The Hyatt Palm Springs recently invited me to check out their hotel, and I said, “Heck yes!” Palm Springs has been at the top of my road trip list and I was so excited to see for myself what this desert oasis is all about. One of the reasons we moved to San Diego was to take advantage of the road trip possibilities. Theoretically, you can hit the beach, desert, and snow all in the same day. It’s the wild biodiversity that makes California so wonderful.
Palm Springs is known for a few things: mid-century design, antiquing, gay culture, color on color, and pool time. Almost like a movie set, the city transports you to the Sinatra era. Everything feels retro and throwback in a kind of weird, kind of cool way. But the heat is often an even more compelling draw for desert-lovers. The climate ranges from pleasant to purgatory, but on our trip, we lucked out with beautiful 85-degree weather and a cool breeze. That said, the dry heat is something this East Coaster needs to get used to. My skin is still wondering what those two days in the desert was all about.
As for our abode, the Hyatt is situated in downtown Palm Springs on the main strip known as Palm Canyon Drive, right between the uptown design district (color! mid-century!) and hotspots like the Ace Hotel and Parker Palm Springs. (There’s also one of the best sandwich places I’ve ever been to across the street, but I’ll get to that later.) It’s the only all-suite resort in the area, and that extra living room space came in handy when Eaman wanted to watch an NBA game and I…did not.
This was an amazing getaway for us. We love our Teddy, but it was good to have time as just us two, especially since we haven’t traveled anywhere together since our RTW backpacking trip in 2012! When we weren’t at the pool, we were exploring all the quirky fun and must-eats around town. Here’s a little photo diary of our trip:
We don’t have a TV in San Diego, so I took full advantage of watching Friends reruns and Watch What Happens Live. I miss being lulled to sleep by a telelvison, and on our first night, it worked a little too well. Thanks also to the blackout curtains, we slept until 10 a.m. It was the longest we had slept in in years, and it was magical. I’m not sure I’ve ever felt so well-rested.
Fun fact: I was a die-hard pool fan until I met beach-loving Eaman. It was awesome to get back to my chlorine roots. The Hyatt’s pool area is pretty sweet, with good music, a pool bar (on weekends), fire pits, and occasional water mists to keep you cool. (That’s a common perk at restaurants and hotels around town.)
Dinner at the Hyatt’s Share restaurant, an American bistro, where we got homemade pasta (a bit too oily for me) and steak (perfectly cooked). If you’re a wine-o, they also have wine on tap!
Just Fabulous was my favorite store of the bunch! The well-curated gift shop features cool pieces from Jonathan Adler (a local demigod, as he designed the Parker Palm Springs) and Rifle Paper Co. It’s one of those places where you want pretty much everything.
Cheeky’s! Everyone loves Cheeky’s, and now I understand why. The decor is hip, the burger is amazing, the water mists smell like a spa, and they serve Blue Bottle Coffee, which was perfect to the last drop. My one bone to pick was the shakshuka, a bland, soggy egg dish. It was a part of their rotating menu, so perhaps they were testing the waters. The restaurant is known for long waits, but on a Monday at 11 a.m., it was just 15 minutes.
Koffi, a local coffee roaster, makes an incredible latte. I still think about it. In fact, I wish I had one now. We even got some again on our way out of Palm Springs. At the location just a few blocks from the Hyatt, there’s a beautiful back garden, where you can enjoy your coffee and admire this wacky metal Don Quixote statue.
Who knew I had to go to Palm Springs to get a classic sub (or hoagie, as we say in New Jersey)? The Sandwich Spot is the only place in SoCal I’ve been to so far that matches the quality of an East Coast sandwich. (I worked in a hoagie shop before college, so I’m an expert.) What you see above is the Dreamkiller, a veggie sandwich with cheese, cucumbers, avocado, sprouts, peppers, and more. They also sell Izze sodas, my favorite natural soda.
You don’t know hipster until you’ve visited the Ace Hotel. Frankly, it was a bit too hipster for my taste. We ventured to the hotel’s restaurant, King’s Highway, for dinner, and while the burger was tasty and the chicken flatbread was pretty good, I just wasn’t digging the overt counter-culture of it all. Cool concept, but maybe just not for me. That said, I did wear my new thrifted Twelfth Street by Cynthia Vincent hot pink jumpsuit that I scored in San Diego for $15, so there’s that. And we got some cute snaps in the photo booth! But $4 for a photo booth strip? Yikes!
Norma’s, the restaurant of the Parker Palm Springs, feels like a slice of L.A. in Palm Springs—good food, pretty decor, and lots and lots of scene. I’ve had Norma’s brunch in New York and even though I loved it, I didn’t want to spend $18 on waffles this trip (or ever again?). So we went with a customizable pie shake (!) for dessert. Our chocolate-coconut-graham cracker concoction was delightful. Special shout-out to the fluffy husky who kept creepin’ by our table for food. You are super cute.
I did my research, folks, and the thing to do when leaving Palm Springs is to have a date shake at Hadley’s, a roadside shop selling snacks from their orchards. I always put dates in my shakes, so this was a necessary pit-stop, and my banana-date version was every bit as good (and sweet) as the Internets say.
If you’re interested in visiting Palm Springs, keep in mind that shoulder and off-season can be an amazing time to go. I’m a big proponent of shoulder-season traveling; hotels often reduce their rates and crowds are much less of an issue. Some fun events coming up:
VillageFest: Thursday nights, 6-10 p.m. Downtown Palm Springs hosts artists, entertainers, produce vendors, and more in their weekly event that runs throughout the year.
PS Restaurant Week, May 30-June 8: More than 100 restaurants feature dining deals, along with deals at hotels, spas, and local attractions.
PS International Short Film Festival, June 17-23: The film fest will showcase more than 300 short films from more than 50 countries.
Disclaimer: My lodging and meals at the Hyatt Palm Springs were complimentary. As always, all opinions are my own.