The Comprehensive Insider's Guide to Palm Springs and the Desert
Collected by Kathryn Romeyn , AFAR Contributor
200 W Arenas Rd, Palm Springs, CA 92262, USA
It’s all about the playful details at Holiday House, from the love beads that guests receive on arrival to the custom fortune cookies they take home with them. But make no mistake—this 21-and-up property is an upscale, high-style...
6551 Park Blvd, Joshua Tree, CA 92252, USA
Never mind if you’ve never snapped on a climbing harness before. The sole prerequisite for a private climbing experience with Cliffhanger Guides in Joshua Tree National Park is a willingness to try something new. After speaking with you at...
100 W Tahquitz Canyon Way, Palm Springs, CA 92262, USA
Timing is everything at 4 Saints: Arrive well before the sun goes down to snag a table for magic hour. The rooftop restaurant, which sits poolside on the seventh floor of the Kimpton Rowan Hotel, is the desert’s highest, with panoramic views...
1701 S Palm Canyon Dr, Palm Springs, CA 92264, USA
For decades, the Moorten Botanical Garden and Cactarium operated quietly, visitors referred by word of mouth for strolls through the family-owned one-acre grounds. Then Instagram happened. Thanks to social media, this collection of exotic desert...
800 N Palm Canyon Dr, Palm Springs, CA 92262, USA
Regulars at Workshop Kitchen + Bar know not to get too attached to any one dish. Innovative chef/owner Michael Beckman—who trained in Lyon and worked in Berlin—might be serving honey-lavender glazed black cod one night; a sausage,...
62975 Blair Ln, Joshua Tree, CA 92252, USA
Throughout his life, African-American artist Noah Purifoy reimagined junk as art, using found materials to create sculptures inspired by Southern California’s culture and landscape. Some of his best-known pieces were made out of charred...
49499 Eisenhower Dr, La Quinta, CA 92253, USA
The longest-operating resort in the area, La Quinta is such a landmark that the town was named after it (rather than the other way around). The hotel has aged gracefully: In 2016, it celebrated its 90th anniversary. Recent renovations melded...
686 Palisades Dr, Palm Springs, CA 92262, USA
Architecture geek or not, you only need a set of eyes to appreciate the Albert Frey House II. The innovative architect built his personal home on a mountain lot that to most people seemed uninhabitable, shaping a compact modernist glass-and-steel...
67710 San Antonio St, Desert Hot Springs, CA 92240, USA
Some people dream of private islands with snowy sand and palm trees. Others fantasize about sleeping in a John Lautner house. For the latter, nothing beats this remote 1947 compound of luxury “living units” designed by the Frank Lloyd...
388 N Palm Canyon Dr, Palm Springs, CA 92262, USA
The high desert seems to generate its own creative force field, attracting and inspiring artists for decades. Today’s generation showcases its work at BKB Handcrafted Art + Design. The Palm Springs outlet of this shop (the original is in...
1556 N Palm Canyon Dr, Palm Springs, CA 92262, USA
While sake may be standard at other sushi restaurants, this game-changing spot pays homage to Japan’s other great boozy tradition: whiskey. In the lively modern space—all blond wood, concrete, and industrial lighting—chef/owner...
101 N Museum Dr, Palm Springs, CA 92262, USA
It’s a sign of the Palm Springs boom that what started as a modest local museum is now a premier destination for art and design aficionados. Today, the establishment, first opened in 1938, celebrates performing arts, modern art, and...
701 E Palm Canyon Dr, Palm Springs, CA 92264, USA
If there’s one night to slide into a booth at this casual diner inside the hip Ace Hotel & Swim Club, make it a Monday. That’s when the place is transformed by the unmissable presence of 90-year-old ex-showgirl Shirley Claire, who...
1050 E Palm Canyon Dr, Palm Springs, CA 92264, USA
When you’re staying at this historic property, it’s worth waking up early to watch the sun rise and turn the sky pink against the San Jacinto Mountains. Romance suffuses this upscale three-acre resort of low-slung bungalows, designed...
1330 E Palm Canyon Dr, Palm Springs, CA 92264, USA
Tensions dissolve immediately when guests arrive at Sparrows Lodge. Take your welcome cocktail—sangria with wild blueberries—straight to the arbor, where the scent of citrus and the soothing fountain flow embody “out of...
5230, 4200 E Palm Canyon Dr, Palm Springs, CA 92264, USA
There’s something about a place being “secret” that makes it exponentially more exciting. Counter Reformation, the European-style wine bar hidden from sight inside the Parker hotel, lives up to that notion. Open from Thursday to...
1551 N Palm Canyon Dr, Palm Springs, CA 92262, USA
The pool is the center of all action at this Design District hotel. Show up early for yoga alongside the 66-foot-long pool, and then settle into a private cabana for a day of lounging and swimming—with, perhaps, a round at the marble...
4200 E Palm Canyon Dr, Palm Springs, CA 92264, USA
California’s original Holiday Inn has come a long way. After several iterations—former owners include singer Gene Autry and producer Merv Griffin—the property reopened as Parker Palm Springs in 2004. The hotel underwent a major...
50857 Burns Canyon Rd, Pioneertown, CA 92268, USA
The charm is simple—and highly photogenic—at this 1947 property, where old western actors like Roy Rogers used to get away between takes. When new owners bought the ranch in 2016, they began renovating bit by bit, outfitting the rooms...
200 W Ramon Rd, Palm Springs, CA 92264, USA
Since the 1970s, Melvyn’s has hosted a string of famous guests—most notably Frank Sinatra, who held court from corner booth #53 whenever he was in town. The Rat Pack spirit endures here. Old standards play nightly (except Mondays) at...
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