Sunday, March 23, 2008

Palm Springs What to Know

As The Palm Springs Savant, it's my obligation to provide information about this great desert oasis. Palm Springs has had a long running history with the Hollywood Elite and US Presidents. We have an abundance of original mid-century modern architecture throughout the city. There are plenty of antique shops selling classic mid-century things.

If you are interested in learning more, the Palm Springs Walk of Stars downtown is a great way to discover the Hollywood Stars who lived, loved and played in Palm Springs.

A brief History...
Starting back in the 20's and 30's, stars such as Ruby Keeler, Al Jolson, William Powell, Rudolf Valentino and Harold Lloyd escaped from Hollywood to the desert.
In the 40's they were soon followed by Ralph Bellamy, Charlie Farrell, Shirley Temple, Buddy Rogers, Mary Pickford, and Gene Autry. These celebs came to the desert to bathe in the natural hot springs, and enjoy the dry climate. There was little here at the time, but they laid the foundation for what would soon become a hotbed of activity.
Mid Century Glam

The 50's and 60's were very definitely it's heyday, when celebrities such as Frank Sinatra, Joan Crawford, Clark Gable, Lana Turner, Bob Hope, Rock Hudson, Ginger Rogers, Jane Wyman, Elizabeth Taylor, Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe, Lucielle Ball & Desi Arnaz, Liberace, George Montgomery, Dinah Shore all had homes here in Palm Springs.

The 70's, 80's and 90's brought stars including Shirley MacClaine, Sonny Bono, Merv Griffin, Dolly Parton, Jack Jones, Keeley Smith, Debbie Reynolds, Kaye Ballard, Buddy Greco, Carol Channing, George Lopez, Dick Van Patten, Connie Stevens, Rich Little, Suzanne Somers, Victoria Principal, Presidents Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford. Before he was Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger and his wife Maria Shriver spent a great deal of time in the Coachella Valley as well. Major golf and tennis tournaments continued to flourish here, which continued to attract major sports professionals in search of a pristine environment to compete and broadcast games on national TV.

Palm Springs- Back in Full Swing with a new generation
Today, in 2007, Palm Springs continues to attract big names, including Brad Bitt & Angelina Jolie, Madonna, Zac Efron, Vanessa Hudgens, Halle Berry, Daniel Day-Lewis, Drew Barrymore, Ellen Page, Jaime Foxx, Nikki Blonsky, Laura Linney, Emile Hirsch, Joe Wright, Bruce Willis, Sean Penn, Jerry Weintraub, Barry Manilow, Queen Latifah, Bill Mahr, Ryan Seacrest, Deborah Gibson, Jimmy Van Patten, Amanda Bynes Ricki Lake, Elijah Kelley, Brittany Snow, Allison Janney, Taylor Parks and John Travolta just to name a few. The annual
Palm Springs International Film Festival attracts a huge roster of major motion picture actors, directors, writer and producers.
It's not uncommon to see a major celebrity at a local restaurant one evening in town. With scenery and views like these below, its not hard to understand why Palm Springs has been home to celebrities for more that 80 years now. It's a beautiful oasis that I am proud to call home.

Spas of Palm Springs

There are literally hundreds of spas across the Coachella Valley. I decided to just list a few form Palm Springs and the nearby Desert Hot Springs. There are also some really nice high end luxury ones down valley in Indian Wells, La Quinta and Palm Desert at the big resort hotels.

An interesting one with lots of character is the El Morocco Inn and Spa 66810 E. Fourth Street, Desert Hot Springs. 760-288-2527.

Desert Mystique Spa’s 4721 E. Palm Canyon Drive, Suite F, Palm Springs. 760-960-4597.

The Spring Resort and Spa 12699 Reposo Way, Desert Hot Springs. 760-251-6700.

PSYC at the Parker Palm Springs, 4200 E. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs. 760-770-5000.

Estrella Spa’s At The Viceroy hotel, Palm Springs, 415 S. Belardo Road, Palm Springs. 760-320-4117.

Miracle Springs Spa. 10625 Palm Drive, Desert Hot Springs. 760-251-6000.

Body Sense Whirlpool, Nutrition Program, Massage, Body Treatments, Facials, Boutique, 1001 S. Palm Canyon Dr. Palm Springs, 760.320.8413

And a few other Spas that feature genuine hot springs waters:

Agua Caliente Spa

Two Bunch Palms

Living Waters Spa

Desert Hot Springs Spa Hotel

Sagewater Spa
The Spa at La Toscana
Swiss health resort
We Care Health Spa
The Sage Spa at Casino Morongo

Monday, December 10, 2007

Where to Eat

Depending on what you are looking for, Palm Springs has a great selection of places to eat. Whether you want a casual meal, or fine dining, here are some options:

Modest priced Restaurants

* Tropicale, 330 East Amado Road Palm Springs (760) 866-1952

Spencer’s at the Mountain 701 West Baristo Road (760) 327-3446 GREAT outdoor seating, right against the mountain.
* Matchbox: Mercado Plaza, downtown PS, second floor
* Ruby’s Mercado Plaza, downtown PS
* Las Casuelas Palm Canyon, downtown PS
* La Casita- Indian Canyon/Tahquitz Rd, downtown PS
* Wang’s of the Desert (Chinese) Indian Canyon, downtown PS
* Grill-a-Burger Palm Canyon, downtown PS
* California Pizza Kitchen, Palm Canyon, downtown PS
* Pinocchios of the Desert (Tahquitz Rd, downtown PS)
* Tyler’s Burgers (La Plaza, downtown PS)
* Thai Smile, North Palm Canyon PS
* Al Dente (Italian, mostly pasta) North Palm Canyon, PS
* Boscoso (modern Italian) North Palm Canyon, PS

Restaurants with Character

* Melvyn’s at the Ingleside Inn
If you go on a weeknight, they have a special weeknight dinner menu for like a set price and its really good. Melvyns offers an old Hollywood Palm Springs dining environment. Its old school and can be a little stuffy, but I love it. They feature lounge lizard style live music after 8:00. It looks fancy- but is very cozy and welcoming. No t-shirts, but casual is fine. 200 West Ramon Road. Right near the mountain, behind Palm Canyon)

* Copley's of Palm Canyon Really great food, contemporary American cuisine. Very casual, perfect outdoor patio seating. Dinner can be pricey, but Sunday brunch menu is reasonable. 621 North Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs CA 92262 760.327.9555

Johannes Offers an eccletic menu with an Austrian flair. Wonderful sauces, truffle oil infused soups, and fantastic desserts. Its pricey, but delicious food.196 S Indian Canyon Drive, Palm Springs, CA 92262 760 778-0017

* Norma’s at the Parker Palm Springs Hotel
GREAT for breakfast, really fun menu. Terrific outdoor patio seating, nice view. Breakfast will run about $20 per person. 4200 East Palm Canyon Drive 760 -770-5000

Great websites with a lot more information

Bistros of Palm Springs

Restaurant Row

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Tropicale: Hottest Restaurant in Town!

Friday evening I went to check out Tropicale, a hip new restaurant in downtown Palm Springs. It bills itself as having a chic sophisticated d├ęcor. Inside the dining room there are tables and high-backed half-circular leather booths in a plush dining room with chandeliers. The Coral Seas Lounge offers retro cocktails such as The Pink Pussycat, Just Peachy Martini , Chi-Chi Coconut Martini, Carmen Miranda Sangria and the Havana Banana Sparkling Sangria, just to name a few. For a more complete review, check out my main blog or click here for the link to the actual post

Sunday, September 23, 2007

The Parker Palm Springs

Looking for a really cool hotel to visit? Check out The Parker Palm Springs. Click here to view my four part mini-series on the fabulous Parker.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Palm Springs: What to See

Here is more fascinating and useless information about our beautiful desert. Palm Springs is a world-renowned city with the culture of a large city combined with the relaxing desert atmosphere. It serves as a peaceful retreat to escape from the daily grind of working life elsewhere.

Located at the base of Mount San Jacinto, one of Southern California’s most magnificent mountains, it has retained the ‘30s,‘40s and ‘50s charm that established it as a recreational destination and Hollywood star hideaway.
Palm Springs is enjoying a renewed appreciation in classic mid-century modern style, with authentic new mid-century construction, and the restoration of mid-century structures from its heyday. The concentration of mid-century structures is not commonly seen elsewhere, and adds an air of contemporary sophistication to the Palm Springs landscape.
The city boasts a plethora of antique resale shops, which now serve as a destination to interior designers seeking authentic modern furnishings. A new generation of year-round residents, as well as an influx of weekend hipsters from LA, San Diego and as far away as Chicago and Denver are reveling in the desert resort lifestyle.

All this, along with the return of young Hollywood elite, top drawer restaurants,
hip boutique hotels, and refreshing spas make for an exciting time in Palm Springs. In particular, the Viceroy Hotel is one of the hottest hotels in town.

Below: Entrance to the retro-hip Parker Palm Springs hotel and right,the Hotel Zoso

Below left: Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, below right: the many windmills just north of Palm Springs

Below: Retro postcards still have their flair!

Examples of groovy new residential developments (go ahead, buy one)

Palm Springs: What to do...

If you are considering a visit to Palm Springs or the Coachella Valley (Palm Springs, Cathedral City, Rancho Mirage, Palm Desert, Indian Wells, La Quinta, Desert Hot Springs, and Indio). Here is a brief list of things to do while here. Remember that I am not getting paid to list these, so it's just things I know about or have done that might give you ideas.
* Agua Caliente Cultural Museum Learn about the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians and other Native cultures.

Annenberg Theatre - At the Palm Springs Art Museum.

Anza Borrego Desert State Park - This 600,000-acre park, the largest in the United States, enjoys virtually the same climate as the Coachella Valley.
* Balloon Above The Desert : Greet the sun or bid it farewell as you drift in beautiful desert skies in one of the most peaceful experiences of a lifetime.

* Fantasy Balloon Flights : The best view of Southern California's unique deserts, coastline, lakes, and wine country are enjoyed aloft.

* Big Wheel Bike Tours : The desert's premier guided bicycle tours!

* Canyon Jeep Tours : Join us for any one of three tours that will leave you breathless.

* Celebrity Tours : View the best of the famous Palm Springs Desert Resorts from the comfort of our quiet, air-conditioned coaches.

* Coachella Valley Museum & Cultural Center : The museum's purpose is to collect, preserve, display, and interpret the material culture of Coachella Valley.

* Desert Adventures : Jeep Eco-Tours to the infamous San Andreas Fault.

* Explore The Power Windmill Tours : Travel an electric-powered vehicles through a forest of towering, silently spinning windmills.

* Fabulous Palm Springs Follies - Aworld-famous, Broadway-caliber celebration of the music, dance, and comedy of the 30's and 40's, with a cast old enough to have lived it. Runs from October through May each year.

* General Patton Memorial : Come and see the General Patton Memorial in Chiriaco Summit, California.

* McCallum Theatre : The Bob Hope Cultural Center.

* Palm Canyon Theatre : Come see all the exciting shows at the Palm Canyon Theatre.

* Palm Springs Aerial Tramway : Experience the adventure of riding the world's largest rotating tramcars at the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. One of the world’s most spectacular aerial rides, Mountain Station at 8,5l6 feet features a restaurant, cocktail lounge, gift shop and movie theater. Mt. San Jacinto State Park and Wilderness offers 54 miles of hiking trails, wilderness mule rides, cross-country skiing and snow-tubing with rentals available.

* Palm Springs Air Museum : Where history flies through the skies and your guides are the people who made history.

* Palm Springs Art Museum : Discover a cultural oasis in the desert.

* Sailplane Enterprises : Tell us about your dream flight, and that is what we will do.

* SHOP: Desert Hills Outlet, Cabazon Outlets, Westfield Mall and * El Paseo Shopping District- El Paseo features over 150 world-class shops, clothing boutiques, art galleries, jewelers, restaurants and much, more...all lined along a beautifully maintained picture-postcard floral and statue-filled mile.

* The Living Desert : 1,200-acre wildlife and botanical park, featuring rare and endangered desert animals and African wildlife including bighorn sheep, mountain lions, Mexican wolves, cheetahs, warthogs and zebras.

* Whitewater Trout Farm : Fantastic trout fishing is available for our visitors. No license needed and no limit.

* Indian Canyons - Andreas, Murray and Palm canyons. Trading post, picnic grounds, hiking and horse trails. Fifteen miles long, Palm Canyon is one of the great beauty spots in Western North America. Its indigenous flora and fauna are breathtaking contrasts to the stark, rocky gorges and barren desert lands beyond. Visit the Trading Post for hiking maps, refreshments, Indian art and artifacts, jewelry and conversational cultural lore.

* Joshua Tree National Park - Mojave and Colorado deserts join to form the park, approximately 1,241 sq. miles. Varieties of flora, wildlife sanctuary, campgrounds, horse and hiking trails.

* Parachutes Over Palm Springs - Enjoy a mile-high, five-minute canopy ride in tandem with a certified instructor on your first jump.

* The San Andreas Fault Tour - A three-hour tour of one of the greatest wonders of the world!

* Palm Springs International Festival of Short Films-A summer showcase of rising talent featuring...Short Film, Video, and Animation.

* CASINOS: Agua Caliente Casino, Casino Morongo, Fantasy Springs Casino , Spa Resort Casino , Spotlight 29 Casino.