So you've seen the photos: Mid-Century modern homes, palm tree lined skies, chic hotel lobbies, and a whole lot of sun. What may have been a retreat in the early sixties and seventies is now more then ever the place to take a heated escape.
Arriving to the oasis in the middle of a desert one can easily overlook the hidden gems of Palm Springs and write off the ones that are often photographed. The hidden gems create an allure to Palm Springs and the iconic spots make it, well Palm Springs. Days are meant to be filled with as much or as little relaxation as possible. Nights are spent under the star-filled sky with a cool cocktail in hand and not a worry about a wake up call.
Adventure can be easily found in both high and low spots across Palm Springs. For those with a strong stomach and can take the heights, take the Aerial Tram that rotates as you ascend to the high point of the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains. The views put into perspective the vast desert of Coachella Valley. After descending down to the valley floor, one can emerge back in time and into the wilderness by foot into Indian Canyons where the different oases await to be discovered.
If you have had your fill of adventure, be sure to have booked a room at a hotel that you'll be more then happy to spend the afternoon by the pool — this is where most people retreat. Though your hotel may be great, there are a few that are created to be discovered. Take a stop by the Parker or the Ace and one will not be disappointed.
Palm Springs is a place designed to merge the culture of the arts and the history of the "weekend retreat" all into one heated destination. Be sure to indulge in the architecture, be sure to be amazed by the landscape, and be sure to relax the days away.
How to get there:
- Most major airports have direct flights into Palm Springs International, and it is recommended to fly here directly. While in town, a rental car is needed if you would like to get around to bordering activities, though you could easily Uber (taxi) around if you plan on spending most of your time nearby. Most people staying at the hotels took taxis to get to restaurants and bars. Palm Springs now also offers a complimentary shuttle around downtown called the "Buzz" that gets you places on their line Thursday-Sunday 11 AM -1 AM — more info here.
Where to stay:
- Sparrows Lodge: This boutique lodge is creating the place you will end up spending most of your time — it's that good. Well appointed and good design, this lodge has an atmosphere of quiet luxury for those looking to relax. It's a 21 and over hotel, there are bikes for guest to use, and their drinks are delicious! See my full review of my stay here.
Where to eat:
- King's Highway: You know when you eat somewhere twice? This is that place. Come for their iconic brunch and return for a savory dinner to remember. The atmosphere is laid back and retro yet delivering well-appointed food. Some of the current menu highlights for their dinner fare include a fried chicken, shishito peppers that burst with flavor, and a homemade baklava over a creamy ice cream.
- Hacienda Cantina & Beach Club : Taco Tuesday, or another night, Hacienda is serving Mexican food in a manner unlike any other. The tacos burst with flavor and their infamous margaritas will keep you coming back for more.
- Birba: Think sleek Italian food with a twist. An open-air patio brings people of all types waiting for a table under the lights to try some crisp pizzas and tasty appetizers.
- FARM: This the local place no one will tell you about. Tucked in the downtown, this restaurant is serving farm to table French food in a quaint environment. The crepes are a definite hit and be sure to look around, the space is enchanting.
- Cheeky's: On the main part of downtown, you'll see the line forming for lunch in a heart beat. Adjacent to Birba, this eatery is serving a modern fare on breakfast and lunch.
What to experience:
- Palm Springs Aerial Tramway: You come for the view and you stay for the endless trails. It is well worth it to come to the top even if you just do it for the view because of one unique surprise: the tram is the world's largest rotating tramway that brings you up to the mountain top whilst turning around.
- Architectural tour with Palm Springs Modern Tours: You'll see Palm Springs is filled with Mid-Century modern homes and I'm sure you're now guessing what it's all about. Take a driving tour to understand the history and the revolution of architecture that created a hub for creativity.
- SpaTerre at Riviera: Relax away in this Moroccan-themed spa with a great space to spend time before and after your treatment. The Balinese massage is a highlight and be sure to come early to enjoy the loveliest of facilities.
- Indian Canyons: Whether it's a hike or a just an afternoon stroll, Indian Canyons is a highlight not to miss. Each canyon has an oasis marking it with life in such a drastic setting. Be sure to check out practical information before adventuring off.
- Moorten's Botanical Garden: This is one of those hidden gems that takes you through the different kinds plants native to the region. It has a cacterium, one of a kind, and highlights like tortoises and bunnies around the property.
- Hotel Hopping — the Parker or Ace Hotel: The place to see and be seen, each hotel has an atmosphere of it's own. The Parker is modern luxury with highlights of croquet fields, fire pits, and hammocks through lush grounds — a good option for an afternoon cocktail. The Ace is perfect for those looking to get a taste of retro luxury and be immersed in the arts and hip music that can be found on the vibrant pool deck.
- Sunnylands Gardens: What has been the grounds for many political events and meetings, is now open for the public to explore the exquisite gardens.
(Click through to see all the photos...)
+ For more info on Palm Springs, contact Palm Springs Visitors Center: 2901 North Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs
Travel Info: www.VisitPalmSprings.com / 800-347-7746
*Bon Traveler was welcomed as a guest of different venues. As always, all opinions are own.