After two recent renovations (2008 and 2016), this holdover from the golden age of Hollywood was returned to its former glory. Formerly a Rat Pack hangout, the resort is now a Tribute Portfolio Resort and guests can earn Starwood Rewards points during stays.
YOU SHOULD KNOW The Riviera charges a $35 per day resort fee for parking, WiFi, and access to the pools and fitness area.
The 398 rooms include standard singles, doubles, and a range of suite options. The feeling upon entering is one of whimsy, with eclectic pops of color, geometric carpet, and ornate light fixtures. Room views can be hit or miss, though the decor is the definition of deluxe, the views can sometimes be underwhelming.
All baths are appointed in marble, with rain shower heads. Some units contain soaking tubs. Suites upgrade to jetted tubs and dual vanities.
The hotel was initially designed to mimic the hotels of old Las Vegas. The lobby is bright and a bit over the top, with dizzying patterned walls and fashionable pops of color and texture. The swanky piano bar off to one side is a terrific spot for a cocktail.
Two pools are on the property, one with a bar. The Chiki pool area, billed as the more subdued of the two, offers seasonal poolside service. The Soleil pool is a lively party and comes with poolside service, VIP cabana rentals, and the ability to host private parties, such as bachelor or bachelorette functions.
The 11,000-square foot Azure spa boasts 18 treatment rooms, including a Watsu® pool, provides massages, facials, soaks, and other services. The adjoining salon offers hair and nail care.
This fitness center is fully stocked, with an abundance of machines. Yoga classes are offered on the lawn.
Three on-site restaurants will keep guests well fed while on the property. Cafe Palmetto, open breakfast to lunch, is a fun, artful space. Visit The Landing Bar & Restaurant or Gypsy Rose for small bites and cocktails. At Cantala, guests will dine while seated on festive furniture under natural tree canopies.
The Side Bar, a piano room, is a sweet spot to grab a drink, especially at happy hour. Find all-day happy hour (11:30 a.m. until 7 p.m.) during the week at The Landing Bar & Lounge. Gypsy Rose is the more bohemian feeling of the bar spaces, whose cocktail offerings are often fruity and lush.
The property is situated on the north end of the downtown area and provides both self and valet parking. Travelers from Los Angeles and Orange County can use the Tesloop service. A car is recommended if guests plan to travel off-resort.
If the upscale hotel options have you hankering for something a little more casual, approachable cuisine in a relaxed environment can be found at both Rick’s Desert Grill (3-minute walk) and Rick’s Restaurant & Bakery (5-minute walk). The quirky Billy Reed’s (3-minute drive) is a dark, velvet-laden spot serving breakfast, lunch, dinner and cocktails.
The cheekily named Hair of the Dog Saloon (4-minute drive) is an English-style pub with oodles of personality that’s a little on the divey side. Toucan’s Tiki Bar (7-minute walk) is the spot to catch drag shows. Truss & Twine (3-minute drive) is as much of a hotspot as its sister spot, Workshop Kitchen + Bar, located right next door.
WHY WE LIKE IT
The resort caters to pleasure seekers. The wide offering of packages may appeal to families, but the decor and dining options are terrific for adult groups, like bachelor and bachelorette parties. (The Riviera hosts a ton of weddings, too.) There’s nothing subtle about the design choices at The Riviera, which makes the place feel like a boutique resort.