Ritz_Carlton_Club_Rancho_Mirage

Despite a warm invitation, sometimes mi casa no es su casa. My friends Brad and Jennifer—millennials from San Francisco who made a small fortune selling an app they designed in a rabid social media bidding war a few years ago—are Ritz-Carlton loyalists who would never dream of staying overnight anywhere else. But as Club® Access converts, it wasn’t until very recently—when our Ritz-Carlton unveiled its very own Club® Lounge—that they swung into town for a few nights of fun and friendship with yours truly.

For the uninitiated, the Ritz-Carlton’s Club® Access grants guests entry to an exclusive, intimate Club® Lounge, which offers not only sumptuous seating in a refined, subdued setting but five distinct food presentations daily—not to mention a standard of personal service that guarantees that a guest’s every need is not only satisfied but anticipated.

Brad and Jennifer’s review of their experience at the Rancho Mirage property’s third-floor Club® Lounge was nothing but raves in spades—as is my own! Checking in just prior to cocktail hour on a recent weekday, my North Cal pals invited me to join them at their Club®. Attendants Jacqueline and Kimberly made us feel more than welcome, and attended to every detail. Tickled that I was such a newbie to this level of hospitality, their pride and joy shone through as they introduced me to the specialized business center, the private TV lounge, and the range of amenities: local and national newspapers, a full bar (from aperitifs and wines to spirits and cordials), and a Candy Wall replete with an astonishing array of freshly baked cookies, old childhood favorite sweets, and local specialties such as Brandini Toffee (made right here in Rancho Mirage).

As Brad, Jennifer, and I cozied up by the fire, we caught up over hot and cold hors-d’oeuvres of crab sushi, mini Beef Wellingtons, a stunning selection of cheeses, and more. Jacqueline and Kimberly were never out of sight—close enough to refill our glasses the minute they were empty, but sufficiently far away as to preserve our privacy. As we left for a dip in the hot tub and a swim in the heated pool, Jacqueline playfully informed us that the pleasure of our company was required at dessert and cordials hour (8:00 to 10:00 p.m.), and when we returned within the appointed hour, she and Kimberly made it their duty to ply us with tiramisu, a smores chocolate mousse, a sweet potato crème brulée, and decaf cappuccinos—Grand Marnier in a crystal snifter on the side, of course.

I frankly didn’t want to leave, ever! And while Brad and Jennifer invited me to join them for both breakfast and lunch the next day (where they were tended to by the lovely Julie and Miriam), I politely declined, telling them, “Someone’s got to work around here!”

As any reasonable person would suspect, the Ritz-Carlton Club® Access does come at an additional fee (a surcharge from $200 per night for two people, and an additional cost of $50 per outside guest—AKA moi—per entrance). But truly, how can one place a price tag on the value of having a pair of personal concierges whose mission is to warrant that no matter what your wish, anything and everything is possible when you are the guest of the ladies and gentlemen of the Ritz-Carlton? www.ritzcarlton.com/ranchomirage

Ritz Carlton Rancho Mirage Ritz Club