Palm Springs International Airport is a five-minute drive away. Direct flights are available from New York (Alaska Airlines, JetBlue) and Chicago (United Airlines), along with all major West Coast cities. The flight from Los Angeles is a brisk 55 minutes.
The Palm Springs Amtrak station is a 10-minute drive from the hotel (www.amtrak.com). Direct service is available to Los Angeles three times a week and takes two and a half hours, and there are connecting trains from San Diego.
The drive from Los Angeles to Palm Springs is one of the most iconic routes on the West Coast, and a rite of passage for many Californians. A car is an excellent way to explore the desert, and a must for anyone planning to hike Joshua Tree National Park. Parking at the hotel is free, and most destinations have sizable parking lots. Traffic in Palm Springs can get congested on weekends, so plan to set off on foot to explore the area right around the hotel on beautiful weekend days.
Worth getting out of bed for
The Colony Palms pool is worth a full day. After all, Palm Springs is legendary for its restorative desert heat, and there are few better places to enjoy it than on a sunlounger by the 65-foot saltwater pool, facing the nearby mountains.
Reverse the view with a trip on the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. The massive rotating tram car rises up the mountainside along a two-and-a-half-mile track, for panoramic views of the valley. There are two restaurants atop the cliff, along with a gift shop and hiking trails. There are numerous hiking options in the area, including Joshua Tree National Park, home to the strangely craggy Joshua trees and assorted desert animals. The visitors’ centre is a 45-minute drive northeast of the hotel.
The hotel can also arrange for jeep tours of Joshua Tree and the famed San Andreas Fault Line, or a high-speed race around the track of the BMW Performance Driving School, in nearby Thermal.
Palm Springs itself is a regional destination for mid-century-modern furniture and vintage clothes, with some of the best shops near the hotel, on North Palm Canyon Drive. The Frippery has tropical-themed vintage attire for men and women, including billowing caftans and luxury purses. Popular furniture store A La Mod is packed with vintage bar carts, swivel chairs and other furniture to channel mid-century style.
For refreshing food on a hot evening, head to the ultra-popular Rooster and the Pig for Vietnamese-inspired fare, including spring rolls, lettuce wraps and tangy green papaya salad. Copley’s, in what was once Cary Grant’s guest house, is popular for alfresco dinners of wood-fired dishes, like steaks, chops and seared scallops with basmati rice.
There’s nearly always a line to get into Cheeky's, open only for breakfast and lunch. The menu includes Mexican-inspired breakfast dishes, and popular corn pancakes. Don't miss the flight of bacon, with flavors that change regularly, but can include spicy jalapeno bacon and sweetly smoky fruit-rubbed bacon in addition to the classic.
Fuel up on caffeine at Koffi, a popular local shop, where beans are roasted in-house for espresso drinks and iced and frozen coffees to bust the mid-day heat. Many years ago, Palm Springs was packed with palm trees, yielding most of the country's dates. Grab a taste of the bounty at Shields Date Garden (Look for the sign, on a shield, held by a massive pointing knight.), in nearby Indio. The retro cafe and gardens are home to a gift shop and a tiny theatre showing a video about dates. Stop for breakfast or lunch, and be sure to try a date shake, which taste surprisingly like chocolate.
Channel the retro side of Palm Springs with tiki cocktails at Bootlegger Tiki, in the space that once housed the famous Don the Beachcomber restaurant. There are plenty of potent drinks, including punch bowls, a house mai tai, and a few potent enough to come with a two-drink limit. Pair them with a small assortment of snacks, like sriracha-coconut popcorn and chilli-lemon mangoes.