Event Illuminations (Photography/Lighting) / Walk Down The Aisle Planning / Colony Palms Hotel
A weekend in Palm Springs is spectacular; a week or more is paradise. Plan to get away from it all and hole up in one of the desert’s many hubs for relaxation and romance. Can’t decide? Choose one for your nights of pre-wedding preparation surrounded by family and friends and another to unwind and start your honeymoon — just the two of you. Settle under these nearly eternally sunny blue skies without a care in the world.
With swaying palms, mountain views, and aqua-blue swimming pools, it’s easy to see why Sinatra, Garbo, Elvis, and many others found they could never spend enough time here. And that was before all the cozy hideaways, luxurious spas, hip hotels, world-class art galleries, tours, trails, and live entertainment that abound here.
Looking for Luxury
For a place you never need to leave, Desert Springs JW Marriott Resort & Spa in Palm Desert has it all, from Starbucks to sushi.
Its expansive 450 acres mix lush green fairways and manicured gardens with pools, lakes, and lagoons. Take a gondola ride, play golf or tennis, indulge in a day of spa services. More than 800 rooms include private-entrance suites with a walled-in courtyard, rain shower, fireplace, and personal butler. 1-760-341-2211.
Tuscan-inspired Miramonte Resort & Spa in Indian Wells enchants with an intimate maze of bubbling fountains, piazzas, gardens, and Italian architecture. Past the Villa Suites’ candle-lit entrance, enjoy a terrace, large flat-screen television, Bose stereo system, and marble bathroom with Jacuzzi tub. The amenity-laden resort is a favorite for its wellness programs and outstanding spa. 1-760-341-2200.
Many golfers and spa-goers seek La Quinta Resort & Club for its romantic accommodations: fireplaces, patios, and mountain views with your own pool or spa. Several restaurants make it easy to lay low around the resort. 1-760-777-4827.
King suites feature plush bedding and French doors that open onto a private patio at Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa. Catch rays at the mini water park, Splashtopia, with a sand beach and lazy river; sip cocktails or dress up for dinner at posh bluEmber; work out in the fitness center; golf; hit the spa or the tennis courts; or rent a poolside cabana. There’s an on-site Starbucks, too. 1-760-568-2727.
If you want to live large, Hyatt Grand Champions Resort presents 1,900-square-foot private villas, done up with marble entryway, artwork, dramatic lighting, and floor-to-ceiling windows. Enjoy the fireplace; 42-inch flat-panel television; surround-sound system; and oversized bathroom with skylight, flat-panel television, and a raised whirlpool tub. The courtyard and garden — large enough for entertaining — feature a spa, stainless steel barbecue, and expansive views. Did we mention the butler? 1-760-341-1000.
Soak Up Old World Charm
A best-kept secret, Villa Royale Inn in Palm Springs sits on three lush, walled acres. Request a villa with cozy fireplace and private patio, then wander through tranquil courtyards with fragrant blooms, cascading fountains, two heated pools, and a large Jacuzzi. The honeymoon package include an in-room massage, champagne, and dinner for two at the on-site Europa Restaurant. Wake refreshed to a cooked-to-order breakfast. 1-760-327-2314.
Dating back to 1936, the Spanish Colonial-style Colony Palms Hotel lures newlyweds with its casitas. Each has a private patio with outdoor lounge bed and hot tub for two. Head to the Moroccan-themed spa, then the poolside Purple Palm Restaurant for Mediterranean cuisine. The Winner’s Circle suite takes it up a notch with vaulted ceilings, wood floors, chandeliers, wet bar, private terrace, claw-foot bathtub, and four-poster bed. 1-760-969-1800.
Enjoy the simple pleasures at Casa Cody Inn, an early 1900s complex of mature citrus trees, bougainvillea, open lawns, and a solar-heated pool. The quaint B&B has ties to Buffalo Bill Cody, Gen. Patton’s officers, and Charlie Chaplin. Choose a small one-bedroom cottage (relocated here from the 1932 Los Angeles Summer Olympics) or hole up in the restored, authentic, two-bedroom adobe. 1-760-320-9346.
Where the Hip Hop to It
A boutique hotel just a block off the main strip of downtown, Viceroy Palm Springs buzzes with a nightly scene. The black, white, and yellow Hollywood Regency décor by Kelly Wearstler lends a crisp look to the historic 1930s property. Get pampered in the spa, then enjoy Citron restaurant. The mojito menu reigns, but the sophisticated contemporary American menu is equally delicious. 1-760-320-4117.
Other hip, midcentury-style hangouts include The Horizon Hotel — quiet and low-key with detached rooms and era architecture. 1-760-323-1858. Palm Desert’s Mod Resort, in a sleek, all-white scheme, welcomes with 500-thread-count sheets, pillow-top mattresses, Turkish spa towels, flat-screen televisions, wireless Internet, private patios, and kitchenettes. Walk to El Paseo’s shops, galleries, and restaurants. 1-760-674-1966.
Spread out in a private townhouse at the Movie Colony Hotel. The living room’s French doors open onto the pool with curtained poolside seating. Upstairs, the bedroom suite includes two robes, a terrace, bar, and 400-thread-count duvet. 1-888-953-5700.
Riviera Resort & Spa, a revitalized Palm Springs scene-maker that once hosted Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr., celebrated its 50-year anniversary in 2009. Wildly colorful rooms, two swimming pools, and indoor-outdoor lounge areas complete the experience. Book a Balinese, Thai, or Indonesian ritual at SpaTerre. 1-760-327-8311.
Served Up Cool With a Splash of Kitsch
With interior design by Jonathan Adler, Parker Palm Springs embodies all that is funky and fun in the desert. The hotel remains popular for alfresco breakfast or lunch at Norma’s, dinner at the clubby Mister Parker’s restaurant, or lemon drops in the retro-cool lobby lounge complete with fire pit and swing. Explore the grounds that are scattered with hammocks, fire pits, a croquet course, tennis courts, and pools. Villas have a swinging chair in the living room. Also on property is Gene Autry’s own two-bedroom residence. 1-760-770-5000.
It didn’t take long for the new, dog-friendly Ace Hotel & Swim Club to catch on, even if it was built on the foundation of a 1965 Howard Johnson hotel and old Denny’s restaurant. A deep pool with nearby hammocks and rooms with vintage furnishings combine with a restaurant proudly redefining roadside diner food and a bar that spikes its Sno Cones. Several rooms have vinyl record players and private patios with a fireplace. 1-760-325-9900.
Lock the Door Behind You: Private Homes
Live like Hollywood did, starting at The Lucy House. This historic, hacienda-style venue was a favorite hideaway for Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz in the 1940s and ’50s. Many Hollywood luminaries joined them at this nearly 3,000-square-foot house for cocktail parties or a swim in the garden pool. 1-760-702-4418.
Legendary architect Albert Frey’s stunning midcentury gem, the hilltop Russell House, inspires awe with valley views, infinity pool, and iconic angles. It’s one of many high-end hideouts available through luxury home-service company Beau Monde Villas. Styles range from cutting-edge modern to historic hacienda bungalows. 1-877-318-2090.
Spend your first wedded night where Elvis and Priscilla spent theirs, May 1, 1967. They escaped the limelight at what is now the Elvis Honeymoon Hideaway, an estate known for its iconic diamond-shaped pool and a circular master bedroom with panoramic mountain views. 1-760-322-1192.
Get In Touch With Your Exotic Sides
Only at El Morocco Inn & Spa can you stay in a room called Sultan’s Playpen. And you should! Couples adore the “sheik,” fantasy-inspired bedchamber at this quiet Desert Hot Springs retreat, decked out with a 7-foot round bed swathed in color-drenched sheers. All rooms have a DVD player and a mini fridge. Enjoy breakfast with your own French press coffee by the natural mineral water pool and spa. 1-760-288-2527.
Or retreat to Korakia Pensione, where whitewashed walls, international furnishings, and flowing curtains whisk you away to a peaceful oasis. The two 1920s villas, one Moroccan and one Mediterranean, were a hideaway for artists and creative types. 1-760-864-6411.