Why This Historic Inn in San Juan Capistrano was the Relaxing Escape I Needed

Allison Mitchell | December 23, 2020 | Lifestyle

California history and modern touches meet at the Inn at the Mission San Juan Capistrano.


The history of San Juan Capistrano is an illustrious one with Mission San Juan Capistrano serving as its crown jewel. Founded by Junipero Serra Nov. 1, 1776, as the seventh of the 21 missions established in California by the Spanish, the hallowed grounds of Mission SJC have served as a rich tapestry of cultural and religious relevance for the past 240-plus years. Hundreds of schoolchildren visit each year to learn about its significance; couples say “I do” at its stunning basilica and chapel; and philanthropists gather annually among the ruins of the Great Stone Church for the beloved Romance of the Mission Benefit Gala to ensure its legacy and preservation for years to come.

Now, its future has been built upon further with the debut of the Inn at the Mission San Juan Capistrano. With 125 hacienda-style rooms—including seven luxury suites and three residential-style villas—the Autograph Collection boutique hotel is a welcome luxury addition to the region. “We are so proud to open the doors to Inn at the Mission San Juan Capistrano, Autograph Collection, and welcome our visitors and local community,” says general manager Pam Ryan. “There is something magical about our hotel and the significance to the Mission; it will intimately connect guests to the history and culture of their surroundings in San Juan Capistrano, while offering ‘Exactly Like Nothing Else’ experiences.”

Those experiences begin as guests step inside the Spanish-style resort, where the iconic Cliff Swallows are seen behind the concierge desk—a nod to the famous flock of birds that descend upon SJC each year. Designed by Los Angeles-based Kay Lang + Associates, the property features more than 40,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor event space—including 18 unique event rooms, the East Lawn and an exquisite patio that overlooks the Great Stone Church. The 2,500-square-foot Spa at The Mission will debut in January 2021 with four dedicated treatment rooms for massages, facials and body treatments, and two on-site dining experiences, led by executive chef Aaron Obregon, ensure locals can get a taste of the resort, even if just for the night.



Paying homage to the Mission’s matriarch Ysidora Forster, Ysidora Restaurant and Lounge marries California and Spanish flavors in a menu that highlights wood-fired meats and fish, hot and cold tapas, and locally sourced produce. A gorgeous bar glitters with Spanish wines and premium spirits featured in craft cocktails like the San Juan G&T and the La Ysidora (which arrives with a side of chicharrónes). Meanwhile, coffee lovers will adore El Café Real. A partnership with La Colombe coffee, the charming eatery offers a signature draft latte program, to-go snacks, gelato, and both alcoholic (think canned wine and spritzers) and nonalcoholic beverages. It’s an ideal stop before heading to the adjacent Mission.

Perhaps the most magical part of the 4-acre property is the olive grove, where twinkling lanterns, olive trees and fire pits enchant. The Inn is even producing its own olive oil—Reverence Private Label EVOO—which is available exclusively on-site. An olive oil-based body scrub is utilized during body treatments at the spa, and guests can taste the Inn’s private-label version during olive oil tastings at Ysidora. Yes, from start to finish, a stay at the Inn is certainly something to savor. Suites from $629 per night, villas from $1,099 per night

Photography by: Photos courtesy of Inn at the Mission San Juan Capistrano