Sugar and Ice

Stay at the Omni Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa and you’re walking distance to Rancho Mirage wonders: ice skating and toffee.

Karen Graninger Hotels & Resorts

The Omni Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa puts you in close proximity to several activities.

When winter comes to the desert, it arrives in a confined 50- by 70-foot space.

Those dimensions belong to the valley’s winter wonderland — The Renova Rink at The River at Rancho Mirage, which is within walking distance when you book your stay at the Omni Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa.

Unlike colder parts of the country, outdoor ice skating has a time limit in the desert. The rink, which opened just before Thanksgiving, will offer skating until Jan. 8. There is a place to rent skates and the rink stays open until 10 p.m. on every day except Thursdays and Sundays, when it closes at 8 p.m.

If you book the Stay & Skate Winter Special, the hotel will include complimentary access to the rink. Special events at The River at Rancho Mirage include ice-skating Santa, entertainment, live music, and special surprise guests. Tickets will be based the number of registered guests per room with up to four tickets per room/per stay.

VIDEO: See the rink for yourself and how it stays frozen in the desert.

“We know [the rink] will be the most fun, family-oriented attraction for everyone across the Coachella Valley — and a special surprise for visitors spending the holidays here,” says Tammy Perezchica-Pshebylo, The River’s director of programming and marketing. “We were very thoughtful about where this outdoor ice skating rink was placed: over the River’s main water feature, which provides an added thrill for skaters and amazing west-facing mountain views that capture the essence of Rancho Mirage.”

If you miss lacing up your skates this season, no worries. Perezchica-Pshebylo says the rink will return again next year.

Another attraction making a more permanent home is Brandini Toffee’s new flagship store and toffee factory, located just minutes from the resort in the nearby Rancho Las Palmas Shopping Center. From the company’s debut 10 years ago — as a way for two best friends to fund school trips to Italy by selling homemade toffee — this local favorite quickly caught Martha Stewart’s attention and since has grown exponentially.

Brandini Toffee’s Rancho Mirage location is also its production facility where you can watch them create their sweet magic.

For heartier appetites, The River will have new eateries opening in January including Acqua California Bistro, from Palm Springs’ Lulu California Bistro owners Jerry and Barbara Keller, and the Fox & Fiddle Pub, a gastro pub from Canada. Take a bite and kick back with a flick at the Century Theatres at The River, where all the movie seats will be converted to loungers by the beginning of the New Year.

After your adventures, it’s back to the luxurious comforts of Omni Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa to indulge in on-site activities: live entertainment at the bluEmber restaurant, yoga in the spa foyer, tennis at sunset, roasting s’mores, family yard games, build-your-own-boat races, and more.

VIDEO: Watch the Brandini Toffee production crew in action.


Omni Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa
41000 Bob Hope Drive
Rancho Mirage

The Renova Rink @ The River

71800 Highway 111
Rancho Mirage

Brandini Toffee

Rancho Las Palmas Shopping Center
42250 Bob Hope Drive
Rancho Mirage

The resort offers picturesque views from the golf course, while the kids can enjoy Splashtopia, the on-site water park.