Greater Palm Springs – which includes Palm Springs, Desert Hot Springs, Cathedral City, Rancho Mirage, Palm Desert, Indian Wells, La Quinta, Indio and Coachella – offers a vivid tapestry of diverse experiences from hot springs and healing spas to epicurean adventures and animal encounters.
Amid the pandemic, the region made international headlines in 2020 when its iconic La Quinta Resort & Club, A Waldorf Astoria Resort was chosen as the destination for both Clare Crawley and Tayshia Adams’ seasons of “The Bachelorette.” Olivia Wilde also recently directed (and got close to) Harry Styles in “Don’t Worry Darling,” which will be released later this year, on location at La Quinta.
With filming complete, the resort is now welcoming back guests, and it is the perfect home base to discover all the region has to offer. The 45-acre desert hideaway was first opened in 1926 as a health retreat for the Hollywood elite including Greta Garbo and Clark Gable, and it has evolved over the years into an escape from the ordinary for travelers worldwide. Dotted with citrus trees and cacti, the 796-room mission-style resort boasts hundreds of spacious casitas, suites and villas, and almost all accommodations have an ample mountain views. Of note are the King Eisenhower suite, where President Dwight D. Eisenhower frequented after he left office, and the Capra junior suite, where Frank Capra wrote It’s a Wonderful Life.
Beyond this, there are 41 total pools on property as well as 23 tennis courts (which can double for pickleball courts); ample gardens; hiking and biking trails; a state-of-the-art fitness center; five championship golf courses, one of which was designed by Greg Norman and another by Jack Nicklaus; and an ultra-lux La Quinta Spa.
Looking for something new? Palm Springs has you covered there, too.
The Miramonte Resort & Spa has completed a stunning $9 million renovation and reimagining. The property-wide transformation includes redesigned and upgraded rooms, a new restaurant and bar concept, new outdoor dining and gathering spaces, modernized meeting rooms, and an updated pool experience.
The Westin Mission Hills Golf Resort & Spa has completed a $15-plus million resort-wide renovation with new and expanded outdoor areas for live music and events, as well as updated guest rooms and meeting spaces. Expanding beyond the spa, wellness is woven throughout the resort experience. Families with kids will love the addition of two new waterslides at the main pool.
Fleur Noire Hotel is also showcasing some fabulousness. The boldly re-imagined historic boutique Palm Springs hotel in the city’s Uptown Design District opened in Fall 2021; its 21 uniquely designed casitas and suites feature exteriors with giant-sized California flower murals hand-painted by Detroit-based muralist Louise Jones. Interiors feature floral wallpaper from wallpaper artist Ellie Cashman
Azure Sky, a 14-room, 21-and-over, luxury boutique hotel, will open March 2022 in South Palm Springs. The renovated property, originally constructed in 1959, offers wide-open views of the San Jacinto Mountains and is enveloped by desert landscaping, providing a sanctuary with a residential feel. The hotel’s 14 rooms range from 225 to 620 square feet and include five spacious one-bedroom suites.
Set on a 230-acre private estate within the foothills of the Santa Rosa Mountains in Rancho Mirage, Sensei Porcupine Creek is scheduled to open in the fall of 2022. The new Sensei retreat will offer a luxury wellness experience, including a private golf course; world-class tennis facilities; spa, nutrition, movement and other wellness and sports programs paired with a state-of-the-art diagnostic center; yoga and fitness pavilions; a swimming pool; and a Sensei by Nobu restaurant.
Now, let’s talk food.
Among the top iconic haunts to experience the area’s gourmet greatness: Copley’s on Palm Canyon, which is located in the actual city of Palm Springs at the former Cary Grant estate and features upscale American cuisine with European influences; La Vallauris, also in Palm Springs and offering an lavish prix-fixe, French menu and dreamy patio setting; and Jillian’s in Palm Desert, which is located in an enchanting garden and known for its globally inspired cuisine with seasonal California ingredients.
There are also a host of newer spots from which to choose as well in: Willie’s Modern Fare, modern European dining experience in Rancho Mirage set to open in February 2022; Salt Flats, which opened in the Fall 2021 in Cathedral City and features modern American food made with love with ancient backgrounds and diversity in flavor; newly opened GiGi’s Restaurant & Lounge, a desert-inspired, Modern American restaurant serving creative farm-to-table fare with a commitment to the freshest locally sourced ingredients; and Dragon Lili Boba Bar, which opened in recent weeks and offers its very own menu of authentic boba milk teas, refreshing fruit teas and creative specialty drinks with a wide selection of flavorful jellies and boba from the boba bar. Dragon Lili also serves a colorful assortment of macarons and pastries.
Spa and Area Attractions
For those seeking a soothing sanctuary in addition to La Quinta Spa, a visit to Desert Hot Springs in Greater Palm Springs is a must. Thanks to an underground aquifer, the area boasts some of the world’s purest hot mineral springs, which have been known to help improve circulation, lower blood pressure, promote sleep, reduce stress and relieve chronic pain. Unlike some, these springs are also sulfur-free, which means one can float without the smell sometimes associated with the practice. Today, many of the springs are located at small inns and hotels that offer day passes to take part in the experience. Among them: the luxurious adults-only Two Bunch Palms, El Morocco Inn & Spa and Aqua Soleil Hotel and Mineral Water Spa. In 2021, Azure Palm Hot Springs Resort & Day Oasis also notably opened and offers geothermal mineral springs, a first for the area.
Before leaving Desert Hot Springs, be sure to also check out the Mission Creek Preserve, a protected part of the Wildlands Conservancy that includes lush wetlands, a perennial stream and native flora and fauna. The nearby Palm Desert also boasts a great way to experience wildlife via its Living Desert Zoo and Gardens, which was named by Conde Nast Traveler among the top 10 zoos in the United States and features more than 1,600 species of plants, and 140 species of animals including hyenas, mountain lions and cheetahs.
Another top outdoor attraction, less wildlife and more wild ride, is the BMW Performance Center, one of only two such centers in the country. The 32-acre gearhead’s dream features a road course where amateurs can try their hand at reaching speeds of up to 135 miles per hour, take a multi-day driving school or even learn to drift and make figure-eights from behind the wheel. Fans of fast cars are likely also into jet engines, so also be sure to Palm Springs Air Museum, where 63 flyable and static aircrafts are on display inside four climate-controlled hangars totaling 86,500 square feet. The museum also offers rides, by advance reservation, in one of four of its vintage aircrafts.
Of course, no trip to Greater Palm Springs would be complete without taking in the best of the region’s famed Midcentury Modern architecture. To fully appreciate it, consider booking a guided experience via The Modern Tour, which whisks guests around to see the work of noted architects, including Richard Neutra, Donald Wexler, and William Cody as well as the homes of Frank Sinatra, William Holden, Elvis Presley, Elizabeth Taylor, Peter Lawford and several other stars of stage and screen who once called Palm Springs home.
Four days of world-class golf descend on this Southern California resort oasis for the annual The American Express tournament, a favorite stop on the PGA Tour. Maroon and Brad Paisley will headline the fan experience concerts. Mark your calendar for Jan. 19 to Jan. 23, 2022.
Modernism Week is an 11-day festival featuring more than 350 events including the Palm Springs Modernism Show & Sale, tours of iconic homes, parties, and more. Taking place Feb. 17 to Feb. 27, 2022, Modernism Week highlights midcentury modern architecture, art, and interior and exterior design.
From March 7 to March 22, 2022, the world’s best tennis stars gather underneath our sun-kissed sky for BNP Paribas Open. The Tennis Paradise experience goes beyond the exciting on court action, with live entertainment, shopping, exquisite dining, and more.
The best women golfers in the world are coming to compete in the Chevron Championship at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage. The competition, taking place from March 31 to April 3, 2022, will be fierce for the $5 million purse, coveted Dinah Shore Trophy, Famous jump into Poppie’s Pond, and honor of wearing the Champion’s white robe.
Other events include:
March 19 to March 25, 2022, Fashion Week El Paseo
March 25 to March 27, 2022, Palm Desert Food & Wine Festival
April 15 to April 17 and April 22 to April 24, 2022, Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival
April 29 to May 1, 2022, Stagecoach Country Music Festival
April 29 to May 1, 2022, White Party Palm Springs
For more, visit www.visitgreaterpalmsprings.com.