Take a walk on a connecting bridge to a water paradise featuring two enormous pools at JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort & Spa in Palm Desert.
PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY VISIT PALM SPRINGS
Get your resort on.
If you want abundant amenities steps from your room, Greater Palm Springs delivers vacation-worthy resorts in spades. Dig your toes in the sand with a cocktail in hand at the pool at Renaissance Esmeralda Resort & Spa in Indian Wells, where 36 holes of golf, a luxurious indoor-outdoor spa, and farm-to-table fare round out the resort agenda. Or have a pool day your way at La Quinta Resort & Club, a hacienda-style haven with more than 40 of them, plus golf, tennis, and on-site designer shopping. Over at JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort & Spa in Palm Desert, resort guests can cruise into the sunset with a gondola ride along the property’s expansive water features, which conveniently connect guests to on-site dining options, including a hibachi grill and fresh seafood restaurant. Families flock to Rancho Mirage’s Omni Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa, where a full-on water park keeps the kids entertained while adults enjoy resort activities like spa treatments and 27 holes of championship golf.
Hark back to the Rat Pack years.
Glimpse the old Hollywood heyday that put this oasis on the map. A great place to start is Triada Palm Springs, where luminaries like Lana Turner, Howard Hughes, and Elizabeth Taylor were notable resort guests. At The Monkey Tree, an intimate Palm Springs property, the presidential suite is named for a rumored on-site rendezvous between Marilyn Monroe and then President John F. Kennedy. For a secluded and luxurious resort escape, follow in Joan Crawford’s footsteps with a private room at the lushly landscaped Avalon Hotel & Bungalows. Or explore a favorite of Humphrey Bogart and Clark Gable at Colony Palms Hotel & Bungalows, originally owned by mobsters.
PHOTOGRAPH BY JAIME KOWAL
Homewood Suites in Cathedral City.
Be mindful of a budget.
Minutes from world-class restaurants, golf, and casinos, Hampton Inn & Suites in Palm Desert is centrally located and close to the freeway, making it easy to navigate town. For a midcentury resort stay minus the typical price tag, Mojave Resort in Palm Desert is walking distance from the El Paseo shopping district. Pet-friendly and equipped with full kitchens for extended stays, Residence Inn by Marriott has room locations in Palm Desert and La Quinta, while Homewood Suites in Cathedral City will suit those seeking proximity to the airport.
Find a swanky rental.
Sometimes it feels better to sprawl out in your own space. Whether you seek an estate on the golf course, a villa with its own tennis court, an old Spanish charmer, or a dog-friendly midcentury with a private pool, you’ll discover luxurious options for groups of all sizes via ACME Vacation Rentals, Oranj Palm Vacation Homes, Fairway Vacation Rentals, AvantStay, Lux Box Agency, and Zen Home.
PHOTOGRAPHS BY DANIELA STALLINGER
Kimpton Rowan Palm Springs.
Indulge your inner aesthete.
The vibes are high at Hotel Paseo in Palm Desert, where sloped rooflines pay homage to the area’s midcentury roots and bright art pieces adorn each room wall. Modern meets desert elegance at Kimpton Rowan Palm Springs, the city’s tallest building with a rooftop pool and bar and 360-degree views. Formerly the estate of singing cowboy Gene Autry, Parker Palm Springs invites guests into a whimsical world filled with photo-ops. Enjoy an intimate night under the stars at La Serena Villas, where each room boasts a fire pit and a clawfoot tub on a private patio. New to the Palm Springs scene, Fleur Noire features vibrant floral murals on each of the property’s 21 casitas. Mother Nature’s artistic prowess is highlighted at The Ritz-Carlton Rancho Mirage, a mountaintop resort with unparalleled views of the valley and high-end finishes that complement the natural desert surroundings — including indoor-outdoor spa facilities built into the mountainside.
PHOTOGRAPH BY ANNETTE VARTANIAN
Parker Palm Springs.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY MAX WAGNER
Ace Hotel & Swim Club in Palm Springs.
Join the party.
Party on in Palm Springs at these properties known for lively pool scenes and event calendars. The perpetually hip Ace Hotel & Swim Club offers year-round happenings ranging from poolside DJs and drum circles to beer festivals. Hotel Zoso keeps the good vibes going with weekend pool parties and an impressive entertainment lineup (think burlesque, comedy, and male revues). Or enjoy a cheeseburger in paradise at Jimmy Buffet’s namesake restaurant at Margaritaville Resort Palm Springs, where it’s always time for a frozen margarita at the aptly named 5 O’Clock Somewhere pool bar. The rainbow-hued Saguaro Palm Springs has one of the hottest pool scenes in town with live music, DJ sets, and regular summer pool parties.
PHOTOGRAPH BY DANIELA STALLINGER
Sands Hotel & Spa in Indian Wells.
Put wellness first.
The natural mineral waters of El Morocco Inn & Spa in Desert Hot Springs entice guests to soak their stress away after a day of Moroccan-themed spa treatments. Long hailed as a healing destination, Two Bunch Palms touts body work in the Celestial Yoga Dome, spa room treatments featuring CBD oils and adaptogens, and seasonally inspired vegetarian fare. In Indian Wells, the Instagram-worthy Sands Hotel & Spa pairs botanical-infused spa treatments with a healthful — and gourmet — café menu. Steps from downtown Palm Springs, the modern-bohemian Korakia Pensione offers an intimate room retreat where guests can enjoy salt water pools, Moroccan tea time, and private sound baths.
PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY MARRIOTT'S SHADOW RIDGE
Marriott's Shadow Ridge.
Stay and play.
Many area hotels offer golf packages. Among them: Marriott’s Shadow Ridge in Palm Desert; Hyatt Regency Indian Wells Resort & Spa, which also has tennis and pickleball; The Westin Rancho Mirage Golf Resort & Spa (kids will love the waterslides); and Indian Wells Golf Resort (the Shots in the Night glow golf experience is fun for the whole fam - check their availability).
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Architecture in Greater Palm Springs
The Coachella Valley has developed an international reputation for significant architecture. But what drew so many esteemed architects here in the first place?
“The open desert juxtaposed with the steep escarpment of Mount San Jacinto is an architect’s dream proscenium to build on. Since the area attracted so much architectural talent during the post-WWII boom years, the famed Palm Springs School of architects were peer-challenged to do their best, one-up the other, and come up with the most flamboyant and unique designs or the cleverest use of inexpensive materials. Brian Eno, the musician and theoretician, has a name for moments in time when a group of people, not just an individual, converge to organically create a new cultural scene, a style, a history. He calls it ‘scenius,’ a communal form of the concept of genius. The stunning desert landscape, the available work during an unprecedented period of America’s economic expansion, the clients, and the various architects — it all came together in Palm Springs in a decades-long burst of creativity, productivity, and unique style now celebrated as Desert Modernism. Scenius it most certainly was.”
—Brad Dunning, curator, Palm Springs Art Museum