Reading: Retro Fit – A Palm Springs Travel Guide
Retro Fit – A Palm Springs Travel Guide
Today’s Palm Springs is a land of contradictions.
Once a haven for Hollywood stars (and other notorious figures), this seductive desert town is attracting more than just Frank Sinatra fans. Chi-chi festival-goers take candy-coloured snaps against the bright hues of a remodeled Holiday Inn, while retired studio execs politely bicker over steak Diane (served tableside, naturally). Free-form pools and right angles rise up from the landscape, another vestige of Palm Springs not so distant architectural past. So whether you’re a modern tech mogul looking to escape the valley for a steamy weekend, a health tourist drawn to the dry heat like a vegan moth to a flame, or aspiring A-lister – Palm Springs is THE place to be seen and hideaway.
If the Parker Palm Springs is a portal to escapism, I’ll gladly follow Jonathan Adler down the rabbit hole. Unlike most residents of the sunshine state, The Parker Palm Springs is not trying to pass off its juicy new facelift as a natural glow. Thanks to Adler’s curious aesthetic, the 13 acre-estate now rides the line between psychedelic playground and zen-like sanctuary. Stepping onto the property it’s hard not to slip into Adler’s alternate reality, with a 7-foot-tall bronze banana casually lounging on the main lawn and geometric carpeting lining the seemingly endless corridors (a sign of the properties previous life as a Holiday Inn in the 50’s). The amenities (of which there are many) play hide-and-seek, concealed behind rows of hedge maze reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland’s labyrinth. Go left, go right, another right and you’ll either find yourself amongst the sun-drenched lounge chairs at one (of three) pools or right smack in the middle of a game of croquet (flamingo not included). For sinners in need of a saving grace, the wine list at hidden gem Counter Reformation is worthy of praise. With a 5oz. glass of champagne for $10 and divine bar snacks, you’re bound to whisper a few Hail Mary’s in the morning.
For sinners in need of a saving grace, the wine list at hidden gem Counter Reformation is worthy of praise.
Desert air and clear skies make Jake’s patio a go-to for dreamy al fresco dining. It’s no wonder their charming courtyard has been a favourite amongst locals for 10 years. Our preferred pairing? Two glasses of Whispering Angel rosé and an hour of eavesdropping. The rough, raw aesthetics of Truss and Twine gives off serious New York vibes, rather than SoCal cool. An open kitchen lets you bear witness to the tasty miracles of Chef Michael Beckman’s hyper-local, desert-inspired menu. The Drake Farm’s goat cheese, Temecula Valley honeycomb and cactus confit is a stunning taste of the Coachella Valley (without getting hipster stuck between your teeth). The drinks list features iconic cocktails, riding the mixology wave from the Golden Ages to Prohibition. Bootlegger Tiki has eagerly taken on the tiki torch from the king of kitsch, proudly located in the same space as the original 1953 Don the Beachcomber restaurant. If first call is your last call order my personal favourite, the rum-fueled Zombie. Bear in mind that it comes with fine print – you’re only allowed to order one more cocktail after that, to avoid an apocalypse.
Our preferred pairing? Two glasses of Whispering Angel rosé and an hour of eavesdropping.
Wander and Wonder
You didn’t come to Palm Springs just to lounge around by the pool with a tangerine mimosa (although, there is certainly no shame is filling your itinerary and your stomach with just that). The Palm Springs Art Museum is a great way to combine culture and air-conditioning when the desert temperatures break triple digits. If you’d like the mid-century modern aesthetic to call your mantle home, swing by Bon Vivant, whose colourful and collectible glassware will instantly brighten your space even if you can’t take the sunshine with you. No pilgrimage to the desert is complete without, well, a pilgrimage to the desert. Less than an hour drive from downtown Palm Springs is Joshua Tree Park. The gnarled branches of its namesake are at once ominous and beautiful. Do you like rocks? You’ll find a ton of those here too. If you’ve got time for a detour, take a moment to visit the strange and eerie world of Noah Purifoy’s Museum, a sprawling sculpture park devised from repurposed “junk”.