

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The Mission Inn Hotel and Spa
Ranked #1 of 24 Hotels in Riverside
Certificate of Excellence
San Francisco, California
Level 4 Contributor
37 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“Little Bit of Local Luxury”
Reviewed December 23, 2013

While growing up in Riverside, the Mission Inn went through several iterations. It used to be the place where we'd tour historic sites and also see President Taft's large chair, etc. The chapels were beautiful and we attended weddings and services. But it felt completely out of reach.

As an adult I am fortunate to have been able to stay there several times. The mix of preserved history with lush decor and high end eating, drinking and even spa services is a perfect balance. I've been there every season from the high heats of summer (cabana staff is awesome) to the craziness during the Festival of Lights (gorgeous!). While all hotels are never perfect, the Mission Inn accomplishes a nice serenity and escape from the world, which is unheard of in the otherwise blah town of Riverside.

Why am I reviewing now? I just returned from a one-night stay with my family for the Festival of Lights. We do this every year as a tradition and my gift is to pay for their rooms and our dinner. Last year was a bit crazy (my handicapped mother had to stand and wait for a long time and then there was confusion with her room) so I emailed the hotel around Thanksgiving and asked if I could come talk to someone about the arrangements I had made.

Within minutes, the general manager replied and the next day I met with the front desk manager, Ingrid. This woman knows something about high end service. She took the time to walk through the room options with me and noted them to ensure they weren't moved to someone else during the checkin process; she even took me to see the rooms to ensure I would be satisfied. Then, she gave me a tour of other parts of the property I'd never seen before.

One month later during our checkin, she single-handedly helped expedite our rooms being finished, chased down a "surprise" that I'd wanted for my family's rooms, and even though there were hundreds of people milling about the lobby, she called to make sure we were all settled.

This is first-class service. She was so patient and I could tell she really cares about the guests and the property. What Ingrid has brought to this hotel is a level of heart that I'd never experienced before and my family and I are quite grateful to her.

Other notes:

- Festival of Lights is chaotic but gorgeous. Recommend a carriage ride.
- The pool is warm and inviting all year around
- The bars in the hotel are richly decorated and have delicious custom drinks
- The steakhouse is great for high end, the Mission Inn Restaurant is moderate and good for all meals, and I love the nachos as the Mexican restaurant
- Casey's Cupcakes is the devil, and delicious. I think I've tried almost every flavor.
- Try a catacombs tour if you're looking for something different to do with the family
- Always check the details in the rooms - usually a weird door or a stairway that goes nowhere. I love it.
- You simply cannot beat the historic architecture

Two nits:
- The valet is always blocked or backed up into the street. Not sure they can fix that but it does make getting in and out hard. The staff is quite friendly though.
- Does Kelly Roberts' airbrushed face have to be on *everything*? I think I hit my limit when I saw her name on a package of jelly beans in the mini bar. This takes away from some of the historic feel. While the Roberts' are "keepers of the inn" they are not why people visit.

Thank you, Ingrid, and the entire staff for a lovely hotel.

Room Tip: Third floor is best. Try the Glenwood King for your own little terrace area overlooking the pool.
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  • Stayed December 2013, traveled solo
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Helpful?
Thank Mediaphyter
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Big Bear Lake, California
Level 6 Contributor
103 reviews
36 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 42 helpful votes
Reviewed December 22, 2013

This is our 3rd "Festival of Lights" stay in a row at the Mission Inn. Since my daughter's birthday also falls around that time, we like to combine her birthday celebration with the Christmas celebration as well. While the gorgeous lights are available for all to tour and see, staying at the Inn just makes the experience infinitely better! The package includes free valet parking, which is wonderful, since parking would be a bear during the Christmas season! We had the dinner at the Mission Inn restaurant, which, as always, was amazing. I always order the buffet dinner, since I can have what I want, as much as I want (I went 4 times to the buffet....). After we ate, we walked around the hotel and enjoyed the lights (and the snow machine!). Then, my daughter took a dip in the heated outdoor pool. Surrounded by the amazing lights, it was an awesome sight to see! We had a great night's sleep in the very comfy beds. The next morning, after treating myself to coffee from the in-room Keurig coffee maker, I decided to take advantage of the hotel fitness center. I had a great 1-hour workout, then went to the spa and indulged in the eucalyptus steam room! Unless you booked a massage or treatment, your hotel stay entitles you to free use of the spa. The checkout was pretty smooth, then we had to return to reality and drive home...Can't wait to do it again next year!

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
2 Thank Myrmyr971
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Zephyr Cove, Nevada
Level 3 Contributor
12 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed December 22, 2013

I just got back from a wedding at the Mission Inn. The site is beautiful, but the circus-like atmosphere was horrible. When making my reservation on the website, I saw that the hotel was decorated with over 4 million lights for the holidays, what it did not mention was the massive amounts of people sightseeing around the hotel, it was like New Years Eve in Vegas.

I arrived Friday evening, it took 45 minutes to turn into valet parking, once there, the valet was very rude. I had to push my way through the crowds down a long entryway to enter the lobby which was also packed with sightseers. If the Fire Marshall had been called, I am sure the hotel would have been fined.

The room was nice, but Christmas music blasted from the ground floor until 11 pm, and there were people yelling on the streets until well after 2 am. Saturday night was just as bad, and a drunk was pounding on my door at midnight! I never slept more than an hour without being awakened by noise.

The restaurants were overpriced and overrated, very slow service, food arrived cold or lukewarm. The staff seemed overwhelmed and inexperienced.

The wedding reception was done well, but some people missed the wedding because they could not park due to the crowds.

I wish I had read the reviews prior to booking the room, there are many similar complaints.

Room Tip: If you have to stay there, do not get a room over any of the restaurants patios, or over looking the...
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  • Stayed December 2013, traveled solo
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2 Thank skierski
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 3 Contributor
16 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviewed December 20, 2013

Actually, this was reserved for my daughter and son in law and is based on their stay and my experiences as the person who paid for the room.
I've lived out here for years. Always thought this would be a cool thing to do. At the winter holiday season, the hotel is decked out in ostentatious splendor. What I forgot about is how many people come to see it. You could hardly get in and out the door to your room after dark, or find a place to drop someone off. People in the crowds are rude, as is often the case. (No wonder they offer the rooms at such a deal compared to several years ago.)
Then let's not talk about the noise level. When the noise level is such that you cannot sleep, well, then it's time to say it's not worth the stay at any price. And that is exactly what happened. Night manager was not helpful, just said it should start to quiet down AFTER MIDNIGHT.

Poor customer service there.

Room Tip: Don't stay at the holiday!
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  • Stayed December 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
Thank Cerridwyn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
California
Level 5 Contributor
76 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
Reviewed December 19, 2013

When my wife and I need an instant vacation, we go to the Mission Inn. In much less than an hour's drive from our home, we're in Europe. The Mission-style architecture is a respite from boxy and spare American hotels. The nooks and crannies are filled with artwork and artifacts from around the world. As you look out over the tiled roof to downtown Riverside's various domes, how can you feel like you are in the US. The spacious and luxurious rooms are even BETTER than what you get in Europe, although the furnishings are reminiscent of any "grande dame" lodging in Paris or Barcelona. Try the swimming pool. Watch the ghosts of movie stars and Presidents float through the lobby and bar. Service ranges from good to great.

Take the tour from a Mission Inn Museum trained docent. These guys have to complete a course to qualify. It's worth the fee - and you can get the rich back-story to this heart-stopping icon of Southern California.

Room Tip: Great views on top!
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank BirdBikingBuddha
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bakersfield, California, United States
Level 4 Contributor
31 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 65 helpful votes
Reviewed December 18, 2013

This hotel's architecture is just beautiful. It's a cross between Spanish and Renaissance styles. The chapel is breathtaking. We went down for the festival of lights, and while the light display is very exquisite, I was more impressed by the hotel itself in the daylight. We had Santa stop by the room, which perfect for my son. Santa brought personalized stockings filled with goodies for the kids, read them 'Twas the night before Christmas' and even brought cookies and milk. And the Santa REALLY looked like Santa, right down to the rosy cheeks. And he was really good with the kids too. The room (glenwood rooom) was very large, larger than we needed - for we never even used the couch area. The only reason I'm giving this a 4 and not a 5 was that the room lacked some standard features I have grown used to having in hotels. First, no free wifi - there was $10/day fee, secondly no microwave or refrigerator. There was a mini bar - which technically is a refrigerator - but it was packed full of drinks. so you couldn't put your left overs in it or anything like that. The crowds for the festival of lights was unreal. Getting a table at the restaurant or even maneuvering through the halls was nearly impossible. And everyone seemed to be there for a wedding or company Christmas party, all in black suite attire - while we were walking around in "hotel clothes," which made me feel under dressed. If I had known, I would have brought better clothing. But, my husband and I do plan on returning one day without the kids, for this seemed to be a pretty romantic place which we picked for a family vacation.

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
Thank Carol B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Orange County, CA
Level 5 Contributor
71 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed December 17, 2013

The first night I checked into the jr suite with my daughter the night before her wedding. beautiful corner room facing the entrance with all the holiday night. The room was noisy at night with street musicians and people leaving the cafe across the street. Security did go out and tell them people were trying to sleep above them. The second day I went to check into my room that I booked on Hotwire and they claimed they had no reservation for me for that night, but had one for me 2 weeks later. I needed this room for the groomsmen to get dressed and of course its the one time I don't print my reservation. No time to waste with 2 hours before the ceremony, so I figure I'll deal with it later. The bridal party all got ready in the suite, men and women together. The hotel was sold out so the manager said he'd call if there was a cancellation and if it was their fault he'd more than make it up to me. I was able to print my reservation and presented it to the manager. He seemed like I inconvenienced him rather than apologizing for the mistake. He got me a room with a pool and lights view, but it was very noisy all night as the walkway outside is just above to it was constant high heels and roller bags making nose late at night and early in the morning. Its a beautiful place for a day visit and a meal, but not over night if you want to rest.

Room Tip: Try to not be near the external walkways or you'll hear people walking all hours of the day and...
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  • Stayed December 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
Thank chinadoll418
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:
Location: United States > California > Riverside
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Fitness Center 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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