Marilyn Monroe on display in Palm Springs

Forever Marilyn is unveiled in Palm Springs

Read it here:  http://www.examiner.com/article/palm-springs-immortalizes-marilyn-monroe-with-dramatic-26-foot-bronze-statue

Advertisements

Virgin America adds service to Palm Springs from SFO and JFK

Palm Springs

 Virgin America starts flying to Palm Springs  (PSP) from San Francisco (SFO) this December, wish it were LAX instead, PS is the Diva’s kind of town. Anyway you are now free to order tickets on line at www.virginamerica.com.

Palm Springs, “Hollywood’s Playground,”  and Virgin America are a match made in the friendly skies. Both foster a pseudo quirky personality with a touch of flamboyance.
The desert resort area offers a moderate climate from now through May, but heats up big time after that. There’s lots to do there from world class golf and shopping to entertainment venues. 
Palm Springs marks the 16th  destination in the award-winning airline’s growing network. As the only California-based airline, Virgin America will bring its unique brand of low-fare competition to the PSP market with a seasonal daily flight schedule operating from December 15, 2011-April 30, 2012.

The airline will offer daily nonstop intra-California flights from SFO to PSP and daily same-plane through-flights from New York to PSP. To mark its expansion to the ultimate winter getaway, today the carrier also launches a “Get Some Playtime” fare sale with SFO-PSP fares from $99* and JFK-SFO-PSP fares from $199.*

 “As the only California-based airline, we’re pleased to launch seasonal service to one of our state’s most popular getaway spots – Palm Springs and the surrounding desert resort cities,” said David Cush, President and CEO of Virgin America. “Our expansion to the region will inject some much-needed competition into the air travel market.

VA offers custom-designed mood-lit cabins and inventive amenities like fleetwide WiFi, power outlets and touch-screen entertainment at every seat. The Red™ entertainment platform offers guests their own nine inch touch-screen TV with 35 on-demand films, live TV, Google Maps, videogames, seat-to-seat chat, music videos, a 3000 track MP3 catalog and an on-demand menu – so flyers can order a cocktail or snack right from their seatback any time during a flight.

 “Virgin America is a world class brand and Palm Springs is a world class destination and we are thrilled to join together and provide this new air service at Palm Springs International Airport,” said Palm Springs Mayor Steve Pougnet.

 

“We work hard to deliver a high caliber airport to all of our tenant airlines and we are confident that Virgin America and its guests will be very pleased with the service provided at PSP Airport,” said Thomas Nolan, Executive Director of the PSP Airport.

 Palm Springs vistas

In honor of its newest destination, Virgin America is offering a system-wide “Get Some Playtime” fare sale. “Get Some Playtime” fares are now available for purchase at www.virginamerica.com and at 1.877.FLY.VIRGIN.** Tickets must be purchased by 11:59pm PDT on September 23, 2011. Main Cabin short-haul fares start from $49* and new SFO-PSP fares start from $99* (restrictions, taxes and fees apply).

 

“Known for our weather, unrivalled golfing, world class resorts and globally-recognized festivals like the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, the Palm Springs market is a perfect fit for Virgin America’s chic new flight service,” said Scott White, President and CEO of Palm Springs Desert Resort Communities CVA. “The airline’s new nonstop and through flights from both SFO and JFK will lower fares and improve service in our market – and allow more travelers to enjoy all that our unique region has to offer.”

 

Palm Springs, California and the other cities that make up the Desert Resorts destination, is the ultimate desert oasis playground for outdoor adventure, arts and culture, gaming and entertainment. The desert climate guarantees sunny weather and the cities are nestled at the base of the majestic San Jacinto Mountains. Palm Springs, Coachella, Cathedral City, Rancho Mirage, Desert Hot Springs, Indian Wells, Indio, La Quinta and Palm Desert offer streets lined with palm trees, the best in shopping, art galleries and museums and renowned outdoor dining – all amidst breathtaking scenery. In addition to luxury resorts and world-class golfing, the region has in recent years welcomed an influx of hip boutique hotels and landmark events like the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. Palm Springs has a history as the holiday home of many Hollywood stars from the 1940s on – and is known as the center of “Desert Modernism” mid-century modern architecture. For more on the region, visit: www.PalmSpringsUSA.com

 

In just four years flying, the San Francisco-based Virgin America has expanded to 16 destinations (including PSP), created 2,100 new jobs and swept the major travel awards, including “Best Domestic Airline” in Travel + Leisure’s World’s Best Awards in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 and “Best Domestic Airline” in Condé Nast Traveler’s 2008, 2009 and 2010 Readers’ Choice Awards. The carrier’s new aircraft offer a host of upscale amenities, including custom-designed seating, mood-lit cabins, power outlets and the Red platform – the most advanced in-flight entertainment system in the skies.

 In addition to a Main Cabin that offers each guest a personal TV, power outlets and a leather seat with a deeper, more comfortable pitch, the airline’s First Class offers plush white leather seating with 55 inches of pitch, 165 degrees of recline and lumbar massagers. The carrier’s Main Cabin Select option offers 38-inches of pitch, free food and cocktails, an all-access pass to media content, dedicated overhead bins and priority check-in/boarding. For photos of the airline’s unique aircraft: http://www.virginamerica.com/about/airline-photos/virgin-america-pictures.html

For video b-roll of the destination and Virgin America aircraft: http://videostorage.prnewswire.com/storage2/preview/52267b_preview.wmv

 

With seasonal service from December 15, 2011-April 30, 2012, Virgin America’s daily PSP schedule is as follows:

FROM

TO

DEP

ARR

STOPS

 

PSP

SFO

1850

2025

NONE

 

SFO

PSP

1635

1805

NONE

 
           

FROM

TO

DEP

ARR

STOPS

 

PSP

JFK

1850

0555 (+1)

1

 

JFK

PSP

1155

1805

1

 
                 
                 
                 
                 
                 
                 

Spa Struck By Displays at Spa Magazine’s Annual Event

The annual Spa 
Magazine Spring Event , which yours truly never misses,  was certainly a star-struck affair featuring  headliner spas and cosmetics companies gathered at the posh Montage Beverly Hills Hotel.

The Diva samples a new treatment from Terranea Spa (one of the spa sponsors), it felt so good

Sheila Cluff, owner/founder The Oaks at Ojai, promotes new menu and cutting edge treatments offered at her spa.Sheila showed  her chef’s yummy, 52.6 calorie dessert, a divine chocolate mousse made with tofu. The Oaks at Oaji, www.oaksspa.com.

Miraval Spa also showed its “ground breaking treatments” offered at the Tucson, Arizona resort.  www.miravalresorts.com

Mii Amo at Enchantment, a destination spa in Sedona Boynton Canyon, gave out this little sampler, along with information on its new “Journeys”: Healthy Body Balance, Rites of Passage and Mii amo Master.

Glen Ivy Hot Springs in SoCalm a 150-yea-old  rejuvenation spa promoted the red clay mud baths, underground moisturizing cabes and massages done under oak trees. www.glenivy.com.

The  Huntingon Spa at the Langham Huntingon formerly a Ritz Carlton (where I’ve spa-ed happily in the past), talked about the spa’s facelift and the Chaun Body + Soul philosophy that incorporates traditional Chinese medicine (acupuncture and cupping) for a holistical experience. www.thehuntingtonspa.com.

Until last night I was unfamiliar with Kohler Waters Spa.  I’d heard of the company but dnot the spa which is actually 10 years old and focuses on, you guess it, water treatments that cleanse the mind and body. www.destinationkohler.com.

One healthy getaway I am very familiar with, The Spa at The Grand Del Mar, touted the variety of natural therapies gleaned from resources of near by Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve (which we checked out and hiked through on our last visit). This is one fab spa with top notch treatments. www.thegranddelmar.com.

And the host hotel, Montage, escorted guests to their  spiffy spa for a salubrious hand, exfoliation treatment.

A Birthday Celebration at La Quinta Resort And Spa Fit for a Diva

That’s the Diva at Morgan’s at La Quinta Resort &Spa  holding up a new, spiffy backpack purse her husband gave her for her birthday. It was just one of many treats.

Seems like going to the Desert for my birthday has become a tradition. Last year I spent it with Richard (herefore mentioned husband) at Morongo. And that was great,too.Breakfast on the balcony.

La Quinta sets off a magical charm when you enter the Spanish-style lobby to register, everybody’s so nice, the atmosphere so relaxed and you feel more like you out of the country than just a 2 hour drive away from Los Angeles.That’s a view from the Freeway.

I just posted the whole article, save for a review of Morgan’s–the resorts fine dining restaurant, which is worth the drive from LA just for dinner–on my examiner.com site, plesase check it out:  http://www.examiner.com/x-23074-LA-Insider-Travel-Examiner 

I’ll give you a few highlights:(The decades old resort has nearly 800 guest rooms of various sizes and shapes, all with flat screens, fireplaces, some balconies,some patios, some private pools and Jacuzzis, all charming and comfortable and priced from $199 in season to a $5,000 for the top suite).

What’s to Like:

Bedding down in our Starlight Casita (the maids made a special welcome swan out of towels) with a balcony providing magical mountain views and privacy for relaxing or enjoying room service breakfast. Great fritatas and perfect scrambled eggs.

Dinner in Twenty6 (delicious salmon), massage (Jeremy went deep) and steam at the charming,  23,000 square foot Spa; working out in the Diva-approved fitness center (has all the right stuff).

Swimming in the clean, warm pool that’s just a few steps down stairs from our bedroom. Took a photo but it got deleted, bummer. But trust me, the pools are great.

Dinner at Morgan’s

Transcendental atmosphere framed by snow-capped mountains, fertile with grapefruit trees, stately palms, plants, flowers with musical accompaniment of chirping birds.

Lots of action with locals flocking for drinks and/or dinner. Lots of hotel guests, energy, yet plenty of privacy.

The nice people at the resort.

Dislikes: the $27 resort fee; the $25 entry fee for the Spa if you’re not getting a treatment; the chintzy towels provided in the room for use at the pool. Need big,fluffy ones.

Factoids: Once a maven for movie stars and moguls from Frank Capra to Greta Garbo, La Quinta Resort & Spa provides the perfect escape from LA, or out of town. You can fly into Palm Springs Regional Airport, to LAX or drive (go to www.google.com for map from your area).

Location: 49-499 Eisenhower Drive,La Quinta, CA. 800-59-3828, www.laqunitaresort.com

I’ll be reviewing Morgan’s at www.thediningdiva.wordpress.com and at my examiner.com site, because it’s too good to share space with.

Let’s Raise a Toast to Ol’ Blue Eyes at the Rivieria Resort & Spa

In a fitting tribute to Palm Spring’s favorite son, Frank Sinatra,

Photo courtesy of www.bing.com

Photo courtesy of http://www.bing.com

  The  Riviera Resort & Spa in Palm Springs  is featuring  favorite cocktails of  Ol’  Blue Eye’s and his pack beginning on the 14th of March. 
 

 Little known fact:   Frank Sinatra signaled the start of cocktail hour by raising a flag pole, situated between two palms on his Palm Springs Estate. Once the flag was up the rat pack knew it was time to party.

 In honor the Ol’ Blue Eyes’ ritual, the Rivieria Resort & Spa, in Palm Springs, continues  the tradition with daily happy hour specials at the Bikini Bar with innovative cocktails along with a class Jack Daniel’s cocktail.  The hotel is also ringing in the tippling hour with Sunday specials at sidebar and live entertainment from the Art of Sax on Sundays, with mixologists concocting adult drinks like the Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Cherry Polka Dot Bikini (Grey Goose, Le Citron Vodka, Bacardi Cherry rum and lemonade. Also on the menu. The Candy Man, Sammy Davis Jr’s favorite  Rum Daiquiri (Bacardi blended with mango, strawberry, peach or lime; and Sinatra’s favorite Jack Daniel’s Single
Barrel Whiskey cut with water over ice, poured in an old-fashioned glass.

Bikini Bar’s open for Happy Hour from 5 to 6 PM. 

Live Entertainment from Art of Sax:   Sundays, 5 to 9 p.m.

Sidebar Small Plate Special:  Sundays, 5 to 7 p.m.

 Riviera Resort & Spa, 1600 N. Indian Canyon Dr. Palm Springs, (760) 327-8311, www.psriviera.com

 

 

A Diva’s Birthday at Morongo

frontnight1My husband surprised me with two nights at Morongo Casino Resort & Spa and it was truly a surprise. I loved it. I was jonsesing for gambling but didn’t feel like flying to Vega$ baby so  he found a special Player’s Package on line (came with free gambling money, some meals, room and a few extras), he also booked me an afternoon of spa treatments spa2and voila the perfect solution. It was one of the best pool2birthday celebrations.  I became a member of the Winner’s Club where you get cash back and/or perks for your play. I’m happy to report that I actually left a winner. Got a payoff on the $1 slot.

The hotel has a friendly, non-Vegas-like ambiance. Our room was huge, spanking clean and had an awesome view of the mountains from a large window.

There’s two large pools, great sunning deck area, cabanas, a nicely equipped gym and super spa with steams, saunas, whirlpool and cold plunge.  My massage was excellent and also part of the package, and after looking at the prices, I highly recommend getting a package.  Massages at the Sage Spa run from $85 to $205!

  The food was better than expected, especially the breakfast buffet.  The penthouse restaurant has awesome views of the desert but since it was so warm out and the room is enclosed we decided to go into Palm Springs where we ate outdoors  at Kaiser Grill, which  turned out great because a street fair was in progress and we had front seats. It felt like a major celebration with hunderds of people, live music,  and revelry.  Kaiser Grille, an inexpensive indoor/outdoor has a swinging bar  and excellent barkeep and wait staff.  I had a glass of top Chard at the bar for only $3.50, can’t beat that these days (the wines by the glass at Morongo were nearly 3x that). 

Morongo is located at 49500 Seminole Drive, Cabazon, CA 92230–it’s on an Indian reservation. www.morongocasinoresort.com.

Archie Comics Presents Betty and Veronica at the Rivieria, No Joke

BETTY AND VERONICA” STOP IN AT THE RIVIERA RESORT & SPA
Palm Springs Showcased in New Archie Comic Strip

The popular teen duo, Betty and Veronica hit one of my favorite Palm Springs spots: The Riviera Resort & Spa–with the debut of a zany new comic on April Fool’s Day.

The ultra-glam resort is the perfect place to launch the new Archie comic strip according to Kevin Herbst, Riviera’s director of sales and marketing. The recently refurbished mid-century resort’s “Palm Springs Weekend at The Riviera Resort & Spa” – is featured in the Betty & Veronica Digest #193. “We are thrilled to be showcased in one of the world’s most enduring and appealing comics,” said Herbst. “Like the Archie series, Riviera – with its rich history, 1960s roots and iconic design – offers a vibrant snapshot of American culture.”

The colorful comic could also be a bbonanza for Palm Springs tourism, thinks Hollywood columnist and pop historian Hal Lifson, who penned the comic, working in tandem with illustrator Rex Lindsay. “In addition to spotlighting Riviera, Betty and Veronica’s latest adventure truly showcases the best of Palm Springs, and will be sold in hundreds of high profile stores across the country.”

In the strip, BFFs Betty and Veronica leave the bucolic town of Riverdale to embark on the weekend trip of their young lives – ultimately experiencing all that Palm Springs has to offer, including breathtaking scenery from the Aerial Tram, magnificent celebrity homes and the famous Indian Trails. The friends stay at the newly upgraded Riviera – a legendary Palm Springs hot spot – indulging in lavish spa treatments and poolside fun amidst the resort’s uber-hip, 1960’s-style backdrop. They are later joined by the rest of their famous gang: Jughead, Archie and Reggie.

Launch Party Set
Hosted in conjunction with the Palm Springs Bureau of Tourism, Riviera’s lively “Comic Book Launch Party” is set for Wednesday, April 1, and will feature Victor Gorelick, editor-in-chief of Archie Comics, with rockin’ entertainment by Ron Dante, longtime lead singer of the popular bubblegum pop band, “The Archies,” and the familiar voice behind the group’s blockbuster hit from 1969, “Sugar, Sugar.”

Local Archie aficionados and area dignitaries will receive complimentary copies of the Betty & Veronica Digest (with the “Palm Springs Weekend at The Riviera” images and title emblazoned on the cover), imbibe in icy Victoria Lodge martinis and Betty Cooper shots, and take in color-splashed Archie comic clips as they flash across the flat-screen TV in the resort’s swank Starlite Lounge.

About Archie Comics
Archie Comics is an American comic book publisher, known for its enduring series featuring the fictional teenagers Archie Andrews, Betty Cooper, Veronica Lodge, Reggie Mantle and “Jughead” Jones. The Archie characters first appeared in an Archie comic book published in 1941. Nearly 70 years later, the teen friends remain a staple of entertainment for readers the world over – chronicling the trials, tribulations and triumphs of teenagers – and representing the fads, fashions and attitudes of contemporary youth.

Betty & Veronica Digest #193 is available at retail outlets and supermarkets stores across the country, as well as at the Riviera Resort & Spa gift shop. Suggested retail price: $2.49.

About Riviera Resort & Spa

Following an extensive $70 million modernization, Riviera Resort & Spa – a legendary 24-acre property that was once a playground for the likes of Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr. and Elvis Presley – reopened to the public in October 2008. The restored resort, originally 475 rooms, now features 406 masterfully-revamped guest rooms and luxury suites – outfitted with handsome retro furnishings; chic marble bathrooms; flat-screen plasma TVs; wireless Internet access and private patios or balconies – set amidst lushly-landscaped gardens with intimate courtyards. Other resort highlights include: SpaTerre, an 11,000-square-foot retreat with cross-cultural and global treatments; and an array of inventive food and beverage offerings, including the signature Circa 59; the outdoor Bikini Bar adjacent to a spectacular pool; the swank Starlite Lounge; and sidebar, offering tantalizing cocktails in an atmosphere of sleek sophistication.

Riviera Resort & Spa is located at 1600 N. Indian Canyon Dr. in Palm Springs. For further information, visit http://www.psriviera.com or 760.327.8311.

Palm Springs Goes Hollywood the Second Time Around

  

 

  patti-at-rivieraOkay your divaonthego is fed up with the May-June Gloom of Los Angeles and is checking out specials in sunny Palm Springs– the latest “It” spot for young Hollywood especially at the Colony Palms and the Riviera Resort & Spa. Both hotels, just a few blocks away from each other, cater big time to the young and restless. The Palms is slightly tamer while the Riviera bursts with wacky, chic decor and high energy.  We joined the crowd and partied hardy.

That’s me in our suite at the Riviera Hotel & Spa to the left.casita-1

Palm Springs provides the perfect quick get-away for us Angelenos.  It only takes about two hours by car to escape to this desert hot spot drenched with Hollywood mystic, hip new clubs and restaurants, shops and hotels of all styles, shapes and sizes.

The Tinsel Town connection goes back to the heyday of  Frank Sinatra’s Rat Pack and old time movie greats who frequented the area to hideaway, drink, party and even gamble (albeit illegally then, it’s legit now) in  secreted spots. 

The divaonthego’s Palm Springs fling started at the  Colony Palms—a recently restored historic structure steeped in a rather seamy past of gangsters, prostitutes, gambling and all that goes with it.  The management is hardly shy about it, either. The press kit tells all, too, like how Purple Gang mob leader Al Wertheimer built the place in 1936 where he ran a brothel and gambling house.  The place was also a very popular budget spa  called the Palms at Palms Springs until the Spanish, hacienda-style facility was restored by LA designer Martyn Lawrence Bullard .  I was a regular at the Palms and it was a little deja vu returning to the site where a slight exterior resemblance remains.

The big differences are “budget” no longer applies and the preferred customer-demographics –in the latest Palm Spring buzz words—is young, chic Hollywood. I did notice a few guests who might fit the description.  The pulse is rapid, the high-energy staff seems to have been handpicked by good looks and of course youth. The male management team is straight out of Central Casting handsome, but also quite amiable and naturally fast action.

The rooms here always lacked a view and some still do, but the designer did his best to make the interiors so welcoming you don’t notice, although a few people did comment on this.  We had a  comfortable“casita” with a big comfortable bed that practically engulfed me into a deep sleep, and a very inviting patio with a hot tub.  All rooms come with flat screen TVs, WiFi access, AC, and mini bars.

What constitues the “spa” is basically a few attractive treatment rooms (facials, massage, scalp treatments from $60-$175), there’s no sauna or steam, but there are lockers. We had massages from Michael, a very adept therapist whose technique did  the trick. The “Fitness Room” wasn’t up and running neither was the “Speakeasy”—a dungenous area reputedly frequented by the Rat Pack back in the day and will soon become a hip, hot night spot.

alt-mainThe Purple Palm Restaurant acts as the centerpiece for the hotel. Situated aside the huge, attractive pool, it offers indoor/outdoor seating, a creative menu, a fun bar and a great service staff.  The food was three to four star good, depends on what you order. My carpaccio was good and so was my halibut.  They don’t do breakfast during the week and the continental spread left a lot to be desired especially in presentation. It seemed to have just be tossed on a table with no bowls for granola or spoons for that matter. They need to work on this. Apparently they offer a full morning meal on weekends but we were there on a Friday.restaurant-new

In all your divaonthego gives the  57-room Colony Palms 4 stars for comfort, style and potential amenities (some were missing during our stay, but are “in the works”). I like the saline pool, the fire pit, poolside cabanas, oversized chaises where two can recline and the general ambience.

 Colony Palms, 572 North Indian Canyon Drive, Palm Springs, CA 92262

800-557-2187, www.colonypalms.com. Rates: from $209 to $2,000 (change seasonally). 

 We moved from the Colony Palms to the also recently renovated Riviera Resort & Spa, a wilder, edgier, larger homage to Hollywood’s past with extremely stylized interior designs and décor.  At first glance you’d think you were in Vegas sans casino. The mood is frivolous with a modern chic vibe (according to Nobel House owners of the property), lots of glam that mirrors just about everything about this storied, 24-acre, 406-room property sizzles.  I must add, the service throughout the hotel proved exceptional in every way.

 

A Mecca for movie stars, moguls and Sinatra’s Rat Pack back in the day (circa 1961), $70 million and more than four decades later,  the recreated hotel, draws from its past with Andy Warhol-inspired portraits of yesteryear stars like Frank, Dean, Sammy, Elvis et al. All  highlighted by whimsical, oversized crystal chandeliers, mirror-clad walls, light-infused pillars, lots of circular designs, huge, cushy chairs and secluded nooks. The huge, swirl-shaped  pool sets the stage with humongous chaises, private cabanas and four-poster bed-like lounges positioned around tropical foliage.img_0269

 

Your Diva loved the SpaTerre—11,000 square feet of lavish pamper space with a coed Buddha Lounge in which to zone out while waiting for your treatment (endless options from facials to exotic Javanese therapies). The area once set the stage for performances by Frank Sinatra and Marilyn Monroe.  We lounged, sipped tea, dipped in the Watsu pool and sat in the Jacuzzi before our therapists fetched us for our treatments. Mine was a blissful Balinese massage—90 minutes of pressure point pummeling with aromatherapy oils that left me tingling and zonked.  My masseuse, Jenny, explained that all treatments are designed by Nobel House, the owner/managers of the hotel, this one was especially rewarding. My husband raved about his “Transformation Facial” – and so did I when I saw how great he looked afterward, he actually glowed. I loved this spa. Only kink was a balky steam bath which doesn’t stay on all the time, but it can be fixed. There’s also an adjacent fitness center with really top quality equipment from treadmills to elliptical machines and it’s free for the using (there is a resort fee tacked onto bills, however, to cover this amenity as well as local calls etc.).

 

After our pamper sessions we swam in the pool, lazed around and headed down to the Sidebar for a before dinner drink. The barkeep proved masterful making the perfect Negroni and Martini.  We dined in Circa 59 , the 3-meal a day restaurant. Our fish course (halibut) was great, a Caesar salad, however needed help,  the dessert(three cheese cheesecake) was yummy and the service perfect. 

 

If you’re into non-traditional, off-beat, edgy and hip,  you’ll  really dig both the Colony Palms and Riviera.  What’s more you can probably get a good deal at either one at least until our flagging economy rebounds. When we checked rates at the front desk they quoted much less than the published fare.

Riviera Resort & Spa, 1600 N. Indian Canyon Drive, Palm Springs, 760-327-8311, www.psriviera.com.  Rates range from $249 per night, but call for “specials”.

 

Inviting Zen-like pool at Colony Palms Hotel

Inviting Zen-like pool at Colony Palms Hotel