“Ghostly Legends: Haunted Mission Inn Hotel & Spa in Riverside”

By Bob •  Updated: 12/31/23 •  5 min read

Ghostly Legends: Haunted Mission Inn Hotel & Spa in Riverside


The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa in Riverside, California, is known for its stunning architecture, luxurious accommodations, and rich history. However, there is another aspect of the hotel that attracts visitors from around the world – its haunted reputation. Many guests and staff members have reported paranormal activity throughout the years. In this blog post, we will delve into the haunted legends and ghostly tales surrounding the Mission Inn Hotel & Spa.

History of the Mission Inn Hotel & Spa

The origins of the Mission Inn can be traced back to 1876 when Frank Miller purchased a small boarding house called “Glenwood Cottage.” Over time, Miller expanded and transformed it into a grand hotel that would become a symbol of Riverside’s growth.

Throughout its history, the Mission Inn has hosted numerous notable figures and witnessed significant events. Presidents such as William Howard Taft and Richard Nixon have stayed at the hotel. Famous individuals like Amelia Earhart and Albert Einstein have also graced its halls. The rich history of this iconic establishment sets the stage for its reputation as a haunted location.

Haunted Legends and Ghostly Tales

The Mission Inn has gained notoriety for being one of Riverside’s most haunted places due to numerous reports of paranormal activity. Guests have reported strange noises, unexplained footsteps, and doors opening or closing on their own. Some claim to have seen apparitions or felt an eerie presence while staying at the hotel.

One chilling tale involves a spirit named “Dorothy,” who is said to haunt room 217. Legend has it that Dorothy was staying in this room when she took her own life after learning about her husband’s infidelity. Guests who have stayed in room 217 often report encountering strange occurrences such as items moving on their own or feeling an unseen presence in the room.

The Ghosts that Linger: Key Spirits at the Mission Inn Hotel & Spa

Several spirits are said to roam the halls of the Mission Inn Hotel & Spa. One of the most well-known is a former staff member named “Cecilia.” Cecilia was a maid who tragically died while working at the hotel in the early 1900s. Guests and staff members have reported seeing her apparition, often described as a young woman dressed in Victorian-era clothing, wandering through the hallways.

Another prominent ghost at the Mission Inn is “Captain James.” Captain James was a World War I veteran who spent his final years at the hotel. His spirit is known to interact with guests, occasionally appearing as an elderly man wearing a captain’s uniform. Some visitors have even claimed to have conversations with him before realizing he is actually a ghost.

Celebrity Encounters with the Supernatural at the Mission Inn Hotel & Spa

The haunted atmosphere of the Mission Inn has attracted numerous celebrities over the years. Marilyn Monroe, Bette Davis, and Frank Sinatra are just a few examples of famous individuals who have stayed or visited this haunted hotel. Many of these celebrities have shared their own personal experiences with ghosts during their time at the inn.

For instance, Bette Davis once recounted an encounter with what she believed to be Dorothy’s spirit in room 217. Davis claimed that she woke up in the middle of the night and saw an apparition standing by her bed before disappearing into thin air. These celebrity encounters further cemented the reputation of this historic location as being truly haunted.

The Haunted Spaces within The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa

Numerous areas within The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa are known for their paranormal activity. Room 215 is another infamous room where guests frequently report strange happenings such as objects moving or being misplaced without explanation. This room has been featured on various paranormal television shows due to its high level of reported activity.

There are also reports of ghostly activity in hallways and common areas of the hotel. Many guests have reported hearing disembodied voices, footsteps, and even seeing apparitions while walking through the hallways. The Fox Theater, located within the inn, is said to be haunted by a former actress who still lingers in the space.

Getting Your Chill On: Ghost Tours and Events at the Mission Inn Hotel & Spa

If you’re feeling daring, the Mission Inn Hotel & Spa offers ghost tours for those who want to explore its haunted past. These tours take visitors through various locations within the inn that are reputed to be haunted while providing historical context and sharing chilling ghost stories.

Additionally, during Halloween season or other special events, the hotel may organize paranormal investigations or themed activities for guests to enjoy. These events provide an opportunity for attendees to further immerse themselves in the haunted ambiance of this iconic establishment.


The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa in Riverside is not just a luxurious getaway; it is also a playground for paranormal enthusiasts. With its rich history and numerous reported ghostly encounters, it has earned its reputation as one of Riverside’s most haunted locations. Whether you believe in ghosts or not, a visit to this iconic hotel is sure to provide an unforgettable experience. So next time you find yourself in Riverside, why not venture into its eerie past and spend a night at The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa?