Palm Springs, California
There's nothing "under the radar" about Palm Springs. It's long been a weekend escape for those looking to getaway from the hustle-bustle of LA, and in recent years has become a destination for design minded individuals with an appreciation for Mid-Century architecture and poolside lounging. The desert setting, dry heat and handful of high end resorts make it a natural choice for a low key vacation, though the temps in the Summer can reach well into the 100's. If you're looking to heat things up, here are my suggestions...
I don't leave home without this hat.
WHERE TO STAY
The newly opened L’Horizon Resort & Spa is the former residence of Hollywood Mogul Jack Wrather, where Marilyn Monroe was a frequent visitor. Guests are treated to extras like complimentary poolside foot massages and chauffeur service to nearby restaurants, but the cherry on top is the personalized engraved brass nameplate on each bungalow door. The on-site restaurant Sopa is well designed and features a menu nibbles like hummus and flatbreads.
A crowd favorite, The Parker features bright and kitschy interiors by Jonathan Adler (think shag carpeting and neon signage), with a lobby full of Instagram-worthy nooks and crannies. Guests can sip nightcaps around a roaring orange metal fireplace during chilly months . Tip: Book in advance; it’s popular for weddings and events.
The Ace Hotel is a popular spot for girls weekends and bachelor parties, so if you're looking for peace and quiet you might seek quieter pastures. Nightly karoake is offered at The Amigo Room, or check out the daily yoga classes. Tip: Don't miss brunch at King's Highway.
The Sparrows Lodge is a refreshed 1950's rustic collection of 20 barn style rooms, with a relaxing pool and fire pits (it does get chilly in the desert in the evenings!). Tip: The Barn Kitchen serves family style suppers to a select number of guests with advance reservations.
WHERE TO EAT
King's Highway at The Ace Hotel is a reimagined retro diner (the building is a former motel and the vibe is alive and well). Take your pick from lamb meatballs, avocado toast or devils on horseback...it's all delicious. Wash it down with creamy date shake (a local speciality you’ll find on menus all over town), or refuel with a cup of Stumptown coffee.
Be prepared to wait for brunch at Cheeky's. The good news is, you'll be rewarded with an excellent meal. Try a bacon flight, featuring flavors like jalapeno or apple cinnamon, but whatever you do don't miss the buttermilk waffle with salted butter.
Birba is an excellent option for dinner. The pizzas are OK, but the real stars are the pastas and chicken pesto meatballs.
Workshop Kitchen + Bar has an inventive cocktail menu that reads like poetry. Stay awhile and try a few. Best paired with the African spiced chicken for two (though we made it work for 4 with plenty leftover to boot...).
Dinner al fresco at Norma’s is a Palm Springs rite of passage. The menu features comfort food classics with a twist, like apple pie milkshakes and lobster pot pie. Tip: Breakfast is served all day, so feel free to hit snooze.
Blending in with my cactus clutch.
WHAT TO DO
The Aerial Tramway is a great way to see the entire valley and the gorgeous San Jacinto mountains. Tip: There’s a cocktail lounge at the top; time your trip with sunset for a truly stunning view.
The Fine Art of Design is located about 20 minutes away in Palm Desert, but boasts some of the
best vintage in the area.
Check out Moorten Botanical Gardens for an up close look at cacti and succulents native to the region.
Rent a bike and cruise around for a look at some of the best Mid-Century architecture and design. Or, time your trip with Modernism Week for a peek inside these incredible homes.
If you’re heading back to LA, leave some time for a pit stop at the Cabazon Outlets, with high-end shops like Barney’s New York, Prada and Valentino.