This past weekend was my best friend's 40th birthday in Palm Springs and since the town was very crowded due to the weekend corresponding with the annual Pride festival, the available hotel options were limited and what was available was very expensive (i.e., the Renaissance went from $179 for Friday night to $489 for Saturday and Sunday nights -Gasp!). So, I thought I would try my luck and visit the SPG website to see what, if anything, they had in town. That's when I noticed a hotel I have stayed at six years ago was now part of the Tribute Portfolio: The Riviera Resort and Spa. I got lucky too as it had many rooms available for only $196/night all weekend! Normally, that would be a lot to stay there but comparatively, for that weekend, this was a steal! Plus, I was targeted for an AMEX offer on my SPG AMEX Card for $60 cash back at any SPG property, so score!
The hotel still has the same posh, swanky, Palm-Springs-of-old throwback charm. The decor is very colorful and looks very much like something that would inspire SHAG's artwork or something inspired by SHAG's artwork. However, it is definitely fast-approaching that point in a hotel's life when it needs a refresh as there are significant signs of wear and tear (mostly aesthetic) that will soon need to be addressed.
The rooms are spacious and comfortable. We had a Junior Suite, which has a king size bed and a queen-size pull-out sofa bed, for which there is ample room to unfold and still walk around your room. However, here is where I came across the first signs of aging. The grand, almost-ceiling-high white pleather headboard was peeling away in several spots; the doorframe leading into the separate room with the shower and commode was noticeably warped from water damage; the accent lighting hanging above the painting in the entryway opposite the door had been knocked so many times by the closet door that it no longer stayed upright; the carpet was very well-worn in many spots and the entertainment center/bar/coffee clutch/storage/mini-fridge-holder desperately needs to be refinished. All of these cosmetic things would probably not be noticed by others less “OCD” than I am but the real disappointment was the giant valley in one side of the bed that sort of sucked my partner in. The other cosmetic deteriorations can wait but that bed needs to be replaced pronto. My side of the bed happened to be very comfortable but my partner felt like he was sleeping in a taco shell.
Elsewhere, the hotel has a very fun vibe. The main pool is amazing. It’s big and the lounge areas surrounding it are quite nice and social. There are fire pits, cushioned chairs, and chez lounges all around the pool. The swanky restaurant opens out onto it and provides you a great view while dining. However, the restaurant is just okay. We had breakfast there and not only was the service terrible but we ordered off the menu and they just brought us the same food that we could have served ourselves at the lackluster buffet. The frittatas we ordered were thin and overdone and mine was missing the chicken I had ordered with it. We did not eat here for dinner so I cannot comment on that menu or service.
Outside of the restaurant, the staff is very attentive and courteous. The bartenders in the front bar are very nice and do a great job. The front desk attendants are all super friendly and more than happy to take care of anything for you very quickly. The safe in my room was locked when I arrived and I simply asked them to come open it; they had security at my room in minutes. When I left my credit card at breakfast, the same security card brought it out to me very promptly and very friendly. No one ever seemed bothered with any request.
We had a fun evening before dinner Saturday night playing pool in the lobby after getting drinks at the bar while we listened to the live music performer for that evening (different from Friday night’s artist). Had we not had plans to do birthday-related things all weekend, we could have entertained ourselves very happily at the hotel relaxing by the pool all day and hanging out at the bar/lounge all night.
I am a little perturbed that I did not get my extra 500 bonus points for refusing daily housekeeping but I have emailed them about it as well as when I can expect to receive my 1,000 bonus points for staying during SPG’s version of a “Megabonus” promotion (SPG’s website make no mention of when those points will post).
All in all, I would recommend the Riviera and would probably stay there again once they are officially in the Marriott family. I just hope that someone puts up the money for a facelift within the next 2-3 years.