Palm Springs

PALM SPRINGS

We love the old world glamour of Palm Springs. Retracing the footsteps of the movie stars and mobsters for whom Palm Springs was a playground away from the prying eyes of Hollywood and the “Morality Clause” that was included in many of their studio contracts. According to Hollywood lore, actors under contract to the studio could not be seen drinking or behaving in any way that was “immoral.” How unlike the era we now live in! We love coming here for sister bonding but it is also a fun and easy romantic retreat. Seriously the most relaxing place ever.

WHAT TO PACK

Depending on the time of year you choose to visit, Palm Springs can be blazing hot and steamy. As Palm Springs is in the desert, even though the days are hot, the nights can be cool.
Swimsuits for sunbathing, swimming and hot-tubbing
Hiking/yoga clothes
Spa clothes
Cute sundresses and flipflops for day
Casual Cocktail dresses with heels for night
Lightweight jacket, sweater or wrap in case of cool evening air or blasting AC

EAT

BREAKFAST/BRUNCH

Norma’s at the Parker Meridian
4200 East Palm Canyon Drive
Palm Springs, CA 92264
760-321-2519
www.theparkerpalmsprings.com

The best brunch if you want a fancy one in a sexy, hipster setting. Mimosas and lobster frittatas are even more decadent and delicious eaten in this desert garden full of brightly colored retro modern furniture. The Parker is a much written about, buzzed about resort that earns it’s reputation on most fronts although we don’t love Mr. Parker’s for dinner.

Bit O’Country
418 South Indian Canyon Drive
Palm Springs, CA 92262
760-325-5154

For an artery clogging buttery Southern breakfast of gooey grits, biscuits and eggs in a diner setting. The perfect greasy spoon hangover cure that reminds us of visiting our grandparents in South Carolina.

Spencer’s
701 West Baristo Rd.
Palm Springs, CA 92262
760-327-3446
www.specersrestaurant.com

This sleek, dark restaurant nestled at the foothills of the San Jacinto Mountains, is open for breakfast, lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch. Although catering to an older crowd, the spunky cocktail menu, which begins with breakfast Eye-openers (including the Azalea: champagne with a splash of cran and OJ), is an equalizer for all age groups. Spencer’s specializes in seafood, and they showcase lobster in many dishes- some of our favorites are the Lobster pot stickers and Chilled Gazpacho with Maine Lobster. For your sweet side, the Banana Stuffed French toast and the Tres Leche Cake are heaven.

LUNCH

Hamburger Mary’s
415 North Palm Canyon Drive
Palm Springs, 92262
760-778-6279
www.hamburgermarysps.com

While slightly overpriced, the burgers and sandwiches are quite good. The All-American desserts (Smores and Deep Dish Cinnamon Apple Pie) and full bar round out a sinful lunch. The atmosphere is light and fun with a lot of tan, well dressed gay men frequenting.

Fisherman’s Market & Grill
235 South Indian Canyon Drive
Palm Springs, CA 92262
760-776-6533
www.fishermans.com

This casual restaurant has indoor and outdoor seating and specializes in seafood (obviously!) from Fish ‘n Chips to, Fish Tacos to the Fisherman’s Special Salad, which combines crabmeat, grilled shrimp, and grilled Mahi Mahi. We love having a typical beachy East Coast lunch in the middle of the desert. The Basket of Baja Fried Shrimp are tempting, but the Albacore Lettuce Wraps are divine and guilt free.

DINNER

Citron at Viceroy Hotel
415 South Belardo
Palm Springs, CA 92262
760-320-4117
www.viceroypalmsprings.com

Citron is our favorite spot for dinner not because the food is better than other places in town, but for the cool California vibe. The atmosphere is old Hollywood charm with retro modern décor capturing the warmth of Palm Springs. Chicly decorated by Kelly Wertsler, yellow walls and white marble floors make for a relaxed elegant indoor/outdoor setting. While the food is good, not great—we love their burgers, fine wines and warm cookies served with whipped warm milk, we try to make dinner here a must every time we visit.

Café Europa at the Villa Royale Inn
1620 South Indian Trail
Palm Springs, 92264
760-327-2314
www.villaroyale.com

A nice spot for a romantic, cozy fireside dinner. This enchanting, quasi-European restaurant’s best feature is it’s charming setting. The service matched the setting and while the food was good, it wasn’t as delicious as the staff and surroundings would encourage you to hope for. A few highlights from the menu are Brie en Croute – Baked Brie in Phyllo with wild mushrooms, Dungeness crab cakes and Salmon in Parchment Paper.

Las Casuelas
368 North Palm Canyon Drive
Palm Springs, CA 92262
760-325-3213
www.lascasuelas.com

Mary was here for a Bachelorette Dinner not too long ago and this is the perfect setting for a big group dinner. The margaritas are potent, the burritos and tacos filling and the live music dance worthy! Ole!

Zin
198 S. Palm Canyon Dr.
Palm Springs, CA 92262
760-322-6300
www.zinamericanbistro.com

We were initially put off by the tacky neon “Open” signs displayed in the windows of this small bistro located in the heart of downtown Palm Springs. However, once seated and sipping a delightful Australian Shiraz (Razor’s Edge 2005)—which was a hefty pour—we warmed up. We died for the two entrees that we split—the Wild Scottish Salmon with Yukon Mashed Potatoes and steamed asparagus with hollandaise (on the side!) and the Filet Mignon with three Peppercorn Sauce accompanied with Fiscalli cheddar Mac & Cheese (Lucy’s favorite and she is an expert!) and garlic wilted spinach. Considering how blown away we were by our dinners, the dessert we shared, Apple Tarte Tatin, while good was not the same caliber as our entrees. Next time perhaps we’ll try the Banana Cream Pie Napoleon or Belgian Chocolate Mousse Cake.

DRINK

Melvyn’s
200 W. Ramon Road
Palm Springs, CA 92264
760-325-2323
www.inglesideinn.com

Melvyn’s is a Palm Springs classic that has seen the likes of the Rat Pack back in the day and is one of our favorite places to have an after dinner drink. The lounge singer singing his heart out while “faux” playing the piano somehow never gets old. Very entertaining. Open til 2 AM every night of the week…

Parker Palm Springs
4200 East Palm Canyon Drive
Palm Springs, CA 92264
760-770-5000

The bar scene spills out into the lobby where a fire blazes in the middle of the room. Hipsters lounge around the Jonathan Adler decorated space, swilling cocktails til the wee hours.

Azul
369 N. Palm Canyon Dr.
Palm Springs, CA 92262
760-325-5222

For fruity desert cocktails and savory tapas in a fun outdoor setting complete with slide swing canopy booths and 80s music, Azul is the place to go. While sipping our favorite drinks on the menu—the Mango Lemon drop and the St. Basil Martini, we observed a mostly gay crowd during Happy Hour. The tapas were surprisingly delicious given the peppy bar scene. We loved the Bacon Wrapped Tiger Prawns which were huge and drizzled with Truffle oil, and the Jerked Beef Skewers. They have an extensive cocktail menu featuring homemade sangria and Mojitos, a full wine list and Stella Artois on tap.

STAY

Viceroy
415 South Belardo Road
Palm Springs, CA 92262
760-320-4117 or 800-670-6184
www.viceroypalmsprings.com
(65 rooms. Rates: $225-450)

Although the Viceroy is a larger hotel than what we tend to feature (65 rooms), it is a nice option for those who want more of a room servicey/push button hotel experience. Decorated by the illustrious and fabulous Kelly Wertsler, the rooms are sleek and minimalist, but comfortable and warm. We loved being able to wander out to the one of the two pools and two hot tubs on the property as well as having immediate access to the spa and bar and restaurant. While definitely more of a “scene,” if you are a traveler who enjoys having all of life’s creature comforts a stone’s throw away, the Viceroy is a personalized full service hotel that we stand behind.

Rendezvous
1420 North Indian Canyon Drive
Palm Springs, CA 92262
800-485-2808
www.palmspringsrendezvous.com
(14 rooms. Rates: $90-$199 depending on the season)

This is our own personal desert oasis and favorite place to stay when we are in the mood for kitsch. The allure of this tiny hotel is even more fabulous as Marilyn Monroe is fabled to have owned it in the 60s. Everything at the hotel has been lovingly kept in a perfect time warp—as guests we feel transported back to the era of Frank Sinatra and of course, Marilyn lying by the pool sipping cocktails whipped up in the retro kitchenette of the Pretty in Pink Suite dedicated to none other than MM. The music that is piped through the speakers throughout the day and evening is always fittingly from this same era. There is a complimentary wine and beer hour each evening as well as a continental breakfast served every morning in the “living room.” Rendezvous is the absolute picture of perfection for a weekend with the girls—mothers, sisters, best friends. And it’s inexpensive, so the money you save staying at this little gem can be used to purchase a retro chic bikini at Trina Turk. All the better for lounging around with the ghosts of the past.