Guests love to turn a Palm Springs–area wedding into a vacation for the same reason couples love to stay on for their honeymoon — or even a pre-honeymoon.
As one of those rare destinations where you can fill your days and nights with excitement or do little but unwind by the sparkling pool, the Coachella Valley leaves couples of every sensibility feeling fulfilled and totally rejuvenated. Put together an unforgettable time designed for two with some of these top honeymoon picks.
First order of business? A couples package at the spa — the more pampering the better! Continue your tranquil state with a day pass to one of Desert Hot Springs’ hotels, where you can soak in the naturally therapeutic mineral waters that made the area famous.
By day, soar away in a hot air balloon as it floats high over the tops of the palm trees, or mosey along through the canyons on horseback. Spend a day with fascinating wildlife at The Living Desert, or set off on a pair of cruisers and explore the area by bicycle.
photo by mathieu photography
A view above The Saguaro Palm Springs.
By night, sit close in a horse-drawn carriage ride through the streets of downtown Palm Springs, or hold hands during a show at the McCallum Theatre, where live performances feature singers, dancers, actors, and musicians from across the globe.
Whether you’re grabbing a bite from one of the street vendors during Thursday evenings’ VillageFest along Palm Canyon Drive, picking up a colossal sandwich from one of the New York–style delis, settling in with a bottle of red for a juicy porterhouse at one of the legendary local steakhouses, or lingering over a five-course feast at a five-star restaurant, the local tastes are an experience for the senses.
Dine under the stars and twinkling lights at Spencer’s Restaurant, Europa Restaurant, or Le Vallauris; catch dinner and a movie at The River in Rancho Mirage; or take a table on the second level for a view of the mountains along El Paseo in Palm Desert. Any night of the week, do as the locals do and hotel hop through the restaurants, bars, and lounges of Greater Palm Springs.
Between the grand mountain landscapes and consistently sunny weather that feels great against your skin, every day becomes a chance to live life outdoors. Sporty types can get their golf game on at more than 120 mountain-view courses or by playing doubles on their resort’s pristine tennis courts. Reserve time with a local tennis pro or improve your golf swing with a private lesson.
photo by dan chavkin
Hotel Lautner in Desert Hot Springs.
Hikers can’t do better than the secluded ancient trails of the Indian Canyons or Tahquitz Canyon. Of course, a day trip to Joshua Tree National Park or up the mountain to Idyllwild’s pine forests adds even more variety of terrain. Hop on the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway to discover the scenic trails at Mount San Jacinto State Park.
Just a 10-minute, 2.5-mile ride lands you at a breathtaking — and significantly cooler — elevation of 8,516 feet. Or, hang on for a rugged, off-road tour. Companies such as Desert Adventures Eco-Tours and Events offer Jeep excursions and hiking tours that get up close and personal with the little-seen nooks and crannies of the local landscape.
Make a day of shopping and strolling, from the tempting avenue of designer showplaces along El Paseo and the midcentury haven of the Uptown Design District to the world-class art housed in local museums and galleries.
Your real adventure begins when you choose a honeymoon-ready hotel suite, and the options are plenty. Midcentury buffs might book a historically significant private estate or check into a mod Palm Springs hotel built in the 1950s or 1960s, such as Orbit In, Del Marcos Hotel, Desert Hills Hotel, or Desert Riviera Hotel. Purists love Hotel Lautner in Desert Hot Springs, designed by famed architect John Lautner in 1947. With just four jaw-dropping rooms in a dramatic and secluded setting, it’s a true midcentury escape.
photo by katie mcgihon photography
The desert landscape provides a variety of romantic opportunities.
Romantics looking for a boutique experience find their way to Villa Royale Inn, where each antique-filled room is decorated differently and some boast fireplaces, kitchenettes, and a patio. Other classic choices include Casa Cody (a 1920s bed and breakfast known as the oldest operating hotel in Palm Springs), Ingleside Inn (a Spanish-style gem where Clark Gable and Carole Lombard honeymooned), Colony Palms Hotel (a 1930s former mobster hangout), The Willows Historic Palm Springs Inn (tucked into the mountainside and a favorite retreat of Albert Einstein’s), and the peaceful Korakia Pensione, which offers a rustic dash of Moroccan flair.
Hipsters have their own hideouts, starting with the Jonathan Adler–designed Parker Palm Springs to the sparsely chic Ace Hotel, rockin’ Hard Rock Palm Springs, brightly colored The Saguaro Palm Springs, and Riviera Palm Springs, with its sprawling pool scene.
Want it all? Look no further than the meandering grounds of the elegant down-valley resorts. On-site golf, tennis, spas, and restaurants might mingle with water parks, coffee shops, late-night lounges for cocktails and live music, and many other delights and amenities.