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Picture this; two longtime girlfriends rolling down a deserted Southern California highway, bags in tow, looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life for a weekend getaway.

Attired in sunglasses and sundresses, we rolled down the windows to get a little wind in our hair and check the temperature; right around 100 degrees. Perfect!

Chic but contemporary, The Riviera was recently renovated.

Approximately 140 miles later (the rough distance between San Diego and Palm Springs), my friend Jennifer and I had made it to our very own desert oasis.  Swanky, hip, and modern, the Riviera Resort and Spa was a joint that was right up my Kasbah alley.

Walking through the expansive resort lobby, I felt as if I had one foot in the era of contemporary Hollywood era, inspired by television shows such as Entourage and TMZ, and one foot in the past, back to a time when Hollywood meant Joanne Woodward or the Rat Pack.

The beautifully landscaped pool deck.

Check in was a breeze.  The porter brought Jennifer and me to our luxurious ground floor room.  As the lock clicked and the door hinged open, I was enraptured and envious of our room; how nicely all of this luxurious furniture would fit in my modest abode back in San Diego

It was a daydream - kicking off a pair of red high heel Christian Louboutin shoes and a Marilyn Monroe-style 1950’s white dress and falling backwards into the billowy down like bed.  I felt like a movie star myself.

Revert to an earlier and calmer era.

Quickly, I came back to reality to discover that the porter was graciously standing by the luggage awaiting his tip.

An oversized bedroom.

I was pleased with the oversized bathroom, which came equipped with a deep stand alone bath tub and marble counter tops.  The recently remodeled 406 cool chic rooms at the Riviera are contemporary and glamorous. Relax out of the desert sun beneath white linens in the fluffy bed, the perfect spot to watch the widescreen plasma TV.

The Riviera Resort is a unique Palm Springs jewel that reopened in 2009 after a 24-acre transformation, like a Hollywood actress resurrecting her silver screen career.  The high class resort blends in with the plush and hip desert city suburbs embedded in the Coachella Valley, Palm Springs is known for its hot and dry weather and equally famous for outdoor activities, such as golf, hiking, swimming, and tennis, Palm Springs has been a generational favorite getaway and only 100 miles from Los Angeles.  It is a great weekend jaunt for any Southern Californians looking to get away!

There are different theories as to how Palm Spring received its name.  I read that a Spanish explorer called the area “la Palma de la Mano de Dios”, meaning “the Palm of God’s hand”.  The Coachella Valley does indeed sit in the Palm of God’s Palm, beneath beautiful and colorful mesas that line the perimeter of the vale.

The Riviera Resort & Spa is embedded in the Coahella Valley.

Jenn and I headed out to the center of it all, the Riviera’s wetlands – the pool.

Sunbeam shelter.

We spent the afternoon relaxing in our private cabana, aptly named the Vonda Kay, enjoying the mountain views.  The Vonda Kay cabana is named after Vonda Kay Van Dyke, who was crowned as Miss America in 1965.  All of the pool cabanas are named after former Miss America contestants, back when the Riviera was in its mid-century heyday.

It didn’t matter that it was well over a smoking 100 degrees, we were well supplied with cold drinks, cabana shade, and pool dips.  Our cocktail waitress ensured us that the water misters were at full capacity and we had plenty of chilled fruit.  We were set!  I was so relaxed that I napped in my pinup bathing suit.

As the sun beams filtered behind the beautiful desert mountains we figured it was high time to shower for dinner.

The Riviera offers many dining choices.

The Riviera Resort and Spa presents several different dining options depending on what kind of experience you wish.  Guests can choose the classy Circa 59, the Starlite Lounge, the poolside Bikini Bar, or the vivacious and sometime raucous Sidebar.  We wanted the complete desert affair at Circa 59.

Circa 59 was a memorable experience.  Not only was the service par excellance with every morsel outstanding.  Our New Yorker waiter, Christopher, suggested we try his favorite cocktail, the Pear Martini.  We eagerly agreed.  Several minutes later, he arrived with martini glasses filled with a refreshing blend of pear puree, Grey Goose Vodka, lemon juice, and a fresh rosemary sprig garnish.

The delectable Asian pear and Arugula Salad were dressed to the tee with Dijon Vinaigrette, candied walnuts, and a local cheese.   The Ahi Tuna Tartare appetizer is not one to miss.  It is both beautifully constructed and distinctive!  I was not expecting my main course to also be an interesting culinary pairing. The perfectly grilled filet was doused in a short rib stew. Meat rimmed with meat, a heavenly pair.

During the binge of Bing Cherry Shortcake, we seemed caught with our hand in the cookie jar.  We scraped every last bite of this tart and sweet concoction.  Accompanied by more cocktails and paired wine, the after dinner feast de la coma kicked in!

After our night in the oasis no camels poked their noses in our perfect caravanserai; could we get more relaxed and refreshed? Yeah, at the spa.

SpaTerre comfort and relaxation.

Wish you were here?

The former Riviera Theater has been converted into Spa Terre.  The 11,000 sq ft rotunda houses 18 cheery treatment rooms with soothing inspirations: Thai, Balinese, and other Indonesian rituals.  The massage selections range from traditional Balinese consisting of rolling motions and acupressure points, to the mood enhancing and altering Desert Sage Massage.

The Javanese Royal Treatment is worth the $250 of luxury comprised of a Balinese Massage, rose petal infused soaking tub, and an essential oil and an herbal exfoliation.

The Spa Terre can replenish sun or shade desiccated skin. No grainy Gila Monster scales on these gals.

The Riviera Resort offers two serene pools.

Cocktail hour.

Editor’s Notes:  The new Riviera Resort & Spa offers two cool sparkling pools, cabanas, intimate fire pits, and themed gardens. The sophistication of the sixties and the bling of the millennium era are very much a part of the present Palm Springs scene; Circa 59, is a classic steakhouse and ocean-inspired seafood blend. The Starlite Lounge is a swanky retreat featuring a 30-foot video wall displaying re-mastered cinematic history. The Bikini Bar at the main pool bar is an outdoor living room. Cosmopolitan flair and sex appeal fill the air at the Side Bar. Its outdoor patio features a cozy fire pit, Oasis bed lounges and couches are perfect for star gazing amidst timeless style and elegance.

The expansive cabana area.

SpaTerre also offers an expansive and unique Watsu pool, Buddha lounge, a state of the art fitness center, retail boutique and full service hair and nail salon.

Riviera Resort And Spa additional features include: dry cleaning/laundry, non-smoking rooms, meeting rooms, pets accepted, business center, and a wheelchair accessible restaurant.

iviera Resort & Spa
1600 N Indian Canyon Dr.
Palm Springs, CA92262

Hotel Direct:: 760-327-8311

Many live San Diego entertainment events, especially small concerts, are held at the clubs and lounges of the top hotels in the city.

— Feature by Michelle Schoser, San Diego Jetsetters Magazine Correspondent.