We were fortunate to stay here just before the Festival of Lights and got to see the magic of the holidays during our stay. We were told they begin decorating the hotel in August to make sure the stage is set for the event! We checked in while the tree was going up in the lobby - it was decorated for over 6 hours! Then, there was a delicious gingerbread display that my kids desperately wanted to taste! Luckily, we were able to satisfy our holiday cravings at the award wining Casey's Cupcakes!
We stayed in a Junior Suite overlooking the main entry of the hotel, this was a beautiful view of the holiday lights! The lights were being tested throughout the day and off at night but the night before Thanksgiving we were awoken by the beautiful lights at 5 am! We all dressed in our warmest and dashed outside for some early morning photos...we didn't look so great but the lights were amazing! Just as we headed back up for breakfast the lights went out - we felt so lucky to have seen them!
We enjoyed our room - there was ample space for dining and relaxing. The hotel is Historic so their are some restrictions on updates and remodels but everything in the room was very comfortable and modern. We were able to walk right out of our first floor room down to the heated pool! The pool was mainly 3 ft deep which meant I could peacefully sit with my coffee while my kids splashed all around!
I highly recommend the Museum Tour while at the hotel, we were able to see some amazing sites all over the property and learn so much about the owners of the hotel both past and present! The history was great for myself and my kiddos! It was incredible to think we were saying at the same hotel as several US Presidents, Albert Einstein, and countless celebrities.
We had a beautiful tea at the Mission Inn Restaurant - my girls were happy to put on their finest and enjoy a lovely tea. The Princess Tea was a great value at $14 - my youngest isn't a tea drinker so the waitress was kind enough to let her pour lemonade from her tea pot. The Devon-shire Cream was amazing and I highly recommend the macaroons! We all loved the Herbal Jasmine Tea!
We had such a nice stay, one afternoon we had time to explore the nearby shops. Not all of them were kid friendly (a little boring) but the walkway between the shops and the hotel were great, we could explore stores then run a round before going to the next one. We also had a great time exploring the free natural history museum across the street from the hotel. Kids will love the hands on activities! Other than what is near the hotel there wasn't much more to see - this makes the area great for a one or two night stay - or home base if you plan to go up to Lake Arrowhead or into Palm Springs.
We highly recommend staying at this hotel for the holidays! If its sold out be sure the check out the lights display and book a holiday tea!
Disclaimer: I was provided a media visit in order to complete the review - however, all opinions are my own.
The Mission Inn and the area surrounding it are gorgeous. It's really fun to be able to walk the grounds, see the fountains, and explore.
But, there's not much for young kids to be excited about here, except during the holidays.
Walk around downtown, grab a cupcake at Casey's Cupcakes (famous for being on Cupcake Wars), or take a walk to the park as part of a fun morning.
The Mission Inn is a lovely lovely place to poke around. Even though it is a hotel/restaurant, there are many things to do such as tours and gift shops. It is one of the oldest hotels in the area, so be sure to get a tour with your kids, so they can get a feel for the Riverside area's history. Casey's Cupcakes, a pretty, pink cupcake shop is the ideal place to treat your daughter to something sweet on her birthday, or just any day! It is at the bottom of the hotel and owned by the hotel. There is also a day spa, purely luxurious.
The best time of the year to go to Mission Inn is around Christmas time. They have what they call the festival of lights. The kids absolutely love this. Everything is deckd out with Christmas decor and they have tons of Christmas lights. It is always super busy though so keep a close eye on your kids.
kids had fun with all the lights... the boys are 3 & 8 yrs old... it was just a short walk around the hotel and the lobby... hot chocolate, kettle corn, live band and an ice skating rink was outside... a great family bonding experience for us... especially during the holidays...
This hotel is built with Mission style architecture and has lots of interesting treasures. My son at age 5 was fascinated by a clock tower. If I remember correctly it played music and had figures that moved around. The grounds and lobby are absolutely beautiful.
The accomodations were nothing special, just a regular not very large room. We visited about four years ago so there may have been some upgrades since then.
Older kids may appreciate the inns rich history. It has been visited by several presidents and other dignitaries. No substitute for an actual visit to a California mission, but a nice diversion from your average hotel.