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Thursday, October 5, 2017

Hotel Review: The Ritz-Carlton Rancho Mirage


A mid August stay in the Palm Springs area is not for everyone. I believe only one day of our trip was below 40C and that day was 39. The highest we got on our trip was 47C. It's because of these temps that the Palm Springs area has its low season during the summer and that means you can get hotels that normally run $500 or more per night during the winter season for much less than that. Such was the case with our trip to Palm Springs this past August where we averaged about $250 per night for a hotel that when I checked today for February stays is close to $600 per night.

We've gone to the California desert a few times and on this trip we wanted to try somewhere new. After some searching we decided on The Ritz-Carlton Rancho Mirage  a relatively new hotel to the area that was built in 2014 and I ended up booking it for us via the Fine Hotels and Resorts benefit that comes with The Platinum Card from  American Express. The price via FHR was slightly higher than booking directly with Marriott/Ritz however when you take into account the FHR benefits of a $100 food and beverage credit plus daily breakfast for 2 which they simply deducted $70 from the hotel bill each time we ate on site and the rate ended up being cheaper than booking direct.

To get to the hotel you drive up into the hills above Rancho Mirage on Frank Sinatra Drive where the hotel is somewhat secluded with a couple of gated exclusive communities overlooking the entire Palm Desert area. We rented a car and came up to the hotel valet parking to drop off our car (you don't have a choice, more on that below) and upon entering the lobby we were greeted by many employees including ones doling out free Champagne for those checking in. Check in took sometime as there was a line up of about 6 or so people ahead of us. We arrived on a Saturday and the resort was quite busy, as even though it is low season, Palm Springs does pick up somewhat on weekends with many Southern Californian residents taking a staycation in the area, not to mention we were there the last weekend of the Los Angeles area school break. So suffice to say Saturday was a bit busy but 24 hours later the resort was almost a ghost town. I would actually recommend visiting Palm Springs during the week rather than the weekend as every time we've gone we've encountered the same pattern. Saturday busy, first half of Sunday busy then everyone clears out.

On to the actual stay!

The Room
We booked a two queen room with a desert view and as a FHR booking we are supposed to receive an upgrade for free based on availability. The room we got was a two queen room with a desert view with a balcony - woohoo jackpot on the upgrade! (Hope my sarcasm is noted) Not to worry the room had lots of room and really suited our needs for the stay. Here are pictures of the room and always we'll them do the talking:


View from the balcony





As you can see the room was quite nice and the bathroom was awesome, nice and big with lots of space, separate shower and the kids had fun with the TV in there while brushing their teeth.

The Grounds
The resort itself is beautiful and affords great views over the Palm Desert. Being situated on the hills on the western side of Rancho Mirage you do have some of the best views out of any hotels in the area. The hotel boasts two pools, the main pool which is for all guests and a second which is for adults only. Outside of the busier Saturday the pool areas during our stay were really quiet and the service for food and drinks was really good! The hotel also has some great activities for kids with the Ritz Kids Club providing a pool table, ping pong and more while there were other activities available outside. Our girls stuck to playing pool mostly while mom and dad enjoyed drinks right upstairs from the kids club at State Fare Kitchen & Bar.
View of the Palm Desert from the hot tub - probably full during winter months but only saw one or two brave souls use
it in the 40+ degree weather!
The Main Pool

Dining
We dined at two of three possible options at the resort. First was State Fare Kitchen & Bar. We had numerous breakfasts here since it was part of Fine Hotels & Resorts option, had one dinner there and many nights of sitting back and enjoying great cocktails and beer.  The other dining option we also partook in was from the Air Pool Bar which is dining option around the pool. Finally the resort also has a high end steak house called The Edge which we did not try out. Overall the food was decent at the resort, nothing spectacular but not bad although my Filet Mignon at State Fare as probably the best meal I had on the whole trip.

Only one drawback
The only drawback of staying at this hotel is the lack of self parking. The hotel has valet parking only and the hotel is not on the beaten path so a car is really needed (unless of course you use Uber etc.) If you know the Rewards Canada family we up and go at a moments notice so it was somewhat of a drag to always have to call ahead 5 to 10 minutes before we wanted to leave to have our car brought up to the front entrance. It would be nice to see this hotel add a self parking option.

Overall Thoughts
The Ritz-Carlton Rancho Mirage really met our expectations and was a great hotel to stay at. The service from all the staff members was impeccable, the room met our needs and all the amenities really suited what we were looking for for wanting to get away for some relaxation during the summer months. If you can tolerate 40 to nearly 50 degree weather I would recommend the Palm Springs area for summer since its much cheaper to stay at places like the Ritz-Carlton and experience higher end luxury for what you may pay for a mid-range hotel during the Winter season.

Hotel details
The Ritz-Carlton Rancho Mirage (Book here)
Ritz-Carlton/Marriott Rewards Tier: 4
Points required for a free night (Standard) 60,000 Points
Points required for a free night (PointSaver) 50,000 Points
Cash+Points Requirement: 32,000 Points + US$260 per night for standard rooms

Talk to us! Have you stayed at the Ritz-Carlton Rancho Mirage? What are your thoughts of the hotel? Or are you planning to and looking forward to it? Let us know below! 

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