Inside the Newest Hotel in One of California’s Oldest Cities

Inn at the Mission San Juan Capistrano exterior entrance

Set in the heart of historic downtown San Juan Capistrano, steps from the ruins of the Mission that was founded in 1776, the Inn at the Mission San Juan Capistrano, an Autograph Collection Hotel, opened Sept. 1. Known for the Cliff Swallows that return each year in March, the city offers history and now a stunning property that honors its past with architecture reflecting Adobe, Monterey, and Spanish Revival styles.

Guests are reminded of the iconic Cliff Swallows through the artistic check-in area background and the signature logo that’s seen property-wide. Within four acres of lush landscaping, the hotel offers a resort-style pool and spa, an expansive outdoor patio, several dining options, and both indoor and outdoor event space. The Olive Grove, an intimate outdoor area surrounded by lantern-lit olive trees, includes a circular fire pit surrounded by cushioned chairs.

The high-ceilinged lobby opens to an inviting area with a tile-embellished fireplace, sconces, plush furnishings, and warmly lit chandeliers. Glass pendant lights in the shape of mission bells hover over the cocktail bar, where ivory leather seats with brass nailhead accents are set in rows. Unique beer taps are also attention-getters, with one set facing a bar window opening to the outdoor area.

Accommodations include 125 hacienda-inspired guest rooms, with seven luxury suites including three residential-style villas. Spanish tile, high ceilings, mission-inspired furnishings, decorative art, and rich fabrics create an old-world atmosphere amid modern conveniences. The spa, set to open in January 2021, will feature four treatment rooms and services that will use natural oils infused with onsite products such as lemon and basil.

A rendering of the king bedroom suite at Inn at San Juan Capistrano

Executive chef Aaron Obregon leads the culinary program, creating classic Spanish favorites with a modern touch. Signature dining spot Ysidora Restaurant and Lounge features wood-fired meats and vegetables along with craft cocktails. El Cafe Real offers La Colombe specialty coffees and grab-and-go meals. Guests can dine and sip cocktails al fresco with both Ysidora and El Cafe Real, enjoy the landscaped sitting areas, and take in views of the Great Stone Church.

Olive trees throughout the property provide not only shade and atmosphere, but also Reverence Private Label EVOO, produced in partnership with California-grown Nuvo Oil. An olive oil tasting experience at the restaurant and olive oil body scrub at the spa will use the fruits of the picturesque trees, and guests are invited to purchase a bottle to take home.

In accordance with Marriott’s Commitment to Clean, The Inn operates with enhanced health and safety standards. Rigorous protocols for guest room cleaning, disinfecting wipes in each room, sanitizing technology for guest keys and shared devices, as well as social distancing and mask reminders, are in place for guests’ safety.

The property is an ideal wedding and meeting venue with more than 40,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor event space, the manicured East lawn, and sunny patio overlooking the Great Stone Church. Romantic spots for weddings include the indoor Catalan and Los Olivos rooms as well as the outdoor Olive Grove and Landmark Courtyard.

“There’s something magical about our hotel and the significance of the Mission that will intimately connect guests to the history and culture of their surroundings in San Juan Capistrano,” general manager Pam Ryan told Travel + Leisure.

The charming city, with its Mission, art galleries, 1894 train depot, historic Los Rios District, and vintage buildings is a compelling destination to explore and an ideal setting for the new Inn at The Mission San Juan Capistrano.

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