Palm Springs Insider’s Guide
Where to Stay
The New Kid
Great Value The hippest hoteliers in Seattle have turned a once-basic motor lodge into the Ace Hotel & Swim Club (701 E. Palm Canyon Dr.; 877/223-5050 or 760/325-9900; acehotel.com; doubles from $99). The compound includes outdoor fireplaces, poolside yurts, and the darkly atmospheric Amigo Room, where the tables are covered in Mexican pesos.
Great Value A 1930’s Spanish colonial spread built by an alleged mobster, the Colony Palms Hotel (572 N. Indian Canyon Dr.; 800/557-2187 or 760/969-1800; colonypalmshotel.com; doubles from $189) has an exceptional restaurant and a mansion-size pool.
Great Value Desert Modernist William Cody designed the low-slung 1952 Horizon Hotel (1050 E. Palm Canyon Dr.; 800/377-7855 or 760/323-1858; thehorizonhotel.com; doubles from $149) with glass walls to maximize the impressive mountain views.
Great Value After a $70 million renovation, the Riviera Resort & Spa (1600 N. Indian Canyon Dr.; 866/588-8311 or 760/327-8311; psriviera.com; doubles from $169) reopened with eye-popping Hollywood Regency-on-helium décor, including a bedazzled billiard table in the lobby. For quieter accommodations, book in Buildings 4 or 5.
Where to Eat & Drink
The rustic-chic Bin189 (27984 Hwy. 189, Lake Arrowhead; 909/336-1551; lunch for two $40) has a hunting-lodge ambience and hearty dishes like Hungarian goulash and meat loaf.
The menu changes weekly at Cheeky’s (622 N. Palm Canyon Dr.; 760/327-7595; brunch for two $35), a mostly organic spot with vegetarian-friendly yam or persimmon sandwiches, five varieties of bacon, and killer blood-orange mimosas.
This downtown lunch counter ain’t fancy, but it is authentic. At the Cowboy Way BBQ (317 N. Indian Canyon Dr.; 760/322-0265; lunch for two $25), rancher turned restaurateur Daniel Placencia dishes up tri-tip, brisket, pulled pork, and chicken with crunchy Kansas City coleslaw.
Drinking alfresco will have you seeing stars in the cabanas at Dink’s Restaurant & Ultra Lounge (2080 N. Palm Canyon Dr.; 760/327-7676; drinks for two $24). The ambitious cocktail menu includes nine fruit-infused mojitos and a martini with muddled jalapeños (ouch!).
Comfort food with a Continental touch (like filet-mignon chili and Florentine stuffed chicken) packs ’em in at Jake’s Ready to Eat (664 N. Palm Canyon Dr.; 760/327-4400; dinner for two $60).
What to See & Do
Bring a jacket—even in summer—to ride the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway (1 Tramway Rd.; 760/325-1391; pstramway.com) aboard the world’s largest rotating gondolas. The 2 1/2-mile, 10-minute trip up the sheer cliffs of Chino Canyon affords views of the Coachella Valley and the briny desert lake known as the Salton Sea.
Pick up free maps or a $5 guide to Midcentury buildings (by Albert Frey, Richard Neutra, and other masters) at the Palm Springs Historical Society (221 S. Palm Canyon Dr.; 760/323-8297; pshistoricalsociety.org).
Behind the Parker Palm Springs hotel’s decorative façade, the Palm Springs Yacht Club (4200 E. Palm Canyon Dr.; 760/770-5000; theparkerpalmsprings.com) offers full-on pampering. Arrive early to savor designer Jonathan Adler’s naughty nautical twist on Hollywood style.
Spotlight: Palm Springs Shopping
A mix of 20th-century galleries, consignment outlets, and eclectic boutiques makes this town a magnet for design fans. Here are eight stores not to miss.
1. House 849 Hide-covered ottomans, religious and Asian sculpture, even framed insect art: it’s a destination for designers of every stripe—particularly zebra stripe. 849 N. Palm Canyon Dr.; 760/325-7854; house849.com.
3. Studio 111 Palm Springs Twentieth-century furniture alongside vintage tiles by famed sculptor Stan Bitters and contemporary pots by Josh Herman. 2675 N. Palm Canyon Dr.; 760/323-5104; studio111palmsprings.com.
4. Palm Canyon Galleria Arcade with 10 furniture and decorative-arts galleries, including Bon Vivant, a good place to score collectible Blenko glass and Raymor pottery. 457 N. Palm Canyon Dr.; 760/323-4576; palmspringsgalleria.com.
7. Stewart Galleries Antiques and oddities—seashell-encrusted coquillage next to People’s Republic of China figurines—plus 20th-century paintings, from plein-air landscapes to Cubist canvases. 191 S. Indian Canyon Dr.; 760/325-0878; stewartgalleries.com.
Los Angeles to Pomona: 29 miles
Pomona to Cabazon: 76 miles
Cabazon to Palm Springs: 22 miles