A trip out to Palm Springs is exactly what you need after a busy couple of weeks in Los Angeles. Only a short 2-hour drive (in good traffic) will have you arriving at this gorgeous desert city in no time. Palm Springs has been on my to-hit list for quite some time, and it’s safe to say, it lived up to all expectations!
We decided to call The Ace Hotel & Swim Club home for our stay; a desert oasis with relaxed morning vibes where you can sip your filter coffee poolside and more of a party vibe on weekends. Given I was in my second trimester of pregnancy, it made me smile to see there was a variety of guests, and that children were welcome, as well as the usual Ace crowd.
The Ace Hotel & Swim Club is a converted rundown motel, remodelled by L.A. based firm Commune together with the Ace’s design team in 2009. Set against the backdrop of the dry desert hills, both the morning and evening light makes for a photographers’ heaven. The warmth, contrast and shadows around the property really do make for a stunning stroll around at dawn and dusk.
It goes without saying we came for the iconic Midcentury architecture, and honestly the houses were more beautiful than I could have imagined. The designs embrace the desert environment utilising versatile indoor and outdoor living. Heat resistant cactus gardens, and clean lines, combined with besser blocks and stone really are a sight to be seen. Houses are easily seen, and it’s hard to put your camera away, particularly when you explore the neighbourhoods and streets surrounding E Sierra Way and Las Palmas.
The Morteen Botanic Gardens are a family run cacti garden on South Palm Canyon Drive, specializing in extraordinary varieties of desert plants and for those staying local (sadly not us) cacti sales. This was a definite highlight, go early to avoid the crowds.
Best eateries, bars and restaurants:
Townie Bagels Bakery – Wide variety of fresh baked bagels, your choice of toppings. Super friendly staff.
Cheeky’s – Brunch/Lunch spot. Always order an extra side of waffles.
Native Foods Café – Don’t be deceived by the strip mall, this is a plant-based café, no fuss, organic (where possible). Fresh and creative Californian-style cuisine.
Rooster & The Pig – No bookings, fresh Vietnamese.
Workshop Kitchen & Bar – Market driven menu, seasonal, harvested from local farms, refined experience. Book the courtyard.
Kings Highway – Ace Hotel Diner, Californian-Mexican menu. Emphasising fresh, seasonal ingredients.
Dead or Alive Bar – Independent local beer and wine bar with curated selection of drinks from small producers.
Kreem – Artisanal ice cream and coffee – say no more!
Make the time for a little organic treatment at the Ace Hotel Feel Good Spa – wonderful service and experienced staff. You’ll come out feeling a million dollars!
Be sure to check out the Palm Springs Art Museum – note there are three separate locations.
Get exploring and happy travels!
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All images Copyright Josie Withers.