Best of the Best: Desert Hot Springs

A roundup of locals' favorite spots in Desert Hot Springs.

Emily Chavous Best Of, Current Guide

The Spring Resort & Spa is the top spot for Boutique Hotel/Resort in the Best of the Best voting for Desert Hot Springs.

best of desert hot springs

Boutique Hotel / Resort

The Spring Resort & Spa

An intimate mineral-water resort with 13 suites, three pools, and a decadent spa in which to unwind, The Spring stands out among its hot springs counterparts with top-notch service and frequent detox retreats. Sign up for a juice cleanse prior to your arrival. After summer, look out for the outdoor yoga programs.



Kam Lun Chinese Restaurant

The low-key family spot, with pink walls and shelves full of Asian collectibles and art, will satisfy a craving for lo mein, egg rolls, and war wonton soup.

Alfresco and Craft Cocktail and Italian

Capri Restaurant, Bar & Lounge

Miracle Springs Resort & Spa’s on-site restaurant delivers a mix of Italian and American comfort foods — from frutti di mare and cannoli to smoked ribs and mocha mud pie. Sip your cocktails on the patio to take in those mountain vistas.

American and Breakfast and Burger

The Shop Café

This casual eatery at the Aqua Soleil hotel specializes in hangover helpers. Cure yours with the Morning After sandwich: two thick slices of French toast stuffed with scrambled eggs, ham, sausage, sautéed veggies, gooey cheese, and a dash of powdered sugar. If sky-high burgers are your thing, you’re also in luck. Or you could mix the two together — the Breakfast Burger’s topped with smoked ham and a sunny-side-up egg.



You’ll find your fix on Palm Drive (and, yes, there’s a drive-thru, so you don’t even need to exit the car).


Zapopan Mexican Food

Craving an authentic Mexican meal? This is your spot. We’re talking tortas al pastor, cabeza street tacos, and aguas frescas. Get a quart of the house salsa to go.


Rocky’s New York Style Pizza

A family-owned pizzeria established in 1986, Rocky’s makes its own bread and meatballs daily. Hand-tossed crust is made to order. They also serve calzones, subs, and pasta.


Domo Sushi

Vibrant, playful plating abounds at Domo. Order a “boat,” loaded with sashimi, nigiri, and specialty rolls, to watch the sushi chef showcase the breadth of his artistry. (Pro tip: The dragon roll is shaped like an actual dragon.)

Vegetarian / Vegan

The Gray Café

With a focus on holistic breakfast and lunch, the menu at Gray is mostly organic and entirely plant-based. Fresh-pressed hemp and almond milk are made in daily batches. So is seitan. There’s also a raw juice bar with hard-to-find smoothie add-ins such as CBD oil.


Attraction and Kid-Friendly and Museum

Cabot’s Pueblo Museum

Early 1900s homesteader and hot-springs tapper Cabot Yerxa built this four-story pueblo of reclaimed materials and filled its 35 rooms with art and treasures from his treks around the world. Now you can tour it. Advanced reservations are not required, but arriving early is recommended.

Gym / Health Club

World Gym

The chain fitness center has cardio and weight equipment, plus personal training and group classes such as spin, kickboxing, and a heart-pumping boot camp.

Public Golf Course

Desert Dunes Golf Club

Host to U.S. Open and PGA Tour qualifying events, the Robert Trent Jones Jr.–designed course is nestled amid the mountains in a serene nook of the valley. Challenges abound in the form of natural sand dunes and native vegetation.


Rachel Reedy, D.V.M.

Director of the Animal Hospital of Desert Hot Springs, Reedy started her career with an equine surgical internship and has made particular strides in soft-tissue surgery. The clinic administers regular exams and vaccinations, as well as elective surgeries, and will make referrals to specialists for consultations and special procedures.



Two Bunch Palms: Hotel / Resort, Spa, Wedding Venue, Romantic Dining

Taking the gold in four categories, this tranquil Desert Hot Springs refuge is lauded for its luxury accommodations, stocked with organic linens and high-end beauty products, and overall guest experience. The expansive spa treats every need, with a menu of water and mud therapies, sound and crystal healing sessions, and shamanic rituals to cleanse the entire being. 


At Essence, the on-site restaurant, local ingredients and artisanal drinks are the mainstay, with a balanced selection of vegan and gluten-free options to accommodate all dietary needs. Dining beneath breezy draped fabrics sets a dreamy mood for date night. Popular for small-group retreats and special occasions, Two Bunch is an idyllic venue for an all-inclusive bohemian wedding. Work with the staff to create a customized stay for guests and a magical soirée to remember.