Weekend in Palm Springs
Back in June I spent a weekend in Palm Springs for my BFF Caroline's 25th birthday. I knew it would be hot (it's the desert), I knew it would be DRY heat (it's the desert), and I knew that the Ace Hotel, where we were staying, would be hipster paradise (because it appears to be the most heavily instagrammed place in Southern California/the world so I'd seen around 10,000 photos of it before our arrival). But other than that, I really had no idea what to expect of Palm Springs. My friend Sarah who lives in LA described Palm Springs with one word: weird. And I'm here to say that basically, she's right.
I don't mean that Palm Springs is weird in a bad way by any means--I kind of loved it and would definitely make a return trip--but it truly is unlike any other place I've ever been. As a town full of hotels and swimming pools in the middle of the desert, Palm Springs is an actual oasis. And since it's so hot (in June at least) we spent most of our time in or around the pool at the Ace.
From what I can tell, Palm Springs is all about #hotellife. The town has so many well-designed hotels with amazing bars and restaurants within, you could visit a different hotel for dinner or drinks every night. We spent one evening at The Parker, which was fully designed and furnished by Jonathan Adler, and let me tell you, it is something to behold. Not only is the interior—the lobby, the restaurants, and the various lounge areas to sit and enjoy a cocktail—realized in Adler’s whimsical-chic style, the grounds, with their expansive gardens and secluded swimming pools, feel so lush and enchanted that it’s easy to forget you’re in the middle of the desert.
We had a poolside dinner at Citron, the restaurant at the Viceroy Hotel, which was designed by Kelly Wearstler and exudes the fresh, luxe-yet-edgy vibe she brings to all of her spaces. The food at Citron was to die for (I had the lobster tagliolini, a dish I will probably have dreams about it until I return), the service impeccable, and there was live acoustic music by the pool. A truly perfect dining experience.
We were hoping to take an afternoon trip out of town to Salvation Mountain—which along with the Salton Sea and Joshua Tree makes up the array of fascinating desert land marks just a short drive from Palm Springs--but the call of the Ace’s cool saltwater pool was too loud to resist. But sometimes when you’re traveling, it’s good to leave a few stones unturned. Then you always have a reason to go back.
The Ace Hotel and Swim Club - 701 East Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs, CA 92264
The Parker - 4200 E Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs, CA 92264
The Viceroy Palm Springs - 415 South Belardo Road, Palm Springs, California 92262
***There are tons of other places to stay in Palm Springs, from hipsterfied motels to airbnb bungalows to luxury resorts. Each of my three recs offers something a little different but all of them are dog friendly, so your pup doesn’t have to miss out on the fun!
King's Highway - What used to be a Denny's diner attached to a Howard Johnson is now King's Highway at the Ace Hotel. The restaurant has been refurbished into a hippie-chic gem that serves up delicious diner classics alongside modern Californian cuisine (the kale and quinoa salad was so amazing I recreated it here). Portions are massive, especially for breakfast, so come hungry.
Mister Parker - French dining at the Parker Hotel. Dark and sexy with a kind of fancy opium den feel (not that I’ve ever been in an opium den, fancy or otherwise, but one can imagine).
Citron – The elegant restaurant at the Viceroy serves new American dishes. Citron has seating inside in the sleek, white dining room or outdoors—poolside or on the patio.
Feel Good Spa @ the Ace – The spa at the Ace hotel is all about simple services using natural, organic products. Here you can get a classic Swedish massage or a full energy work session complete with chanting, meditation, and crystals.
PSYC @ the Parker – The Parker describes PSYC (or Palm Springs Yacht Club) as a country club meets new age spa experience. Pair a pedicure with a stiff cocktail or a yoga session with a seaweed wrap—either way you’ll leave calm and refreshed.