Sadly, I won’t be there this year but with a host of new hotels, property renovations, just-launched tours and new attractions, there is even more choice for holidaymakers visiting Palm Springs, California. And as the cold UK winter season approaches, it is the perfect time to plan a break to this chic desert hideaway, where, like me, the sun shines for over 350 days a year.
New Hotel: Avanti
Avanti is one of Palm Springs’ newest mid-century style boutique hotels, with 10 luxurious rooms ranging from Traditional Suites to two-room Premium Suites complete with kitchens. The property’s original mid-century architecture is blended with modern furnishings and touches of Old Hollywood, while its heated pool, sundeck and large hot tub offers the perfect opportunity to bask in the destination’s year-round sunshine. Guests can also hop on the hotel’s cruiser bikes to explore the gentle vibe of Palm Springs Village or enjoy the luxury of a private spa experience in their room or on their very own patio. This hotel was formerly The View Palm Springs. Children under the age of 16 are not permitted to stay.
New Hotel: Colony 29
Colony 29 is a new boutique hotel set amidst the “Art Colony”, a seven-acre hideaway compound built in 1929, nestled on the lower slopes of the San Jacinto Mountains. An authentic desert oasis, it features six homes with a combined 13 bedrooms, 15 bathrooms, 6 kitchens, 7 spas, 2 pools and fully equipped kitchens in each house. Inside, Colony 29 features vintage furnishings reflecting the Spanish revival style; while outside there are two beautifully-manicured gardens and an adult-sized palapa tree house, which is large enough to host a small party and high enough to provide views across the city to the mountains beyond.
The new Curve Palm Springs opened its doors in November 2012, following a number of changes made over several months, including a name change. The hotel, which operated as a Travelodge since launching in the 1970s, is now functioning as a new independent property called The Curve Palm Springs. It boasts 155 contemporary deluxe rooms with a modern style and a choice of a King bed or two Queen beds with a private patio, mountain or poolside views. Other features include two pools and a whirlpool for relaxing, with poolside cabana day beds at the main pool, and a BBQ area available for guests’ use. The Curve Palm Springs is an affordable property in downtown Palm Springs.
The Hilton Palm Springs, located downtown in the desirable village of Palm Springs, is completing a huge renovation project in excess of $10 million, including updates to its rooms, lobby, meeting space and restaurant. The renovation is due to be finished by December 2012. In addition to its improved facilities, guests can enjoy a modern fitness centre, the Elements Spa and the Al Fresco bar by the outdoor pool.
Following an intensive $60 million renovation completed in 2008, The Riviera Resort & Spa is now planning a $5 million investment to extend the property. The investment will fund a new swimming pool, expansion of another pool, updates to its sports facilities and guest rooms, as well as enlarging the conference space by 3,000 square feet. Located on 24 prime acres at the base of the spectacular San Jacinto Mountains, The Riviera Resort & Spa features 406 wonderfully appointed guest rooms and suites with flat-screen plasma TVs and private patios or balconies, set amidst landscaped grounds.
Trail Discovery, a desert safari outdoor guide service, has introduced an unforgettable evening tour under a moonlight sky: the Full Moon Hike. It gets dark early in the winter months here. This memorable walk journeys to a spectacular area in the foothills of Palm Springs, where visitors can enjoy the moonrise and panoramic views of the valley and city lights. The tour fee of $50 (approximately £32) includes backpacks, flashlights, drinks and snacks, along with experienced guides who will teach participants about local plants, animals, geography and the history of Palm Springs.
The Marriage of Commerce & Creativity: Modernism in Banking
Following a successful season last year, the Palm Springs Historical Society has added a new city walking tour for visitors – The Marriage of Commerce and Creativity: Modernism in Banking. This tour examines the history of development and design on South Palm Canyon, including striking bank structures and other significant buildings within the area. This tour is conducted on Fridays at 09:30 and lasts approximately 60 minutes. The Palm Springs Historical Society is committed to presenting the historical heritage of Palm Springs.
Wonders of the Coachella Valley
Desert Adventures, one of the largest and most respected outdoor adventure companies in the Greater Palm Springs area, has launched a new eco-tour: Wonders of the Coachella Valley. This tour adds to the existing lineup of unique and memorable excursions to the San Andreas Fault and beyond. It includes a visit to the Coachella Valley Preserve and the Cabot’s Pueblo Museum, the oldest “Green Museum” in America, as well as a hike at the Hidden Valley loop and a picnic lunch by the beautiful Whitewater River. The tour is approximately 5-6 hours long.
Forever Marilyn Sculpture
Palm Springs has long attracted celebrities looking to escape the hustle and bustle of showbiz, including Marilyn Monroe who had a house at 1326 Rose Ave.The 26-foot tall ‘Forever Marilyn’ sculpture is located in downtown Palm Springs on the corner of Palm Canyon Drive and Tahquitz Canyon Way where she will be on display through to June 2013. The dramatic statue by American artist Seward Johnson represents one of the most famous images of Marilyn Monroe, taken from the film The Seven Year Itch.
Palm Springs Follies: “Dance to the Music”
The Fabulous Palm Springs Follies celebrates the music and dance of Mid-Century America with a cast ranging in age from 54 to 83 years “young.” The Broadway-quality variety show has recently introduced its all-new edition, Dance to the Music, and adding to the glamour of the production will be ‘new’ stars making their first-ever Follies guest appearances. These include multi-million-selling recording artist, Lou Christie; Lesley Gore singing her hit anthem ‘It’s My Party'; and vocalist Lorna Luft who will perform songs her legendary mother, Judy Garland, taught her, including ‘Come Rain or Come Shine’ and ‘Rock-A-Bye Your Baby’. It has to be seen to be believed. Leave extra time before curtain up as quite a few of the ‘senior’ patrons take a while to get to their seats.
Workshop Kitchen and Bar
Opened in September 2012, the Workshop Kitchen and Bar is located in the Uptown Design District within the historic El Paseo Plaza on North Palm Canyon Drive. The eatery is based around products from local farms and the style of the food is best described as modern with a seasonal American approach. Its fresh and contemporary menu is overseen by Chef Michael Beckman who apprenticed at Lameloise, a three-Michelin star restaurant in France. Favourite techniques include the wood-fired pizza oven, wood-fired grill, and custom sous-vide station.
JIAO was born out of the desire and love of all types of Asian food and the previous lack of availability of this cuisine in Palm Springs. It recently opened to become to the third addition to the Cheeky’s Inc. family of restaurants, bringing an original and sophisticated take on Asian street food to the desert. Jiao offers up Asian flavours with a colourful menu featuring clay pots, pho, noodles, sake and fresh homemade desserts.
Ruben and Ozzy’s Oyster Bar & Grill
Launched in August 2012, Ruben and Ozzy’s Oyster Bar & Grill serves up an extensive array of fresh seafood, steaks and mouth-watering appetisers from two chef brothers, Ruben and Ozzy, who combine quality cuisine with a fun dining experience and laid-back atmosphere. The restaurant’s top “must try” dish is said to be the Mexican Poke: fresh ahi tuna marinated with sweet and spicy sauce, avocado, cilantro and jalapenos to give it an extra twang.
UPCOMING NEW LAUNCHES
New boutique hotel: Sparrows Hotel
Previously known as El Rancho Lodge, this property is currently under renovation and is expected to reopen as Sparrows Hotel this winter. The hotel features 19 guest rooms and dates back to the 1950s when Palm Springs gained recognition as a great Hollywood hideaway. It is located on Palm Canyon Drive at the very heart of the city of Palm Springs, where a variety of individual shops, galleries, restaurants and attractions can be enjoyed by visitors.
New men’s resort: Bearfoot Inn
Located in Palm Springs’ historic Movie Colony, in the flourishing Uptown Design District, Bearfoot Inn is a men’s only resort in a newly-renovated, mid-century property. Casual and elegant, yet masculine in design, the resort is currently being restored and upgraded. It is due to open in Spring 2013. The Bearfoot Inn welcomes all men but particularly caters to a gay male clientele.
New condo-hotel: Random Haus Palm Springs
Random Haus Palm Springs, a new 12-unit condominium hotel, is due to open in January 2013 with one and two bedroom apartments marketed to the gay traveler and LGBT families. It will offer luxury accommodations and a range of special extras, including a concierge service complete with gourmet grocery and liquor delivery and stocking. Inspired by unique architecture and a sophisticated design aesthetic, Random Haus is a collection of exclusive vacation residences/hotel suites situated in the heart of south Palm Springs.
New attraction: Palm Springs Art Museum Architecture and Design Center
The Palm Springs Art Museum recently purchased a 1960’s era former bank building that it will restore to its original specifications. The building, which was originally known as the Santa Fe Savings Bank, will be called the Palm Springs Art Museum Architecture Design Center, Edwards Harris Pavilion. It will house the museum’s growing collection of architecture and design-related pieces. The Palm Springs Art Museum and Design Center is anticipated to open in 2014.
New redevelopment: Desert Fashion Plaza
The city of Palm Springs is in the process of renovating the Desert Fashion Plaza Mall. As part of the redevelopment, over 85% of the existing mall will be demolished to create a pedestrian-friendly urban village. The first phase is expected to be completed by early 2015, bringing even more quality shopping opportunities to Palm Springs.
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