“Greetings from sunny Palm Springs, California…” I can almost hear Bob Hope say as images of vintage postcards dance in my head crossing over the extraterrestrial-like San Jacinto Mountains into the Coachella Valley. Having visited the California coast on different occasions and falling in love with it, it was hard to imagine what might draw people inland into the desert. The desert drive alone was reason enough to leave the comforts of the coast, but setting foot in Palm Springs you understand its simplistic allure and the serenity the desert offers.
Palm Springs is untouched by high rises allowing for unobstructed panoramic views of the natural beauty that surrounds the Coachella Valley. Since the 1920’s, visionary modern architects have designed sleek, modern homes that have embraced the desert environment. The dramatic geographic
surroundings inspired a design aesthetic in the middle of the 20th Century now called Desert Modernism. Notable for its use of glass, clean lines, and natural resources, Desert Modernism evoked a lifestyle of simple elegance and informality while also blending into the natural beauty of the desert. In fact you will notice most landscaping consists of brush, cacti, and palms native to the area.
The Colony Palms Hotel is a true gem of a hotel. You can tell that the owners love this place by the attention to detail paid to bedding, wallpaper, decor, and even to the gardens which will make you
feel like you are on your own private estate. Secret nooks in the trees and beautiful cabanas create a magical setting to enjoy your Palm Springs vacation. It is easy to see why the Colony Palms Hotel is a
popular place for celebrity weddings. The hotel is also a gem when it comes to price with nightly rates below $200 in off season.
If you are looking to go with a group, you can also rent your own Desert Modern home through Vacation Palm Springs. You may even want to rent celebrity homes like Sinatra’s or Tony Curtis’s click here.
Overlooking Palm Springs, Coachella Valley, and the San Jacinto Mountains, The Ritz-Carlton Rancho Mirage sits high upon a bluff and is designed to complement its desert location. Try their spicy mescal concoction while enjoying sunset.
Bootlegger Tiki is the place to enjoy quality time with friends over delicious Tiki cocktails. Located in the same space as the original Don the Beachcomber restaurant that opened in 1953, Bootlegger Tiki is an incredible piece of Palm Springs history serving up drinks like Pod Thai, Poison Dart, Gooney Goo Goo, and the Moorea Fizz.
Cheeky’s is a must while you are in Palm Springs. They take their drinks ‘very seriously’ whether you are ordering a craft cocktail or simply want to enjoy a fresh pressed juice – this is the place to enjoy a sip!
Located in Palm Spring’s hot spot The Ace Hotel, The Amigo Room serves up artisans cocktails and has some type of entertainment going on every night from DJS to Socal performance artists. Plus if there is a special event going on in Palm Springs it is a guarantee there will be some festivities going on at The Amigo Room.
Elixir Pool Bar and Grill at V Palm Springs takes the Tiki cocktail to the next level with a modern twist, delivering whimsical drinks, frozen beverages and large sharable cocktails. A great place to unwind after a hot day.
Farm to table down to the last bite, enjoy gorgeously decorated indoor seating or a vibrant outdoor courtyard at Workshop Kitchen + Bar.
Perhaps it makes sense that the desert’s swankiest hotel L’Horizon would be home to the desert’s swankiest restaurant. Dramatic, refined, and intimate, SO•PA offers a unique alfresco dining experience for breakfast, lunch and dinner in an elegant, intimate setting finished with fire pits, fountains, and Lindsey Adelman chandeliers.
Green velvet booths – yes please! If the beautiful, fresh fare doesn’t seduce you the Sinatra style atmosphere will at Mr. Lyons.
Starting at $45 per person on “Chicken” Wednesdays and “Steak” Saturdays, rustic retreat The Barn Kitchen at Sparrows Lodge serves a family style supper for a select number of guests. The menu changes for each dinner. No substitutions or alterations. Reservations are required.
Fresh flavorful food like Tuna Poke, So-Cal Cobb Salad, and Mix-and-Match Tacos are served up daily to adoring patrons at Reservoir. You cannot go wrong with this taste of Palm Springs.
It is perhaps no secret that a playground for celebrities and socialites would in fact house the most coveted selection of vintage clothing around. The End is a dazzling array of finery and fringe and a must shop for any style maven or modern gypsy.
From Saint Laurent to Dolce & Gabbana, The Fine Art Of Design is one of the world’s best vintage stores. Enjoy perusing the colorful racks.
Always embracing Palm Springs mid-century style, enjoy browsing designer Trina Turk’s colorful collection in her flagship store.
Mountains that look like children’ s rock piles towering into the sky, barren mountainsides with one lone cactus growing out of the rock, and brushy meadows with colorful strawberry cacti popping up from the desert dirt all come together to form this otherworldly terrain. Taking the mountain highways though the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains isn’t just a suggestion, it is a must.
From San Diego head towards the Temecula Wine Valley exiting at highway 79 and soon your adventure will begin. Along the highway we saw signs for “Art Under The Oaks” with a line of cars parked up a gravel road into the mountainside. Stopping to check it out we discovered the Dorland
Mountain Arts Colony was having an art festival under the trees showcasing painters, carpenters, and other artisans. Dorland Mountain Arts Colony is a beautiful retreat where artists, writers, musicians and composers can create in a secluded, natural setting. The colony is located near Temecula Valley Wine Country, about 100 miles south of Los Angeles and sixty miles north of San Diego.
Continuing along highway 79 you will see are larger than life metal sculptures of T-Rexes, horses, warriors, marlins, and more. This is world famous metal artist Ricardo Breceda’s animal kingdom
and it is worth stopping and perusing. Born in Durango Mexico, Ricardo has lived in California for the last 25 years. His daughter’s enthusiasm over dinosaurs sparked his interest in the creation of these prehistoric beasts. What started as a hobby quickly became a passion to transform metal into incredible life like creations. As Ricardo says, “All I require is a photo or sketch and I’ll create a unique sculpture for you.”
For a true taste of California as you turn onto highway 371 toward Palm Desert and Palm Springs, you will see the Temecula Olive Oil Company Ranch. Stroll through the olive groves, smell the lavender, and visit the tasting bar to enjoy some of the best olive oils and balsamic vinegars to ever touch your
lips. Enjoy Blood Orange and Picante Pepper flavored olive oil and learn the differences in aged oils. This family-owned olive ranch takes great measures to farm sustainably by avoiding pesticides or weed abatement practices that could be harmful to the environment believing that the best California groves make the best California olive oil.
Whet your palette with authentic Southwest fare at Jilberto’s Taco Shop in Anza before turning onto Highway 74 aka the iconic Pines to Palms Highway that leads to Palm Springs. This fantastic little hole-in-the-wall serves up 6 different types of salsa to try and excellent shrimp, steak, and fish tacos. At $6 it is a lunch to rave about.
For the adventurous spirit this little slice of highway 74 is also where the Pacific Crest Trail aka the PCT crosses into the San Jacinto Mountains. The San Jacinto portion of the PCT has been called the most diverse of all the segments. The entire 2,600-mile trail stretches from Mexico to Canada. From the high point in this section, hikers going north descend some 7,000 feet in about 20 miles, passing through varied terrain from pine forest to desert scrub. Hikers who decide to take on the entire 57-mile San Jacinto leg of the PCT will need to consult a guidebook to navigate the sometimes-confusing network of trails – it’s not a straight shot. Finding water along the way is also a challenge, so long-distance hikers are advised to carry a minimum of four liters of water to start, and plan to replenish at a spring or a water source off the trail. To get started look for the PCT sign and trailhead about one mile east of Highway 371.
So pack light, grab a poolside outfit, and head to this desert oasis for a trip that will seduce all your senses.