Hotel at a Glance: Riviera Palm Springs
In the 1960s, members of the Rat Pack could often be found sipping cocktails by the pool at the 4-star Riviera Palm Springs, and Elvis Presley 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 it’s been updated to the present, thanks to a recent $70 million facelift. You’ll find a lot of activity onsite, including live music.
- Where you’ll stay: Modern rooms and suites are spread out in a spoke-and-wheel shape across the resort, and they come with LCD flat-screen TV. Each guest room overlooks either the San Jacinto Mountains or landscaped gardens.
- Order a dirty martini to complement a “then” or “now” entree at Circa 59 restaurant, a five-time Wine Spectator Award of Excellence winner.
- Free-form outdoor pool: An adjacent deck is outfitted with lounge chairs and a tiki bar where you can order a tropical cocktail.
- Reserve a cabana along the Bikini Pool, which is illuminated at night.
- Award-winning spa: The onsite SpaTerre—named one of the Best of the Best by Palm Springs Life—offers a full menu of services in a Thai-inspired oasis with waterfalls and sparkling pools.
Palm Springs, California: SoCal Resort Town with Midcentury Charm
Palm Springs is an oasis of outdoor recreation and old Hollywood glamour located about 100 miles from Los Angeles. Once the stomping grounds of Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, and the Rat Pack, the town still attracts A-list vacationers today. A stroll through the Movie Colony—which had its heyday between the 1930s and 1960s—will take you past the former homes of Dean Martin, Bob Hope, and Marilyn Monroe.
Palm Springs is also the birthplace of desert modernism, a Bauhaus-influenced architecture movement. You can explore the area’s famed midcentury-modern landmarks on a self-guided tour; grab a map at the Palm Springs Official Visitors Center, itself housed in an iconic building—a retro-futuristic Tramway Gas Station designed by Albert Frey. Furniture and clothing boutiques along Palm Canyon Drive embrace Palm Springs’s trademark aesthetic—what you might call Mad Men West. Nearby, the small but impressively curated Palm Springs Art Museum features works by Pablo Picasso and Robert Rauschenberg along with significant contemporary and Native American collections.
The sun shines more than 300 days a year in Palm Springs, which means you can play a round of golf or hike in the nearby Agua Caliente Indian Canyons no matter the season. It’s worth taking a ride on the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, whose cars rotate 360 degrees as they carry passengers to Mount San Jacinto’s Mountain Station, located 8,516 feet above sea level. About 40 miles northeast is the nearly 800,000-acre Joshua Tree National Park, which spans parts of the Colorado and Mojave Deserts. Hit one of the 12 nature trails for a chance to see desert bighorn sheep, snakes, and black-tailed jackrabbits.