When Riviera Palm Springs opened in 1959, it quickly became the go-to Palm Springs vacation spot for the rich and famous. It was the only hotel in the United States at the time to be built in a "spoke wheel" shape, encouraging a more communal atmosphere that fit the culture of the decade. Celebrities such as Sonny and Cher and Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack frequented the property, and big names performed there, including Desi Arnaz, Raquel Welch, Bob Hope and The Turtles. After ownership changed hands a few times (including both Hilton and Radisson), Noble House Hotels purchased the Riviera in 2006 and gave it the $70 million modernization that would return it to its former glory.
Today, rather than acting as a time machine back to the Swinging Sixties, Riviera Palm Springs brings the era of "free love" and individual freedom to the 21st century. With its renovation, the Riviera got an upgrade while still maintaining all the Old Hollywood charm that made it one of Palm Springs' most famous resorts in its heyday in the 1960s. From shag rugs and Andy Warhol pop art to a luxurious spa and signature fine dining and entertainment, the Riviera is now a mixture of the best of both worlds, old and new.
The mid-century modern décor continues into the 406 chic guestrooms, which include 43 suites. Each room utilizes a palette of brown and white with bright pink and orange in geometric accents and sleek lines. Guests can enjoy mountain, garden or pool views, as well as numerous in-room amenities including comfortable beds and luxe linens, marble bathrooms, LCD TVs, in-room coffee, daily newspapers, free Wi-Fi and private patios or balconies (in most). Suites provide an added level of luxury with deep soaking tubs, plush sofas and retro leather chairs, as well as marble-topped wet bars and private fire pits in some.
Since the Tinseltown set is all about indulging, there is no shortage of opportunity here. Whether it's food and drinks or relaxation and activities, Riviera has it covered. Five different dining and drinking venues offer a variety of experiences: contemporary California cuisine in Circa 59's elegant indoor/outdoor dining area, craft cocktails and tapas at the sophisticated Sidebar, upscale light fare and mixed drinks at the poolside Bikini Bar, classic cocktails and small plates at Starlite Lounge and refreshing concoctions at Chiki Bar, the soon-to-open, palapa-style tiki bar.
Relaxation is a specialty at SpaTerre, the resort's 11,000-square-foot spa that was once the Mediterranean Room, where the Rat Pack performed regularly. Exotic Balinese, Thai and Indonesian rituals are used to pamper guests in its eighteen treatment rooms. Visitors are invited to relax in the centerpiece of SpaTerre, the Buddha Lounge, with a Watsu pool and co-ed Jacuzzi. Seasonal treatments include the Marilyn in Silk body wrap and The Jewels of the Riviera, which includes an 18k gold elixir application. There are also private steam rooms, Vichy showers, a salon, a boutique and a fitness center offering yoga, Pilates and personal training classes.
The 24-acre property contains two salt-water swimming pools with cabanas, one of which will open in February 2013 in the adults-only wing of the hotel containing a hot tub and the Chiki Bar. Adjacent to the hotel property is the now-closed Bono's, Sonny Bono's Italian restaurant, and the hotel's tennis courts, which will be part of a future renovation. Guests can also tee-off at one of three nearby championship golf courses, or hop on the scheduled (free!) trolley that takes guests through the city of Palm Springs.
The resort offers top-notch amenities for business travelers, including a computer center and 45,000 square feet of flexible meeting and event space. The 19,670-square-foot Grand Ballroom is the second largest in Palm Springs, after the Palm Springs Convention Center, and its unique oval shape features a built-in stage and nine of the hotel's original and extravagant chandeliers. Large events, such as weddings and receptions, can also be held in the 15,000 square feet of outdoor function space, while the poolside cabanas can be reserved for more intimate gatherings. Event planners with access to the Riviera's catering professionals and technical support allow guests the time to work hard, without sacrificing the opportunity to play hard.
From suited professionals and leisure-seeking transients to A-listers and families, this desert oasis caters to all walks of life. The Riviera is a place to indulge and escape, Palm Springs style.
See more photos of Riviera Palm Springs in our gallery