South Palm Springs

Establishment neighborhood
Ace Hotel & Swim Club
701 E. Palm Canyon Dr., South 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.
The Barn Kitchen at Sparrows Lodge
1330 E. Palm Canyon Dr., South Palm Springs
If you can snag a reservation, you’re in for a real treat at this small, cozy hotel’s restaurant (seating is limited, and hotel guests get first priority; walk-ins aren’t accepted). The family-style suppers are served at long, wooden communal tables and include starters like date and orange salad before the entrée (along the lines of marinated rib eye with garlic smashed potatoes or roasted chicken with wild rice). The garden setting feels totally private, like a dinner party at a friend’s gorgeous desert compound.
1030 E. Palm Canyon Dr., South Palm Springs
Though there are 25 locations of this Portland-born diner throughout the Northwest, this is the only California outpost and it’s the furthest thing from a run-of-the-mill franchise. Yes, there’s a massive laminated menu but that's half the fun. Lunch and dinner bring in a good amount of guests, but it’s the all-day breakfast that’s the true standout. German pancakes, oversize skillet omelets, and smokehouse bacon are particularly adored by both kids and those nursing wicked hangovers.
1700 S. Camino Real, South Palm Springs
There are two Koffi outposts, one at each end of town (the bigger of the two is within walking distance of the Ace hotel, while the second is downtown), which is great since the coffee here is some of the best in the desert. While there are loads of complicated espresso drinks to choose from, we’re partial to the no-frills single-origin iced coffee. To compliment the miles-long beverage menu, there’s also a nice selection of muffins, cakes, and more substantial small bites.
El Jefe
1800 E. Palm Canyon Dr., South Palm Springs
Much like the color-happy Saguaro Hotel it’s situated in, El Jefe is super casual (communal seating, reclaimed wood-paneled walls) and great for accommodating kids and larger groups. Inspired by Mexico City’s thriving street food scene and helmed by chef Jose Garces (of Iron Chef fame), the small-plates menu is extensive yet easy to navigate. For breakfast there’s torrijas (a delicious citrus-vanilla French toast dish) and loads of egg-centric options. Lunch and dinner are devoted to South-of-the-border favorites like ceviche, sopas, and of course, tacos—our go-to is the veggie-and-mushroom Hongos con Rajas.
Kings Highway & The Amigo Room
701 E. Palm Canyon Dr., South Palm Springs
Occupying an old Denny’s and decked out with mod fixtures and faux taxidermy, Kings Highway is exactly what one might expect from Ace hotel’s riff on a roadside diner. In addition to providing the hotel with room service, the restaurant serves elevated versions of standard diner fare (burgers, omelets, pie) as well as random but welcome additions—grilled Monterey squid, shrimp vindaloo, black eyed pea hummus—all day long and well into the night on weekends. Next door is the Amigo Room bar, a former rancher watering hole which was purposely left out of the renovation to keep its gritty ambiance. There are 21 craft beers on tap and a killer craft cocktail menu that goes perfectly with the slew of campy activities (bingo is a fan favorite) hosted at the bar pretty much nightly.