THE VINTAGE DESERT DESTINATION
Looking for that perfect desert destination? I’ve got you! I was craving a little sun, sand, and cacti myself so we jetted off to Palm Springs, California for a few days. One, because an international vacay was just not an option at the moment and Palm Springs vintage vibes were calling my name!
WHY WE WENT TO PALM SPRINGS
This trip was meant to be effortless. Minimal planning and logistics involved. A vacation that wasn’t a full-time job to plan —for everyone like me who has to research every single option before making an actual decision. This was easy and booked in a matter of minutes. The Palm Springs Airport is right there, (though we drove from Phoenix) we rented a car and had the freedom to chill, explore or eat as we pleased with little to no planning ahead.
The boutique hotels and remodeled 50’s structures were all too dreamy for this old soul to resist. Everything is stunning and so unique. The outdated diners and motels have been revamped with pools, themes, and STYLE. Little shops are overflowing with midcentury decor and furniture and it feels like a blast from the past.
I’ve never been to one, so ya…let’s go! I wanted the cacti —which Gus and I are both obsessed with now— sand dunes and mountain views.
ADVENTURE & ACTIVITIES
We weren’t sure how adventurous we’d be feeling once we fully entered vacay mode but wanted options to get out and about if we grew tired of cocktails by the pool #never! There are gorgeous golf courses everywhere, sand dunes, Joshua Tree, Cochlea, hikes, camping, restaurants —I classify eating as an activity, personally. If you’re feeling an adventure, I’ll list some great options below!
Shop my outfits below or check out my packing checklist for some fun resort styles!
WHERE TO STAY
Sands Hotel & Spa | This is where we stayed and all these darling pictures are from. So classy, clean and the tile/patters everywhere were stunning! It just opened last March so we felt like we had the whole place to ourselves. The pool is heated to a refreshing temp and there is a hot tub for those cooler desert nights. It’s also connected to an amazing restaurant called The Pink Cabana that serves cocktails and food to pool if you’d prefer. Aesthetically…just amazing! Location, it’s outside of Palm Springs. Closer to Coachella really but I’d do any amount of driving to stay here! If you want to be walking distance to all the restaurants be sure to stay in Palm Springs.
Holiday House | We were so close to staying here, it’s bright and vibrant with blues, whites, and rattan themed decor. Holiday House is a 28 room boutique hotel that opened in the ’50s and bonus… your stay comes with daily breakfast of pastries, yogurt, cheese, and charcuterie. With complimentary coffee in the morning. Sold!
The Amado | Great for parties, celebrations, and privacy. This Airbnb has 5 suits with bright minimal decor and obviously… a pool! Compared to the other options it’s more affordable than a hotel or resort and right downtown!
The Parker Palm Springs | Vintage vibes…Yes! More of a resort with it’s multiple pools, activities and restaurants…including a darling mini bar and lemonade stand (complete with yellow stripes.) Definitely on the pricier side but if you’re sharing a room or celebrating a special occasion it can be done!
Ace Hotel & Swim Club | Great hotel right in the middle of Palm Springs. Enjoy their laid back vintage vibes and bustling environment being so well known. Ace is known for great food and designs so you wont be disappointed.
La Serena Villas | That’s right, darling little villas! Complete with gorgeous ceramics and hanging rattan porch chairs. There are 18 rooms, a spa, restaurant and rooftop lounge overlooking the mountains. Booking during the weekdays is significantly less expensive if you can swing it!
WHERE TO EAT
Something we noticed right off the bat. Food is more expensive in Palm Springs, at least than Nashville and Chicago.
JAKE’S | Gus and I stopped by for an absolutely fantastic lunch. It’s a local dog-friendly restaurant — even named after the owner's dog, Jack! Very brights and practically all open air with a skylight on the inside. Food was super and the sangria…oh, the sangria. You have to get a pitcher! I typically don’t enjoy sangria because it’s too sweet but this was so light and refreshing. I’d even say, the best I’ve ever had!
CHEEKY’S | Just down the street from Jake’s and the only restaurant we walked by that was packed. I’d say plan ahead for wait times but it’s clearly worth it with all the full tables! Their menu changes weekly —love that—and they offer their famous breakfast all day!
THE PINK CABANA | Located in the dreamy Sands Hotels & Spa from above (note that it’s about 25 min outside of downtown Palm Springs.)! Palm printed walls and eclectic decor will knock your socks off! It has a small menu which I prefer over the books some restaurants give you to flip through. This might be the bad decision maker in me… but just give me a few of your best dishes, right!? They crafty menu will hit the spot.
THE PURPLE PALM | Inside of the Colony Palms Hotel with fabulous Moroccan themed decor. From my research, it looks like the food and service are on point but the noise level can be high. Just note if you’re looking for a quiet romantic spot, maybe not here during peak hours. They do have a Sunset “Happy Hour” from 3-6 with creative cocktails and bar menu that looks great and from 3-5 it’s all that is available while they switch from lunch dinner.
KINGS HIGHWAY & THE AMIGO ROOM | Brought to you by the Ace Hotel, Kings Highway is an old Denny’s! Totally revamped and serving classic diner-style favorites and creative high-end bites. The best of both worlds if you ask me! Connected to the Amigo Room, which looks like a cool dim spot to grab a craft beer or cocktail.
WORKSHOP KITCHEN & BAR | A 90-year-old movie theater transformed into a popular restaurant! They get most of their ingredients from local farms and create very unique dishes. Plates are on the pricy side, the burger (made with waygu oxtial and truffle) is $28 just for reference, but comes highly recommended.
EXCURSIONS & ACTIVITES
JOSHUA TREE | Just an hour from downtown Palm Springs is Joshua Tree National Park. Getting there is half the fun, you drive right through the mountains and I’m pretty sure my jaw was dropped for that full hour. This was also the perfect opportunity to check off my glamping box. I’m down to camp, but I always prefer temperature control, beds, and hot coffee! We stayed in one of the Joshua Tree Acres airstreams, just outside the park and were so impressed by the experience. 5 Airstreams, a common area with kitchen, shower, dining, record player —with a killer collection— and completely decked out in boho vintage charm. If you’re going in the winter, bring warm clothes. The desert gets pretty darn cold at night! We actually plan on going back in the summer to enjoy the pool and more outdoor star gazing.
GOLFING | I’m not a golfer… so it would be silly to try and recommend a “good course.” But, you’ll have plenty to choose from, they are everywhere! Each with their own magical mountain views too.
SALVATION MOUNTAIN | I didn’t know this existed until last year but it’s a painted mountain! Booming with color and celebrating the Lords love… quite the monument. Just an hour and half south along the Salton Sea and you’re there!
SAND DUNES | If you’re looking for a desert destination, how could you resist?! Here are the dunes I found that were within driving distance; Imperial Sand Dunes and Algodones Sand Dunes. Just South East of the Salton Sea and Salvation Mountain, you could make a nice little day trip and check them all out.
WHEN TO VISIT
Palm Springs is typically a safe bet for sunshine! Very little rain with highs in the 70° and above, it’s a warm-weather vacay at it’s finest.
Of course, weather is super unpredictable and we got to experience one of its’ mood swings so be cautious of the winter and summer months. Gus and I went in February to escape the cold and basically just brought it with us. The Polar Vortex (not the norm) took the temps to the ’50s in the day sometimes and… it totally rained. The summer can get super toasty too clearing 100° easy. My recommendation, always check, pack appropriately, and look here for more specifics what to expect.
WHAT TO PACK
I packed for normal Palm Springs weather —and what I wanted the weather to be— not Polar Vortex Palm Springs. So you can check out my packing list here for vintage-inspired vacation wear and swimsuits. I just snagged a denim jacket to wear over everything and it was no biggie, but hopefully, you can wear all the chic warm weather attire!