- Desertscape Desert Modernism
- Desert life Back to the future
Surrounded by the stark beauty of the desert and the snow-capped peak of San Jacinto, the lush green golf courses and tree-lined boulevards of Palm Springs make it the perfect urban oasis.
The city’s endless supply of sunshine made it a winter playground for the rich and famous in the Fifties, when life was lived with a putter in one hand and a martini in the other; the exploits of its former Rat Pack residents have passed into legend. Palm Springs’ world-apart atmosphere is accentuated by its fabulous collection of mid-century Modernist architecture – in the style’s '50s heyday, even the most humdrum building merited a futuristic fin or space-age spoiler, to help propel it still further into the future. In recent years (thanks largely to the efforts of former mayor Sonny Bono), the city has recaptured its swing – and not just on the golf course.
Do go/Don’t go
Palm Springs has sunshine and balmy temperatures year-round, which is what makes it such a popular winter destination; the population almost doubles during these months. If anything, summer temperatures are too hot, with temperatures way above one hundred degrees.
Planes There is an international airport at Palm Springs (www.palmspringsairport.com), but many of the airlines that fly there are domestic; you’ll probably arrive at Los Angeles airport (LAX), 100 miles east of the city.
Trains Amtrak (www.amtrak.com) connects Palm Springs to other US cities. There are two railway stations, Bakersfield being the best one for connections to LA.
Automobiles Like most US cities, you’ll need a car if you want to explore any further than the hotel boundaries – not least for the air-conditioning. Alternatively, you could hire yourself a Harley (www.eaglerider.com).
- Taxis From Palm Springs airport, order a cab from Airport Taxi (+1 760 321 4470) or Yellow Cab (+1 760 345 8398); your hotel can arrange taxis for you if you need a ride anywhere local.