Clay and Concrete Roof Tile Crown the Inn at the Mission San Juan Capistrano

Inn at the Mission San Juan Capistrano is a four-star, 118-room hotel that is part of Marriott’s specially curated Autograph Collection. Photos: Segerra Photography, courtesy of AO Architects

In historic downtown San Juan Capistrano, California, the newly opened Inn at the Mission San Juan Capistrano bridges old Spanish architecture with modern convenience, style and sensibility. The four-star, 118-room hotel is part of Marriott’s specially curated Autograph Collection, a featured set of 200 independent, unconventional and extraordinary hotels located across the globe and whose heartfelt designs create truly authentic places. At the heart of Inn at the Mission’s identity and design is the history of San Juan Capistrano and its famed Spanish Mission which borders the hotel on the opposite side of the street.

“The Mission and the City of San Juan Capistrano are purposely infused into the design vision for this hotel,” says Scott Rutledge, senior project manager of AO, the architecture firm who designed the hotel. “Our team first visited the site in 2015 and was overtaken by the vista overlooking the Mission and incredible ruins of the Great Stone Church. We set about planning a hotel that would feel like a natural extension of the Mission experience, expressing the spirituality and reverence for the land. We wanted the design to feel timeless and infused with historical accuracy.”

AO Architects, based nearby in Orange, California, has designed numerous notable hotel properties throughout California as well as outside the state in places like Las Vegas. For Inn at the Mission, the design team developed an architecture best described as being expressed through the California Mission and Monterey styles. Inspired by San Juan Capistrano’s charming patchwork of architecture, the main hotel building features stucco detailing, adobe-inspired bricks, and clay roof tiles in the Mission vernacular, while the spa and ballroom building showcases wood detailing, a double-sloped roof, balconies and exterior overhangs, giving the sense that the buildings grew organically over time.

The main hotel building features stucco detailing, adobe-inspired bricks, and clay roof tiles inspired by the Spanish Mission which borders the hotel.

As is true of the actual San Juan Capistrano Mission, the roof of Inn at the Mission is central to the exterior aesthetic theme. “In selecting the roofing materials, we looked at multiple manufacturers,” says Rutledge. “We considered composite for the Monterey style roof over the spa and ballroom as well as mission style tile for the primary hotel and villas structure. Ultimately, we settled on lightweight concrete as well as premium clay tile roofing from Boral Roofing, whose diverse and durable product range features both of the materials and aesthetics we sought. Once everything was installed, it was even better looking than we expected.”

The AO Architects team completed numerous mockups of the roof, adjusting the percentages of tiles and color blends to ultimately help the owner achieve the desired look — that of a building that had been there a long while. For the primary hotel structure, Boral Roofing’s 2-Piece Mission Barrel clay tile in El Camino Blend was selected for its traditional Spanish theme. For the spa and retail structure, Boral Roofing’s concrete Madera 900 in Mountainwood, an authentic replication of hand-split cedar shake roofing, was chosen. In addition to the look of the tiles selected, they were also chosen for their longevity and ease of installation.

Boral Roofing’s 2-Piece Mission Barrel clay tile on the primary hotel structure is a premium roofing solution, whose simple and practical design dates back to the Bronze Age, adorning the roofs of palaces, temples and the early California missions. The clay tiles are Energy Star and Cool Roof rated, sustainable Cradle-to-Cradle certified and are 100 percent recyclable.

The concrete Madera 900 tile installed atop the spa and ballroom is a sustainable solution designed to hold up to the elements. The tile offers a Class A fire rating, is Cool Roof rated and is an incredibly durable option, offering low maintenance and lengthy lifespan.

Installation Challenges

The developer on the project was San Juan Capistrano-based Mission Commercial Properties. R.D. Olson Construction, Inc., the Irvine, California-based national general contracting and construction management company that led the project’s construction, hand-picked Coastal Roofing for the project. The Costa Mesa, California roofing contractor joined the project already quite familiar with the materials selected, having utilized Boral Roofing products on numerous custom home and re-roof projects over the years.

Photo: Boral Roofing

Coastal Roofing’s crew included four to eight installers at any given time and the roof installation occurred in phases off-and-on over the span of about one year. Primary challenges to the installation were the height and pitch of the roof as well as a stunning, 20-foot-tall turret.

“Roofing the round turret on the side was complicated for the team, but they battled through and the result was beautiful,” says Andy Whitham, president of Coastal Roofing. “Additionally, the aesthetics of getting boosting over the S tile proved challenging,” says Whitman. “But we got over the hump and once design issues were resolved installation was smooth sailing.”

Whitham also notes that his team ensured OSHA compliance despite the challenges of the roof pitch. Coastal Roofing also hid the attic ventilation for aesthetics and to help align with the look of the adjacent mission.

“This project was a bit of a beast and we commend R.D. Olson with doing a great job of phasing the process and giving us the opportunity and time needed to do the installation correctly and to ensure a refined look for the roof,” says Whitham. “It’s not often that both the Boral 2-Piece Mission clay and Madera 900 concrete are joined on the same project. That makes Inn at the Mission very unique.”

Photo: Boral Roofing

The quality and exquisiteness of the roof and construction of the hotel at large is evident when one sets foot on the property. No details are spared. Guests of the hotel enjoy hacienda style guest rooms and luxury suites, a sparkling pool, and the onsite Spa at the Mission. Traditional Spanish dishes, prepared with locally sourced ingredients, are also available at the Ysidora Restaurant & Lounge.

Additional special touches are also featured throughout, including stained glass chandeliers, notable pieces by local artists, as well as historic photography prints that tell the story of the region. Heavy timber and stonework, whose material was mined at a local quarry, are featured throughout and ground the site. Fountains, flooring, a stunning spiral staircase, and a mural depicting a Spanish scene are all inlaid with custom tilework. All of these details, set among verdant foliage, set the stage for the historic ruins of the San Juan Capistrano Mission and the Great Stone Church which beckon visitors just a few steps from the Inn.

About the author: Rick Hackett is product manager with Boral Roofing, a leading provider of durable and energy-efficient new and retrofit roofing solutions. For more information, visit or contact the author at


Architect: AO Architects, Orange, California,

Developer: Mission Commercial Properties, San Juan Capistrano, California,

General Contractor: R.D. Olson Construction, Inc., Irvine, California,

Roofing Contractor: Coastal Roofing, Costa Mesa, California,


Clay Tile: 2-Piece Mission Barrel clay tile in El Camino Blend, Boral Roofing,

Concrete Tile: Madera 900 in Mountainwood, Boral Roofing

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