200 W. Arenas Rd., Palm Springs
Holiday House isn't particularly posh (honor bar in place of room service). And it isn't over-the-top luxurious (no spa here). What it is, however, is one of the most comfortable, and, like its name suggests, happy places to spend a weekend in Palm Springs. It looks like a revamped motel—an achingly chic, fun, cool revamped motel—set up a block behind the main drag of the city. The twenty-eight rooms and the surrounding property (pool, café-slash-bar, lounge area) are purposefully intimate. The pretty, blue-themed rooms—most with retro kitchenettes—look like they belong in Mykonos or Santorini; a breath of fresh air in the arid desert heat. Best of all, you can catch sweeping views of mountains and towering palms from pretty much every corner of the perfctly manicured property. Note: this is an adults-only place, so leave the kiddos with grandma.
Sands Hotel & Spa
44-985 Province Way, Indian Wells
Including this gem of a hotel in the Palm Springs guide is technically cheating. You have to go to Indian Wells, about 30 minutes outside PS, to soak up the Moroccan splendor that is this compound of 46 rooms, cabana-surrounded pool, unapologetically pretty restaurant, and small-but-mighty spa. There isn't much to explore in the town itself, which is just fine: this is a self-contained luxury retreat for those looking to stay put and disconnect. The light salmon tone that pervades the grounds gives you the impression that you're always looking through rose colored glasses. The rooms are done in gentle tones of blue, with massive bathrooms, complete with the kind of soaking tubs that keep you from getting to whatever you have planned. Don't be afraid to take all your meals at The Pink Cabana (find an abridged version of the Mediterranean dishes on the room service menu), everything from the amlou tartine for breakfast to the meze plate for lunch to the harissa chicken for dinner, is just that good. The spa has three treatment rooms, each one prettier than the next. Any of the masages are a…
The Ritz-Carlton Bacara, Santa Barbara
8301 Hollister Ave., Goleta
With the Pacific Ocean on one side and the Santa Ynez Mountains on the other, The Ritz-Carlton Bacara, Santa Barbara, is not lacking in the natural beauty department. And in fact, what sets it apart from the other Santa Barbara hotels is this immediate connection to nature: You can leave your room and walk directly to the beach without dodging traffic or even crossing any streets. It’s the only resort in Santa Barbara with such prime waterfront real estate (seventy-eight acres of it), and it's used to great effect. The hotel will arrange surf or sailing lessons, there are hiking trails to see the region’s flora and fauna firsthand, and tide pools are ready for exploration with one of the expert naturalists. As you’d expect from a Ritz-Carlton, guest rooms are super plush—we love the huge beds with their Frette linens, and the marble bathrooms are the size of some studio apartments.
Ace Hotel & Swim Club
701 E Palm Canyon Dr., Palm Springs
Palm Springs is the perfect embodiment of Ace’s casual, retro-cool brand. So it’s no surprise that this outpost of the hotel chain seems particularly at home. A former motor lodge from the ‘60’s, Ace took over and renovated the place in 2009. Rooms mirror the surrounding desert, outfitted in shades of khaki and ochre, with canvas-covered walls (try and snag one with an outdoor firepit and views of the San Jacinto Mountains). Two saltwater swimming pools are popular daytime hangouts, but when night falls, dinner at Kings Highway (a former Denny’s-turned hipster canteen) and a mezcal cocktail at the Amigo Room make for fun-filled night.
L’Horizon Hotel and Spa
1050 E. Palm Canyon Dr., Deepwell Estates
Originally built in 1952 by William F. Cody, L’Horizon began as the home of Hollywood producer Jack Wrather (of Lassie and The Lone Ranger fame), who used to host Marilyn Monroe and Betty Grable, among others. L’Horizon is considered one of Cody’s finest works, and a lasting example of Palm Springs’ 1950s heyday. In 2015, the property opened as the region’s swankiest hotel, reimagined by its new owner, LA-based designer Steve Hermann. Hermann spent two years renovating the interiors, modernizing everything along the way—and the result is an open-air spa and restaurant and twenty-five bungalows that recall the original glamour but don’t feel stuck in a mid-century time warp. Each bungalow is outfitted with exposed post-and-beam wood ceilings, stone walls, custom Italian furnishings, wide plank floors, and a marble bathroom with a rain shower—in other words, the best of the past and present.
1551 N. Palm Canyon Dr., Vista Las Palmas
Arrive is the kind of place you dream about when you dream of Palm Springs. There's a bocce court, bikes to cruise around town, poolside cabanas for day, and firepits for night. Service is thorough but relaxed (you can request anything you need via text). And the building's industrial-cool steel, wood, and concrete features are starkly dramatic against the dry, sandy desert backdrop.
100 W. Tahquitz Canyon Way, Midtown
The Rowan is right in the thick of downtown’s bustle. It’s convenient when you want to step out and have a big range of dinner options—though one of the best meals in town is right here at its restaurant, 4 Saints. Small plates with a Mediterranean bent are the work of chef Stephen Wambach and include gorgeously plated dishes like Fish in the Forest (kampachi, wild juniper, matsutake mushrooms, and baby leeks). And the rooms are nothing to sneeze at either: they all offer sweeping views of the San Jacinto Mountains thanks to floor-to-ceiling windows.
La Serena Villas
339 S. Belardo Rd., Historic Tennis Club
Between the big beds covered in the softest Frette linens, the fireplaces, and the private outdoor patios with firepits and clawfoot tubs, it’s easy to never leave your bungalow. But then you’d miss out on the freshest watermelon salad and ahi bruschetta at Azucar, the hotel’s poolside restaurant. Or a reflexology massage at the spa. And it’s all a short walk from Palm Canyon Drive, where you’ll want to spend at least a couple hours exploring the shops, cafés, and galleries.
The NoMad Hotel Los Angeles
649 S. Olive St., Downtown
You know a hotel is doing something right when the locals are rushing to book staycations. that's exactly what happened when New York's NoMad made its way to LA. The LA outpost is in a former bank building on Olive Street (the massive vault in the basement now leads to the restrooms), and the lushly decorated ground floor is where you'll find the lobby restaurant and coffee shop. Both are excellent, but for dinner, you want to be up in the Mezzanine. The rooms, with their freestanding tubs, marble counters, and floral fainting couches, have been known to send overnight guests home with heads full of redecorating plans. And while room service is as standard a room amenity as, say, a flat-screen TV, here the experience is elevated to an art form. Everything on the menu is a slam dunk—though several goop staffers have come back from staycations waxing poetic about the breakfast sandwich.
6500 Selma Ave., Hollywood
LA abounds with rooftop bars, but even Westsiders will make the pilgrimage east for a night at Mama Shelter. There's just something about it. Maybe it's the direct view of the sun setting over the Hollywood sign, maybe it's those rainbow-striped loungers you sink into, or maybe it's the tunes spun nightly by the DJ. Arrive before dusk—especially on particularly balmy LA nights—and take over a corner with a crowd of friends. The barmen are some of the best in town (Y Tu Mama' Tambien is the spicy mezcal cocktail to order), and those panoramic views will keep you spellbound until last call.
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