Harmonizing Roof

Clay & Concrete Roofing Adorn Hotel in San Juan Capistrano, California

by Ann Iten, director of marketing, Westlake Royal Roofing Solutions


Inn at the Mission San Juan Capistrano, a Marriott hotel, marries Spanish architecture with modern convenience. Offering 188 rooms, the four-star hotel celebrates the history of San Juan Capistrano, California, and the esteemed Spanish Mission just across the street. Its roof is central to accomplishing just that.

“The Mission and the City of San Juan Capistrano are purposely infused into the design for this hotel,” said Scott Rutledge, senior project manager of AO, Orange, California. “Our team wanted the hotel to feel like a natural extension of the Mission, with a timeless design infused with historical accuracy.”

AO has designed numerous notable hotel properties throughout California and beyond. With Inn at the Mission, AO’s vision is expressed in the California Mission and Monterey styles. The primary hotel building features stucco detailing, adobe-inspired bricks, and clay roof tiles in the Mission vernacular, while a secondary building housing the spa and ballroom spotlights wood detailing, a double-sloped roof, balconies, and exterior overhangs. The combined aesthetic gives the impression that the buildings grew organically over time.

Photo courtesy of AO

Just like the neighboring Mission, the hotel’s roof is foundational to its overall aesthetic. “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 Westlake Royal Roofing Solutions™, whose diverse and durable product range features both the materials and aesthetics we sought. Once everything was installed, it was even better looking than we expected.”

The AO team completed numerous mockups of the roof, adjusting percentages of tiles and color blends to get the desired effect of structures that appeared to have been there a long time. US Tile® El Camino 2-Piece Mission Barrel clay tile in El Camino Blend, which looks classically Spanish, was selected for the primary structure. For the spa and retail structure, Newpoint™ Concrete Roof Tile in Madera 900 Mountainwood, an authentic replication of hand-split cedar shake roofing, was chosen. Both roofing systems boast lengthy lifespans, ease of installation, and recyclability at the end of their life on the roof.

The design of the clay tile dates back to the Bronze Age. It has crowned the tops of palaces, temples, and the early California missions. The sustainable tile is ENERGY STAR® and Cool Roof rated, as well as Cradle-to-Cradle certified. The concrete tile over the spa and ballroom is designed to hold up to the elements with its durability and Class A fire rating. It is also Cool Roof rated and requires low maintenance.

Coastal Roofing, Costa Mesa, California, was selected by general contractor R.D. Olson Construction of Irvine, California, for the project. With four-to-eight-person crews working in multiple phases, Coastal Roofing was able to finish the project in a year. The height, pitch, and a 20’ turret proved challenging. “Roofing the round turret on the side was complicated for the team, but they battled through and the result was beautiful,” said Andy Whitham, president of Coastal Roofing.

Coastal Roofing also hid the attic ventilation to improve aesthetics and to create a look like the Mission’s roof. Whitham noted, “It’s not often that both US Tile Clay Roofing Products and Newpoint Concrete Roof Tile are joined together on the same project. That makes Inn at the Mission very unique.”

Photo courtesy of Westlake Royal Roofing Solutions

The quality of the roof, and the property overall, is visible to those lucky to stay at the Inn and enjoy its hacienda suites, pool, spa, and traditional Spanish dishes. Special design elements complement the overall architecture and roof including stained glass chandeliers, the work of local artists, historic photography prints, fountains, a stunning spiral staircase, stonework, and more. All details, roof included, create a spectacular atmosphere and resting point for visitors to experience the Mission and the magical town of San Juan Capistrano.