48 Hours In Palm Springs, California

Above: The Palm Springs sign on Highway 111
Above: The Palm Springs sign on Highway 111

In the 1920s, Tinseltown celebs and producers would escape to the nearby sunny climes of Palm Springs and while its popularity waned for some years, this hideaway of years past has made the type of comeback Hollywood agents wish their B-list clients could achieve. This desert town can offer much more than just its proximity to Coachella. For a teaser of what this desert town can offer, pack your weekender bag and go back to Cali with these items penciled into your schedule.

Where to stay

If living the high life of a starlet is how you want to roll, rent out On the Rocks, a luxe private vacation home that captures the Palm Spring architectural aesthetic, with the interior updated with an eclectic mix of modern and quirky touches, in other words it’ll make any interior design addict swoon like a southern belle. The chic outdoor space’s focus is the pool, which glows from within in blue and magenta, but the star-studded sky and glittering vista steals the spotlight here. More into a hotel than a house and one where it gets busy? Stay at the Saguaro Palm Springs, where we hear things can get festive at the pool on the weekends. The boldly coloured rooms are perfectly Instagrammable, but more importantly, you can get your beauty sleep in the comfy bed and easily grab some tapas at Tinto downstairs if you’re not in the mood to hunt around for your next meal.

Where to get inspired

Fans of mid-century modern design, a must on your Palm Springs trip is Sunnylands to tour the historic estate designed by architect A. Quincy Jones for Walter and Leonore Annenberg. Expanses of windows allow the sun’s ray to shine into the pristinely maintained home and from inside reward you with views of mountains, flowers and cacti. Photography indoors is prohibited so be prepared to mentally jot down colour schemes and design ideas so you can spruce up your bachelor pad.

Where to eat

Winner for the 2015 James Beard Award for Design, Workshop Kitchen + Bar is thankfully more than just a treat for the eyes. Not that we don’t appreciate its streamlined booths and the long communal table that leads your eyes straight to the warmly lit bar. But it’s always a pleasure when the food and drinks surpass the beautiful decor. And while drinking their pisco punch did not lead to any “shameful, delightful acts of scandal,” it hit just the right note of tartness and went wonderfully with the parade of small plates including perfectly grilled octopus and decadent sea-salted duck fat fries. If you have a few hours to spare for dinner and want a one of a kind experience, book ahead for a tasting menu in the private chef’s room at Dish Creative Cuisine, where you get to see the chefs at work on making your courses. The menu changes with the seasons, but we knew when our dinner started with a mini apricot-sage doughnut with maple-rye butter, we were in exceptionally capable hands.

Where to see

Put aside your tourist snobbery for an hour or so because piling onto the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway alongside rambunctious visitors is worth it. As you ascend Chino Canyon nearly 6,000 feet to an elevation of 8,516 feet, the views of the majestic rocks and trees from the rotating tramcar remind you of how phenomenal Mother Nature is. Once at the peak, hopefully you’ve got on running shoes because there are stairs to climb for to see more of the breathtaking skyline and some easy, short hikes to burn off some of that steady diet of date shakes you’ve been enjoying in Palm Springs. Tip: Bring a lightweight jacket as it’s significantly chillier at the top of the tramway.

Where to trek

For a reminder of our tiny role on the planet, hop onto a tour with Red Jeep and wind through the canyons of the San Andreas Fault zone. If you’re expecting a huge, obvious crack in the earth, you may be disappointed. In fact, you may find you have to peer at the ground to spot where your guide is indicating the North American and Pacific plates–and yet it’s still somehow dramatic when you consider it’s the Earth’s movement over millions of years that’s created the landscape you’re standing in. You’ll have a chance to step out of the Jeep for short hikes amongst the native palm trees and squeeze through a slot canyon so wear your comfy lightweight clothes and put on plenty of sunscreen.

Karen Kwan

Karen Kwan

Karen Kwan is a freelance writer based in Toronto. Her work has appeared in Flare, Elle Canada and ElleCanada.com, Glow, Metro, Huffington Post Canada, Travelife and Travel + Escape. She also runs her blog, HealthandSwellness.com, where she writes about health, beauty, fitness and lifestyle.

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