The pool at Arrive Hotel.

High Camp: A Luxe Palm Springs Itinerary for Coachella-Goers

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Festival lovers will begin their annual migration to the desert this month for Coachella. And while the inexperienced might still go through the newbie ritual of camping on the dusty fairgrounds and "bathing" with baby wipes, this year we're in the mood for something a little more refined.


STAY


Arrive Hotel

Arrive is a modern boutique hotel that fulfills a veritable checklist of everything you want from a Palm Springs vacation. Spacious rooms kitted out with California king-size beds, lush bathrobes and midcentury-modern accents? Check. A delicious restaurant slinging Southern California classics such as carne asada tacos, shrimp ceviche and smoky mezcal cocktails? Check. A coffee shop for pre-hike fuel and a juice bar for afternoon pick-me-ups? Check and check. There's no front desk; check in with the bartender for your room keys; and send a simple text message for all service needs. After you spot the giant flamingo floaties in the pool, you probably won't want to leave the property (Kendrick Lamar and Lady Gaga be damned). // 1551 N Palm Canyon Dr. (Palm Springs), arrivehotels.com


EAT + DRINK

Ice Cream and Shop(pe)

Few things feel better at the end of a 100-degree day than an ice cream cone. Ice Cream and Shop(pe) scoops homemade flavors such as pomegranate with dark chocolate chips, pink ginger, and Coachella Valley date into waffle or pretzel cones and even lets you add as many topping as you want (sprinkles! coconut shavings! gummy bears!) at no additional cost. The pastel palace also houses a nicely curated gift shop with mugs, totes, and notebooks with the hashtag #PalmSpringsIsBetter. // 1151 N Palm Canyon Dr (Palm Springs), icecreamandshop.com


Draughtsman

This brand new gastropub designed by Chris Pardo (who also designed Arrive Hotel) comes complete with ample patio seating, a wraparound bar, and enough room to house a beanbag toss. As for the food, expect classic pub fare from hot wings to short-rib poutine to a truffle mushroom butter burger. There are TVs broadcasting the game, craft beer, wine and a full cocktail lineup—we like the Ionic Order made with Tequila Cabeza, Primary Mezcal, yellow chartreuse, pink peppercorn hibiscus syrup, lime, and IPA foam. // 1501 N Palm Canyon Dr (Palm Springs), draughtsmanpalmsprings.com


Birba

Load up on cheese and carbs at this Italian spot where the pizza is the best the desert has to offer. While you can expect a long wait on any night of the week, Birba's handmade pastas, fresh cocktails, and superb desserts are worth the intial thumb-twidling boredom. Our favorites include the San Danielle pizza (prosciutto and arugula) followed by cacio e pepe with cauliflower. The open dining space and outdoor bar make Birba even more attractive on warm Palm Springs nights. // 622 N Palm Canyon Dr (Palm Springs), birbaps.com


Elmer's Restaurant

You won't find hip design details or trendy cocktails at Elmer's, a town favorite since 1960, but you will find a dining room full of hungry brunch-goers expecting to chow down on massive German pancakes served with lemon wedges, whipped butter and powdered sugar. The classic diner menu is expansive and affordable, so stop here to fuel up before Coachella while admiring the Rat Pack-era photography on the walls. // 1030 E Palm Canyon Dr (Palm Springs), eatatelmers.com


Cheeky's

Plan for a long wait at Cheeky's, one of the most popular brunch spots on Palm Canyon Drive, but once you're seated, you can't go wrong. The menu runs the gamut from Elvis French Toast with bananas, bacon and almond butter to Brussels sprout-kimchi fried rice. Add on the famous bacon flight, featuring five different strips of bacon, from miso to jalapeño to date chutney, for five dollars. And don't be alarmed by the NSFW monkey graphics in the bathroom—it's all part of the charm. // 622 N Palm Canyon Dr (Palm Springs), cheekysps.com


Bar

Bar is a classic Palm Springs dive bar with friendly bartenders and tasty cocktails. We like to belly up here early, so we can enjoy a Gold Rush (bourbon, honey, lemon) and chat with the other patrons, but if you want to keep the party going, Bar brings in A DJ every Friday and Saturday night for a raucous dance party. Keep up your energy with one of their simple and tasty hand-tossed pizzas (we like the house special made with red sauce, mozzarella, Italian sausage, pepperoni, mushroom, onion, and tomato) or get some fresh air with a game of ping-pong on the outdoor patio. // 340 N. Palm Canyon Dr (Palm Springs), barwastaken.com


Reservoir

Reservoir is one of the best restaurants in town, offering quick sweet bites (think churros con chocolate or granola bowls), brunch staples (omelettes, savory crepes, build-your-own Bloody Marys) and excellent lunch and dinner options (tacos, burgers, salads and even ramen). The best part? Even if you're not a guest of Arrive hotel, you can stretch out by the pool and have your meal delivered to your cabana. // 1551 N Palm Canyon Dr, reservoirpalmsprings.com


TO DO

Moorten Botanical Garden

You may have missed the super bloom, but you can still revel in the desert's natural flora and fauna at the Moorten Botanical Garden. Ten dollars will get you a tour of the garden and cactarium (the world's first) where hundreds of varieties of cacti, succulents and other desert plants bloom in all their arid extra-dry glory. Moorten also sells small souvenir cacti near the entrance for your to take back home. And don't forget to say hi to the desert tortoises in the corner. // 1701 S Palm Canyon Dr (Palm Springs), moortenbotanicalgarden.com

Aerial Tramway

Looking for a bird's eye view of the desert? Aerial Tramway will carry you high above the scorching valley floor to the majestic Chino Canyon—where it's at least 20 degrees cooler. Once you're at the top, grab some grub at the Pines Cafe or head for a hike through Mt. San Jacinto State Park. Warning, the wobbly journey is not for those afraid of heights. // 1 Tram Way (Palm Springs), pstramway.com

See Mirage IRL

You've seen it all over Instagram, now see it IRL. Mirage is part of an temporary art series called Desert X, which features site-specific art projects by new and emerging artists all over the Coachella Valley. Mirage is definitely the most popular installation, so prepare for plenty of strangers to be in your pics. And don't delay, the majority of the installations will be dismantled at the end of the month. // 33°50'59.6"N 116°33'57.5"W (Palm Springs), desertx.org


Coachella

This year's desert fest will not only take over two weekends with headliners including Radiohead, Lady Gaga, and Kendrick Lamar, but also includes a seventh stage near the entrance. The new Sonora stage will host Latin American acts by day (think Tacocat and Tall Juan) and lo-fi indie rock by night (hello, The Commons!), which means more staggered set times to fit into your schedule and also more criss-crossing the Empire Polo Club field—make sure to plan your concert schedule ahead of time. Wear comfortable shoes, don a hat, and pack plenty of sunscreen and water, because sunburned and dehydrated does not a cute festival look make. // coachella.com

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