Mark your holiday calendars and get ready to experience the best festival of lights in SoCal. The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa – California’s historic AAA-Four Diamond hotel – will kick off the holiday season on November 27, 2015 with Festival of Lights – a free, five-week-long holiday extravaganza featuring one of the nation’s largest holiday light collections of its kind. Celebrating its 23rd year Anniversary, the Festival of Lights is an annual gift to the community from property owners Duane and Kelly Roberts, who saved the historic hotel from destruction in 1992.
“Holidays are the most magical time of year at The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa,” said Duane and Kelly Roberts, Keepers of the Inn. “We love gifting our guests and the community with the joy of Festival of Lights each year, and it warms our hearts to see smiles across every face in the crowd as they gaze in awe at the twinkling lights.”
The beloved Southern California tradition – recently named “Best Public Lights Display in the Nation” by USA Today – creates a magical, Disneyland-like experience in the heart of Riverside and attracts more than 250,000 visitors from all over the world each year, commencing with the famous “Switch-On” Ceremony, a spectacular event in which the castle-like hotel is instantly illuminated with nearly 4 million holiday lights followed by a full fireworks display. I personally witnessed this experience for the first time last year and it was beautiful. Definitely an experience worth sharing with loved ones.
Best Ways to Experience the Holiday Celebration
1. Enjoy the Free Experience
Highlights of Festival of Lights include more than 400 animated figures including angels, elves and Dickens carolers; appearances by Santa Claus; the world’s largest manmade mistletoe measuring 12′ x 8′; horse-drawn carriage rides; elf tuck-ins; freshly fallen snow; elaborately decorated Christmas trees in the lobby and throughout the hotel; and delectable holiday confections at the famous Casey’s Cupcakes, among other festive offerings. In addition, there is an outdoor ice-skating rink on the Main Street pedestrian mall complete with holiday vendors and family-friendly entertainment.
2. Eat, Drink, Be Merry!
Additionally, this year, The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa will be offering a range of culinary delights in honor of Festival of Lights. From a “12 Days of Holiday Cocktails” menu at 54° at Duane’s featuring a different festive drink each day, to Glamorous Gingerbread cupcakes at Casey’s Cupcakes, there will be tasty treats that adults and little ones alike can enjoy. Now they’re speaking our language!
3. Make it a Weekend Staycation or Holiday Getaway
Those wishing to stay at the historic hotel during Festival of Lights can select from a variety of special room packages. Whether it’s a family tradition, romantic getaway or gathering with friends, The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa makes every stay during Festival of Lights unforgettable. Packages include:
- ‘Tis the Suite Season – Enjoy the ultimate holiday experience in one of Southern California’s most spectacularly decorated properties and one of the Best Historic Hotels, as voted by USA Today. The two- night stay includes deluxe accommodations; couple’s massage at Kelly’s Spa (advance reservations required); Kelly’s Spa holiday candle; bottle of Roberts Reserve Pinot Noir; and complimentary valet parking. Starting at $839; available Friday & Saturday or Saturday & Sunday
- Miracle on Main Street – With so much to see on Mission Inn Avenue and the Main Street pedestrian walkway, it’s easy to see why families make this a traditional stop each year. The two-night stay includes deluxe accommodations; bottle of Roberts Reserve Pinot Noir; dinner for two at Duane’s Prime Steaks & Seafood (advance reservations required); Casey’s Cupcakes for two; and complimentary valet parking. Starting at $799; available Friday & Saturday or Saturday & Sunday
- Casey’s Comfort & Joy – Indulge in The Inn’s culinary delights during Festival of Lights and toast to a year well spent with a bottle of a special Roberts Reserve Pinot Noir. The two-night stay includes deluxe accommodations; bottle of Roberts Reserve Pinot Noir; $100 dining credit; Casey’s Cupcakes for two; and complimentary valet parking. Starting at $749; available Friday & Saturday or Saturday & Sunday
- Festival Lights & Delights – Enjoy an unforgettable stay where guests can find themselves amid millions of lights, characters and surprises around every corner. This one-night stay includes deluxe accommodations; $50 Kelly’s Spa credit; bottle of Roberts Reserve Pinot Noir; and complimentary valet parking. Starting at $359; available Sunday through Thursday.
- The Winter Wonderland – Marvel in a bevy of sights, sounds and scents of the season. With so many wonderful things to enjoy during stay, the Winter Wonderland excursion is sure to be a fun adventure on the holiday agenda. This one-night stay includes deluxe accommodations; $50 dining credit; Casey’s Cupcakes for two; and complimentary valet parking. Starting at $339; available Sunday through Thursday
- The Holiday History package – Explore The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa’s rich presidential history and find out why The Inn is a must-see for all during Festival of Lights. This one-night stay includes deluxe accommodations; a docent-led tour via The Mission Inn Foundation (10:15 a.m. or 4:45 p.m.); breakfast for two in The Mission Inn Restaurant; and complimentary valet parking. Starting at $319; available Sunday through Thursday
Also available to hotel guests, as well as those making a day trip to Festival of Lights, is a specially curated menu of decadent spa treatments at Condé Nast Traveler award-winning Kelly’s Spa. Guests can marvel in the joy and wonder of Festival of Lights while treating themselves to an indulgent spa experience. For more information, please visit http://www.missioninn.com/
I will be there to experience the festivities myself and I hope to see you there! Happy Holidays!