The Mission Inn: Time travel is possible at this elegant hotel

The Mission Inn in Riverside. (Photo courtesy of Mission Inn)

The Mission Inn in Riverside. (Photo courtesy of Mission Inn)

By Richard Irwin, Staff Writer

Time travel is possible. Travelers just have to use their imaginations to step into the past. Fortunately, they can combine Old World charm with modern amenities for a comfortable visit in Riverside.

It was on a record 104-degree day that we stepped through the San Gabriel Mission style bell tower at The Mission Inn in Riverside to find a vibrant part of California history. As we strolled down the lush garden path past ancient Spanish cannons, we stopped in front of a huge birdcage.

Normally, two brightly colored macaws greet guests, much as they have done for more than 100 years. But the heat had driven the birds indoors.

Stepping through the doors, we entered another era, a time when Spanish missions towered over the land, calling the faithful to worship.

Moving into the cool, dark lobby, we rolled our carry-on bags past elegant seating areas to a beautiful wooden registration desk. An antique phone on the desk drew us back into California’s colorful 1900s.

No soaring ceilings, glass walls and marble desks can be found here. The Mission Inn celebrates its unique past by maintaining its historic style. The mission of the Mission is to share its glorious history with travelers tired of the hustle and bustle of the modern world.

Soon, we were huddled in a tiny European style elevator for a rumbling ride to our room. Each of the 238 guest rooms and 27 suites are decorated differently. No cookie-cutter rooms here.

We then took the elevator to the rooftop of the historic hotel for a magnificent view of downtown Riverside. While there, we found a secluded, restful patio on top of the Rotunda wing.

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