BACKSTORY: From the official Palm Springs Riviera website:
1937-38: Palm Springs Incorporates and The Chi-Chi Club in operation with Irwin Schuman as owner. In 1957,
1957: Irwin Schuman, owner of the Chi Chi Club, purchases land for the Riviera and develops plans for the hotel. In
1958-59: The Riviera opens for business and is an instant hit with the business elite. It was the only hotel in the United States at the time to be built in a spoke wheel shape, a unique shape which would fit into the psychedelic culture of the 60’s because of its communal shape.
1960's: The Riviera was a hotbed for swinging '60s culture (propelled by the advent of the birth control pill and a departure from conservative values). The communal style of the property was synonymous with the ‘60s values. Some of its notable history includes it being a staple hang out for the “Rat Pack,” a place where Elvis Presley visits with his band, and the the hotel was featured in the 1963 film “Palm Springs Weekend” where actress Connie Stevens had her rendezvous lunch by the pool with actor Robert Conrad. In addition, Desi Arnaz orchestra performed here in the mid-60’s, and sex symbol of the decade Raquel Welch performed here with Bob Hope in the late-60’s. Other classic Big Band era bands who performed at The Riviera include Vido Musso Big Band, Stan Kenton orchestra, Tommy Dorsey and Count Basie Big Bands among others. Trini Lopez, a longtime PS resident, performed hits like "Lemon Tree" and "If I Had A Hammer" in 1968. The Grand Ballroom held numerous concerts including the Teen Concert in the late-60’s featuring The Association and The Turtles as a promotion for the then Top 40 station KDES. Sonny and Cher frequented the hotel at the height of their career as a duo. Sonny, with a soft spot for the Riviera, would later kick off his tennis tournament and open his famed restaurant on the property. Nancy Sinatra stayed at the Riviera while filming the motorcycle movie, "The Wild Angels" in 1966.
1970's—1990's: The 60’s give way to a more mellow 70’s culture as the Riviera becomes more of a family hotel in keeping with the theme of that generation Sinatra hosts several “Love Ins” in 78’ and 80’ - fundraisers that had Frank donning an apron and cooking pasta sauce in the Riviera kitchen. During this time, Sonny Bono Hosted a Celebrity Tennis Tournament in 1988. Singer Jim Messina, of Loggins and Messina, performed at the event. In the late 80’s, Sonny Bono’s Italian restaurant was opened here. An additional location also opened on trendy Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles based on the success of the hotel location. Sinatra performed in the Grand Ballroom 88’ as he opened the show with "Come Rain or Come Shine." First Gala for the Frank Sinatra Charity Event Fundraiser for the Desert Hospital (now Palm Springs Regional Medical Center on Indian Canyon)—supporting players in the show included Vic Damone, Buddy Greco, and Diahann Carroll.
Irwin Schuman passes in 1983, having worked inside his glass office at Riviera from the time the hotel opened in 1959 right up until his death.
The Riviera Hosts R&B New Years eve in the Grand Ballroom with Beyonce, Jay-Z & Ice T in the late 90’s
2000—Present: The Riviera is featured on The Palm Springs Historical Tour due to its unique design and historical value
2003: Grand Re-Opening in September with screening of "Palm Springs Weekend” (1963) tribute movie with many of the Stars of the movie there in attendance—Connie Stevens was one of them and she gave a speech to the crowd of over 1000 people about all her fun days at the Riviera in the 1960's and beyond
2006: Noble House Hotels & Resorts purchases The Riviera Palm Springs from The Carpenter’s Union (previous owners included Hilton and Radisson over the years)
Fall 2008 Unveil: The New Riviera brings back the glamour and excitement of the halcyon days of the 60’s