Headed to Coachella? Where to Eat, Play, and Stay in Palm Springs

Palm Springs is fascinating. Somehow, it has the snow bird retirement community mixed in with the vibrant LGBTQ community, and the result is impeccable taste—in food, in architecture, in style. It’s where you go to retire AND party. It’s where chiseled abs and cocktails by the pool at noon are just as prominent as blue hairs on the golf course. It’s where leather chaps on bare asses at the annual “bear” festival for “bears and their admirers” is just as acceptable as the cable knit sweaters tied sweetly around an elderly’s neck as they take their last stroll of the evening around a man-made pond come dusk.

Okay, you get it. But seriously, Palm Springs is a trip. It’s chic, funky, colorful, vintage, and oh so worth a visit.

Where to Eat: If you want to see what over-the-top looks like, go to Eight4Nine. It’s like you died and went to Alice in Wonderland. But in a really sophisticated-meets-fun type of way. Perhaps it’s because there is a sleek white backdrop from floor-to-ceiling that extends from the walls to the tables, couches, and building itself. Combined with the hot pink chairs, chandeliers, and small touches like hot pink fresh flowers and hot pink paintings, it just feels surreal — everything feels really large and tiny at the same time. The food is fantastic, and the drinks are extremely fresh. For a late-night bite, you absolutely have to check out Truss & Twine. It’s refined bar food at its best. Have you ever had a scallop and prawn hot dog? I didn’t think so. One of the newest kids on the block is 4 Saints, the new Kimpton Rowan hotel’s rooftop restaurant, featuring panoramic 270-degree views of the valley. Order the hamachi crudo and the sea urchin, and pair with the best margarita you’ll ever have, “the caged canary.” If you want next-level lux, go to Ritz Carlton’s The Edge Steakhouse. Featuring a breathtaking cliffside view and melt-in-your mouth dishes like the savory sea bass and 28-day dry-aged rib-eye, you’ll find your Benjamins well spent. If you want something classic, go to Copley’s on Palm Canyon. Formerly Cary Grant’s estate, the vibe is laid-back while the food is refined. Enjoy your meal on the patio, taking advantage of the firepit in the winter months.

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Where to Play: If you play golf, then this is your land. The greater Palm Springs is carpeted with them—124 irrigated golf courses, many with lakes, to be exact. Pool life plays another big part of the culture in Palm Springs. With high season in winter, where temps hover around a cool 80 and blue skies are a plenty, there’s no lack of places to plop down and sun up. For relaxed boho vibes, go to the pool at Korakia Pensione. For hip and happening, check out the pool at the Ace Hotel as well as at the Saguaro. Shopping is another must. Downtown is riddled with Mid-Century modern design shops, while desert attire perfect for Coachella and Joshua Tree is all around.

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Where to Stay: For the ultimate staycation, definitely settle in at the Ritz Carlton. Book a massage at their spa, and then saunter next door to the adults-only pool. Omni Rancho Las Palmas is right down the street from the Ritz, and offers quite the lay of the land. There’s a lazy river swimming pool, tennis courts galore, and an incredible spa with its own private pool which just feels extra special. Book the couple’s massage with your beau if you’re feeling romantic. For sensory overload, go to The Parker Palm Springs. It offers the type of exclusivity that will make you feel like a celeb (and you’ll surely rub elbows with a few). While the public can cruise through the aesthetically pleasing lobby, grab a drink, and eat at Mr. Parker’s. The rest of the grounds are kept to the guests, and there’s a lot to behold once there. A hidden gem onsite for the public is Counter Reformation. It’s a dark haunt located through the lobby, out the back doors and down a narrow path. Order up a glass of wine and say yes to the complimentary baguettes flown in from France.

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