Desert Hotspots: Places to Stay and Play in Palm Springs

I’ve always had a special place in my heart for Palm Springs. Growing up in LA, the desert was just a two hour drive away. My grandparents had a vacation home in Desert Hot Springs, and I remember taking road trips out there with my extended family during the winter months. We would spend the day in the pool or play miniature golf under the hot sun surrounded by the desert landscape.

As an adult, I worked at a local news station in Palm Desert and lived in the valley year round. While the summer months were brutally hot, I learned to acclimate and appreciate this place that has been a desert destination for decades. I discovered beautiful hikes and enjoyed the slow pace and traffic-free streets. There is a definite sense of calm in the desert — an aura of spirituality seems to saturate the land — I’m not sure exactly why…maybe it’s because it’s the ancestral home of the Cahuilla Indians…or the heat makes everyone slow down and take a deep breath. Whatever the reason, the desert is special and I love it.

There is a definite high season…and it is right now. From November to May, when clear skies and sunshine abound, people from the East Coast and snowbirds from Canada escape the snow and spend months at a time in Palm Springs,  playing golf and tennis or simply basking in the sun.

While I don’t get out there as often as I’d like, I do have a few of my favorite places to stay, eat, and play.

Note: There are nine different cities that make up Greater Palm Springs. Each one is unique and inviting in its own way.  They include Palm Springs, Palm Desert, Rancho Mirage, Indian Wells, La Quinta, Desert Hot Springs, Indio, and Coachella.

MISSION HILLS COUNTRY CLUB, RANCHO MIRAGE

This featured condo is beautifully designed with Moroccan-inspired accents and top-of-the-line kitchen appliances. It’s quite large at 3,000 sq ft and the 3 bedroom, 3 bath unit sleeps 6 to 8 people (it’s even pet-friendly!). It can be found for weekly rentals on VRBO.

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KORAKIA, PALM SPRINGS

If you want to stay closer to the heart of Palm Springs, I love this Moroccan/Mediterranean boutique hotel, Korakia. The courtyard and villas are beautiful and you can enhance your stay with yoga, meditation, or watch classic vintage movies each night outside, under the stars.

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All photos above, courtesy of Korakia

THE RENAISSANCE, INDIAN WELLS

If you’re looking for a deal, my good friend and Travelzoo expert, Gabe Saglie recently featured a great hotel in the desert during his weekly visit to KTLA.  The Renaissance Indian Wells Resort & Spa is a great place to go with your kids, plus, if you book through Travelzoo, you can take advantage of a special rate and spa credit through January, 2017.   tzoo-11446-0-501442-esmereldapalm tzoo-11446-0-502714-renaissanceindianwellsresort

All photos above, courtesy of Renaissance Indian Wells Resort & Spa and Travelzoo

Me and Gabe Saglie at KTLA pictured below:

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THE RITZ-CARLTON, RANCHO MIRAGE

No matter where you are in the world, you can’t go wrong with a Ritz-Carlton. The Ritz-Carlton Rancho Mirage was recently renovated and is nestled in the Santa Rosa Mountains. The Edge Steakhouse has tasty food and a beautiful view of the Coachella Valley. rcranch_00069_conversion

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All photos above, courtesy of Ritz-Carlton Rancho Mirage

THE PARKER AND AVALON HOTEL, BOUTIQUE HOTELS IN PALM SPRING

If you’re more of a boutique-type of vacationer, I’d recommend staying at The Parker Palm Springs or Avalon Hotel and Bungalows in Palm Springs. Both have understated exteriors, but unique and stylish interiors that capture that cool factor.

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All photos above, courtesy of The Parker Palm Springs

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All photos above, courtesy of Avalon Hotel and Bungalows

I’d love to hear your thoughts on these places if you end up visiting the desert.

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