Inn at The Mission, San Juan Capistrano, CA

The Inn at the Mission hotel is a contemporary complement to its famous neighbor: The San Juan Capistrano Mission (est. 1776).

The Spanish styled hotel overlooks the ruins of the adjacent Great Stone Church, and boasts enchanting 18th century lighting overtones, accented to appear antiquated but entwin ed with modern moments. The lighting was designed by First Circle Design in efforts to replicate the area’s indigenous culture and environment, past and present, and with the intent to influence an alluring and reverent candlelit atmosphere.


Lighting Design: First Circle Design

Architect: Architects Orange

Photos: Limeleaf Studios

IESNA 2021 Lumen Award - Award of Merit Interiors

Designers: Matthew Levesque, Brady Jay King, Francis Mempin, Sarah Resch

The hotel’s ambiance, etched by rich golden hues emitted from period-inspired decorative fixtures and architectural lighting, is revealed with 100% LED technology manipulated to elicit a century’s-old storytelling experience of Spanish legacy, seasoned with modern-day conventions.

The amenity and common areas are illuminated with a soft quality of light that is color corrected to 2400K made possible with DURATAPE TONES IP20 striplight. This base level of lighting supports the warmer 2200K decorative luminaries.


This amber enriched quality of light, shared between the old-era chandeliers and sconces coupled with contemporary strokes of architectural lighting, transforms the interior into a grand residential living room experience.

First Circle Design

Event and flex spaces’ lighting reflect the mission-style theme; however, to ensure flexibility, the selected Kelvin temperatures shift slightly cooler to a typical 2700K temperature to achieve ambient architectural lighting. The common denominator of 2200K in the featured decorative luminaires unifies the overall expression of the hotel.

DURATAPE ESSENTIAL WHITE ES strip light is the ideal solution for mounting in tight spaces. The versatile strip light is ideal for mounting in coves, under cabinets and shelves.

To promote the Spanish colonial residential sensation, particular consideration was given to guest exclusive areas; accordingly, decorative luminaires became the primary instrument of color illumination and textured light for the guestrooms and corridors.
First Circle Design

A variety of LED lamps by DURALAMP in the warmer 2200 Kelvin were used throughout the resort inside the decorative luminaires as a base level of lighting.


The Inn at the Mission’s majestic presence both on the interior and exterior transports all visitors to a remarkable era of Spanish colonialism with Native American embodiment. To accent the Inn’s center tower required the use of a small and powerful floodlight projector. The design team selected BULLETTO floodlight to uplight the tower exterior structure.


Be sure to view the Project Profile on Mission San Juan Capistrano under Inspirations!