Moving to the desert was one of the best things my husband and I ever did. Having lived in dozens of places, we’ve never felt more at home than we do here. We own a few Airbnb properties in Joshua Tree but live in Palm Springs — two very different places that together inspire a wonderful balance of landscape, people, and way of life.
Villa Royale and Del Rey
When you live in a place where leisure reigns, staycations are a requisite. The historic Villa Royale hotel in Palm Springs draws us back again and again with its sumptuous remodel. Its intimate Del Rey restaurant is a hidden gem, ideal for an impromptu romantic dinner, and you can also order tasty tapas (like flatbread with labneh cheese and chickpea purée) poolside.
Coffee shops pepper the cities of Greater Palm Springs, but Juniper Table at the Kimpton Rowan Palm Springs pours my favorite brew in town. Plus, the menu features fresh, flavorful options for a light breakfast or brunch. Gather with friends or arrive solo and bring your computer if your getaway entails digital work.
Palm Springs Art Museum
A fantastic permanent collection of modern and contemporary art displays pieces by several artists I adore, including Squeak Carnwath, Robert Motherwell, and Louise Bourgeoise. The seasonal exhibition Lines in the Sand, on view through Aug. 11, showcases art and artifacts highlighting the history of the desert.
I have a personal goal to try all the ice cream flavors ever invented ... ever. This charming parlor next to the Arrive hotel in Palm Springs churns out some of the most unique options, from sweet corn to Mexican chocolate to date (my go-to), and the toppings are unlimited.
My husband and I love hiking in Joshua Tree, so we make a point to get outdoors whenever we check up on our High Desert rental properties. Ryan Mountain Trail skews slightly more uphill than other routes in the area, but you can conquer it in 45 minutes or less. You can often see bighorn sheep along the way, and the panoramic view from the top is absolutely breathtaking.
We’ve been eating at La Copine in Flamingo Heights (near Joshua Tree) since it opened in 2015, and it still tops our list. The owners infuse their menu with heart and are always cooking up something new — think homemade bread, garden-fresh veggies, and duck-fat potatoes. Get a table on the patio to bask in the quiet desert surrounds.