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Coachella swells flock to opening night at the Ritz-Carlton Rancho Mirage

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It was definitely a posh event with well-shod and designer-draped denizens of the Valley arriving in Bentleys, Rolls Royces, Mercedes and other high-priced wheels to attend the gala opening of much delayed Ritz-Carlton Rancho Mirage. (Some of the six-inch heels worn probably cost more than a suite at the hotel and we won’t even discuss the price tag on the togs. The locals do clean up well).

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Seven years in the re-making (they redid a former hotel) The hilltop property returned to life May 15 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony featuring corporate executives and local luminaries. “It is a thrill to celebrate a new U.S. opening, and to bring The Ritz-Carlton brand to the amazing Coachella Valley,” said Chris Gabaldon of The Ritz-Carlton. “We look forward to creating fabulous Ritz-Carlton memories at this fascinating, modern, dynamic destination,” Gabaldon continued.

We went for drinks with a friend. It was a hot night all around and we sat outside on the terrace of State Fare (the main restaurant until another opens in October) mesmerized by the view of the mountains and the startling landscaping of the area around the pool. Richard had a perfectly poured Hendrick's martini, the Diva did a Bon Climat Chard, our friend opted for a soda. We snacked on Caifornia artisan charcuterie and with ripe cheeses; vegetable spreads and grilled flatbread and other delights.

The hotel's dramatic décor reflects the chic, casual open-air SoCal lifestyle. One can tell at first look that the outdoor area will become a hot spot for weddings, Nearly all of the 244 rooms feature large patios and terraces, some with their own fire pits and views of the dramatic San Jacinto Mountains.

We didn’t tour the property but we learned from the fact sheet that the hotel hosts a 25,000-square-foot Ritz-Carlton Spa retreat with 15 treatment rooms, a complete Fitness Center, movement studios, private whirlpools, rain and Vichy showers, eucalyptus-infused steam and sauna facilities, an outdoor meditation mesa, and an outdoor co-ed whirlpool with waterfall and mountain views.

The State Fare Bar & Kitchen with its open galley looks like it can create some pretty tasty meals (we sampled some tasty ones during cocktail hour). For golf enthusiasts, The Ritz-Carlton, Rancho Mirage has secured guest access to premier courses and clubs in the Valley, while nearby tennis, hiking on 20 miles of mountain trails, and luxury shopping and cultural experiences also may be enjoyed within minutes of the luxurious new retreat.

Rates at the Ritz-Carlton, Rancho Mirage are normally off the charts but there is selection of opening celebration package rates starting at $379 per night. Reservations can be made online at http://www.ritzcarlton.com/ranchomirage, by calling 1 (800) 241-3333, or by contacting a travel professional. You also can connect with the resort on Facebook as well, at http://www.facebook.com/RitzCarltonRanchoMirage.

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