With more than 350 days of annual sunshine, natural hot springs, a rich heritage of art and design, and activities set in and around striking natural landscapes, Palm Springs is a destination that invites travellers to do as much or as little as they please. We’ve rounded up our pick of what to see and do, where to stay, and where to eat in this desert metropolis.
Where to stay
Two Bunch Palms Resort & Spa
A serene oasis emphasising holistic wellness and sustainability, Two Bunch Palms is a luxurious resort set on 77 acres of sprawling desert landscape. A 600-year-old spring provides guests with mineral-rich lithium waters to relax, restore, and rejuvenate.
Sixty-seven guest accommodations, including 13 suites, have been recently redesigned with organic materials, handcrafted vintage tiles, and Ipe timber lending a contemporary, relaxed feel.
A curated weekly treatment programme offers indoor and outdoor therapies, with a yoga dome, mineral-rich pools, tennis courts and fitness studios also available. The resort’s onsite restaurant serves Southern California-inspired nourishing dishes made with locally sourced ingredients.
Those wanting to learn a new skill can join the property’s hosted workshops and creative classes—from art meditation to sound baths to perfume making and basket weaving—led by guest instructors.
Room rates start from US$365 per night. www.twobunchpalms.com
Kimpton Rowan Hotel
Set in the heart of downtown Palm Springs, Kimpton Rowan Hotel offers 153 spacious guest rooms and suites that are perfect bases from which to discover the culture, landscapes, and flavours of the desert.
Contemporary design details fittingly reference Palm Springs’ heritage of mid-century design, with light-filled spaces created by floor-to-ceiling windows, clean-lined furnishings, and custom art pieces like the 16-foot macramé owl on display in the lobby.
The signature rooftop restaurant 4Saints offers seasonal, modern American plates that are created using local Californian ingredients, while the rooftop terrace is an ideal spot to take in the Palm Springs sunset and views of the San Jacinto mountains with a cocktail in hand. It’s also home to the only rooftop pool in Palm Springs, which is lined with colourful sunloungers and cabanas.
The hotel is a short walk from the city’s main design attractions such as the Palm Springs Art Museum, the Architecture and Design Center, and the Uptown Design District.
Room rates start at US$470 (about AUD$695) per night. www.rowanpalmsprings.com
What to do
Palm Springs Mod Squad Architecture & Design Tours
A must-do for design lovers, particularly those with a keen interest in mid-century architecture and design, choose from one of three speciality tours—the Essential Palm Springs Tour, Interior Tour, or Martini & MCM Architecture Tour—or allow founder and experienced guide Kurt Cyr to customise an itinerary to your interests. Spot the homes of 1960s Hollywood stars like Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Marilyn Monroe, and learn about the six architects who are considered by many as the shapers of the city as it’s known today. www.psmodsquad.com
The world’s largest rotating tram car takes passengers more than four kilometres up along the cliffs of Chino Canyon to Mt. San Jacinto State Park in just 10 minutes. Take in striking views as your tram car gently rotates toward your elevated destination (at 2,595 metres), where two restaurants, observation decks, a natural history museum, and two documentary theatres await alongside more than 50 miles of hiking trails. pstramway.com
The farm-to-table dining movement is alive and well in Palm Springs, with agriculture the region’s second-largest industry and a variety of crops offering a rich bounty for chefs to choose from when menu planning.
Daniel’s Table is one such venue that is focused on locally grown and sustainable produce. Menus by chef Daniel Villanueva are developed and designed in collaboration with farmers in and around the Coachella Valley according to seasonality, and with only non-GMO, organic and sustainable ingredients making it onto your plate.
Boozehounds is an expansive, dog-friendly restaurant with a cabana bar and patio, serving a Southern California menu with Japanese twists. The space is chic and light with an open-air atrium, velvet sofas, timber seating and potted plants. Executive chef Aric Ianni draws from seasonal ingredients to create a menu of small plates, which is complemented by a cocktail list by mixologist, Justin Gordon.