Palm Springs is a desert resort city in the Sonoran Desert of southern California. The city is located within the Coachella Valley, approximately 107 mi (172 km) east of Los Angeles. Known for its hot springs, stylish hotels, golf courses and spas, the city’s population is estimated at under 50,000.
Palm Spring is known for its mid-century modern architecture, design elements, and arts and cultural scene. Some may remember the old Palm Springs as a sunny desert town where Frank Sinatra, Bob Hope and many other Hollywood types partied in the 1950s and 1960s. That city crashed and burned when new communities developed nearby. Stores closed. Restaurants died. Builders abandoned construction sites.
But a funny thing happened as the decades rolled by: The city discovered a way to turn back the clock. Everything old is new. Once again, this town is hot, hot, hot. Once again, it's the capital of cool.
The proof is in the clubs, restaurants and hotels that are popping up, and in the trend-setting millennials who are flying in from San Francisco and New York City. They marvel at the mid-century modern architecture, shop in vintage stores, spend the rest of the day lazing around the city's sparkling blue pools, then cap the night drinking single-barrel bourbon and craft beer in trendy bars.
You can also find evidence in the evolving city, which is trying to preserve its heritage while catering to new visitors and longtime residents. The biggest turnaround is in the heart of downtown where a $450-million redevelopment project includes restaurants, shops and hotels that are giving birth to a new and vibrant Palm Springs.
In Palm Springs, you’ll find a sunny mix of minimalist design and contemporary colors. Among them is the almost-finished Kimpton which is consummate Palm Springs — Midcentury Modern, only better. The hotel is built off the architectural heritage of the city. Kimpton the Rowan isn't the only new hotel in town. Two other nearby lodges opened their doors in the last few months. Both will help the visitor to remember why they will love this city and its beautifully-designed hotels.
La Serena Villas, originally built in 1933, spent decades as a community eyesore before its renovation and reincarnation as a super-chic downtown hotel. Its 18 cottages, stark white and accented by brilliant bougainvillea, are at the edge of the imposing San Jacinto Mountains.
Rooms are plush and have patios, fire pits and outdoor claw-foot tubs. The hotel pool is busy, and Azúcar, a new Frida Kahlo-inspired restaurant, keeps guests and visitors happy with tapas, shareable plates and dinner entrees such as a spiced tempeh bowl and Moroccan roasted chicken with saffron rice and dates.
The other winner is the nearby Holiday House. The hotel, designed in 1951 by Herbert Burns, considered a top Palm Springs modernist, was most recently named the Chase. It was sold and remodeled with an emphasis on preserving its original Midcentury Modern pedigree. Among the many changes are a new lobby bar, pool and lounge areas. You will love the airy blue-and-white color scheme and the over-the-top art collection that features works by David Hockney and Roy Lichtenstein, among others.
There is also the Ingleside Inn, which recently completed a major renovation. The 30-room Inn is a Spanish Colonial Revival-style lodge that dates to the 1920s. The hotel is being restored to its former glory, once a Hollywood celebrity favorite, now complete with vintage tiles.
The Ingleside sits next to Melvyn’s Restaurant, which has also undergone a face-lift. Melvyn's was a favorite of Frank Sinatra, who held the reception for his wedding No. 4 there.
Back in the day, the Ingleside-Melyvn's complex also drew stars such as Elizabeth Taylor and Marlon Brando and in more recent times Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell.
Palm Springs is being reborn; and is repositioning itself for a new generation of visitors and locals. Some of this development reflects the city’s architectural and cultural heritage, and some moves us beyond that legacy. Maintaining that balance will be an ongoing challenge.
As evidence of that balance, many of the new development projects speak to the balance between past and future, commerce and culture, and the diversity of this unique city.
The city that used to be focused primarily on golf is now getting a younger, hip generation from Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York—not to mention from abroad. This is a new demographic that has rediscovered Palm Springs and enjoys what it has to offer including its new bike paths and hiking trails not to mention high-end food and beverage outlets. But golf is never forgotten. The city is blessed with more than 100 golf courses—some of which have also undergone major renovations.
Palm Springs isn't the only desert city that's getting chic new downtown hotels. Your incentive program could also include Palm Desert, 15 miles southeast, and the site of Hotel Paseo, a 150-room property adjacent to the city's primary shopping district, El Paseo, which desert dwellers call the “Rodeo Drive of the Desert.”
The new three-story hotel is considered the first luxury hotel built in Palm Desert in more than 30 years. Among the interesting guest suites are a billiards room with a wet bar, lounge and bed, and a glamor room, with space to get prepared for a big event.
Another unusual feature is a refurbished 25-foot,1950s Airstream trailer, which has taken up residence in the Backyard, an outdoor space that will feature a lawn, stage and activities courts for playing boccie ball, shuffleboard and cornhole toss. A pool, spa, cabanas and bar.
The lounge has a rotating art gallery and colorful art installations. The hotel has a rare-breed restaurant designed by three famous chefs: AC3 Restaurant + Bar, and a full-service spa that offers yoga and tai chi classes.
In search of a truly hot destination for your next incentive program, let professionals at Global Management Services take you to the new capital of cool.