Let us whisk you away to a time when men were gents, women were dames, jazz was jive and vacations were long. The destination is Palm Springs, CA and it is The Riviera that will whisk you into a vibrant, stylish (shall we say, posh?) and luxuriously delightful frenzy as only it can.
Opened at the height of the Palm Spring renaissance, The Riviera was infamous as a beguiling hot spot for Hollywood swingers the likes of Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin. Keeping the original tune of glitzy playpen of the elite, but updating it for the current crowd of gorgeous L.A. weekenders and jet-setting vacationers, The Riviera croons a sweet song all its own.
At any given time, the hottest scene is unquestionably poolside, and guests flock to claim the decked-out cabanas. Luxuriating with the perfectly cool water at your toes, a chilled cocktail in hand, and the unstoppable glory of the desert mountains towering nearby—you’ll know you’re in a true oasis. And it only gets better as the day turns to night.
Still, don’t be fooled by the endless flow of fun or the opulent, stylized decadence of its exterior. Underneath, The Riviera has a genuine heart of gold. The charming staff welcomed us with a sincerity that you rarely see at such hyped-about, glamorous resorts. The spa, practically incognito in a building that used to be a ballroom, will absolve the sins of last night’s party, lulling you into a heavenly Zen. And for all its devilish pizzazz, The Riviera’s restaurants source their earthly decadence from wholesome, locally-grown produce, and serve boutique farm meats and eco-friendly seafood.
Donning its name from the year it opened, Circa59, is The Riviera’s figurehead restaurant and a destination in its own right. The atmosphere, food and service are exceptional, even within the 5-star circles, and the snobbiest of New York foodies will fawn over the bold elegance and powerful, complex flavors of Executive Chef James Bailey’s menu. Relinquishing all power to our server, we were confidently guided through the mesmerizing list of dishes, and rewarded by a constant flow of plates that surprised and delighted us with their creativity and excellence. Start with an expertly mixed cocktail, sink into your red leather booth, sigh deeply, and definitely leave room for dessert.
Should you forget that Palm Springs was originally a place for rejuvenation and healing, SpaTerre will give you the most blissful history lesson you can imagine. Recognized as one of the top hotel spas in the world, the spa boasts 11,000 square feet dedicated to replenishing body and soul. Of the litany of individualized treatments and top-notch facilities, highlights include the expansive Watsu pool, private steam rooms, and, though I am repeating myself, the unbelievably friendly and helpful staff.
If you prefer relaxing in the content privacy of your own room, a mountain of colorful pillows awaits you, set into the expansive landscape of a high caliber bed. Soak in the freestanding marble bath, and gape at your palace of a bathroom, outfitted with lush towels and exclusive SpaTerre products. If you’re still feeling sassy, wrap into your robe and swagger onto your private terrace, nodding to the luminous desert moon like an old chum.
– Ava Fedorov
Photos by Socially Superlative writers Ava Fedorov and Jeffrey Ownes