Street names such as Bob Hope Drive, Bing Crosby Trail and Frank Sinatra Drive are the first clue that this desert city was once Hollywood’s winter playground. Though Palm Springs doesn’t have the same cache as it did in the hey-day of the ‘50’s, it is back in the chic circuit again. Approximately 100 miles from Los Angeles, it’s perfect for a weekend away or as part of a longer trip. Tripper Robert Sudduth is a television writer who has written for The New Normal, Crazy Ones, Good Christian Bitches, and most recently Red Band Society. He is currently working on his own movie script, possibly poolside at The Parker.
Newcomer L'Horizon is a luxury resort, boasting true exclusivity nestled within intimate spaces on 3 acres of gorgeous manicured desert grounds. The 25 guestrooms feature dramatic mountain views.
More than 100 golf courses in the greater Palm Spring’s area make for a golfer’s paradise; the sunshine and balmy temperatures don’t hurt, excluding the possibility of extreme summer heat.
Bike, hike, or horseback ride through the stunning desert landscape of Joshua Tree National Park - approximately 45 minutes outside of Palm Springs.
Soak in the healing waters at the quirky Two Bunch Palms Spa. Nothing is quite like the Watsu massage, given while floating in the natural desert hot springs. It will transport you to a different level of relaxed. Also, try Two Bunch’s famous mud bath, featured in Robert Altman’s film The Player; it wasn’t for me, but some people swear by it.
Go: Before I set foot in Palm Springs, the word "desert" usually conjured up images of cracked earth, rattlesnakes and basically, my impending death. Now that I've spent several retreats in this little town nestled in the Coachella Valley, I realize how much more the desert can offer. With a relaxing vibe and a rich history of old Hollywood glamour, Palm Springs is the one-stop shop to get your tan and culture on.
Sleep: First things first: where to stay. The Parker is a chic four-star hotel with several pools, beautifully maintained grounds and two on-site restaurants, including the outstanding Mr. Parker. Traveling with a group? Go for a house rental. Palm Springs is overflowing with affordable, tastefully renovated mid-century homes. HomeAway, VRBO and AirBnb are all good bets to find a property.
Java: When you start your day, you'll probably want some coffee. Go to Koffi Spring for a creamy almond milk latte and a toasted bagel sandwich with an egg and ham. If you want a more substantial breakfast, Cheeky's offers some fresh dishes like frittatas and gluten-free waffles, all of which can be washed down with one of their blood orange mimosas. (Hint: they're dangerous).
Get Moving: So you've stuffed your face. Now you need to work it off. Lucky for you, Palm Springs has some amazing hikes. The Art Museum trail starts at the back parking lot of the downtown museum. Two miles takes about two hours. This moderately strenuous journey offers unparalleled views of the city and surrounding valley. You’ll definitely want to take some selfies up here.
Shop and Stroll: If you prefer to walk and spend money at the same time (it burns more calories, studies show), take a stroll down Palm Canyon Drive. This bustling main drag has everything: vintage furniture stores, pet boutiques and unique art/gift shops, like the fabulously odd Michael Weems Collection.
Lunch: Lulu California Bistro is a two-story, open-air space that offers wonderful American cuisine and even better people watching. For some Southern Cal Mexican food, hit Blue Coyote on the north end of Palm Canyon.
Don’t Miss: You’re probably going to want to go home and take a nap. But don’t! You haven’t yet been on the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. On the ten-minute ride, travel 6,000 feet to the top of Chino Canyon. There you can grab a snack at Peaks Restaurant, or simply enjoy the breathtaking panoramas. Tramcars travel up and down pretty regularly, so you can stay as long or as short as you like.
Chill: Okay, so now go nap. Or sit out at the pool and read, or if you’re like me do work on your computer.
Dinner: Eat dinner at Johannes, which offers seasonal, eclectic fare (along with tasty cucumber martinis). As mentioned earlier, Mr. Parker is also a top-notch option for hearty steaks and seafood. If these are both booked up, snatch a table at Citron, located at the Viceroy Hotel.
Homeward Bound: Ah, Palm Springs. So many famous people used to play here: Marilyn Monroe, Frank Sinatra, Ginger Rogers…and now you. So when you get back to the daily grind of whatever it is that you do, stop for a moment and remember sitting poolside with your book, your friends and a cold margarita. And if in that moment, you aren’t instantly transported back to sunny Palm Springs… then it’s obviously time to book a return vacation.