Palm Springs Travel Guide
The Colony Palms has always been a sceney place in Palm Springs – especially now that it has semi-official links with Soho House members. If you’re not staying, a meal at the poolside restaurant, the Purple Palm, has always been a good way of poking your nose into that scene – it takes up one side of the pool, so you’re literally feet away from the beautiful people sunbathing, swimming, or, er, coupling in the pool.
The Purple Palm has stepped it up a gear this summer, with a new exec chef, Greg Stillman. He’s going local – focusing on working with California “producers and foragers” to get seasonal ingredients on PP plates – while the restaurant itself got a makeover last month, vamping up the Moroccan elements.
The menu was in soft opening, if you can say that of a menu, when we visited in July. Here’s what we had:
You may have realized by now that the Parker Palm Springs is one of our favorite hotels on earth. You may even have noted that one of the best ways to stay is through the Spa Junkie package, which gives you credit to PSYC (Palm Springs Yacht Club, the spa) with your room rate.
The package used to cost $199 plus tax, and give you $200 spa credit. This year, they changed it to a $250 room rate and $250 credit – not so cool, since the taxes and fees take it up to $324.
However, the Parker just announced it’s dialing back the prices for September - $199 for your stay, $200 spa credit. The deal is bookable until midnight tomorrow by clicking here.
Never judge a book by its cover, people, especially if that book is the Hard Rock Palm Springs.
Because the Hard Rock is launching a “dive in” movie season this Friday at 8pm. That’s right – not a pool party. Not a rave. Granted, the movie is Tommy, but even so – a genteel movie screening on a Friday night. In conjunction with the Palm Springs International Film Society, no less. Whatever next?!
But the Hard Rock Palm Springs is not your usual Hard Rock. This is Palm Springs, darlings, and they go after a different crowd. Eclectic. Open-minded. Party-orientated, yet not necessarily of a bro disposition. Some more reasons why it’s not your typical Hard Rock:
You’re in your room in the middle of the day, taking shelter from the aggressive Palm Springs heat. There’s a knock on your door: “Housekeeping!” Urgh. What do they want?
You open the door. There is a man with a cart outside it. “Hello!” he says. “I’m part of the management team. I was wondering whether you would like anything from the cart? I have fruit, soft drinks, water and cookies.”
You look at him, suspicious. Is it a new, cookie-shaped travel scam? Is he going to murder you? Or just your wallet, once he tells you the markup he’s put on the cookies (don’t forget room service charge, service charge plus ‘optional’ gratuity)?
And then he notices your hesitancy and says a weird thing. “It’s complimentary.”
And once you ascertain that it is indeed free, and that he has not roofied the cookies, you pillage his cart as best you can and take your spoils back to bed and eat until the sheets are crackling with cookie crumbs.
This is no hotel-cookie-fetish fantasy, though. At least, it’s not if you’re staying at the Hyatt Palm Springs. Their “wow cart” (so called because that’s what most people say when they’re told it’s free) does the rounds of every room on property each afternoon, starting around 4pm (depending on how many people are in their rooms, it can take anything from 20 minutes to two hours to make the full round). It's normally staffed by management, like Josh here, who's Director of Operations. This is so they can also find out how your stay is going (this is a brilliant idea, since we had issues during our stay and chatting about them over a cookie would have been a much more pleasurable experience than having a go at the front desk staff in front of other guests).
When Hard Rock introduced their Rhythm and Motion spa treatments earlier in the year, we, along with everyone else in possession of common sense, heard the “gimmick” klaxon. “The world’s first fully immersive music-centric spa menu utilizing amplified vibrations, pressures and patterns, as the foundation of its treatments,” heavy-breathed the press release. “Bass vibrations ripple through the massage table as treble beats come from above, sending pulses through the body and leaving guests feeling energized and invigorated.” What rot, we thought. Vibrating, titillating rot.
And then we tried one.
A couple of weeks ago, I stayed at the Hard Rock Palm Springs, one of the first to get “the dome” (the treatments are referred to as taking place “under the dome”). Being a massage fiend, I wanted to see what the pulsating “Synchronicity” massage was like. First impressions weren’t great: the spa is small with just four treatment rooms and a tiny, not very atmospheric, relaxation room. The signature Hard Rock pre-treatment guitar on the bed was fun, but “the dome” looked like one of those hair-setting bowls at old lady salons.
The massage started to a soundtrack of chill-out music, and just a hint of a vibrating bed underneath me. Just as I’d thought: gimmick. Rub, dig, swirl, should have chosen a normal massage, rub, dig, swirl, stop trying to identify the music, rub, dig, swirl OHMYGODWHATISHAPPENINGTOME.
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The Palm Springs Hotel
Be still, breaking hearts – it’s the last day of Palm Springs week! We’ve covered how to get there on the cheap, the must-stay hotels, and your essential pools and spas. We’re wrapping up today with forthcoming hotels that should be on your radar in the coming months – either brand new or refurbished.
Palm Springs Hotels / Palm Springs Week / Hotel Spas / Desert Hot Springs Hotels / Hard Rock Hotels / Starwood Hotels / → All Tags
The hot spring pool at The Spring
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The adult pool at the Parker
Pools are difficult, of course, because everyone wants something different from them. I want to do a bit of swimming. You want to tread water under the sun wearing your brand new fedora. He wants to read by it. She wants to drink so much that she vomits on it. And that couple – you know there’s always that couple – wants to dry-hump in it. Is there one Palm Springs pool to rule them all? Not really. But here are 10 that might get you what you want.
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The pool at the Sparrows
Yesterday we told you how to get there on the cheap. Today, here are your must-stay hotels. Or, rather, my must-stay hotels - as I said yesterday, Palm Springs caters for all types of people, and one man's Hard Rock is another man's Motel 6. However, having stayed in all these (apart from Caliente Tropics) and more, these are my top 10 in the city.
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The Del Marcos
Palm Springs: a place so good we’re devoting an entire week to it. To celebrate summer in the desert, longtime Palm Springs lover juliab will be sharing tips for the perfect PS stay all week. Your essential pools, spas and hotels are all to come, but for today, here’s how to get there on the cheap.
Palm Springs is one of those places that can be whatever you want it to be. Retro or hipster. Gay or bro-ey. Active or poolside. Gourmet or cheap-omelet-with-bottomless-‘champagne’. Cheap or luxury.
Or, if you know how, cheap and luxury. Here are five ways to make it so. You’re welcome.
Ritz-Carlton Rancho Mirage in Palm Springs is reason alone to get excited. But this opening is doubly important because it actually took SEVEN YEARS for this hotel to happen. (It's a long story, which you catch up on here.)
But opening woes aside, the Ritz is a welcome addition to the desert luxury scene which has been lacking as of late. Here's are some highlights of the new Ritz-Carlton Rancho Mirage:
· Private balcony or patio with your guest room
· Asprey bath toiletries
· State Fare Bar + Kitchen serving local sourced dishes, classic American cocktails and a serious collection of American Wines.
· The Edge Steakhouse, opening in the fall, with its own dry-aging room, "remarkable" prime steak and seafood and a dramatic cliffside setting
· The Air Pool, a necessity here, will also have a poolside bar. Pina coladas for everyone!
· A 15-room Ritz-Carlton spa with a hair and nail salon too.
Rooms start at $369 a night for a king room this weekend. (The club level rooms at the Ritz will open later this fall.) There is also a $30 resort fee which includes complimentary exercise classes in the fitness center, internet, morning coffee, bottled water, newspaper delivery and interestingly, the use of mountain bikes.
Admit, it. You've probably thought about what it's like to actually live in a hotel. The thought is totally normal, especially when you think about the daily housekeeping, trendy design and staff often responding to most every want. Well, this idea can be a reality with a trip to the desert of Palm Springs and your own little slice of the Hard Rock Hotel.
The Hard Rock is looking for people, regular people like yourself, to invest in the luxury 163-room resort in the heart of downtown Palm Springs. With a little professional help from RealtyMogul.com, interested (and cashed-up) parties will register their desire to be part of the America's first fully online crowd-funded hotels.
Benefits for signing a check with a few more decimals than a night's stay extend way beyond bragging rights. Individual investors in the hotel will receive VIP benefits ranging from free use of the hotel owner poolside cabana, 25% discounts off the best available room rates and free room upgrades. Even if you're not a regular to Coachella Valley Music Festival, this might be a good reason to get away to the desert more often.