Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Mission accomplished

I had always wanted to stay a night at the rambling Mission Inn in Riverside.

The Spanish Courtyard

I got my wish recently and spent a late night hour prowling and poking around this massive yet exuberant old pile of a hotel, which was built over the span of several decades and exhibits a variety of architectural styles and affectations, from Spanish Mission Revival to
Venetian Renaissance. It is reportedly haunted.

The Chapel

I didn't see any ghosts, but the place definitely exudes the spooky aura of a Republican stronghold: Richard and Pat Nixon were married on the premises and and Ronald and Nancy Reagan spent their honeymoon here. A special chair built for the visit of extra-hefty president William Howard Taft is on view in the lobby. The Presidential Suites, in a penthouse atop the chapel (above), are worth finding.

My room was the one on the left.

Don't miss the lovely open-air Rotunda, which is best viewed from topside.

The Rotunda



The east façade (not the main entrance)

There's enough here for at least a few more trips. A 75-minute tour is also available, which I won't fail to take next time.

The Italian trattoria on the northwest corner of the plaza.


18 comments:

  1. I really enjoyed your commentary and loved the photos on the Mission Hotel in Riverside but please spare us the political warfare comments. Good architecture and good design should transcend politics.

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    Replies
    1. The icing on the Mission Inn cake is their holiday lighting display each year. I saw it for the first time this past season, and it was breathtaking.

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