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When the Riverside, California historic Mission Inn was on the brink of demolition, Kelly’s husband, Duane Roberts rescued it from the wrecking ball. Generally considered the largest Mission Revival style building in the United States, the property was first opened in 1903 and was crafted with elements of California’s 21 missions. From the day the Roberts’ took ownership in December 1992, Kelly made it her ambition to restore the Inn to its original splendor. Her efforts included seeking décor to reflect the uniquely vibrant and colorful history of the property, launching the Tuscan-inspired Kelly’s Spa and developing a new botanical line of products called Kelly’s Fountain of Youth Collections. The Mission Inn and Spa has been featured on My Fox LA’s Hot List and Good Morning America, and in Destination Weddings Magazine, USA Today, American Spa Magazine, Los Angeles Times and The Wall Street Journal. Kelly’s Spa was just voted the number one day spa in California on Good Day LA’s Hot List.
As the co-owner, Kelly immediately realized it needed a luxury spa in order to become a destination resort. Kelly, a mother of two with a doctorate of law, financed her vision with their personal funds, determined to bring the best spa treatments to The Mission Inn clientele. Debuting in 2004 and drawing on the rich, colorful history the hotel possesses, Kelly’s Spa reflects the décor Kelly herself brought back from Europe.
Kelly’s 7,000-square-foot spa features 12 treatment rooms, including two private villas that can be used for couples, brides-to-be and groups of friends, as well as two rooms specifically for therapeutic baths, a nail salon, a communal relaxation room and a women’s only relaxation room. Kelly was insistent that the spa matched the hotel’s historic architecture – the beauty of medieval castles and ornate cathedrals.
Recently, the hospitality industry dropped to its lowest levels in all categories. In order to stay ahead, Kelly has taken additional steps to provide her guests with the ultimate spa experience. She believes that personalized, attentive, world-class service is what her spa goers expect, and is exactly what her personally-selected team provides.
Kelly, who admits she loves to create and be busy, feels that it was natural for her to become an entrepreneur. Along with launching Kelly’s Spa, she recently introduced a new line of luxury botanical skincare products called Kelly’s Fountain of Youth Collection. Kelly also offers a line of beautifully scented aromatherapy candles and organic tea blends. This month, Kelly and her daughter Casey are opening a new café at The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa, Casey’s Cupcakes & Cappuccinos. Inspired by her great-grandmother’s homemade cupcakes, Casey wanted to bring the whimsical flavors of her childhood to the guests of The Mission Inn and Riverside locals alike.
Raised to be a business woman by her father, Kelly, in turn, has encouraged her two children to live their dreams. In addition to her successful spa and line of skin care, Kelly is also the author of The Baseball Boy, a children’s book based on the true life story of her son’s ambitious road to becoming a professional baseball player, as well as a prominent figure in the world of philanthropy.
For Kelly, the community where she lives is extremely important to her. She has recently joined the Board of Directors for the Mission Inn Foundation, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to preserving the public trust in the Mission Inn. In January 2006, she was invited to join Pepperdine as a University Board member. Kelly is also a member of the Board for the Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital Foundation.
What we learned from Kelly: “In today’s economy it’s not always viewed as politically correct to spend money, so it’s important to be creative to drive business and fill our rooms. To entice people to visit our hotel, we’ve offered different room packages and rates, free valet parking and complimentary breakfasts – anything to set ourselves apart from the competition. ”
Don’t Give Up
“Never give up, no matter what the setback might be. There will always be something challenging to overcome.”
A Family Affair
“We treat our employees like family. We respect and appreciate all 525 people who work at the inn and spa. When you show employees adulation, great things happen. They are passionate about where they work and want to help out and make the business successful.”
“I personally stay on top of performance by providing the estheticians and massage therapists with consistent training and education. It is important to me that guests of my spa and our rooms and restaurants experience the highest quality of service, products and ambiance.”