Get OutdoorsWith the exception of a round of tennis or morning of golf, the city is best enjoyed at a choosy pool equipped with a full bar and loungers topped with eye candy. Architecture enthusiasts should tour the local neighborhoods near Palm Canyon Drive, dotted with preserved residential wonders from architects Neutra, Shindler and Lautner. Try to avoid spending too much time on the main thoroughfares, which are infested with terrible strip-mall architecture and sprawling chain resorts. Those looking for something a bit more strenuous should hit the nearby Tahquitz "Indian" Canyons (500 W. Mesquite Drive, Palm Springs), a real-life desert oasis with flowing streams and spectacular desert topography.
Jonathan Adler vs. Kelly WearstlerThere are only two hotels we can truly recommend. In one corner we have The Parker Palm Springs (Merv Griffin's former Givenchy Resort) redesigned by pottery doyen Jonathan Adler. The property promises glitz and glamour, and even delivered a short-lived reality show about the staff's efforts to please picky guests.
|Parker Palm Springs|
|Pool at the Viceroy Hotel |
Got Shopping?With a shuttered '80s mall on Palm Canyon Drive and redundant T-shirt shops, shopping is virtually nonexistent in Palm Springs. For those looking for the desert version of Rodeo Drive, hit the posh El Paseo walking mall in Palm Desert, which offers semi-upscale boutiques and a desert branch of Saks Fifth Avenue. A 10-minute drive in the other direction is the Cabazon Outlets, just west of Palm Springs, which features North America's best collection of designer outlets including Fendi, Bottega Venneta and YSL.
Great GreensUnless your NetJets rep or Goldman broker lands you a tee time at The Quarry in La Quinta or Big Horn in Palm Desert, you'll likely be playing on one of Palm Springs' ever-packed public or semi-private courses. Desert Willow Golf Resort in Palm Desert features two beautiful public courses designed by Michael Hurdzan, Dana Frye and John Cook. Firecliff was our favorite of the two, featuring numerous large water features amongst a red desert landscape with more than 100 bunkers. For something a little closer and a bit more challenging, try Westin's Mission Hills Course. The Pete Dye-designed course boasts signature railroad ties, pot bunkers, elevated tees and hidden pin placements.
Desert DiningAfter a day on the golf course or by the swimming pool, weekenders are inevitably ready for a hip meal outside of their chosen resort. Spencer's, located in the posh Racquet Club enclave of Palm Springs, is best described as "be-seen eatery meets country club dining," and offers the hottest dining scene in the desert. A mixture of former First Ladies and dressed-up Hollywood types carouse through a lava-rock dining room and stunning patio at the foot of the San Jaciento Mountains.
|Poolside at the Parker|
For something a bit more grown-up, locals hit chef Bernard Dervieux's Cuistot in Palm Desert for a virtuous French menu and haute dining room. A bit further out is Azur Restaurant, the former Eric Ripert kitchen now under new management but still offering a consistent seafood tasting menu at the La Quinta Resort.