Riviera Palm Springs
1600 North Indian Canyon Drive,
Palm Springs, CA, 92262, United States
Phone: (760) 327-8311
My Rating: 85%
Price Rating: $$$
Summary of Stay:
On a trip to Palm Springs, a friend and I stayed at the Riviera for ten days. Like every hotel in Palm Springs, weekend stays are much more expensive than weekday stays. When I spoke to Reservations, they were willing to extend the weekday price to us because of the length of our stay. This saved us over $2000 US between the two rooms and it was a great start to personal attention.
We arrived well before check-in time but our rooms were ready for us. Check-in was easy and quick which allowed more time to soak in the bold and colorful lobby of this historic hotel. The attendant gave us clear directions where to park the car closest to our rooms. This was helpful because the resort is large—covering over 21 acres of prime Palm Springs real estate.
Our rooms were on the ground level and while the buildings are older, everything had been beautifully renovated. I have read several reviews of the property and many people comment on the age of the property. It is a historic property built in the late 1950s. The hotel has been extremely well maintained while preserving the nostalgic charm. Are the walls thin? I’m not sure—I never heard anyone over the ten days. Did I hear people walking above me? Nope. Now let’s focus on the positives! The room is stunningly appointed. You want old Hollywood glamour with a modern twist? Here it is. My deluxe king room was almost 350 sq feet and was flooded with natural light overlooking the pools and gardens. It was exceptionally clean and bright and the pops of color added a playful drama. The art on the walls reflected the bygone era that made this hotel famous.
The hotel has several choices for dining and drinks. Circa59 is it’s main dining room and it is better than average, but not remarkable, with both food and service. The dramatic and sexy Starlite Lounge is the place to have drinks and I suggest you go even if you aren’t a guest of the hotel. It is stylish beyond description and it draws an attractive crowd especially on the weekends. We couldn’t actually get served at Sidebar so we left, so while I can say the service was lousy, I can’t comment on the cocktails. There are also two pool bars that are busy on the weekends with the young Hollywood crowd.
Highlight of the Hotel: The highlight of the hotel is it’s pool area. The gardens are perfectly manicured and there were flowers in bloom. There are two pools and plenty of deck chairs to help you work on your tan. There was an abundance of fresh pool towels and bikini-clad servers from the pool bar frequently stopped by to take drink orders.
The pools are on the cool side so they are more enjoyable in the afternoon when the sun is scorching and you need to be refreshed.
On the weekends this really is the place to be seen so bring your sexiest swimsuit and your designer sunglasses and whatever book happens to be on the best-seller’s list.
Finally the pool area must also be seen at night. The hotel does a grand job of illuminating the gardens and the pools. Along every pathway there is a combination of unique and interesting lighting alongside fire-pits and torches.
Highlight of the Stay: I think the history of the hotel has to be the biggest highlight. The Riviera is drenched with celebrity happenings. While having drinks one night, Reba McEntire glided past us. But the Queen of Country Music is not the only celebrity royalty to stay here. The King, Elvis Presley, and his band were regulars at the hotel. Frank Sinatra made the Presidential Suite home until he finally bought a house a few blocks away. The suite still has a chip on the bathroom sink where a champagne bottle hit that Frank had thrown at wife Ava Gardner. Years later daughter Nancy Sinatra would perform here. Marilyn Monroe was a guest. Marlene Dietrich and Greta Garbo are rumoured to have skinny-dipped here on more than one occasion. Sonny & Cher, Bob Hope, Raquel Welch and Desi Arnez were regular performers here.
While having celebrities be past guests of the hotel might sound like an odd highlight, when you are there, you feel their spirit and energy. You can imagine Elvis and his entourage loudly parading out to the pool. Marilyn having quiet drinks in the privacy of a cabana. Frank and his crew showing up in convertibles to the front valet. It all adds a richness to the experience.
Drawbacks: When reading the recent reviews, I saw that most were quite negative. I had an incredible stay here and so I wanted to address a few of the concerns.
Distance. The hotel is not downtown but it is on the main road. Palm Springs is a small town but it requires a car. So this to me was never an issue. If you go out and don’t want to drive, there are plenty of taxis.
Issues with staff. We were treated like royalty, especially by Kitty our reservation agent. The Starwood Group acquired the hotel from Noble House Hotels and perhaps the change in management has negatively affected guest’s stays. But Starwood is usually very consistent and I can’t imagine that what I have read is 100% accurate.
Resort Fee. $35/night - this is an increase to what I paid but it is still not bad considering there are a few perks. In-room coffee, self parking, Wi-Fi, daily newspaper and business centre access. Its getting up there but it’s not terrible. I’ve paid over $75 US per night to park in San Francisco a few hours away.