FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS AT THE MISSION INN: Riverside Ca.
The Triking Vikings roll out to the Mission Inn for the Festival of Lights on a Champion Harley Ultra.
This Grand Dame hotel is a National Historic Landmark located just 60 miles from Los Angeles and Palm Springs. Its old-world charm is electrified during the “Festival of Lights” holiday season, and The Mission Inn is known as a beloved getaway for Hollywood stars and political power players. Both screen legend Bette Davis and Richard Nixon were married here, while Ronald and Nancy Reagan honeymooned at the hotel. Teddy Roosevelt planted a tree on its grounds. There is even a chair still on the property that was built for 300-pound president William Howard Taft, also a visitor to the inn. Of course, dozens of movie stars and other dignitaries also have spent time at the inn, and its unusual architecture has served as the backdrop for movies since 1913.
The Mission Inn’s “Festival of Lights” one of the nation’s most enchanting holiday celebrations attracting 250,000+ visitors, and it is a special gift to the city of Riverside, California from hotel owners Duane and Kelly Roberts who saved the Mission Revival-style hotel from destruction. They purchased and reopened it along with the “Festival of Lights” tradition in 1992 after a $55 million reinvention.
Just inside the ivy-covered adobe archway you pass through a courtyard of lush landscaping before getting a glimpse of the majestic lobby area. Spectacular chandeliers and giant wood beams complemented the elegant flower-patterned carpet accentuate its luxurious and historic history. The lobby’s grand piano is the only piano made by Steinway for the 1876 Centennial. But this is only the beginning; the Historic Mission Inn is like a fun house for those who marvel at historic and creative architecture. Around each and every corner is something unique or fascinating.
The Historic Mission Inn looks and feels real mission or monastery, with its 239 guest rooms, including 28 suites. But this palace-like inn was actually built by Riverside town father Frank Miller, who had taken the original Glenwood Tavern, built in 1874, and converted it to a small inn that opened in 1903. Over the years Miller continued to expand the inn using the popular Mission Revival architecture so prevalent in California He blended architectural styles and ornamental details from the Southwest U.S. as well as several Mediterranean countries and of course, the California missions.
Walking around the Historic Mission Inn District, you notice a mission symbol on flags and in various locations around the inn, that’s the rain cross symbol that was designed for the Mission Inn and given to the city by Frank Miller. The St. Francis of Assisi wedding Chapel inside the Inn is exquisite. Priceless treasures from around the world were acquired by Frank Miller. Tiffany stained glass panels directly from Louis Comfort Tiffany, magnificently accent the grand walls of the chapel. Gleaming with gold and meticulously gilded, the 18-karat-gold leafed Raya’s Altar dates back to the mid-eighteenth century and was originally commissioned in Guanajuato, Mexico.
There are several award-winning restaurants, with Duane’s boasting an especially long list of awards from restaurant writers and Wine Spectator Magazine. Duane’s Prime Steaks & Seafood Restaurant is Inland Southern California’s only AAA Four-Diamond rated restaurant. Mission Inn Restaurant, served indoors or beneath the stars on the beautiful outdoor Spanish Patio. Sip refreshing margaritas among the lush outdoor garden setting and authentic flavors at Las Campanas Mexican Cuisine & Cantina. Escape to the streets of Southern Italy with delicious cuisine and sidewalk dining at Bella Trattoria Italian Bistro. Or indulge in a luscious and lovely sweet treat from Casey’s Cupcakes, with everything from light and fluffy gourmet cupcakes and cookies, to refreshing frozen yogurt and blended coffees.
The inn features a year-round heated swimming pool and Jacuzzi area for relaxation but, for Mrs. Claus, Kelly’s Spa features a variety of scrubs, polishes, body wraps, therapeutic baths, massages and facials.
Nearby are the Riverside Municipal Museum, Riverside Art Museum, California Museum of Photography and the Riverside Ballet Theater. There is even a museum right in the Mission Inn. Riverside has over 100 City Landmarks, 20 National Register sites and two National Landmarks.
This is the time of year to roll in and enjoy the holiday spirits at the Mission Inn
20th Anniversary Festival of Lights highlights (November 23-January 5):
· “Flipping of the Switch” Lighting Ceremony – kicks off Festival of Lights on November 23, on the day after Thanksgiving, as the historic landmark hotel is instantly illuminated by more than 3.6 million lights and a spectacular fireworks display
· Giant 12’ x 8’ Illuminated Mistletoe: Working toward Guinness World Record – The hotel is also introducing a giant illuminated mistletoe that will hang from the Mission-style arch that welcomes guests at the hotel’s entry walkway – the mistletoe will be 12 feet long by 8 feet wide and is being designed by the hotel’s own engineering department. The hotel is working toward securing a Guinness World Record with this mistletoe.
· Only-at-Festival-of-Lights Offerings – Real Reindeer, Dickensian Carolers, Horse-Drawn Carriage Rides, “Fresh” Snow in the Desert
· Appearances by Santa Claus, real reindeer and Dickensian Carolers singing cheerful holiday tunes
· Hundreds of characters dressed in 17th century costumes to entertain crowds and evoke the spirit of the season
· Horse-drawn carriage rides
· An elaborate Christmas tree (it changes every two weeks during the holiday season)
· Freshly-fallen snow
· “Pop Up” outdoor ice-skating rink in the main street pedestrian mall near the hotel, plus holiday lights and decorations will adorn buildings in Riverside.
Hyatt Place Riverside: Only a block away from the Mission Inn the Hyatt Place Riverside/Downtown is a newly built 5 story hotel with 125 guest rooms. It’s the perfect alternative because the Mission Inn gets booked out months in advance for the festival of lights. They also have ample secure parking. The hotel is located walking distance to the Riverside Convention Center, the historical Mission Inn Hotel and Spa and adjacent from the historical Fox Performing Arts Center and Downtown Pedestrian Main Street Mall.
contemporary decor with stylish furnishings including, divided living and sleeping areas, one king plush Hyatt Grand Bed™, state-of-the-art media and work center with a 42" flat-panel high-definition television that easily integrates with laptops and other electronic devices, an oversized Cozy Corner sofa-sleeper, dry bar and bathroom vanity with granite countertops. Enjoy complimentary hotel-wide Wi-Fi and a.m. Kitchen Skillet™ breakfast featuring freshly prepared breakfast sandwiches, steel-cut oatmeal, fresh cut fruit and more, available daily in our Guest Kitchen. http://riversidedowntown.place.hyatt.com
SPECIAL THANKS TO WESTMINSTER HARLEY DAVIDSON