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A Travel Guide to Palm Springs

2017 August 9


After living in Southern California for close to 15 years, we have become certifiable experts on Palm Springs weekends. Heading to the desert is one of my very favorite getaways. In less than two hours, we are in a different mindset, climate and relaxation mode and we often sneak away whenever we can and head east, sometimes on a day’s notice. Here are some of our favorite places to go.

For a getaway with the girls. Holiday House (above) is a brand new boutique property located in an idyllic spot at the base of the San Jacinto Mountain range and steps from downtown Palm Springs. Disclaimer: I do some work with the owners but when I went for a night away recently with a friend, I knew I would be back regardless of that. First, note that this is a 21+ property which means you need to book a babysitter and never look back. The design is SO fresh and airy with a signature blue and white palette that feels new and crisp for Palm Springs (which a lot of the city’s famed haunts do not). You are greeted with a glass of rosé and a pair of love beads at check-in and the lobster roll is the perfect accompaniment for your second glass of rosé at lunch. Many of the rooms boast cute outdoor showers, there is shuffleboard to play and blue Linus bikes to borrow and at night, the property lights up with fire pits and torches for a cool, cozy backdrop for your last glass of…you guessed it, rosé.

For a getaway with your significant other. My husband and I managed to sneak away for 36 hours last week and Sparrows Lodge was the perfect destination. Another adults-only property, this one has a rustic, organic allure that I simply loved. Every detail is so thoughtfully designed from the welcome glass of sangria to the horse trough bathtubs in the guest rooms to the tiny private patios spilling over with bougainvillea. No TVs or phones to be found on-property and I promise, you will appreciate it. This is a quiet place for real relaxation, where you can finish a book and start another all in one trip. Have the burger in The Barn Kitchen for lunch and sign up for the Saturday night family-style dinner if you can. Easily one of my very favorite places in the desert for a simple, peaceful getaway.

For a getaway with your littlesBecause the truth is, I am always happiest when I am with my kids, we often head to the desert with them in tow, too. We have stayed in several different places with them but always end up returning to Rancho Las Palmas, an Omni Resort. A few miles further east in the neighboring town of Rancho Mirage, this hotel is a favorite because it keeps everyone in the family happy. The kids have an incredible family pool area complete with water slides, lazy river and all the Dippin’ Dots they can consume and we get gorgeous property views like the one pictured above, a spacious and comfortable guest room, a good spa and live music by the fire pits at night. I love a hotel that can appeal to everyone in the family and this one does, consistently. The restaurant is decent but you also have easy, convenient access to Rancho Mirage if you want to venture off-property for dinner (which I suggest). There is also a tranquil little adult-only pool you can escape to if you find the chance.

What to do. When you are not hanging out poolside in Palm Springs, you’re likely eating, drinking or spa’ing (if you’re anything like me…). My favorites on that front are:

Rooster and the Pig. This Vietnamese hotspot in a strip mall in downtown Palm Springs is a new find for me and instantly became a favorite. The decor is simple and minimal, the food is absolutely amazing and the wait is long. Don’t take the kids. Do drink the gin and basil cocktail.

Counter Reformation. Another recent find for me, this relatively new wine bar tucked away in a former storage space at the Parker is cool (literally) and really fun. The bartenders know their stuff, the wine list is strong and the tapas menu is creative and yum. I wouldn’t necessarily make an entire night of it but it’s a great place to start before dinner or drinks somewhere else. Closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays so plan ahead.

Melvyn’s. If you haven’t done it, the bar at Melvyn’s is a must for that old-school, authentic Palm Springs vibe. You can picture the Rat Pack sitting back in the dimly lit room where the piano plays loud, the drinks are aplenty and the sing-alongs are inevitable. A guaranteed good time. No need to stay for the Steak Diane.

Workshop Kitchen + Bar. This is a special occasion spot where you assume the impeccable design is going to outshine the food, but it doesn’t. I have been on a few occasions now and the menu is creative, delicious and fresh. Expensive, yes. But worth it. Contrary to what the vibe may lead you to believe, you can bring kids here (if they are good restaurant kids) and the kitchen will happily make them a margarita pizza. The mezcal cocktail is worth having twice. In one night.

Palm Springs Yacht Club. Venture back to the Parker for a trip to the spa. It is one of the coolest ones I have been to with a design that feels relaxing in a not-at-all typical spa way, fantastic services and a his and hers relaxation space that lets you chill with your man, which is always fun. We got a welcome shot of ice-cold vodka at reception last time we came but I am not sure if that’s customary or we just looked like we needed it. A favorite for a reason.

Have any other Palm Springs favorites to add to the list? Let me know! 

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