We see Palm Springs in your future … for chic new hotels, rooftop lounges, communal dinners and a hidden wine bar at The Parker. —Sarah Bancroft
stay. Every time we go to Palm Springs we think we’ve found our all-time favourite hotel, until another one opens. From the ownership team at Sparrows Lodge (more below) comes Holiday House, an award-winning restoration of a 1951 mid-century modern hotel. Here, it’s all in the details, such as original art (David Hockney, Herb Ritz), an incredible collection of art books both in-room and in the lobby library, polka-dot cruising bikes for loan, amazing textiles, and spacious rooms with private patios, kitchen nooks, office and even full-sized couches. Guests receive a complimentary travel set from skin-care line Malin+Goets and polka-dot pencils for doodling.
dine. If you’re in Palm Springs on a Wednesday or Saturday night, congratulations! These are the nights for the communal dinners in the courtyard of Sparrows Lodge. Candle-lit and casual—think roast chicken and smashed potatoes—you never know who you’ll sit beside. The very first person we met over hummus and bubbly at the pre-dinner reception was a Hollywood actress. $45/person.
sip & snack. Down a winding garden path behind an inconspicuous door lies the newest incarnation of chic at the famed, estate-like The Parker Hotel. Envisioned by whimsical L.A. designer and decorator Jonathan Adler, Counter Reformation is a darker, sexier, slightly Gothic-take on a French wine bar. There is a great ’70s playlist, delicious beef carpaccio, and baguettes flown in from France. If things get out of hand, they even have confessionals.
spa. It may be pricey, but you pay for the exclusivity at the four-cabana outdoor spa at L’Horizon hotel. On a recent girls weekend, we spent the morning lounging on the pool beds, had amazing massages and facials capped off with a light lunch (Muhammara with grilled Naan bread) and a complimentary cucumber cocktail in a private cabana.
lounge. The cornerstone of the new Downtown Revitalization Project is the much anticipated Rowan hotel from the Kimpton group which opened in late November. With Palm Springs’ first rooftop pool and sweeping mountain and desert views, it’s open to the public at 5pm, and pool day passes will be available. Its lobby bar is one of the most inviting in the city, with a fireplace and stunning mid-century modern leather furniture sourced around the world. If you are celebrating, its private event space is one of the nicest we’ve seen. But its open-air Juniper Table bistro will do just fine for a dirty lemonade in the sun.
shop. With all that sunshine, you’ll want to make sure your skin is super-pampered, and H20 Closet, a new modern apothecary in the Uptown Design District has every cult product you never knew you needed. When we visited, they were giving complimentary mini-facials, and were surprisingly knowledgeable about bikini brushes. Pick up a copper water bottle said to have anti-aging properties, or anything from the Hudson Valley’s Lockwood.
shop more. Cool lingerie and Mara Hoffman bikinis for her, drop-crotch camo pants for him: you’re ready to hit the pool party in style. A huge range of cutting-edge denim (Mother, Frame) and everything else for that “effortless” So-Cal look. Three locations of Elizabeth&Prince in the Greater Palm Springs area.
sport. Every Sunday afternoon from January though March the Empire Polo Club in Indio offers free, international polo matches (after that the grounds are turned over to the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival). They encourage tailgating on one side of the field, while the other offers seating and Champagne. Both groups meet at half-time for the traditional divot stomping.
see. The Palm Springs Art Museum is truly world-class (the area’s wealth has meant bequests galore). The permanent collection of modern art is enough reason to go, but March 3 marks the launch of an Andy Warhol exhibit, with 250 works from a private collector. Entrance by donation on Thursdays from 4 p.m.