In the Old World, castles were places to live, govern, and seek shelter. Today, there are still places designed to keep the outside world at bay, but rather than standing as bastions of military defense, they serve as oases of relaxation, fitness, and fun. Riviera Country Club and Sports Center is one such getaway. There, members can explore a vast campus of athletic and recreation amenities including indoor and outdoor pools, a full gym, and a spa. Though the club’s organizers leave plenty of time for individuals to play in each space, they also host organized events, including regular group fitness classes such as boot camp, kickboxing, and Latin dance. They maintain a vast array of sports courts, as well, allowing members to feed their competitive sides in basketball, tennis, and racquetball arenas. As adults young and old sweat during their chosen forms of play, staffers help tykes explore their creativity in a play space known as the Sandbox, which combines education, arts and crafts, and computers to produce a secret army of glitter robots.
At La Riviera Family Pizza, chefs slather homemade sourdough crust with marinara, artichoke, or pesto sauce before piling on toppings such as whole-milk mozzarella cheese, salami, and sundried tomatoes. Gourmet toppings also fill calzones, which ooze with a blend of melted mozzarella, provolone, and ricotta cheeses. Other Italian specialties include homemade pasta dishes such as lasagna and ravioli and sandwiches such as meatball subs and roast beef au jus.
Whipping up a variety of grandiose and impeccably presented dishes, Johannes Restaurant infuses its fare with only the highest-quality components. Diners can savor each mouthwatering bite with a clear conscience knowing that the top-notch cuisine is prepared with sustainable ingredients that are never frozen or stored in a bear cave. The menu is eclectic, and includes vegetarian and vegan options as well.
Rio Azul Mexican Bar & Grill's menu bursts with authentic Mexican fare, prepared fresh daily by Sinaloa, Mexico native and executive chef Ernesto Gastelum. Famished patrons can begin their feasting fiesta with chilis gueritos (yellow peppers) stuffed with shrimp, garlic, tomatoes, onions, and cilantro, and accompanied by a creamy soy sauce ($12.95). Tableside guacamole, a mashup of avocados, tomatoes, and onions in a deep-fried tortilla shell, comes kissed with lime juice under an aromatic sprig of cilantro mistletoe ($8.95).
Midcentury modern architecture dominates Palm Springs' landscape, echoing of Colony Palms' retro roots. While the city's piano bars and kidney-shaped pools smack of the 1950s, the San Jacinto Mountains' granite peaks, subalpine forests, and fern-fringed mountain meadows retain timeless appeal. Sneaker-clad sojourners can explore the high-country wilderness via the Pacific Crest Trail—a scenic pathway that spans from Mexico to Canada—or soar to 8,516 feet in elevation via a rotating tramcar. In addition to whisking wanderers over the Chino Canyon, the tramway deposits travelers at the gateway to the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument, which encompasses about 272,000 acres of verdant wilderness.Back in the lowlands, travelers at the Moorten Botanical Gardens scrupulously snake past more than 3,000 examples of desert cacti while carefully resisting the plants' outstretched spines and delightful hedgehog impersonations. About 2 miles north at the Palm Springs Art Museum, the soft and sensuous brushstrokes of Pablo Picasso and Vincent van Gogh grace the current showcase of modern-era artists, open until September 4.Five miles away, the Palm Springs Air Museum corrals one of the nation's largest collections of WWII aircraft alongside period artifacts and military uniforms. Twelve miles north in Desert Hot Springs, Cabot's Pueblo Museum transforms found objects, including windows and doors from abandoned homesteads, into in 35-room treasure ascending four stories. Back by the hotel, walkers can saunter along the cool, cobbled length of Palm Canyon Drive, whose palm-studded arms stretch with vintage furniture stores, charming boutiques, and ample perches for people watching.