California Hotel Is Big On Tradition……In More Ways Than One


In 1909, when President William Howard Taft visited the Mission Inn in Riverside, California, founder Frank Miller led him to an over-sized chair, specially constructed for Taft’s 350-pound frame. The president was not amused. “Did you have to make the chair so large?” Taft is said to have asked. At first, he refused to sit in it, but later relented with the stipulation that no photos were to be taken. Miller meant no offense, he just liked to do things in a big way. The 239-room inn, which has been described as a cross between a European villa and a California mission, is a block long and full of artifacts from around the world. In 1992, just before the lights seemed to be dimming on the Mission Inn and the City of Riverside was talking about tearing it down, it was purchased by Duane Roberts. He made it his “mission” to bring back the glory and tradition of the old hotel. Today, rooms range from $190 to $1,400 a night and President Taft’s giant chair still graces the lobby.