Thursday, December 11, 2008

Wanderlust: Palm Springs Recommendations?

Because I am a not-so-closeted Scrooge and want to make Christmas as un-Christmasy as possible (just, you know, so my kids have plenty of fodder for their future psychotherapy sessions), we decided to plan a getaway to balmy Palm Springs over the holiday break. We're staying at the house above, which was once owned by Fifties fitness guru Jack LaLanne (really!).

We've never been to Palm Springs before, and I want to be sure not to miss any of the fabulousity. For those of you who know the area, any advice on what to do there -- where to shop, eat, drink, see the scenery? We'll definitely be making a pit-stop for cocktails and dinner at the Parker Hotel, but other than that our calendar is wide open.

If you have any Palm Springs recommendations to share, please let me know!

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

You might actually enjoy brunch at the Parker instead, at their cafe called Norma's. If it's warm, there's a great place to sit outside, and then you could see the hotel in the daylight. We stayed there for my birthday last year and it was fantastic. Also, we had dinner and cocktails one night at the Viceroy at their restaurant called Citron.

Ali said...

Although kind of kitsch (and cold), your family might enjoy the change and scenery and the ride on the Aerial Tramway : http://www.pstramway.com/

Arlynn said...

What a fun & unexpected holiday treat! And that house is probably to die for... I hope it comes with one of Jack's (now infamous) Powwr Juicers : )

Enjoy the planning, it's prob my fav part!!!

Anonymous said...

Palm Springs isn't known as a culinary destination, but Zin American Bistro is a good choice for dinner. I've never been disappointed there. http://www.zinamericanbistro.com/

Jennifer said...

HA! I'll be there too. I bet we cross paths in the vintage wonderland!

Megan said...

leah, the BEST place is korakia. it's a hidden gem. are you taking kids?

Leah said...

Megan -- Unfortunately, yes. ;-) But Grandma will be there to babysit if need be ...

Megan said...

Oh, you need activities. If you go back with your husband {no kids} go to korakia.check it out, korakia.com. there's nothing like it in palm springs and it's a hidden secret {they don't advertise}

we hit the pool all day when we're there. there's a gondola that's supposed to be fun~never been. As much as I've been {I take the girls every spring break} I don't know the kid activities available, outside of the hotels. I can't wait to see the recommendations you receive.

Sara B. said...

I'm swimming in envy. Go take a hike in Indian Canyons for me, OK? And do take the tram to the top of Mt. Jacinto. Eat fresh grapefruit. And swim, swim, swim.

Sara B. said...

If you've got time for a day trip, drive out to Joshua Tree National Park and climb on Jumbo Rocks. OK, now I'm seething with envy.

Leah said...

OK, Sara -- you KNOW I don't hike or climb on any damn rocks! Basically, I don't do "nature," dig? I shop, and eat lunch, and nap by the pool, and maybe take a drive out to somewhere pretty, where I step out of the car for a minute and pretend to admire the panorama before getting back in the car and hightailing it back into town, where I belong.

Sara B. said...

Take the tram to the top of the mountain, get off, buy a cocoa (it's at least 30 degrees cooler up there), admire the view, take the tram down.

Drive to Joshua Tree, drive through Joshua Tree, admire awesome scenery, drive home, nap by pool.

Megan said...

mkay, you're like me. j tree is great but not this trip. take the kids on the tram and then maybe to the pee wee dinosaurs for a good photo op {will you have a car? if not ix-nay that one} trina turk store, good sales now. lots of good vintage furniture shops. maybe take the kids to the hotel in palm desert that has the hibachi restaurant~mikako? and then the cheesy boat ride in the lagoon which ends in the hotel {kids dig it}

pop into korakia it's just off of the main street. try viceroy for cocktails on date night. food's ok. interiors are interesting-KWID

sit by the pool with lots of magazines. the mountains are weird there.they totally look like sets, like there are 2x4s holding them up. and it's COLD at night.

Leah said...

Megan -- affirmative on the car.

Sara Paloma said...

Too bad Balduccis closed recently.... it was this great piano bar for seniors where everyone passed around a mike and sang songs like, "wont you come home Bill Bailey".

Sara B. said...

There are some awesome midcentury vintage shops. You'll be a very happy Leah.

Judith said...

I have had a place in the desert for 15 years.

Regarding food, I would suggest after living the Bay Area that you manage you expectations, as it is uninventive and expensive by comparison.

The bright spot is if you are a carnivore as there are a zillion steak houses – but that is not our thing.

We often eat at Native Foods which is an exception to the rule, a yummy vegan restaurant – and you won’t even miss the meat. There is one at 111 and Sunrise in PS in the Smoketree Ralph Shopping center and one here in Palm Desert on El Paseo.

Tyler’s, the burger kiosk (al fresco dining) in downtown PS, is good, great people watching on a nice day, if you get there early or don’t mind waiting

I have not yet been but everyone says you must go to the recently redone Riveria (Indian Canyon and Vista Chino)

Matchbox Pizza is better than average (Palm Canyon Drive downtown PS)

Copley’s (Palm Canyon Drive) is supposed to be good as is Spencer’s (up against the mountains at the Tennis Club).

Shame on the Moon in Rancho Mirage at Frank Sinatra is pretty good, great service, reasonable.

Cork Tree in Palm Desert is good for a more formal meal

RattleSnake at the Classic Club House is good – better for lunch – when you can sit outside.

To do:
Drive through Old Las Palmas and the Movie Colony to get an idea of the old days in PS
Hike – easy hike with kids In Indian Canyon is great.
The Living Desert in Palm Desert is a beautiful zoo/botanical garden – my neighbor is a guide there and he gives wonder tours
For boys and boy children the air museum is supposed to be very good, but I think especially for WWII vets
Shopping - this is the land of great consignment and junk store – let me know if you’re interested in a list
Cabazon is ½ hour away and will exhaust even the most dedicated shopper

Let me think about restaurants and see if I’ve missed any worthwhile.

I read comments on your blog about Parkers and I haven’t been and haven’t heard anything about it – which is usually a sign it‘s mediocre (which here means overprices, middle of the road and lousy service).

Leah said...

Thanks everyone for the recs, and keep 'em coming!

I'm most interested in vintage shopping and stalking cool retro hotels and hangouts.

And I guess we do need to throw in a few fun activities for the kids, too ... (damn them! ;-)

Anonymous said...

I think you would love checking out Ruby Montana's little hotel in palm springs called the Coral Sands. She is a hoot and her hotel is all Hollywood cowboy kitch. And check out the little gallery on the southern end of Palm Springs called Dezart One Gallery. They are in a strip mall off of Cherokee that has several other galleries.

corine said...

I've stayed at la quinta resort a few time and I love the architecture. Also the living desert is a nice place to go with kids. The problem is, there isn't much to do in Palms Spring with kids besides the pool and the living desert. I told my 16 year old "There is something in the air here, but what is it? No smell, no wind, no noise." he answered. "It smells absolutely devoid of possibilities."

I'll be there (with the moping kids) around Christmas for a day or 2 to see grandma.

maison21 said...

stop at the 111 antique mall- hands down the best (and most affordable) shopping in palm springs. you can read up on it before you go:

http://maison21.blogspot.com/search/label/palm%20springs%20with%20maison21

for an adult dinner (you'd probably want to leave the kids with grandma) try johannes- delish, and a bit pricy. for more adult fun, try the bar at melvyn's- a singles bar for the geriatric set- observe real cougars in their natural enviroment! right down the street from the viceroy, so you can walk on over for a nightcap.

great inexpensive mexican at el mirasol, and i second lunch at tyler's burgers- the best in town. the kids will like las casuelas or the blue coyote, but they both serve completely inauthentic mexican food, so the adults might be a bit underwhelmed.

and a word of warning- brunch for the family will not be cheap at norma's (at the parker)- it may look like a hip coffee shop, but it adds up to fine dining prices pretty quick- especially if you order a mimosas or two!

as a family day trip, be sure to take the tram! totally fun, and there's snow at the top!

have fun, and remember to bring warm clothes- chances are it will be nice during the days but the evenings can be frigid! i spent new year's out there a few years ago, and it felt like antartica due to a freak storm...

maybe i'll run into you out there...

christian aka maison21

Donald said...

Viceroy is a bit run down now, but still cute to wander around. Stayed there and ate dinner --- food is good but service bad. Was still one of our better meals for sure. Store on road in with 50's --- studio 110 or 111. Eat frozen yogurt at Cactusberry...better that the Pink one!

Miranda said...

I dream about this place.....

http://www.korakia.com/

go there for me!

Anonymous said...

Since you've got kids you definitely want to go to The Living Desert in Palm Desert. Also, if you can get a baby sitter one night check out Melvyn's at the Ingleside Inn. This is classic Palm Springs and not to be missed. They have a piano bar every night and great food. If you can get to Cathedral City try Picahna. They are flat rate all you can eat Brazilian restaurant. Really good! Also, the Original Las Casuelas for Mexican food. For good morning coffee forget Starbucks and check out Koffi on S. Palm Canyon or N. Palm Canyon Drives. I don't know who it was that posted that comment about our food being mediocre, but it's not true. There are many GREAT restaurants in the area.

Anonymous said...

Whatever you do you've got to go to The Palm Springs Follies. You've never seen anything like it. It's all seniors, but I'm not kidding you. Those women have better bodies than most 20 year olds.

 

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