There’s a reason luminaries flock to this lush oasis. Beyond the desert’s obvious beauty and tranquility, the abundance of available amenities defines the locale as a destination bent on luxury. A mix of sumptuous stays, haute cuisine, and pampering service: Lavish in that. You deserve it.
The Ritz-Carlton, Rancho Mirage
Spectacular views, extravagant accommodations, and a giant pool — this is what vacation is all about. The Edge Steakhouse is a stopping place unto itself, with its dramatic cliff-side setting, while the spa offers location-specific treatments such as the Desert Wildflower Poultice massage. Stay here, and you won’t want to leave.
Oranj Palm Vacation Homes
Sure, you could stay in a fancy hotel. Or you could have your own house, with more space, a kitchen and laundry, and best of all, privacy. Oranj Palm has been a specialist in Coachella Valley rental properties since 1972. There’s a huge range available for seasonal, monthly, or weekly stays — everything from a one-bedroom condo to a stunning six-bedroom midcentury estate with mountain vistas, a saltwater pool, and a billiards table.
Parker Palm Springs
Wittily decorated by Jonathan Adler, the hotel is a sprawling affair, with rooms set around a prolific garden of flowers, fruit trees, and herbs. It’s oh-so-civilized: There are three pools, plus tennis, pétanque, and croquet, and the maritime-inspired Palm Springs Yacht Club spa offers guests a thimble of vodka on their way into treatments. Norma’s does brunch right, with a basket of fresh-made doughnut holes for every table. At night, head to the dark and decadent Mister Parker’s for foie gras and duck, and cap things off with a flute of bubbly at the elegant tropic-style wine bar Counter Reformation.
PHOTOGRAPH BY ANDREA AMENT
Parker Palm Springs
PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY KIMPTON ROWAN PALM SPRINGS
Juniper Table at the Kimpton Rowan Palm Springs
Just off the lobby of the downtown hotel sits this bright and airy upscale café and coffee bar offering an all-day Mediterranean-inspired menu heavy on salads and sandwiches mixed with grab-and-go items, pastries, killer espresso drinks, and wine and beer on tap. Bonus: Guests can top off their meal with a game of cornhole on the patio.
La Quinta Cliffhouse
Dine amid a rock outcropping at this American-fusion restaurant in the center of the valley. At the top of the driveway, you’ll find valet and self-parking and a waterfall that cascades down from the restaurant’s main level; ascend by stairway or elevator to reach the white-tablecloth salon and stunning patio that seems one with the mountaintop. On the menu are steaks, pasta, and fresh seafood, as well as an award-winning wine list and plates to share, such as prosciutto with seasonal fruit or pot-sticker dumplings.
This familiar, upscale steakhouse chain — with locations from Beverly Hills to New York City — is a cornerstone of El Paseo in Palm Desert and a tried-and-true special-occasion destination. Sit in the lounge for a lively evening with spirited entertainment or in one of the quieter dining rooms for a more intimate experience. Service is top notch, from chilled salad forks to fanciful dry-ice martinis. Side dishes, like lobster mashed potatoes, are served family style. And for dessert, the warm butter cake is not to be missed.
PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY BARBERSTOCK/GREATER PALM SPRINGS CVB
Mastro's Steakhouse in Palm Desert.
Adventure Hummer Tours
Take a day trip to the fair- weather wine-making region of Temecula, a little over an hour outside of town, with Adventure Hummer Tours’ Palms to Vines experience. An expert wine guide will drive you and a few friends in a luxury H2 Hummer from any hotel or home in Palm Springs, Rancho Mirage, Cathedral City, or Indian Wells to three vineyards, where you’ll enjoy tastings, lunch, and a little history along the way.
PHOTOGRAPH BY THINKSTOCKPHOTOS.COM
Palms to Vines with Adventure Hummer Tours.
Palm Springs Mod Squad Architecture Tours
While Modernism Week happens just twice a year, Mod Squad Architecture Tours take place on a daily basis, offering a fully experiential approach to the midcentury style that has made Palm Springs famous. After a martini pit stop, at which you’ll learn why the drink should be shaken and not stirred, your guide will point out homes that once belonged to members of the Rat Pack and Marilyn Monroe, as well as iconic structures that define the essence of desert modernism.
Uptown Design District
From chic designers to quirky local crafts, retro décor, antiques and modern art, vintage fashion, high-end jewelry, and even higher-end chocolate, Palm Springs’ Uptown Design District is a destination in itself. It’s a place to walk, shop, see, and be seen that’s always bustling. Spend the afternoon people-watching from the windows of bars and bistros, or get your hair coiffed. If you’re up for an edgier adventure, try the nearby Backstreet Art District, a creative strip with a first Wednesdays open-studio art walk.
PHOTOGRAPH BY LIZ MARTIN
Christopher Kennedy Inc. in the Uptown Design District in Palm Springs.
El Paseo Shopping District
Some of the valley’s most sophisticated retail and dining options are at El Paseo, known as the “Rodeo Drive of the desert.” You’ll find more than 300 businesses, including global luxury brands such as Saks Fifth Avenue, Gucci, and Tiffany & Co., alongside favorites like Anthropologie, independent boutiques such as the hip Elizabeth & Prince, and longstanding local purveyors like El Paseo Jewelers. There’s an Apple store, too. Dining etablishments range from resort-casual to jacket-required.
PHOTOGRAPH BY LISA CORSON
The Gardens on El Paseo in Palm Desert.
5 PAMPERING TREATMENTS
Rain Massage at the Well Spa at Miramonte Indian Wells Resort & Spa
Essential oils are dropped like rain along the spine to calm the nervous system.
PHOTOGRAPH BY THINKSTOCKPHOTOS.COM
Milk-Y-Way Mani-Pedi at Estrella Spa at Avalon Hotel, Palm Springs
Hands and feet soak in warm milk to soothe rough skin and achy joints, then get detoxed with a clay and green-tea mask and jojoba-infused comfrey oil.
Whole Body Purification Treatment at Sparrow’s Lodge, Palm Springs
An open-air massage tent lets birdsong set the tone for dry-brushing, a massage and argan-oil scalp revitalization, and a sage smudging.
The Royal Cleopatra Ritual at Venus de Fido, Palm Desert
Steep in a milk and honey bath after exfoliation; a full-body mask, wrap, and massage follows. Here, pets can indulge in services too, from pedicures to facials.
Desert Rain Soak at Sunstone Spa at Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa, Rancho Mirage
More than 80 minerals are blended in a soaking tub to replenish skin. This preps for a massage infused with the aroma of desert rain.