The Infamous Ray Pruit StairsJan 28th, 2014 | By Lindsay | Category: 90210 & Beverly Hills, 90210 Filming Locations
Since moving to the desert last January (I cannot believe it has been a year!), I have wanted to revisit Rancho Las Palmas, the sprawling Rancho Mirage resort where Ray Pruit (Jamie Walters) pushed girlfriend Donna Martin (Tori Spelling) down a flight of stairs in the Season 5 episode of Beverly Hills, 90210 titled “P.S. I Love You: Part II.” I originally stalked and blogged about the location back in September 2008, but, because the hotel has 120 sets of identical stairs, at the time I was unsure of which set had appeared in the episode. Thankfully, the resort’s sales manager saw my post and left a comment, informing me of exactly where the scene had been shot. And while it took me over five years to get back out there to re-stalk the place, once I did, I could NOT have been more excited!
Rancho Las Palmas is massive. The 240-acre resort boasts a 27-hole championship golf course, four eateries, a spa, 50,000-square-feet of event/meeting space, and three pools – one of which is Splashtopia, a two-acre water feature made complete with a 425-foot lazy river, two 100-foot water slides, a man-made sand beach, a Jacuzzi, and a café. Guests also have access to 25 tennis courts at the Palm Springs tennis center located in the Rancho Las Palmas Country Club, which is adjacent to the hotel.
Rancho Las Palmas has quite an interesting history. The property was originally the site of the Desert Air Hotel & Resort, a 320-acre compound that was founded by architect H.L. Gogerty in 1946. The resort consisted of an airstrip for private planes, World War II army barracks that pilots and travelers could rent for the night, and a bar and a pool that were added in 1951. You can see a picture of what the property looked like at that time here. Luminaries like Edgar Bergen, Dwight D. Eisenhower and Robert Taylor flocked to the place and The Bob Cummings Show was even filmed onsite for a time. The resort was sadly shuttered in 1976 and then demolished a year later to make way for a new Marriott hotel. According to the Abandoned & Little-Known Airfields website, one former Desert Air patron had this to say of the new lodging, “I visited the site several years ago – nothing left, except that the main fairway of the golf course seems to be aligned with the old northwest/southeast runway, and there’s a Desert Air Drive in the condos by the hotel. Very ritzy, very posh, but it will never have the understated chill-out class of the old place, with guest cottages made from recycled WW2 barracks huts. I think the difference speaks volumes about the way this country has changed.” I have to admit, it would have been pretty darn cool to vacation in authentic World War II barracks.
At the time that 90210 was filmed, the hotel was known as Marriott’s Rancho Las Palmas. After being taken over by KLM in 2006, the site underwent a massive renovation and the “Marriott” dropped from its name. Today, the property is operated by Omni Hotels & Resorts.
In “P.S. I Love You: Part I” and “P.S. I Love You: Part II,” Rancho Las Palmas was where Steve Sanders (Ian Ziering), Brandon Walsh (Jason Priestley) and the rest of the C.U. gang attended a national KEG/ALPHA convention. Several areas of the resort were shown in the episodes, including the front entrance;
the Azure Adult Pool (where Ray had a fit over Donna’s choice of swimwear);
and, of course, the infamous stairs that Ray pushed Donna down.
The stair scene was shot on the northwest side of Building #5.
In real life, the stairwell leads up to Room 520.
You can watch the stair scene by clicking below. I love when Valerie says, “Ray, go get the hotel doctor! Go!” LOL Hotel doctor??? How about, “Let’s get her to a hospital,” Val!
And you know I just had to do it!
While re-watching the “P.S. I Love You” episodes (big THANK YOU to Mike, from MovieShotsLA, for loaning me his Season 5 DVDs), I was shocked to see that the interior scenes had not been filmed inside Rancho Las Palmas (the Rancho lobby is pictured below), but at another location that I was familiar with – Hyatt Westlake Plaza in Westlake Village, which also appeared as a Coachella Valley-resort in the Season 1 episode of Beverly Hills, 90210 titled “Palm Springs Weekend.” I stalked Hyatt Westlake Plaza in February 2010 (you can read that post here) and recognized it immediately when it popped up in “P.S. I Love You.” I guess the Hyatt was 90210’s go-to Palm Springs hotel stand-in.
The first thing that clued me in to the fact that Hyatt Westlake Plaza had been used in “P.S. I Love You: Part I” and “Part II” was the large fountain that was seen in the center of the lobby in the episodes. That same fountain is pictured below in a 2010 photograph that I took of the Hyatt lobby. While no longer tiled, the shape of the Hyatt fountain is an exact match to the shape of the 90210 fountain.
The general layout of the Hyatt lobby also matches the lobby that appeared on 90210. Sadly, the Hyatt was remodeled sometime after the episodes were filmed, so the décor and flooring look quite a bit different today.
In “P.S. I Love You: Part II,” Brandon is shown walking through the Hyatt lobby, past a side table. That same side table (as well as the lamps on it and the painting behind it) is a direct match to a side table that Brenda Walsh (my girl Shannen Doherty) walked by in “Palm Springs Weekend.” Love it!
The recessed hotel room doors and positioning of the room signage that appeared in the “P.S. I Love You” episodes also match those of Hyatt Westlake Plaza.
For more stalking fun, be sure to follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Los Angeles magazine online. And you can check out my other blog, The Well-Heeled Diabetic, here.
Until next time, Happy Stalking!
Stalk It: The “P.S. I Love You” episodes of Beverly Hills, 90210 were filmed at Rancho Las Palmas, which is located at 41000 Bob Hope Drive in Rancho Mirage. You can visit the resort’s official website here. Ray Pruit’s infamous stairs can be found on the south side of the property, just off Avenue Las Palmas, in Building #5, which is denoted with a pink arrow below. The stairs are on the north side of the building and lead up to Room 520. The pool that appeared in the episode is the Azure Adult Pool, which is located just outside of the hotel’s main lobby and is denoted with a blue arrow below. The interior scenes from the “P.S. I Love You” episodes were shot at the Hyatt Westlake Plaza, which is located at 880 South Westlake Boulevard in Thousand Oaks. You can visit the hotel’s official website here.