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“blues history”
Review of Riverside Hotel

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Riverside Hotel
Ranked #3 of 7 Clarksdale B&B and Inns
Perth, Australia
Level Contributor
42 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
“blues history”
Reviewed February 11, 2012

This small family owned hotel is steeped in history - it hasnt changed in decades - so dont expect a modern shiny hotel - thats the charm of the place. The rooms are not en-suite and theres no room service, but there are three bathrooms and at this time of year we had the place to ourselves. The owner Rat is a fabulous old guy who can entertain you with stories of the old blues guys staying there - a must for blues lovers. its a short walk to Reds Juke Joint and the centre of town. We loved our stay here and thoroughly recommend it to blues fans.

  • Stayed January 2012, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
1 Thank LindaLu272
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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73 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
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  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveler 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
Belfast, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
30 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed January 25, 2012

August 2010. A little mix up in our booking so, totally accommodating, even tho he was fully booked, Rat reverently removed the painting of Bessie Smith from the bed of the room in which she died (when it was a hospital), brought it into his 'office', kissed it and said 'sorry baby but it business'.
We felt so guilty and sorry for poor Bessie yet amazed we were going to be sleeping in the room that Rat and his lovely wife Ms Joyce never rented out (unless it meant turning someone away)
Needless to say, our room had character! Rat and Ms Joyce told us it wasn't the same actual bed (guess they thought us tourists might be nervous lol), 'those bits on ceiling been comin down for years' (Unusually for me I actually felt comfort when another little bit fell down that night in bed - like a little message from Bessie... it was okay we were in her room!!)
Our time at the Riverside Hotel was exceptionally memorable, we were accommodated for an extra unbooked and unplanned night cos we didn't want to leave them or Clarksdale!
This isn't a hotel for those seeking luxury. Some rooms are en suite - we didn't mind that our room wasn't - 2 bathrooms directly across the hall - always clean despite hotel being fully booked.
Its for people wishing to experience the true Clarksdale & Mississippi comfortable hospitality, history and stories, music and artists, friendships and warmest welcomes.
Lots love to you all and hopefully see you again very soon! Bairbre & Ian Tannahill, Belfast, Northern Ireland xxx

Room Tip: Rooms at the Riverside are unique. Its an historic hotel. I was happy to allow a tour group to see o...
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  • Stayed August 2011, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank RedRedWin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bydgoszcz, Poland
Level Contributor
7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed January 9, 2012

I visited Clarksdale in the summer of 2007 (sorry I picked the earliest possible day from the selection below), during my trip to the USA.
Made a booking via the phone and was a bit worried, as it was my first solo trip to the South.
Everything went just fine, the proprietor - Rat was very very helpful. He picked me up from the bus station with his truck, make one round to show me places of interest and gave a short talk about who and what to avoid in order to say safe. Later he showed me the Bessie Smith's room.
Really excellent service and excellent heritage place!

Anyway, Clarksdale rocks!

  • Stayed February 2011, traveled solo
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Helpful?
2 Thank 1elv
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Francisco, California
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed December 9, 2011

Perfect. The genuine article. Greatly exceeded our expectations in every way. Thanks Rat!

Room Tip: Take whatever room is available. Every room is music history.
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  • Stayed July 2011, traveled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank G_Farmer1062593
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Louisiana
Level Contributor
47 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 91 helpful votes
Reviewed September 9, 2011

The proprietor, Frank Ratcliffe, knows the blues. The historic building the houses the Riverside Hotel also knows the blues, having been the local hospital for black folks, back in the day. Bessie Smith died in that hospital, and many of the big names have stayed at the Riverside since Rat's mother opened it as a hotel, decades ago. It's not the Ritz. It's the Riverside. The host is a pleasant and helpful man, and will be glad to tell you stories of the old days. THe rooms are nicely set up in antiques, an dare comfortable. The prices are fine. Stop into the Riverside for a weekend, Walking distance to Ground Zero, or better still hit Red's just down the road - a real juke joint. Ask Rat to take you down to Dockery, or out to the Crossroads. If you like blues music and history, you ought not to miss this place - it's a piece of history.

  • Stayed June 2011, traveled with family
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Helpful?
3 Thank GiveMeEat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Apopka, Florida
Level Contributor
75 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 54 helpful votes
Reviewed June 24, 2011

Like others have said, the owner, "Rat" is a font of knowledge, and LOVES to talk. He will do just about anything for you, including drive you around town. There were about nine of us there, and all of us, including Rat, who knows everybody in town, went out to the clubs. Each room is pretty much as it was when some of its more famous residents stayed there (Muddy Waters, Ike Turner, even JFK Jr.) I cannot wait to go back, and it's worth every penny of the $65/night.

Room Tip: Call ahead and give your name to reserve a room.
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  • Stayed June 2011, traveled solo
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank Joshua C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
177 reviews
98 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 322 helpful votes
Reviewed May 5, 2011

I love the RIverside and I love it's owner Rat. If you are coming to Clarksdale for the blues history then you have to spend at least one night here. It IS blues history and Rat will share with you the hotel's story about all the famous musicians who stayed in the actual rooms you stay in. The rooms are clean and comfy. The only issue is the bathrooms are shared. There are two shower/toilet rooms for men and one for the ladies. There's only about 6 hotel rooms so there isn't a crowd waiting in the AM but you do need to know this so if you have issues about bathroom/shower sharing you may want to look elsewhere. Also, there's no internet. However, even for just one night, for the experience, you should stay here. It's right down the street from Red's Blues Lounge and the other downtown places. I stayed in the Muddy Waters room...a room he stayed in for many a night while in Clarksdale. So cool!

  • Stayed April 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank mitchmurr
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
Location: United States > Mississippi > Clarksdale
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 7 B&Bs / Inns in Clarksdale
Number of rooms: 6

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