Azure Palm Hot Springs Resort and Day Spa Oasis has a 100-foot pool.
PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY AZURE PALM HOT SPRINGS RESORT & DAY SPA OASIS
The naturally occurring geothermal springs for which Desert Hot Springs is named feed swimming pools and soaking tubs at resorts and private properties throughout California’s Spa City. Visitors come from near and far to float in the ancient waters, filled with skin-softening silica and hundreds of trace minerals known to have therapeutic values like easing muscle tension and improving blood flow and cell oxygenation. The first scientific analysis of our local hot springs, conducted in 1937, affirmed the health benefits, which continue to be studied today.
Most spring-seekers would be delighted with a dip in a small mineral pool, but one area resort has amplified the opportunity for indulgence. Newly opened in 2021 after a property restoration, Azure Palm Hot Springs Resort & Day Spa Oasis raises the bar with a 100-foot-long swimmer — that’s longer than a standard competition lap pool. All told, the 40-room adults-only property has five public baths that range in controlled temperature from 85 to 104 degrees. Premium suites contain their own private mineral water tubs, and all rooms provide access to the property’s Himalayan salt room (noteworthy in its own right because it’s one of the largest in Southern California).
PHOTOGRAPH BY DANIELA STALLINGER
Take a mineral water bath amongst the palm trees.
Best Outdoor Bath
Few destinations invite you to swing open your slider to bask in the fresh air, but nine months out of the year, Greater Palm Springs demands it. I’d be hard-pressed to dream up a superior way to soak in all that sunshine than with a private outdoor bath drawn in the dappled shadow of swaying palm trees.
Originally built in 1957, The Spring Resort & Spa in Desert Hot Springs cultivates a sense of “understated Zen” for guests with minimalist Scandinavian-inspired furnishings and a soothing palette of muted blues and earth tones. Several suites feature private patios, and three have their own secluded soaking tubs. To ramp up the indulgence factor, these tubs tap the naturally heated, mineral-rich water that has bubbled underground for thousands of years.
Although the alfresco bathtubs at Palm Springs’ La Serena Villas don’t fill with mineral water, they do offer immense relaxation in a chic private setting. These tubs are clawfoots, and they’re accompanied by fire pits. Couples (or individuals) looking for a supremely lavish stay can request add-ons like chilled Champagne, chocolate-covered strawberries, a drawn bubble bath with flower petals, and hand-placed votive candles illuminating the patio.
PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY AGUA CALIENTE RESORT CASINO SPA
The waiting area at Sunstone Spa.
Best Spa Waiting Area
I’ll admit: When I first visited Sunstone Spa at Agua Caliente Resort Casino Spa in Rancho Mirage, I was mildly annoyed that they wouldn’t schedule my massage and facial back-to-back in the same room. Rolling off the table and into the real world for a half-hour between treatments sounded anything but relaxing. Boy, was I wrong.
These spa facilities receive national acclaim for a reason. Upon entry, everyone receives a plush white robe and comfy slip-resistant sandals with nubby footbeds that massage your soles. A quick tour with the soft-spoken spa attendant reveals amenities including a sauna, steam room, and salt chamber (which must be reserved in advance) along with a co-ed pool area stocked with complimentary sunscreen, fruit, and infused water.
Separate men’s and women’s waiting rooms — equipped with premium, fully adjustable massage chairs with optional heat — are offset from other areas to stoke a Zen mood before, between, and after treatments.
These tranquil spaces are dimly lit by Himalayan salt lamps and synced to a soothing spa soundtrack for optimum cleansing. Sit down, recline, close your eyes, and you’ll quickly realize that your treatment has already begun.
I never imagined I’d be arriving an hour early to an appointment just to lounge around in the waiting room, but at Sunstone Spa, that’s exactly what you’ll want to do too.