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Riviera Resort & Spa in Palm Springs, California

by Sally Bernstein

Palm Springs is located in a mountainous dessert in south-central California. It is the best known of the nine cities in a 30-mile stretch of land that also includes La Quinta, Palm Dessert, Rancho Mirage, Indio and Indian Wells. The Palm Springs area is best known for its golf, tennis, swimming, hiking, horseback riding, spas, dining, and shopping.

Palm Springs’ claim to fame began in the mid-1990’s when Hollywood celebrities and former Presidents made this their home-away-from-home. Hollywood actors Kirk Douglas and Bob Hope and former President Gerald Ford were just a few who frequented the area.

And another group, including Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr. and Elvis Presley hung out at the Riviera Resort. Now called The Riviera Resort & Spa, this legendary 24-acre property has undergone an extensive $70 million modernization and reopened to the public in October, 2008.

The landmark property originally opened to much fanfare in 1958, and during its 1960s heydey, was billed “Palm Springs’ largest and most famous resort.” The new Riviera offers a luxurious spa, two sparkling swimming pools, signature fine dining and entertainment, 406 guest rooms and suites, lushly-landscaped gardens with intimate courtyards anchored by fire pits and an array of meeting and event space.

SpaTerre is the signature, award-winning spa of Noble House Hotels & Resorts, owners of the new Riviera. Specializing in cross-cultural and global treatments inspired by Indonesian, Thai and Balinese rituals, this 12,000-square-foot refuge is situated on the site of the former ballroom. With a profusion of exotic design details – such as natural bamboo, crackled glass globe-shaped light fixtures and stunning tile accents – this soothing retreat houses the coed “Buddha Lounge,” with an expansive Jacuzzi, a rare Watsu pool and 18 treatment rooms. You’ll also find a couple’s retreat with a Vichy shower, which is a kind of shower in which large quantities of warm water are poured over a spa patron while she / he is lies in a shallow (wet) bed, similar to a massage table, but with drainage for the water. Other amenities: a tanning salon, sauna, a coed steam room, full- service hair and nail salon, retail boutique and a state-of- the-art fitness center.

Originally 475 rooms, the resort now features 406 revamped guest rooms – including 45 luxury suites – all outfitted with hip furnishings; chic marble bathrooms; flat screen plasma TVs; a contemporary living area; wireless Internet access and private patios or balconies with scenic mountain or pool views. Room rates start at $289 for standard guest rooms to $4,800 per night for the lavish two-level Presidential Suite.

The Riviera is serious about food. Here are their culinary options:

Circa 59 – Offering a contemporary, ocean-inspired twist, Rivera’s ultra- chic signature restaurant features premium raw bar items, simply presented seafood specialties, artisan dry-aged beef, reinvented presentations of classic dishes, and an exclusive handcrafted cocktail menu. Circa 59 is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

My first meal there was lunch where we sat overlooking the pool area and enjoyed a decadent lobster cobb salad. Homemade rolls were a pleasant extra. Dinner was a bit more formal but the service was friendly and the food quite good. A few of our highlights were fillet of organic grass-fed beef with roquefort crust, short rib ragout, asparagus, potato crisp, and natural jus; cedar planked wild salmon with cheddar sour cream potato puree and jalapeño pesto and diver scallops with lump crab topping.

Bikini Bar – A seductive and sunny hub, this main pool bar – showcasing a comfy outdoor living room- sports a hip lounge atmosphere with upscale fare and a diverse selection of beverages, including more than 50 rums and tequilas from around the world.

The Starlite Lounge – The place to see and be seen, this lobby mezzanine lounge is a swanky retreat perfect for enjoying a soothing nightcap. Nightly DJs set the tone and guests imbibe classic cocktails and lighter fare. A 30-foot video wall – flashing vintage images of celebrates and other stars – offers an intriguing glimpse at Palm Springs’ storied past.

sidebar – Cosmopolitan flair and sex appeal fill the air at this sophisticated nightspot, where a resident mixologist concocts an array of intoxicating cocktails nightly. The adjacent outdoor patio features a cozy fire pit, Oasis bed lounges and couches, perfect for stargazing and luxuriating in the temperate desert nights.

In-Room Dining is available daily. Full breakfast, lunch and dinner is offered.

Meetings and banquets are also a big part of the new Riviera. Over 40,000 square feet of flexible meeting and event space accommodates intimate and grandiose events – from 10 to 2,000. A resort centerpiece The Grand Ballroom is the second largest meeting venue in the valley, rivaling only the Palm Springs Convention Center in size and scope of services. The elegant 19,670-square-foot Grand Ballroom is designed in a distinct oval configuration with a built in, retractable stage and nine dramatic sparkling crystal chandeliers. Other highlights include the Desert Conference Center with two smaller ballrooms, an executive boardroom and 10,000 square feet of outdoor meeting space.

The Riviera offers scenic outdoor wedding venues (think around the pool area or gardens) as well as elegant indoor ballrooms. Although golf is not offered onsite, it is available nearby.

So when you are ready to relax and be pampered, the new Riviera Resort & Spa just might be the right place for you.


Riviera Resort & Spa
1600 N. Indian Canyon Drive
Palm Springs, CA 92262
Phone: (760) 327-8311
Fax: (760) 778-6650
Reservations: (866) 588-8311




Note: This information was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the businesses in question before making your plans.

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