If you’re like most people across the country, the middle of winter means you’re buried under snow, battling sub-zero temperatures or getting washed away by an atmospheric river. Why not treat yourself to a weekend escape? The Ritz-Carlton Rancho Mirage, nestled in the foothills of the San Jacinto Mountains and just a few miles from its famous neighbor Palm Springs, provides a luxurious getaway from winter’s grasp.
Secluded from town and built into a hillside overlooking the Coachella Valley, the hotel’s design complements the surrounding natural landscape while offering its guests striking views of the desert floor and surrounding peaks. Its architecture and interior design are beautiful, as you’d expect from The Ritz-Carlton, but also give a nod to the desert scenery surrounding it.
Upon arrival, my wife and I were greeted at the grand driveway and escorted to the front desk for check-in. Our room was beautiful and located on the ground floor near the pool. In addition to luxurious amenities, our room also had its own outdoor fire pit with Adirondack chairs that were perfect for enjoying our morning coffee or a glass of wine at sunset. Even in January, the weather was pleasant enough to be outside with a light jacket or blanket (provided in the room). The desert sunrise and sunset are especially stunning with vibrant hues of pink, orange, red, and purple.
A visit to the spa is a must! The facilities are world-class with separate waiting areas for him and her complete with therapeutic showers, steam rooms, saunas, reading rooms, and outdoor spas. If you prefer relaxing with your significant other, there’s a co-ed area, as well. Access to the spa facilities for the entire day is included with any spa service, so you could (and should) spend hours relaxing and enjoying the amenities.
The spa services themselves are excellent, too. My wife and I enjoyed their famous couple’s massage and it was absolute heaven. The spa offers a variety of massage services and styles along with facials, detoxifying skin exfoliation, and wraps. The spa also features a gym so you can get a workout in before your service.
The resort offers two restaurants on site: the State Fare Bar & Kitchen and their signature steakhouse, The Edge. State Fare is a great option for breakfast and lunch, offering a breakfast buffet and an array of sweet and savory menu items (our favorite was the breakfast burrito). We paired our breakfast with a Bloody Mary from the cocktail bar…highly recommend!
Dinner at The Edge is an incredible dining experience and worth the trip alone. We arrived a few minutes before our reservation to have a cocktail at their mixology bar. I had the Manhattan and Lauren (my wife) ordered a fantastic dirty martini. From the bar, we were able to take in the restaurant’s amazing views for the first time. The Edge is built on a cliff at the property’s edge (hence the name) with a wall of glass windows looking out on the valley 650 feet below. The spectacular view set the tone for the evening and the meal we were about to enjoy.
Once we were escorted to our table, the knowledgeable waitstaff guided us through the menu and specials for the evening. The first thing we learned was that every steak they serve is prime beef, which makes up the top 2% of all beef served in the US. The Edge is also the only restaurant in the valley to dry-age their bone-in meats in house, which further increases the tenderness, marbling and flavor.
After much deliberation, we decided to go with their signature 32-ounce Australian Wagyu ribeye as recommended to us, and it did not disappoint! The steak was broiled to a perfect medium rare in their 1,400-degree oven and served tomahawk-style with the rib still attached. The attention to detail, preparation and quality of the meat produced what was literally the best steak I’ve ever tasted.
To round out the meal, we started with a fabulous grilled octopus appetizer and accompanied our main course with delicious potatoes au gratin. After dinner, we had our choice of a complimentary digestif. We chose the Graham’s Fine Ruby Port to help settle our bellies. We still managed to have room for dessert, and shared a fantastic homemade cheesecake. We were expecting a great meal, but ended up having one of the finest dinners of our lives. The Edge steakhouse is a must-try and we will be back again soon.
The hotel offers a number of on-site activities for those looking to do more than relax by the pool and enjoy the spa. Each morning at 7am, a recreation attendant leads a two-mile hike along the Chuckwalla Trail near the property. It’s the perfect time to get outside to see the sunrise and beat the heat during summer months. The trail is beautiful and moderate in difficulty, with incredible views of the Coachella Valley and San Jacinto Mountains. Our guide was very knowledgeable and pointed out local fauna and described the history of the area.
Just outside the State Fare restaurant, a number of lawn games are laid out each day including corn hole, croquet and a few others. If you’re into golf, there are more than 100 golf courses within a few miles, including many famous courses in Palm Springs like Mission Hills Country Club, Desert Willow and Indian Wells Golf Resort.
Palm Springs itself is only 20 minutes away and offers endless activities from architecture tours, art exhibits, and a great bar and restaurant scene. The famous Palm Springs Aerial Tramway is also nearby and will take you from the desert floor to the pristine Mt. San Jacinto State Park.
Plan your stay
Whether you’re looking for a quick weekend getaway or want to spend a week out of the cold, The Ritz-Carlton, Rancho Mirage is the perfect luxury retreat.
For reservations and to view their monthly specials and plan your winter escape, visit ritzcarlton.com/en/hotels/california/rancho-mirage.