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Noble House Hotels used to be one of our favorite under the radar chains – like a mini Kimpton, we always thought, with hotels primarily down the West Coast.
The suite sans rockstar
The Edgewater is where it’s at, promising to let guests “live large like their favorite artists”.
It was a time when its Doric columns over the porte cochère symbolised the elegance within, and the fountain outside was as thrilling as the Bellagio Fountains of the 21st century.
Yes, it’s Throwback Thursday, and we’re in Palm Springs, courtesy of a vintage postcard from the Palm Springs Visitor Center (they sell them for $1.99). It’s the 1960s, and we’re at the Riviera, that Ratpack favorite that opened in 1958 as the first hotel in the US to be built in a “spoke wheel” shape. Back then, it was every bit as sophisticated as Las Vegas.
Of course, Palm Springs is still sophisticated, even if we can’t say the same for Vegas. The Riviera has undergone a snazzy refurbishment with some seriously beautiful decor in the rooms, but to us, it’s still the most Vegassy of Coachella Valley hotels – when we stayed, we were surrounded by a hard-drinking, scantily-clothed and pool partying contingent.
No cute hotel doggy to share this week; instead we’ve got cute hotel sealions, the guests of honor at the Portofino Hotel & Marina in Redondo Beach, where we stayed the week before last.
We’d been warned about the sealions before our arrival – apparently, it’s mating season at the moment, and they’re right outside the hotel – and LOUD. In fact, the hotel even provides earplugs to drown out their racket in every room:
The Edgewater Hotel in Seattle gained much of its reputation from the fact that The Beatles infamously fished out the window during their stay, a unique experience that guests continued to enjoy for many years after.
But the fun's been over now for quite some time. It all started when Noble House purchased the hotel in 1987, and yesterday when we called the Edgewater to inquire about this once-lovable feature, the hotel informed us that fishing out the window is no longer allowed due to "liability first and foremost," but that other factors also led to the decision, such as the caught fish stinking up the room, new bedspreads, and the lines disturbing other guests.
Uh! While we understand on one hand -- especially the smelly fish part -- we're frustrated. This was such a novel aspect for a waterfront hotel to offer, and it seems like a shame for them to ditch it altogther instead of coming up with a creative way to keep the tradition alive. Something as simple as designating a few of the lower-level rooms as "fishing rooms" and charging an upgrade fee would have done the trick. And you could treat the fish smell the same way you treat cigarette smoke, putting trust in the guest that they'll play catch and release.
At this point, we're kind of collecting instances of plug panels showing up in hotel rooms. The latest is an unexpected find, at a hotel that's probably one of the last where someone would choose to do business: The Riviera Palm Springs. Basically if you're staying at The Riviera, you're more than likely just using your room as a place to sleep, dry your swimsuits, and occasionally nap to cool off in the air conditioning.
Regardless, the hotel is surprisingly up on its techas we saw with this outlet and A/V panel built into the mirrored TV table, just above the minibar.
Thumbs up...except for one huge problems we're beginning to notice when hotels get proactive and install plug panels: this won't fit Macbook Magsafe plugs! You know what we're talking aboutthose big white blocks on the end of Macbook cords, with the plug sticking out of it. Sure, you can attach the included Macbook extension cord to get around the big white block part, but then the outlet must be for grounded plugs (which this one luckily is). Ughh, tiny aggravation after tiny aggravation. Welcome to the modern world.
Think for a second. Why do people go to Palm Springs, CA? There's the colorful culture, gambling here and there, the sun so hot it takes like ten minutes to tan and mmm...mid-century modern style. Also: affordable hotels in the middle of all this with great pools.
Recently, taking advantage of a cheapie deal on JetSetter.com, we hightailed it to the Riviera Palm Springs to soak in the sun, yes, but also their free-form pool. By free-form, we mean that it's not rectangle-shaped, or a perfect circle or even kidney. It's kind of like a goopy blob shape if viewed from above, but this irregular form has its serious advantages.