With three weeks to go until Coachella, the desert is in full bloom this spring, and Palm Springs is hot again. Billionaires like Ron Burkle are gobbling up historic homes while long-time hotel favorites like the Parker Palm Springs (pictured) and the Riviera are showing off fresh renovations this year. New hotel developments are everywhere. Some are great, like L' Horizon and Arrive
as well as the forthcoming Montage La Quinta that will include an
outpost of its hipper Pendry-brand. Then there are others, like
flair-less The Rowan
by Kimpton Hotels - which is the centerpiece of the taxpayer-subsidized
downtown Palm Springs redevelopment that simply replaced one
dilapidated mall with yet another one.
Days in Palm Springs are best-spent poolside. Sadly, the once-festive Ace Hotel Swim Club has been overridden with a rowdy weekend crowd. Better are smaller, less obvious pools like Sparrow's Lodge with its Barn eatery or perhaps Mister Parker's with its early-April pop-up of top New Delhi eatery Indian Spice. Dining has always been a challenge in the desert, with fresh farm-to-table cuisine being in short supply. Favorites like the Purple Palm and Workshop get some worthy competition with newcomers like Farm located in downtown Palm Springs. Its owner creates a Provencal-style with traditional French dishes infused with seasonal, often-local ingredients.
Those looking for a little more fun in their meals should try Reservoir at Arrive Hotel - currently one of the best lunches in town with Cal-Mexican menu that's a fresher version of anything else you’ll find in town. Nearby, Draughtsman brings a cool beer hall to uptown while Eight4Nine brings dressy West Coast cuisine to one of the more ambitious Palm Springs restaurant projects in recent years. And should you need to break free of the endless Hollywood Regency décor, The Edge at the often overlooked Ritz Carlton Rancho Mirage offers one of the best steaks in the desert... Just don’t tell any of your hipster friends at new Seymour’s Lounge that you patronized a chain hotel for dinner in Palm Springs.