Although some things never change in Palm Springs — the glorious weather and striking San Jacinto mountain backdrop — the hospitality scene is in the midst of a major expansion. For the first time in decades, two new hotels from major brands (Kimpton Hotels and Hyatt’s Andaz Hotels) are under construction while new restaurants seem to be springing up like desert wildflowers after a rain — though late night dining is still a rarity. An easy journey from Los Angeles (most of the time), new service via Jet Blue from JFK makes the region even more convenient for East Coasters. Here’s what’s new and what’s worth checking out in showbizzers’ preferred desert sojourn.
Chic and instagram-ready:
Formerly the Viceroy Hotel, the 67-room Avalon Hotel retains much of designer Kelly Wearstler’s high-style Hollywood Regency look from the bright yellow accents to the black-and-white color scheme. Freshened up are the outdoor lounge and restaurant (Chi Chi from Cheeky’s chef Tara Lazar) and the Estrella spa has a novel menu of relaxation-inducing treatments. Guests can borrow bikes, take yoga classes and never leave the manicured four acres and pools.
Avalon Hotel, 415 S. Belardo Road, Palm Springs, 760-320-4117
L’Horizon Resort & Spa
Elegantly outfitted bungalows at the
24-room L’Horizon stand apart — each a quiet hideaway with indoor/outdoor shower and patio, all from interior designer Steve Hermann (known for projects for bold-
faced names like Christina Aguilera). The adult-guests-only property (originally designed by William F. Cody) was totally revamped under Hermann’s vision: the open-to-the-elements midcentury modern design shines again. On 4 acres, the compound has 42 water features, spa cabanas (opened in December) and full-service restaurant, SO.PA.
L’Horizon Resort & Spa, 1050 E. Palm Canyon Dr., 760-323-1858
The vibe at the adults-only Sparrows Lodge is laid-back and feels from a quieter time. A former ranch-style roadside motel, the 20-rooms and interior courtyard were totally reimagined by the original developers of the Korakia Pensione. There are rustic touches like concrete floors in-room, tin horse watering troughs as bathtubs and no TVs (there is WiFi). Citrus trees dot the courtyard and rough-hewn rocks line the walls.
Sparrows Lodge, 1330 East Palm Canyon Dr., 760-327-2300, sparrowslodge.com
North Palm Springs arriviste:
Closing in on completion, the 32-room Arrive in North Palm Springs will open in early 2016. The overall design takes its cues from midcentury modern architecture. (Chris Pardo Design: Elemental Architecture of Palm Springs’ Ernest Coffee and Bootlegger Tiki are behind the project.) The action will center around the courtyard, pool, outsized spa and an upcoming restaurant, Reservoir. Also for guests’ amusement: poolside cabanas with fireplaces, a games area and bocce court.
1551 N. Palm Canyon Dr.
On the drawing boards:
Infusion Beach & Hotel
On the north end of town, the former Garden Vista Hotel is closed and signage is up for the Infusion Beach & Hotel. Investors promise a sleek upgrade to the 1968-built property close to the Arrive at 1875 N. Palm Canyon.
Orchid Tree Inn
The rehab of the long shuttered Orchid Tree Inn (261 S. Belardo Road) is now closer to fruition. In November, the Palm Springs Planning Commission gave approval to a revised plan from the Malibu-based Weintraub Real Estate Group (of Malibu Lumber Yard and Studio City’s Sportsmen’s Lodge) to re-do the 52-room property in the Historic Tennis Club neighborhood.
V Palm Springs
Where Palm Canyon curves, the former Curve hotel is being transformed into the 140-room V Palm Springs. Attorneys Mark Geragos and Brian Kabateck are the owners; Filament Hospitality will manage the sprawling oasis-like property scheduled to re-open in time for Coachella 2016. Hammocks, fire pits, communal tables and outdoor socializing spaces are the hipster-approved improvements.
333 E. Palm Canyon Dr., 760-327-1211
|Chi Chi at Avalon Palm Springs-Jakob-Layman
Courtesy of Jakob Layman
DINING OUT OPTIONS:
The casual Italian-American eatery across from the Ace Hotel features house-made pastas, pizzas and seasonal dishes like a pomegranate, Fuji apple, Gorgonzola cheese and endive salad and butternut tagliatelle. A full bar with craft cocktails is also a draw.
1700 S. Camino Real, Ste. 2. 760-327-1929
Chi Chi at the Avalon Hotel
Tara Lazar has revamped the menu at the Chi Chi, next to one of the Avalon’s pools. The romantic nighttime setting becomes a lively brunch spot on weekends. Smoked salmon Benedict, pork belly hash and brioche French toast are standouts.
415 S. Belardo Road, 760-318-3005
The Edge Steakhouse at the Ritz-Carlton Rancho Mirage
The glass walled, cliffside Edge Steakhouse (opened in March) is the place for a cocktail and sunset views across a large swath of the Coachella Valley. Steaks are the star attraction; sides and the wide-ranging wine list expertly match the prime and aged beef entrees.
68900 Frank Sinatra Dr., Rancho Mirage, 760-321-8282
Eight4Nine Restaurant & Lounge
With 300 seats, an indoor/outdoor patio and 8,000 sq. ft., Eight4Nine offers space to party in the Uptown Design District. There’s all-day happy hour, lounging with a view and upscale dining. Expect small plates (comfort food reigns supreme) and a brilliant white-on-white decor.
849 N Palm Canyon Dr., 760-325-8490
The Barn Kitchen at the Sparrows Lodge
The Barn Kitchen is like eating in someone’s very cool backyard. The tightly edited menu ranges from a daily soup to seasonal
salads and hearty burgers. The three-course dinner on Saturday nights requires a reservation.
1330 E. Palm Canyon Dr., 760-327-2300
Mr. Lyons Steakhouse
The exterior hides a freshly re-imagined series of smartly decorated rooms. While grilled steaks
are featured, the
sides are equally thought out from
the cauliflower couscous to the decadent mac and cheese. The select California wine list pairs perfectly with the classic American steakhouse cuisine.
233 E. Palm Canyon Dr., 760-327-1551
SO.PA at L’Horizon Resort & Spa
The completely outdoor setting of SO.PA is inspired when the weather is fine — hand-crafted light fixtures, fire walls and heat lamps keep it glowing at night and the chill off during breakfast. An ambitious menu showcasing elevated cooking techniques from chef Giacomo Pettinari challenges diners to broaden their culinary horizons.
1050 E. Palm Canyon, 760-323-1858