Monday, February 2, 2009

A Weekend at the Riviera Spa & Resort, Palm Springs. Happy Birthday Dave!

Palm Springs Riviera Resort & Spa
1600 N Indian Canyon Dr
Palm Springs, CA 92262
(760) 327-8311

Happy Birthday Dave! We were so happy to be there enjoying it with you. You make 5o seem welcoming!

in room decor

This was a beautiful and unseasonably warm weekend spanning the end of January and the beginning of February 2009, which we spent in Palm Springs celebrating the birth and 50th year of our friend, Hollywood Dave. All required parties were summoned to the new Riviera Spa and Resort in the heart of Palm Springs for a weekend of eating, lounging, cocktailing, tennis, a fabulous fancy party all culminating in a day poolside ensconced in a cabana watching the Superbowl and playing Scrabble.


Now, the Riviera is a brand new resort which opened back in October. That is not a lot of time to iron out the rough edges. My first assessment of the property is that it is a stunning place to play, with amazing and inviting public areas. So much so that it is completely unnecessary to ever leave the property in search of other entertainment.

lobby bar

We started the visit, after the fast 9o minute drive, on the tennis courts. The property owns the courts that used to belong to a Sonny Bono venue. There are 10 courts altogether, and they have so far resurfaced two.

court #1

The rest are in middling repair, but all need chairs, garbage cans, preferably a cool fresh water source and awnings to escape the hot summer sun. Aside from that, they are beautiful, with the Palm Springs characteristic view of the beautiful mountains.

court #2

After sweating out some bodily fluids, we headed to the pool area to congregate with other party goers and get the weekend started. We lounged for a bit, people watched, sipped and nibbled then headed back to our room to watch a zombie movie and spruce up for the fete.

le boudoir

We retired to our room, took a disco nap on the bed above and started to relax into the weekend.

le TV

This massive screened TV is perfect for movie and sports viewing. We successfully and happily watched Quarantine (cinematic zombie brilliance), Slumdog Millionaire (cinematically even more brilliant) Four Christmases (complete crap), and the Australian Open 2009 Men's final (just sad, the glorious reign is over).

le seating area

I loved the room. A standard room at the Riviera is perfectly spaced for two humans to have more than a little wiggle room, great for people who actually do like to spend some of their vacation time in their room. That person being me. A sloth.

la bathroom

The bathrooms meet with my approval. Although I do believe any well thought out hotel room should have 1.5 bathrooms. You men know what I mean.

la toilette

Lots of marble and bamboo accents. Bamboo sells me every time.

le couloir

I can totally imagine being hunted by zombies up and down these long
Shining-esque hallways. By the way, if you come across a woman in an apartment with grey skin, blood all down the front of her dressing gown, swaying to and fro and staring at you with blank hungry eyes, leave. Immediately. Shut the door behind you.

We headed out for the party, and spent the majority of the evening lounging on these little sofas, under the desert sky and some very effective heat lamps. Even a very warm day quickly gives way to very cold evening temps in the early February desert.


The party was hosted at the Sidebar, a beautiful little bar with a library type feel. They played some good dancing tunes, set us up beautifully outside and in, and hosted us wonderfully in a manner anyone turning 50 but still acting 35 would have enjoyed.

le gateau

The cake. Let us all eat cake.

un arbre

One thing I missed taking photos of were many small gas bonfire sprinkled throughout the property. Gas for safety, many of them for warmth and atmosphere. Every suite had its own small fenced in front yard with bonfire pits, pet friendly, FYI. Additionally, there were maybe another 4-5 bonfire areas in the public spaces spread throughout with lots of cushy seating to invite communal enjoyment. I wish I had captured the beautiful effect of all the fires on film. It was really quite lovely. Quite.

main bathroom lobby

My enjoyment of beautiful or striking bathroom spaces continues. This handsome chair rests outside the main men's and women's rooms. When using the women's room, turn the handle
down to open the door. Chances are, there is no one in there.

les sinks

I must say, I am a big fan of any bathroom without an attendant. That is all.

la chaise

In case you need to rest after you rest.


What follows are some shots of public party spaces. Saturday night all these spaces were jam packed with people having a fabulous time. The front bar packs out with locals and tourists drinking, dancing and exchanging digits. These spaces are a little removed from the bar area, but are equally usable and were all busy all night long.

petite seats

'Twas great people watching, between the locals, lots of Europeans Europeaning, and plenty of folk from LA just for the weekend.


This pool table tempted me greatly, and next time I am visiting I will surely have a go at it.

sit, relax, enjoy

I don't know what the story is behind the art, but I like the effect. It's cohesive yet still interesting. If it were my resort, I might have chosen a more eclectic collection, but the continuity creates a mood that is pervasive throughout the indoor public spaces.

la piscine

The nest morning dawned bright and early. We arose after staying up late to watch Federer go down in 5 to a sunny day, munchies and the hair of the dog pool-side.

wicker pods

The pool area really is the peice-de-resistance of the property. I never wanted to leave it, day or night. Above is a seating area around one of the fire pits, and it was equally filled with humans day and night.


I experienced high quality people watching, beautiful Homo sapiens of all shapes and sizes. I said something not so nice about a couple of them in particular, which I still regret. Sometimes something comes out of my mouth that can be so nasty and I wonder where it came from. Not my typical modus operandi. Snark for the sake of snarkiness. "Just because I can" is not a good enough excuse.

une sandwiche de club

D brunched on this gorgeous but simple club sandwich, at our lovely waitress's suggestion.

les truffle parmesan frites

I was lured by the truffle-parmesan fries. Of course. Hello.


These fries were decent, but not very truffly. Lots of tasty parm, though, and I love sea salt.

bloody mary w/olive & lime

Hair of the dog, via tomato juice.

vodka, soda & pineapple

Fresh, cold, fruity deliciousness.

let the games commence

We started a Scrabble game, but we were having too much fun enjoying each others' company to bother finishing.

Happy Superbowl, Mr. President

Pre-Superbowl is the perfect time for an interview with a new leader of the free world. I love his shirt. It says, I am comfortable in my skin. I am relaxed yet professional. It is Sunday, yet this is a national broadcast. I am always looking for clothing that communicates just this message.

le chien raffiné

Andy owns the world. Truly. No one else would have the nerve to put their paw in D's lap without permission.

Andy eats ice.

And yet, he's still just a dog.

beefcake. photo used without permission.

All in all, it was a wonderful weekend in the company of good friends. I have left out of this posting the glaring issues this hotel is having with service. Without going into detail, let me say that the service we received sitting poolside in our cabanas by our beautiful and unflappable cocktail server far surpassed anything we received elsewhere. She and the other pool staff should be running the hotel. Maybe by this time next year they will be, and T and C won't have to wait upwards of 2 hours to get food multiple times during the weekend.


Loving Annie said...

What a great birthday celebration weekend with friends at that retro place !
The pool looked wonderful, and glad you enjoyed the hotel room and bathroom. (But yes, one and a half is ALWAYS needed !)

Opening a hotel without everything being updated - and with poor service in any part of it - is a mistake.

Kristine G said...

looks like quite the mahvelous weekend, snarkiness and all. sometimes we can't help what comes out of la bouche, and sometimes we can't help what goes in. ;) hehe