Business & Finance

Historic Hotels of America Honors Duane and Kelly Roberts with 2017 Historic Hotels of America Lifetime Achievement Award

WASHINGTON, DC. September 13, 2017 - Historic Hotels of America, the official program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation for recognizing and celebrating the finest historic hotels, is presenting the 2017 Historic Hotels of America Lifetime Achievement Award to Duane and Kelly Roberts, owners of the Mission Inn Hotel & Spa (1876) in Riverside, California. This prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented at the 2017 Historic Hotels Annual Awards of Excellence Ceremony & Gala on September 28, 2017, at The Omni Homestead Resort (1766) in Hot Springs, Virginia. This award is presented to individuals who are dedicated to the preservation and stewardship of legendary historic hotels over many years.

Since 1992, Duane and Kelly Roberts have contributed significantly to the preservation, restoration, recognition and celebration of The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa in Riverside, California. Their dedication of time and resources continues to enhance this historic hotel which was previously designated a National Historic Landmark by the U.S. Secretary of the Interior. Since their purchase of this legendary historic hotel in 1992, they have re-invested all operational profits back into the hotel to continue its legacy. Twenty-five years ago, the Roberts created and funded the acclaimed Festival of Lights annual holiday event where visitors can enjoy more than five million dazzling holiday lights and animated characters. This event shares the beauty and history of the Mission Inn Hotel & Spa. Building on the success of the Festival of Lights, the Roberts created a new festival, Festa dell’ Amore, to celebrate romance for the entire month of February in Riverside.

The Roberts are active leaders and role models in Southern California. Each year, they have generously donated money and their time to various charities and organizations. A partial list includes Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital Foundation, Fox Riverside Theater Foundation, Fox Performing Arts Center, Mission Inn Foundation, and the Mary S. Roberts Foundation that supports many charitable causes ranging from helping children with special needs, the homeless and hungry, and animal assistance.

“We are delighted to honor Duane and Kelly Roberts with the 2017 Historic Hotels of America Lifetime Achievement Award. Future generations will continue to benefit from their leadership and philanthropy in preserving, strengthening, revitalizing, and honoring the unique cultural and heritage treasures of Riverside, California,” said Lawrence Horwitz, Executive Director, Historic Hotels of America and Historic Hotels Worldwide. “They saved a National Historic Landmark from demolition and continue to inspire others with their creativity, enthusiasm, and generosity.”

“We are incredibly honored to receive this award and we thank Lawrence Horwitz and Historic Hotels of America for bestowing this huge honor upon us,” said Duane and Kelly Roberts. They continued, “We are proud to be members of this prestigious community and it is great to be recognized amongst the greatest hotels in the United States. We are so proud of the accomplishments we have achieved since saving The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa and it has been an amazing honor to be the Keepers of the Inn at this iconic luxury hotel.”

“Duane & Kelly Roberts are truly deserving of the Historic Hotels of America Lifetime Achievement Award for the 2017 Awards of Excellence. Their passion and dedication to conserving and revitalizing The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa along with the local community is an achievement that merits recognition,” states Riverside Mayor, William “Rusty” Bailey.

About Historic Hotels of America®

Historic Hotels of America is the official program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation for recognizing and celebrating the finest Historic Hotels. Historic Hotels of America has more than 300 historic hotels. These historic hotels have all faithfully maintained their authenticity, sense of place, and architectural integrity in the United States of America, including 46 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico. Historic Hotels of America is comprised of mostly independently owned and operated historic hotels. More than 30 of the world’s finest hospitality brands, chains, and collections are represented in Historic Hotels of America. To be nominated and selected for membership into this prestigious program, a hotel must be at least 50 years old; has been designated by the U.S. Secretary of the Interior as a National Historic Landmark or listed in or eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places; and recognized as having historic significance. For more information, please visit HistoricHotels.org.

About The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa

Dating back to 1876, the AAA Four Diamond, Historic Mission Inn Hotel & Spa incorporates design elements from throughout the southwestern United States, Mexico and several Mediterranean countries. The hotel features 238 guest rooms, including 27 suites, and four restaurants. The hotel is situated on an entire city block of the quaint Mission Inn District of Riverside, California, Will Rogers, the well-known comedian, cowboy, and philosopher was a frequent visitor to The Mission Inn in the 1920’s and 1930’s. During his stay at The Mission Inn in 1933 while filming a movie, he remarked: “It is the most unique hotel in America. It’s a monastery, a museum, a fine hotel, a home, a boardinghouse, a mission, an art gallery and an aviator’s shrine. It combines the best features of all of the above. If you are ever in any part of California, don’t miss the famous Mission Inn of Riverside.” Since taking ownership, Mr. and Mrs. Roberts have worked to meticulously update the Mission Inn, preserving the historic look and façade of the hotel and the countless artifacts within its walls, including precious Tiffany® stained glass windows (acquired directly from Louis Comfort Tiffany) in the St. Francis of Assisi Chapel, and the exquisite 100 year-old Kimball Organ in the Grand Parisian Ballroom. Often heralded as one of the most famous representations of Mission Revival architecture in the world, the hotel has built a longstanding reputation among U.S. Presidents, dignitaries and Old Hollywood stars, counting among its famous visitors Barbra Streisand, Bette Davis, Clark Gable, Ronald and Nancy Reagan, Richard Nixon, and Cary Grant, among many others. Previously, The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa was named the Best Historic Hotel (200 – 400 guestrooms category) in the 2016 Historic Hotels Awards of Excellence. In 2016, it was named Best Historic Hotel in the USA Today 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards.

Heather Taylor
+1 202 772 8333

Coming Up In The December Online Hotel Business Review

Feature Focus
Hotel Law: Issues & Events
There is not a single area of a hotel’s operation that isn’t touched by some aspect of the law. Hotels and management companies employ an army of lawyers to advise and, if necessary, litigate issues which arise in the course of conducting their business. These lawyers typically specialize in specific areas of the law – real estate, construction, development, leasing, liability, franchising, food & beverage, human resources, environmental, insurance, taxes and more. In addition, issues and events can occur within the industry that have a major impact on the whole, and can spur further legal activity. One event which is certain to cause repercussions is Marriott International’s acquisition of Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide. This newly combined company is now the largest hotel company in the world, encompassing 30 hotel brands, 5,500 hotels under management, and 1.1 million hotel rooms worldwide. In the hospitality industry, scale is particularly important – the most profitable companies are those with the most rooms in the most locations. As a result, this mega- transaction is likely to provoke an increase in Mergers & Acquisitions industry-wide. Many experts believe other larger hotel companies will now join forces with smaller operators to avoid being outpaced in the market. Companies that had not previously considered consolidation are now more likely to do so. Another legal issue facing the industry is the regulation of alternative lodging companies such as Airbnb and other firms that offer private, short-term rentals. Cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles and Santa Monica are at the forefront of efforts to legalize and control short-term rentals. However, those cities are finding it’s much easier to adopt regulations on short-term rentals than it is to actually enforce them. The December issue of Hotel Business Review will examine these and other critical issues pertaining to hotel law and how some companies are adapting to them.