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…
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.
High Bar at the Rowan
100 W. Tahquitz Canyon Way, Midtown
Refreshing drinks like the frozen Aperol spritz and a passionfruit makeover of the gin fizz—plus light bites like ceviche and a minty melon-arugula salad—make swimsuit-clad, poolside dining comfortable in a destination as searing hot as Palm Springs. The rooftop bar is the perfect spot to people watch as the scene shifts from lively in the afternoon to peaceful at sunset.
233 E. Palm Canyon Dr., Twin Palms
This speakeasy-style cocktail den occupies a hidden space inside the steakhouse, Mr. Lyons (ask the host to point you in the right direction). Once inside, it’s easy for forget what decade it is. There are vintage photographs lining the walls, antique velvet seating, and even a black-and-white tv to set the retro mood. The whole thing is wonderfully old school, and a quiet place for a nightcap—try the Oaxacan Brunch, made with Gem & Bolt mezcal, lime juice, sage-infused simple syrup, and egg white.
6 La Plaza, Baristo
Owner Liz Ostoich modeled Farm after the places she visited in her travels through southern France. This explains the Provençal aesthetic in the garden dining area (green shutters, wicker chairs, rustic wood dining tables), the French-press coffee, the house-made jams, and the truly impressive variety of paper-thin sweet and savory crepes. When we're there, we participate in an (almost) all-Brie diet, made possible by the pear, Brie, arugula, walnut, and date jam baguette, followed by the hazelnut, fig, and brown-sugar-baked Brie.
Wilma & Frieda
155 S Palm Canyon Dr., Baristo
Weekend brunch here means outstanding eggs cooked every way imaginable—poached, sunny-side up, Benedict, scrambled—coupled with seriously indulgent dishes like blackberry custard French toast, biscuits and gravy, burgers, and melts (ham and Gruyère; asparagus, tomato, and Havarti). Come hungry—portions are on the generous side—then go ahead and cancel plans for the rest of the day.
Las Casuelas Terraza
222 S. Palm Canyon Dr., Baristo
A Palm Springs classic, Las Casuelas has been serving live music and killer margaritas (the blood orange with Casamigos is our favorite) since the ’70s. And it’s the perfect spot to hit before a night on the town, thanks to the central location. Foodwise, we love the crunchy taquitos, tortilla soup, and the achiote chicken lettuce wraps (for health-conscious LA weekenders). Whatever you do, don’t leave without trying the house-made guacamole.
149 S. Indian Canyon Dr., Baristo
This no-frills, feel-good restaurant has been around for over twenty years—and not much on the menu has changed since it opened. Locals swear by this lunch-only burger joint, famous not only for the burgers (we love the turkey burger, though the tuna and egg salad sandwiches are excellent, too) but for the homemade potato salad and the blissfully old-fashioned chocolate malts and root beer floats.
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.
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