Revamped Resort Maintains Midcentury Glamour
In the 1960s, members of the Rat Pack could often be found sipping cocktails by the pool at Riviera Palm Springs, and Elvis was known to rent out the resort for rehearsals and R & R between tours. The Riviera of today still embodies the cool, midcentury glamour of Sinatra’s heyday, but feels fresh and snappy thanks to a recent $70 million face-lift and the hum of near-constant activity, from live jazz music to late-night DJ sessions.
A collection of three-story, Old California–style bungalows are spread out over the Riviera's 24-acre campus. Each building houses guest rooms that overlook the San Jacinto Mountains or landscaped gardens. Designed like a wheel with spokes, the resort centers on a hub containing a restaurant, a large swimming pool, and the Bikini Bar—a pool deck set beneath a hand-woven thatched hut. Day beds and cabanas outfitted with TVs and misting fans surround the pool, and sarong-clad servers deliver poolside drinks for daytime and evening cocktail parties.
The onsite SpaTerre—named one of the Best of the Best by Palm Springs Life in 2010—offers a full menu of services in a Thai-inspired oasis. In the spa’s Buddha Lounge, waterfalls, sparkling pools, and dramatic readings of lotion ingredients set the stage for relaxing treatments, which range from standard indulgences such as facials and massages to medical-grade body wraps and microdermabrasion.
Palm Springs, California: Desert Retreat with Architectural Treasures
Palm Springs lies on the edge of the Coachella Valley, surrounded by mountain ranges that help to create a year-round sunny climate. The perfect weather and relative proximity to Los Angeles sparked an influx of Hollywood’s elite during the 1950s and '60s. Some of the era’s most influential architects—including Albert Frey and Richard Neutra—were brought in to design homes for these celebrity getaways, thus giving the town a clean, modernist look. Much of the architecture reflects the landscape by incorporating natural resources and blending indoor and outdoor spaces.
Many of these iconic buildings have been preserved and stand today as hotels, restaurants, and boutique shops as well as private residences. Walking tours showcase treasures from Hollywood’s golden era, including Dean Martin's old digs, a cement block inscribed with George Hamilton's signature, and Snuffleupagus’s winter condo.