Palm Springs: Top Attractions
La Quinta Resort and Club
Luxury is a very serious proposition at this historic desert retreat, where Garbo, Hepburn, and Gable once frolicked. These days La Quinta represents the holy grail of Palm Springs golf with access to five world-class courses, including the famous TPC Stadium at PGA West. Guests retreat to Spanish-style casitas surrounded by gorgeous gardens, fragrant fruit trees, trickling waterfalls, and no fewer than 42 pools and 52 hot tubs. The classy spa is the ultimate relaxation spot.
Two Bunch Palms
Stress evaporates and a soothing calm descends upon you the moment you arrive at this exclusive desert sanctuary, a secluded palm oasis famous for its mineral-rich springs. You can soak in grotto-like pools, drench yourself in detoxifying mud, or indulge in any of the 45 different spa therapies. Options range from classic Swedish massages to more esoteric treatments such as the signature "Native American" treatment, a delightful sand and aloe vera scrub followed by a herbal oil massage.
Palm Springs isn't the Sahara, but enjoy a taste of this lovely Moroccan-flavored villa draped by the view of the rugged San Jacinto Mountains. A one-time artists' hangout built in the 1920s, this whitewashed retreat with its billowing bougainvillea and pretty fountains still draws creative types seeking solitude, simplicity, and serenity.
Desert Springs Marriott Resort and Spa
This lush and exotic resort is the kind of place that lingers in your memory long after you've paid the final bill. Cockatoos flitter around the marble lobby, gondoliers pole patrons around Venice-inspired waterways, and rooms offer sweeping vistas of lagoons and mountains. You can dine at six stellar restaurants, play anything from tennis, golf, basketball, and volleyball or visiting the state-of-the-art health club. Or lounge at its superb spa.
Spa La Quinta
This renowned beauty and wellness sanctuary combines the latest European and Asian coddling techniques with signature treatments inspired by ancient Native American healing arts. A stimulating outdoor Celestial Shower is a great way to start things off before launching into a cleansing sage body wrap, followed perhaps by a tension-busting massage or nourishing champagne facial. Ready for a new look? Book a date with master stylist Billy Yamaguchi, whose Feng Shui haircut ensures you'll never have a "bad" hair day again.
Spotlight 29 Casino
Challenge Lady Luck at this desert hot spot in Coachella. Spin your way to a fortune at nearly 2,000 slot machines or try your hand at blackjack, Pai Gow, three-card poker, or other exciting table games. Toast your winnings over mouthwatering steaks and seafood at star chef Jimmy Schmidt's Rattlesnake restaurant, then take in headliners from Tony Bennett to LeAnn Rimes in the glitzy showroom.
Spotlight 29 Casino: 866-878.6729, www.trump29.com
Inside an historic landmark building, this elegant restaurant is so fantastically French, it would look appropriate in its namesake town where Picasso once lived. Pick a table in the warmly lit dining room with sparkling Louis XV furniture or on the ficus-studded patio. Then order a glass of champagne and look forward to sautéed foie gras, escargot, roast rack of lamb, or other such classics all perfectly prepared and served with aplomb.
Le Vallauris: 760.325.5059, www.levallauris.com
A Hot-Air Fantasy Balloon Flight
The magic of the desert unfolds in new, unexpected ways as you float serenely above the Coachella Valley beneath the rainbow-hued canopy of a hot-air balloon. Take in the vast checkerboard of coyote-colored hills, emerald golf courses, and lush palm oases, all hemmed in by majestic mountains of alpine proportions. After you've made it safely back to earth, champagne and appetizers make for a suitably stylish finale to your soaring adventure.
Fantasy Balloon Flights: 760.568.0997, www.fantasyballoonflights.com
Indian Canyons Hike
Long before Palm Springs got its first golf course, the local Agua Caliente band of Cahuilla Indians made its ancestral home in the area's lush canyons. Native history comes alive on a guided hike through beautiful Andreas Canyon, with its fan palms, whimsical rock formations, rock art, and year-round flowing creek. The tour also includes a stop at nearby Palm Canyon, with its 3,000 Washingtonia palms and a popular trading post stocked with fabulous souvenirs.
Additional Info: 760.325.3400, www.aguacaliente.org
Best of the Best Tours: 760.320.4600, www.bestofthebesttours.com
Palm Springs Aerial Tramway
A highlight of any visit to Palm Springs is a jaunt up into the San Jacinto Mountains aboard one of the world's largestand fastestrotating tramcars. In a mere ten minutes you'll be whisked 6,000 feet up through four vegetation zones to a panorama of sweeping desert view at the top. Treat yourself to a gourmet meal or give your legs a workout on a hike through the mountain wilderness.
Additional Info: 760.325.1391, www.pstramway.com
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication