Mission Inn Hotel: Escape to Spain without leaving California

Southern California is home to a number of beautiful and unique experiences. It’s easy to see why people flock to this destination no matter what time of year it is. And one of the best hidden gems of Southern California is in Riverside County. The Mission Inn Hotel offers an incredibly unique hotel and spa experience for its guests. The hotel itself resembles a mission that was taken directly out of the hills of Spain. You’ve seen the hype over social media, now it’s time to answer the question: Is it really all it’s cracked up to be?

Mission Inn Hotel front entrance with bells

More about this Spanish-style hotel in California

You may be thinking to yourself “what’s there to do in Riverside?” Honestly – nothing. It’s one of those places that has a few noteworthy things and that’s about it. But the Mission Inn Hotel calls Riverside home. Part of the Historic Hotels of America, this hotel and spa transports you directly to Spain without leaving California. And sure, you could think to yourself “ok but every hotel claims to transport you somewhere.” And you’re right – it’s an overused sales tactic. But not when it’s completely warranted like in the case of this hotel.

The Mission Inn Hotel is a hidden gem that offers an enchanting escape from the ordinary. Its awe-inspiring architecture, blending Spanish, Mediterranean, Moorish, and Mission Revival styles, creates a unique ambiance that feels like a journey around the world. Lush gardens and courtyards add to the magical atmosphere, making guests feel like they’ve stepped into a secret oasis. With a rich history that has hosted presidents and celebrities, the Mission Inn Hotel is not just a luxurious accommodation but also a captivating landmark worth exploring.

Top view of the Mission Inn Hotel looking in to courtyard

Rooms and amenities at the Mission Inn Hotel

One of the most incredible things about this hotel is that every single room is different from the next. This allows each stay you make here unique from the last. Getting to your room will be quite the journey. Because this hotel is spacious, getting to your room will only spark your interest in wandering throughout the rest of the resort.

The most iconic, Instagram-worthy photo opportunities is the one that overlooks the top floor of the hotel down in to the courtyard that has their main restaurant. The Mission Inn Hotel’s main restaurant is quite picturesque as it looks towards the beautiful architecture and sky. However because it is on property, it is pretty pricey. There are other lounges on property as well to grab a bite and some drinks if this restaurant is too much.

The Mission Inn Hotel is also home to a top notch spa. Because what does every vacation need? Some epic relaxation. You can also catch some rays out by the pool. But the pool isn’t much to write home about. It’s just a normal pool. There are some lounge chairs but because it is a smaller area, there aren’t many.

Mission Inn Hotel main courtyard restaurant

Our (less than) magical experience at Mission Inn

Room #1 – no AC and cold shower

My husband and I stayed at the Mission Inn Hotel as our after-wedding destination. We booked the Mission King room for two nights in late June. Since we arrived around 11pm, the only thing we did was go directly to the room to turn in. Our room was absolutely iconic. I loved the layout, the furniture, and the bathroom. However, the AC didn’t work, the shower was clogged and never went to hot, and there was a bar on the walkway below us that was blasting music and setting off sirens until 2am. To be clear, the bar was not associated with the hotel. However, for a couple that was tired and sweaty from the day’s festivities, this was not ideal. Especially when the days get to about 105 degrees and the nights aren’t much cooler.

We called someone to fix it, they tried and failed so we took a cold shower and went to sleep in a hot room. The next morning, the hotel staff tried again to fix the problems but ultimately were not successful. We asked to change rooms since these things weren’t fixed and they agreed to move us into another room after 3pm when the rooms would be cleaned.

Room #2 – felt like a downgrade

When we got into our second room at the Mission Inn Hotel, it was completely different from our first room. I knew going in to the hotel that every single room is different from one another. And honestly, I LOVE that! That really makes me want to come back for another trip to see what other rooms look like as well. We were told it was the same room type as the one we had booked, but it didn’t feel like it. The ceilings were much shorter. The bathroom was much smaller. And overall, it just seemed a little more outdated than the first. Still a nice room, but I just preferred the first one more.

However, a redeeming quality of this room was that it was not right above that noisy bar. And it also had a lovely outdoor sitting area steps away from our room door. So my husband and I had a great time eating some macarons and enjoying the night outside.

Champagne brought to hotel room bed

Charged for a bottle we didn’t ask for

My husband had also requested/purchased a bottle of champagne be sent to our room for us to celebrate. When it arrived, there was champagne AND a really nice bottle of white wine. Thinking that this bottle of wine was complimentary because we were newlyweds and because of the room fiascos, we drank it. However when we checked out, we noticed that this bottle of wine was also charged to our room. My husband, very kindly, tried to remedy it at the front desk saying that we only ordered the champagne. The front desk apologized, but said that unfortunately they could not do anything for us since we drank it.

It may have been presumptuous of us to assume this bottle was for free. So we will take responsibility for that. We should have asked why this bottle was sent. And we didn’t try fighting it past them apologizing for the mistake. Call it the after-wedding high, but yea we weren’t looking to be a couple of Karens! The only thing I will say is that I do find it a little misleading for them to just be sending bottles of wine that people didn’t ask for. But at the end of the day, no one died and the wine was pretty good.

Mission Inn Hotel at night with the twinkling lights

Honest review of the Mission Inn Hotel

Truthfully despite the downers of our stay, we both still really enjoyed staying at this resort. The staff was friendly. The hotel itself is ginormous and easy to wander around. And I personally loved the parrots that they had on property as a part of their history. I fully expect us to make our way back to the Mission inn Hotel again at some point. Hopefully next time, we won’t have as many hiccups!

Even if you can’t stay the night, you can check out Mission Inn Hotel’s Festival of Lights! It is one of their most popular times of the year. And arguably the most beautiful time to see the hotel.