A rare historical treasure that mixes architectural styles.
This whimsical, mysterious and slightly bizarre National Historic Landmark may well be one of the most intriguing destinations in Southern California. A range of celebrities have visited the inn, including Theodore Roosevelt, Albert Einstein, Helen Keller, Amelia Earhart, Steve McQueen and Elizabeth Taylor, to name just a few. In addition, this rare jewel continues to be a popular spot for weddings. Famous couples who tied the knot here over the years include Humphrey Bogart (first marriage), Bette Davis (twice) and Richard and Pat Nixon. The inn's life began in 1902 and construction took 30 years to complete, incorporating design elements from throughout the southwestern United States and several Mediterranean countries with those from the California missions. The sometimes oddball blending of architectural styles includes flying buttresses, domes, a bell tower, clock towers, interior courtyards and patios, a five-story open-air rotunda, a circular wrought-iron staircase and oddly placed small doors from old ships. After a series of financial disasters, the decaying structure was rescued from the wrecking ball in the late 1980s and restored to the tune of $55 million. While the rooms and suites are fairly plain for the most part, they are spacious and comfortable --- the most impressive are the Moorish-style accommodations along Author's Row. Another $15 million in upgrades has added flat-panel TVs and Internet access. Also expanded is the popular Kelly’s Spa, with two additional massage rooms, two rooms for therapeutic baths and a spacious women’s only relaxation room that includes a cozy fireplace.