First, a disclosure: this property, formerly The Lodge of Rancho Mirage and before that the Ritz Carlton, was one of my favorites in all of my travels. So much so, that I made certain to spend the last night at the Lodge when it closed in 2007. Each and every time I visited the desert after its closure, I'd drive up the hill to see if there had been any movement in the construction. It took seven years to reopen (the recession held things up) and I couldn't wait to revisit.
The character of the hotel is completely different. Where before I'd describe it as a comfortable elegance, now I would say it has a clean contemporary desert look and feel. Think lots of stacked stone. It isn't special and feels alot like the Hyatt Indian Wells (formerly Grand Chamption and a multitude of other desert properties. I'd be lying if I didn't say I was very disappointed. It looks ordinary. A nice ordinary, but nothing about it is breathtaking.
The only restaurant open so far - State Fair - has a casual feel to it. We stayed 4 days, and ate 3 breakfasts, one lunch and one dinner there. Each meal was delicious, all food is locally sourced, non-GMA and organic. Lots of variety and different takes on typical items.
One recommendation would be to do yourself a favor and try the French Toast. Even if you're not a fan of French Toast (I'm not, but it was available for the buffet, so it was 'free' to try), order it. It's unbelievable. Like nothing I've ever had before: light, not too sweet, amazing texture and taste.
The biggest missed opportunity in my opinion is the lack of public space overlooking the magnificent view of the valley. Truly the location is what sets this property apart from anything else. The views are spectacular.
So why are their only FOUR individual seats available at the end of the property? They surround a huge fire pit, which is lovely, but the lack of seating is awful.
The way the Lodge had been configured, there were lounges and seating all along the property's edge facing the valley, so that many could enjoy and relax day and evening and gaze on that awesome view.
No more. Aside from the firepit area, the rest of that cliff edge is now a walkway. Sure, you can sit back on the patio at the building and see out, but that really doesn't give you the same proximity or tranquil feel.
Another missed opportunity is the adult pool. It's also located at the edge of the property, facing that same view. It would've made an AMAZING infinity pool. Instead, the view is mostly blocked from in the pool because of the way the glass wall is affixed to the floor. You can certainly relax in a lounge chair, but it's at the far side of the pool, and when it's hot (it was over 110 when I was there), there isn't alot of time spent out of the water. It's a BIG miss.
The adult pool IS a great improvement on the property. Spa music is piped in, pool floats are available and the service is good (service at the entire resort was A+).
If I'd designed that pool, I would've definitely made certain that there was a bar. As is, the servers have to circle the property to fill food and beverage orders. Doesn't make sense to me.
Our room was adjacent the adult pool, ground floor with a fire pit. We'd specifically requested this as we wanted to be close to water and have somewhat private outdoor space.
A disappointment was that we had no control over the misters. There seemed to be no logic in when they went on and off, and without them, it was almost impossible to enjoy the space.
The room was nice - nothing special, but certainly not bad - and the bed was comfortable. The shower is a little awkward, because other than standing in the bathtub, there's no way you can turn it on w/o getting soaked. I let my husband get that first cold shock of water and jumped in after him.
The resort doesn't have a full service sundries store yet. We needed eye drops and the concierge sent us to the far end of the property to the spa's boutique. There we found the usual spa-wear, Ritz caps and tshirts, but no eye drops (or any other typical drugstore type items that are usually found at resorts). The gal at this boutique told us that the front desk had a little basket containing extra toothbrush, toothpaste type items, but nothing beyond the basics. So, don't forget anything you'll need!!
We were forced to get our car out of valet and drive down the hill to a store a few miles away. This problem will likely be solved in the autumn, when they expect to have everything up and running.
We decided that for the price (we spent about $1500 for the 4 days/3 nights we were there - and that was with significant discounts like free valet, free breakfasts, free WiFi), we won't be returning.
That special experience of relaxing overlooking the valley, upscale furnishings and decor is gone. There are plenty of other properties in the desert with much lower pricetags who offer the same good service and amenities as this one.
We'll likely be back for a cocktail and maybe to give the new restaurant (open sometime in the fall) a try. But we'll save our money and sleep elsewhere.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Elegantly enveloped within the Santa Rosa Mountain range, The Ritz-Carlton, Rancho Mirage is located on a 650-foot bluff overlooking world-famous Palm Springs and the picturesque Coachella Valley. This luxurious Palm Springs hotel boasting 244 guest rooms with 16 suites including spacious and private spa suites, is thoughtfully-designed to complement its desert mountain location by featuring natural elements of stone, wood and fire - which reflect the local landscape, hues and regional surroundings. At The Ritz-Carlton, Rancho Mirage, amenity highlights include State Fare Bar & Kitchen, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner and featuring an exhibition kitchen, private dining room and multiple indoor/outdoor seating areas. A second remarkable restaurant, The Edge (opening fall 2014), features aged steak and seafood served cliffside with unparalleled views of the valley below. Further resort highlights include a luxurious, 24,000-square-foot spa, swimming and relaxation pools, and preferred access to some of the finest golf and tennis experiences at premier courses and clubs in the Palm Springs Valley. This exceptional Palm Springs hotel in California offers guests a true luxury desert experience, while providing convenient access to world-class shopping, dining, recreation and sightseeing. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- The Ritz Carlton, Rancho Mirage Hotel Rancho Mirage
- Ritz Carlton Rancho Mirage
- The Ritz-Carlton, Rancho Mirage California Desert, CA