The other week, I spent a balmy Sunday out at Palm Springs. Palm Springs is a super convenient two hour drive from Los Angeles, while serving up a completely different laid-back desert vibe, and it was strategically chosen so that I would be able to make it to any unexpected acting auditions (read on to hear how that one back-fired 😉 ). There is a long-running joke within the acting community that if you are experiencing a slow season with auditions, you should book a trip or put some money down on plans that you cannot cancel, because like magic, the moment you set your foot down on an airplane, a bus, train, or soil that is not Los Angeles, you will get an audition. It’s like a unicorn, truly magical, so off I went at 5am to prepare for the audition, and drove back after a quick breakfast. No rest for the wicked, but here’s how we made the most of our 18 hours in this desert mirage:
WHERE WE STAYED:
We picked the Korakia Pensione, a boutique treasure in Downtown Palm Springs, for it’s location and it’s beautiful Mediterranean inspired decor and bohemian vibes.
It was named by the New York Times as the ‘sexiest hotel in America’, so girl’s weekend or not, I was going to check out what that was all about.
The entire grounds is beautifully landscaped, with splashes of pink and purple flowers and bold patterns; a Moroccan take on Palm Springs, very different from the chic Mid-Century Modern Architecture of nearby establishments. If you could label a hotel photogenic, the Korakia would be the epitome. From the Moroccan mint tea, to the petal filled fountains, to the rustic daybeds, it’s almost as if you stepped out of Palm Desert and into a little slice of Morocco (which I realize is also 78% in a dry and desert zone – yes I looked that up, don’t ask why).
If you are more into the poolside party scene, check out The Saguaro (we were there briefly) for its bright color-block walls and doors (according to their website, they will not judge you for treating yourself to pina coladas for breakfast) or the Ace Hotel & Swim Club (different vibe, more rustic/retro/hippie).
WHAT WE ATE:
The Parker Palm Springs is a Le Meridian property, although it’s not necessarily marketed as such. It is the home of the very popular breakfast/brunch spot Norma’s, and I remember having been to the Norma’s in NYC (not a coincidence it’s also in a Le Meridian hotel) 3 years ago, when I was living in the Big Apple. My parents were in town, and I have never forgotten that it had the most spectacular array of French toasts I had ever seen. Yes – the French toast selection is definitively a make-or-break situation in my books haha. Bad French toast is a deal-breaker. For more on my French toast obsession: check out this rant (I mean post).
We decided to get dinner at Mister Parker’s next door, and soak up some of the Palm Springs brand of Hollywood glamour (with a quirky twist) we’d been missing out in our little Mediterranean piece of paradise – plus it was the week before my girl friend Angie’s birthday. They describe themselves as ‘dark, sexy, and seductive’ – I was going to say ambient so i’ll give them that one (so Palm Springs is one sexy place…? haha). Amazing service, top-notch food. Our server was great with recommendations, and we shared a few items off the menu.
Best part?! You can get smores for dessert, and toast them in the gardens on an actual fire!
Yes, I know it’s summer! Although we hadn’t ordered dessert because we were so full from our entrees, we went for a walk in the garden, and fate would have it, I would have s’mores that night. We stumbled upon a bonfire on our way out, and the European couple who had been at the next table during dinner offered us the rest of their smores, which was super nice of them, and we went on to sit around the fire for an hour chatting about spirituality.
I had been looking forward to crepes for breakfast back at the Korakia (and you thought I was going to say French Toast, ha! – which they have too, by the way), but they don’t serve breakfast till 8am and I had to skedaddle by 7:30am, so we ended up at Chi Chi at the Avalon. We were the only ones there – I guess there’s no reason to wake up too early on Palm Springs time, but it was a lovely way to top off the premature end to our time in Palm Springs.
WHAT WE SAW (or didn’t get time to):
- Go for an early morning hike out around the windmills – there are a lot of them out there. Yay renewable energy!
- Visit the Moorten Botanical Gardens, for all the cacti and succulents you ever want to see. The desert environment is really stunning in its stark beauty.
- There is also “that” pink door in Palm Springs. More than likely, you’ve seen a whimsical photo of it somewhere before. It is located at 1100 E Sierra Way – you probably googled “where is that pink house in palm springs located”, so i’ll help you out 😉 . The door owes its bubblegum pink shade to interior designer Moises Esquenazi, who owned the house back in the mid 2000s. I could imagine it being unsettling to have the endless parade of visitors outside your front door taking photographs, but it’s sort of a thing now.
- Something worth mentioning, is that it rained while we were there. The one day in the year it rains in the desert. We were up pretty early, and incredulously stood at the window in wonderment. For this part of California, it was a pretty momentous moment. I know that rain is a pretty common occurrence for us mere mortals from other parts of the world, but in Los Angeles, it is elevated to mythical status. I made that observation when I was casually browsing an Apple store, in Santa Monica, on a weekday afternoon, when it started pouring, and 85% of the store gravitated to the windows with their iPhones to film it. They could have made an ad out of it. It was very dramatic.
- Palm Springs is filled with really cute local boutiques – art galleries, fashion, vintage finds.
Can’t wait to get more time to explore! ❤
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