March 7, 2017

If you were a Hollywood star visiting  Palm Springs in the 1960s, you stayed at The Riviera. It was that simple.


Though architect Irwin Shuman fashioned the resort in 1959 to echo the opulent hotels in Las Vegas, it was nestled in Palm Springs, the go-to desert playground for celebrities of that era. Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin were known to lounge by the pool, and Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, and Sonny and Cher were also guests in their heyday. It was an oasis of glamour and glitz in the Southern California heat.


In today’s world, however, when notable guests include Beyonce and Jay-Z, the hotel knew it needed to reflect the style of contemporary Palm Springs — a playful blend of eclectic and bohemian design — all while incorporating a whisper of nostalgia with vibrant colors and midcentury furniture. The creative firm that would make it happen: Miami-based Rose Ink Workshop.


“The previous design was a glam, Vegas-y throwback to the Rat Pack years,” says creative director Liubasha Rose. “It was too much sensory-overload and not relaxed or relaxing enough. We needed to create an atmosphere that fit in Palm Springs.”


When guests first enter the hotel’s reception area, their attention is drawn to a boxwood wall, which subtly leads them to the Landing Lobby Bar. There, visitors are immediately enveloped in a refreshing rush of green, emphasizing The Riviera’s status as an oasis, with lush palm leaf pillows and mint walls. A touch of retro style appears in zig-zag carpets and mod chandeliers.


The nature-inspired theme continues in Cantala, the hotel’s dining destination that offers a cozy getaway layered with deep hues of forest green, rattan, cork and earthy brown. Cabinets are filled with terra-cotta pots holding moss and cacti, juxtaposed against Peter Beard-inspired photo art.


Outdoors, the dining tables extend beneath canopies of ficus trees, from which woven baskets dangle for a romantic and enchanting ambiance.


In the lobby arcade, a variety of small lounges each possess its own identity, but remain united by a green strip of carpet that runs through the space — and eventually to each guest room. Patterns, textures and color are layered among a collection of art inspired by the desert.


“Leaning on the aesthetic vibe of Slim Aarons’ photographs, the new design is mid-century, vibrant, playful and whimsical,” says Rose.


Once guests are ready for an evening nightcap, the dark and moody Gypsy Rose lounge will seduce with pink velvet armchairs, classic Thonet café chairs and crystal sconces, custom-made by Stone & Rose — all topped with brass accents for a touch of gypsy glamour.


By Kelsey Kloss