92270 Travel Guide
It is always a bit surreal to step inside a hotel or resort that you've spent months or years hyping up--you know how we do it--poring over renderings, searching for possible opening dates, hunting for room amenities and cycling through the reservations system to find out the opening rates for different room types.
But when we stayed at the Ritz-Carlton Rancho Mirage near Palm Springs last month, that strangeness was heightened because the resort took more than seven years to open.
In fact, the resort was mostly finished in 2008 but then the financial crisis hit and since one of the hotel's backers just happened to be Lehman Brothers (RIP), the Ritz-Carlton was put on hold. The hotel was locked up--but fully secured and with air conditioning--for the next seven years until new owners (and money) were found to finish up the resort.
It finally opened for real in May. And yes, some of the rooms look exactly like the initial room renderings we saw back in 2007.
Yet despite all those years hidden away, half-finished and neglected, the resort has emerged as a bright, shiny desert gem.
Hotel Pools / Rancho Mirage Hotels / Family-Friendly Hotels / Hotel Amenities / Omni Hotels / Palm Springs Hotels / → All Tags
When we were writing about Palm Springs all last week, we were trying to stick to hotels in Palm Springs itself. But as well as the 10 in town that we already mentioned, there’s another desert pool that deserves a mention: that of the Omni Rancho Las Palmas in Rancho Mirage.
We say pool – but actually, it’s a waterpark. Yes, a hotel with its own waterpark. Splashtopia Water Playground is 2 acres of family-friendliness, with a sandy beach, 100-foot waterslides, a 450ft ‘lazy river’ (traversable by inner tube), a ‘cliffside’ Jacuzzi, water play zones with sprinklers and fountains, as well as an adults-only pool, Azure. As if that wasn’t enough, they also have ‘dive-in movies’ every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, featuring animated family-friendly films, like Frozen and Despicable Me 2.
Ritz-Carlton Rancho Mirage in Palm Springs is reason alone to get excited. But this opening is doubly important because it actually took SEVEN YEARS for this hotel to happen. (It's a long story, which you catch up on here.)
But opening woes aside, the Ritz is a welcome addition to the desert luxury scene which has been lacking as of late. Here's are some highlights of the new Ritz-Carlton Rancho Mirage:
· Private balcony or patio with your guest room
· Asprey bath toiletries
· State Fare Bar + Kitchen serving local sourced dishes, classic American cocktails and a serious collection of American Wines.
· The Edge Steakhouse, opening in the fall, with its own dry-aging room, "remarkable" prime steak and seafood and a dramatic cliffside setting
· The Air Pool, a necessity here, will also have a poolside bar. Pina coladas for everyone!
· A 15-room Ritz-Carlton spa with a hair and nail salon too.
Rooms start at $369 a night for a king room this weekend. (The club level rooms at the Ritz will open later this fall.) There is also a $30 resort fee which includes complimentary exercise classes in the fitness center, internet, morning coffee, bottled water, newspaper delivery and interestingly, the use of mountain bikes.
Hotel Openings / Ritz-Carlton Hotels / Rancho Mirage Hotels / Palm Springs Hotels / Luxury Hotels / Hotel News / → All Tags
About a year ago we asked the question whether the Ritz-Carlton Rancho Mirage, hovering in hotel-limbo since the ’08 financial crisis, would ever recover to the point of having an opening date and welcoming paying guests.
Our answer is here today: the hotel will actually, finally, truly open on May 15, just over a week after fellow chronic delay case the Shangri-La at the Shard. 2014 is proving to be quite the good luck charm for these hotels.
This year will be the five-year anniversary of the big crash of 2008, a financial crisis that hit the hotel industry – like so many others – hard. All the hotel openings these days notwithstanding, many a project was scrapped as a result, long before they started breaking ground.
Yet, some others got caught in the middle, stuck in a weird kind of hotel-limbo: well on their way to completion, but without any sight of the moment when the finishing line, and paying guests just beyond, will be reached. Case in point: The Ritz-Carlton Rancho Mirage.
The view from our first room, 525
As you may have noticed, we’ve been on a very pleasant mission the last few weeks of bulking up our portfolio of Palm Springs hotel stays. We’ve always preferred boutique in PS, but this past weekend we (ok our budget) opted for some chain resorts. Thus it was that $79 thrown in Hotwire's direction found us driving up the palm-lined pathway to the Westin Mission Hills Resort last Friday night. Here’s what we found.
The carpark was a slight walk away from reception, but the charming valet team allowed us to leave our car up front as we checked in: gold star. We walked through a series of beautiful archways with sculptures and fountains to reception: gold star. Reception itself was stylish: gold star.
And then we were checked in by a lady who couldn’t have seemed less interested in us if she’d tried (no attempt at charm, no rundown of the resort fee, no enquiries as to our room preferences – but she was kinda intimidating so we didn’t dare voice our own). A gold star disappeared. Worse still, when it came to navigating to our room, we realised we were in the building beside the carpark. Another gold star disintegrated.
And the room itself – 525 – made us break out the negative gold stars. For a start, it was clearly one of the worst rooms on the property: ground floor, gloomy lighting and a view consisting of the carpark and, behind it, the main highway. There was a lengthy notice about the importance of safety and security on property left prominently in front of the TV, which put the wind up us, seeing as we were a) female and b) traveling alone. Oh, and it stank like it hadn’t been aired in a couple months. We returned to reception to see if they could do better.
It’s time to relive all those adolescent afternoons spent wandering around Raging Waters to win some hotel prizes. Two of the KSL Group’s Southern California Properties, La Costa Resort & Spa and Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa, have started a "Summer’s Sliders Cup Race" that offers hotel guests prizes for the fastest time down the resorts’ 100-foot water slides.
Sliders Cup races take place at each resort every Thursday and Saturday at 5:00pm, and run June 18-September 7. Prospective competitors will be separated into age groups: 7-10 years, 11-14, 15-19, and 20 and over. So all you college kids home for the summer, time to really shine and put your parents’ friends to shame.
It's no surprise to us that the Agua Caliente Resort Hotel, part of a casino complex in Rancho Mirage, California, has a bunch of dazzling lights. The surprising bit is that the whole lighting system in the new hotel is so high tech and at the same time, clean and green.
The fiddly details are that the hotel have used special LED cove lighting on 14 floors and this lighting has a bunch of advantages: it lasts longer, so they don't need to get staff up to change light bulbs, and it's easy to choose different light "colors" with this technology so you can get the atmosphere you're after.
On top of that the lights are also more energy saving than traditional light bulbs. Since we only usually notice hotel lighting if it's particularly bad, the Agua Caliente Resort probably has the kind of lighting we'll never notice, but we do notice that it's eco-friendly and tip our hats to that.
The newest Ritz Carlton in Southern California is set to be the Ritz Carlton Rancho Mirage, near Coachella Valley which will open in December 2007.
Never mind that the real Clinique La Prairie has taken the Ritz-Carlton brand to court for opening what they say are knock-off La Prairie spas in their hotels, the Ritz-Carlton Rancho Mirage will have its very own La Prairie spa.
Judging from the description, the spa will be pretty spectacular and it should be since the 24,000 sq.ft. spa cost $25 million to build:
The spa structure will be nestled into the hillside, tucked into the earth on multiple levels. The entrance will be artfully screened by a low wall and vine-covered trellises, which create a quiet, private entry courtyard, subtly allowing guests to de-compress as they enter the spa. Nearly two-thirds of the treatment rooms will have private terraces, with natural rock outcroppings and outdoor showers.
An outdoor pre- and post- treatment relaxation area, with natural rock and a plunge pool, will be set into the hillside, emphasizing a direct connection with the landscape. The facility and surrounding area boasts several unique light, exterior and water elements that remain consistent with the area's inherent beauty and relaxing atmosphere.
The 244-room resort will open in December while the spa and the residence units will open in May 2008. The hotel will start taking reservations in September but beware this Ritz-Carlton is asking for a $25 daily resort fee when you stay there.
For fans of the ABC TV hit "The Bachelorette," Trista & Ryan's wedding was all the rage. For those of you who didn't tune in, the outdoor extravaganza was held at The Lodge at Rancho Mirage near Palm Desert.
Now you can "Live like a millionaire for a weekend at The Lodge at Rancho Mirage" with their Millionaire Fantasy Package.
Who wouldn't want three nights with unlimited use of a Ferrari F360 Modena or convertible Porsche 911 Carrera? Naturally, deluxe spa treatments and a catered, candlelight dinner in their secluded gazebo are par for the course. But if you've never had a rose petal bath or had to choose between Christal and Domthen you haven't lived.
And that's not even their honeymoon special!
RockResorts is offering to kick in a five-day/four-night stay at any of the ten RockResort properties if you Host a RockResort wedding.