Having recently booked clients at the Ritz Carlton Rancho Mirage, who raved about it, I decided to pack my Husband and 2 kids (ages 7 and 10) up for a short family vacation and go experience it for myself.
Some of you are probably thinking that I am CRAZY for wanting to head to the desert in the heat of the Summer. However, living by the coast in Los Angeles, we get to experience the beach…A LOT. So, we decided to embark on a “hot” new adventure.
We piled into the car and set off on the easy 2 ½ hour drive to the desert. When we first turned left onto Frank Sinatra Drive, where the hotel is located, the kids squealed in delight at the fountain and palm trees located at the crossroads. About a minute in to driving up the hill and a slight turn to the left, the beautiful Ritz Carlton was revealed, in all it’s glory, etched into the mountainous hillside.
As soon as we pulled up in front of the main entrance to the hotel, we were immediately greeted by the valet staff who opened our doors, gave us ice cold water and helped us with our bags into the lobby. As we waited to check in we were offered champagne and fresh fruit infused water.
We got our key and headed to our upgraded Desert View Room (my clients receive a complimentary one category upgrade at time of booking). We were located on the ground floor, right by an exit door to the lawn and family pool. At first, I was worried that we would hear people coming and going all night but it was absolutely fine and not noisy at all. In fact, for the hotel being completely full, it was incredibly quiet and peaceful in our room. The views of the desert and mountains in the background were gorgeous and we had a beautiful private terrace to sit out on and drink our coffee in the morning whilst taking in the woodsy, warm desert smell and admiring the beautiful vistas.
Once we got settled our first stop was the family pool where we had a private cabana reserved. I highly recommend reserving a cabana, especially if you are with kids. There are only four by the family pool so this should definitely be done well in advance, especially if you are staying over a weekend.
The cost is $225 for the day (up until 10pm) at the family pool. It’s really nice to have your own fridge (stocked with soft drinks and iced water), a ceiling fan and a TV for the kids to watch when they get tired or bored of the pool. The cost of the cabana at the adult pool is $275 per day – yes there is a smaller adult only pool too, with unbelievable vistas and also four cabanas!
It was definitely hot but with refreshing misters placed all around the sun loungers and a nice cold drink it was actually very pleasant. We would just dip in and out of the pool to cool off.
The poolside bar and service were excellent. The staff were very attentive and would even come check on you, in the pool, to see if you wanted anything. They were constantly replenishing the pile of towels to be used by guests. I also liked the fact that there was a basket with complimentary swim diapers, magazines to read and a glass jug of iced lemon water.
Right next to the family pool was an astroturf lawn with games such as bocce ball, giant jenga, sack toss and giant dominoes. The kids loved this area and if you book one of the terrace fire pit resort view rooms you can walk directly out to this from your room or sit on your terrace and watch the kids play.
Just to the right of the lawn, is the Ritz Kids Club (open 10am to 6pm) where you can drop children, ages 5-12, for a fun day of activities, including lunch, for $50 (or $25 if you drop them after 3pm) whilst you get some alone time by the adult only pool or enjoy a spa treatment.
There is also a teen room (unsupervised), right next door with ping pong, a pool table, a movie theater room with family friendly DVD’s, 4 X-Boxes with monitors to play computer games and board games. Older kids can hang out here or you can take younger kids to play here as long as a parent stays to supervise. This section is open till 10pm and is especially great for teens to go hang out whilst the parents are enjoying dinner or drinks.
Whilst there is plenty to do at the hotel and you really don’t have to ever leave if you don’t want to, it is really nice to get out and explore the surrounding area. The iconic downtown Palm Springs is just a 20 minute drive away and has some amazing restaurants and bars. We were lucky enough to secure a table at the James Beard award winning restaurant Workshop Kitchen & Bar. I love sophisticated restaurants that have a cool, hip vibe but are still kid friendly. Whilst they didn’t have a children’s menu they were able to make a delicious wood fired cheese pizza for the kids. If you have adventurous eaters, like mine, they will steal all your food anyway as it is all SO good.
After a delicious dinner and a walk down North Palm Canyon Drive we headed back to the hotel to be welcomed back by wine, fresh fruit, cookies and cupcakes in our room (all of my clients will receive a complimentary amenity, similar to this, depending on their likes and dislikes
The next day we decided to venture out early and hit the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, up to Mount San Jacinto State Park and miles of gorgeous hiking trails. We left around 9:40am and, by the time we had parked, arrived just in time for the second tram departure (they open at 10am during the week and 8am on weekends and on this day the trams left every 15 minutes) What an awesome experience this was for the whole family.
It is 30 degrees cooler at the top of the tramway (8,516 feet elevation) so it is such a great reprieve from the desert heat and PERFECT hiking temperature. They have easy nature trails, moderate & hard hiking trails and unbelievable panoramic views of the high country including several peaks, over 10,000 feet, off the Desert View Trail. This trail is approximately a 2 ½ mile loop and was perfect for us with the kids.
There was so much to see and do and my 7 year old son found a new love for “bouldering” with his Dad. I highly recommend taking a picnic or plenty of snacks and water as the food at the Mountain Station is not the best. Luckily, we had eaten a huge, delicious breakfast back at the Ritz Carlton (complimentary for my clients) so we were able to keep going for quite a while.
Around 2pm, after soaking in all the beauty, we headed back down into the desert and into town to grab a late lunch. A friend, who used to live in Palm Springs, recommended a restaurant called Lulu and we were not disappointed. It was such a fun, kitschy place representing everything I imagined Palm Springs to be, back in the day. Great food and great cocktails (try the seafood pasta with a grapefruit paloma) …Well, we WERE on vacation.
After this late, lazy lunch we headed back to the hotel for more Cabana time and family fun. Much later that evening we grabbed a light dinner in the hotel bar where the waitress gave the kids complimentary smores kits to roast over one of the fire pits. We then headed back to our room to watch America’s Got Talent from our SUPER comfy beds.
All I can say is WOW. Thank you Ritz Carlton for making our family vacation at your oasis in the desert so special. We went in with high hopes for this hotel but I can honestly say we came out even more thrilled with our latest find and ready to go back for more.
I highly recommend this hotel as being suitable for EVERYONE. Family vacation, couples, girls/guys trips, weddings, honeymoons and business retreats. The service is top notch and they really take care of everyone so well, as a luxury hotel should.
Below is a list of the perks and complimentary amenities you currently get when booking the Ritz Carlton Rancho Mirage with Travel By Hart:
- Upgrade at time of booking in select room categories (Sunday – Thursday, June 5 – Sep 29, 2017)
- Full breakfast daily for up to two in-room guests, served in restaurant (up to $70 per room per day)
- $100 USD equivalent Resort or Hotel credit to be utilized during stay (not combinable, not valid on room rate, no cash value if not redeemed in full)
- Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability
- Complimentary Wi-Fi
I can also get similar perks at ANY Ritz Carlton hotels, resorts or reserve properties worldwide.
Feel free to look at more information about the Ritz Carlton Rancho Mirage here.
Jessica is luxury Travel Advisor based in California. She is a Mother and experienced traveler who is passionate about curating travel experiences for adventure-seekers who want to explore the world in style. Read what it's like to work with Jess.