We arrived in Palm Springs in Southern California on a unseasonably rainy night, and found ourselves dashing from the parking lot with our luggage trying to avoid getting completely drenched in the dark. Once indoors, we happily settled into our bohemian bungalow at the Californian cool Ace Hotel & Swim Club for a night of room service, pale ales and the Coachella Valley’s Classic Hits. Bring on the sunshine!
Inspired by its scorched desert topography and Midcentury Modern architecture, the Ace Hotel and Swim Club is the perfect base for exploring Palm Springs. Nestled in the Coachella Valley, surrounded by dramatic ranges and thickets of palms, we woke to the sun streaming through our window and postcard views of the mountains. When it’s nearing 100 degrees Fahrenheit at 8am, there’s really no better way to start the day than with a morning swim and brekkie by the pool. Order an espresso and the Five Leaves granola topped with sweet, freshly cut pineapple and relax in one of the retro sunbeds with a good book. Ah life in the desert is pretty damn relaxing…
Before the sun gets too high, borrow a pair of beach cruisers and explore the surrounding Modernist homes of Hollywood’s Golden Age. Immortalised in Slim Aaron’s 1970 photograph Poolside Gossip, Kauffman Desert House (1947) is universally revered as a masterpiece and is an absolute must see when in Palm Springs. Completed in the same year, Frank Sinatra’s distinctive Twin Palms residence is slightly more private, but we couldn’t resist peeking over the garden fence to catch a glimpse of his infamous piano shaped pool.
Immortalised in Slim Aaron’s 1970 photograph Poolside Gossip, Kauffman Desert House (1947) is universally revered as a masterpiece.
With the strong desert sun, it’s tempting to spend all afternoon lazing by the pool drinking frozen watermelon margaritas, but who can come all the way to Palm Springs and not go roadtrippin’ through the Mojave Desert? Amid boulder stacks, pinyon pines, junipers and Mojave prickly pear cacti, Joshua Tree National Park is surrounded by impressive landscape on all sides. Home to the Joshua tree, the tangled, shaggy yucca plant for which the park is named, it’s unlike anything we had seen before. Seven different species of rattlesnakes also inhabit the area, and although mildly curious we stayed pretty close to the track! Be sure to stop by tiny roadside La Copine Kitchen in the Yucca Valley, for new American style brunch before heading out into the wilderness.
Workshop Kitchen and Bar is perfect for a romantic night out, with their industrial interior and concrete finishings you could be mistaken to thinking you were dining in New York or even Melbourne. Order a hand-crafted Hemingway Especial cocktail and some small share plates at the bar. Birba is another great find in Palm Springs and is perfect for authentic wood fired pizza and a vino under the desert night sky. With a name that translates to rascal in Italian, you know it’s going to be a good night.
Eat, sleep, tan, repeat. Palm Springs, I think we might just stay.
LOCATION / PALM SPRINGS, CALIFORNIA
ACE HOTEL AND SWIM CLUB / @ACEHOTELPALMSPRINGS