Quick Palm Springs Getaways, in Three Price Ranges
Palm Springs and the other desert cities that are its neighbors are quickly evolving and adapting to the desires of a new generation of tourists (and Coachella-goers) from all over California and beyond. The last few years have seen a bevy of older hotels transformed into hip new boutique destinations, and new restaurants have been popping up catering to the demanding palates of Bay Area and Los Angeles weekenders. It's definitely not the Rat Pack generation's Palm Springs anymore.
In the May issue of 7x7, contributor Cheryl Locke discussed some newly opened resorts and attractions, including the brand new Arrive Palm Springs with its in-house Reservoir Kitchen & Bar, and the affiliated Hacienda Cantina & Beach Club, which isn't quite open yet.
Below, we have a few more ideas for quick Palm Springs getaways that will work with almost any budget. (And look out on Virgin America for travel deals, since they often have cheap non-stop flights from SFO starting at $49.)
Stay here: It definitely smacks of 'the poor man's Ace' with Tiki touches, but the Caliente Tropics Hotel is a decent choice for kitsch lovers seeking rooms around $100 or less and a Brady-Bunch-Hawaii-Episode vibe. Bonus: It's totally pet-friendly.
Stay here: The Saguaro was most recently a Holiday Inn which Joie de Vivre took over in 2013 and turned into a quirky, inviting, day-glo rainbow fiesta of a modern motel, complete with a fun (but not quite Ace-level chaotic) weekend pool scene, ping-pong in the lobby, and comfortable, if basic amenities. For about the same price (~$200), you'll find more plush accommodations and a louder, more tattooed poolside party at the one-year-old Hard Rock Hotel.
Eat here: Birba, one of the newest restaurants in town, features well executed Cal-Med cuisine (including some great meatballs), pretty solid wood-fired pizzas, and city-worthy cocktails. At brunch the place transforms into Cheeky's, which is equally good, with some terrific house-made doughnuts by pastry chef Deb Menduno. Also, the King's Highway restaurant at the Ace Hotel, which was once upon a time a Denny's, is a kitschy modern diner experience with very good food (also available to eat in the dimly lit Amigo Room bar next door), and on Mondays the place transforms into a bingo hall (It's likely that local drag queen Bella da Ball will take up the flag, after the death of long-time hostess Linda Gerard), followed later in the evening with trivia in the bar. But you'll want to get there really early, or make a reservation, for dinner during bingo.
Stay here: It doesn't get much more luxe and secluded than The Parker, a high-end oasis with a lush maze of greenery to explore in its courtyard, and bohemian pretenses in the Jonathan Adler decor. But be advised, basic rooms start around $300 in the low season, which is all summer, and suites start at $450. Also, as soon as it comes online, hip travelers will definitely be flocking to the Arrive, which is the brainchild of Facebook employee number 6 Ezra Callahan, and will feature live poolside music throughout the year curated by Knitting Factory Entertainment.
Eat here: Tinto, the one-year-old Jose Garces restaurant at the Saguaro, is better than it deserves to be, with excellent Spanish charcuterie, tapas, wine, and cocktails, and a top-notch chef's tasting menu. But for real splurges you'll want to check out the modern golf-resort luxury of Escena Grill, or the more California-French Mr. Parker's at The Parker, with its low-ceilinged, 70s psychedelic decor and whimsical drug-den vibe. The food there is, probably, the most refined in town, while still being bistro-comforting, and the place caters to a high-end business and Hollywood-type clientele.
More tips: Click here for more things to see during a weekend in Palm Springs.