With its amazing weather year-round, Palm Springs is the place to host corporate, creative, and wellness retreats, and everything in between

PALM SPRINGS, California (April 5, 2018) — Like real estate, planning a retreat is all about location, location, location.

Whether it’s a yoga, writing, or intimate corporate retreat, if it’s not held in the right place, it won’t yield results. That’s what makes Palm Springs the perfect spot for a retreat — it’s easy to get to by car and airplane, the weather is ideal year round and because the town has such a laid-back vibe, it’s easy to eliminate distractions. And with so many boutique hotels, retreat planners can readily find one that offers the perfect retreat experience for their audience.

Kathy Friedle of The Monkey Tree Hotel regularly works with facilitators who host retreats at her mid-century property in Palm Springs.Friedle says that when planning a retreat, it’s important to share with the hotel all the basics: the number of attendees; the types of space desired, the equipment needed (for example: a television, podium, microphone), and activities planned. Also, openly discuss how meals will be handled. A sample itinerary goes a long way towards helping hoteliers meet a group’s needs.

By matching the size of the retreat to the hotel property, retreat hosts gain efficiencies in pricing and support. Atmosphere is essential as it helps drive interest and engagement—two critical factors for fitness and creative retreat facilitators who generate revenue from attendance.

When choosing a place for a retreat, keep in mind the size of the group, size of the property, and the atmosphere the group is looking for. Friedle says The Monkey Tree Hotel feels like “a 16-bedroom home environment with plenty of breathing room and a giant pool are as our outdoor living room. We’ve had people say that our property feels like you are both at a resort and at someone’s home. You can have a large meeting here and also have plenty of smaller-size breakaway spaces.”

“It’s a great opportunity to get some fresh air and work in a different environment to get the creative juices flowing,” Friedle says.

At the 10-room Three Fifty Hotel, the pool is the perfect place to set out yoga mats and take in the views of the looming San Jacinto Mountains. Manager Laura Slipak says because of its size and apartment-style rooms, the hotel could also easily be rented out for a corporate leadership retreat or just a private weekend.

“We’re in the Historic Tennis Club District, just a block away from the heart of Palm Springs,” she added. “To be able to fully focus on a retreat, you need to have peace and tranquility and that’s what makes the Three Fifty Hotel a little gem in the desert.”

About Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels

Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels was established in 2016 through a series of town hall meetings by local small hotel owners and managers, in partnership with the City of Palm Springs. The purpose of PSPSH is to serve as an economic driver and to create awareness of the uniqueness of Palm Springs Small Hotels, which are an essential part of this desert resort town’s unique culture and economy.

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When you fly or drive into Palm Springs from the West, you cannot miss the sudden, dramatic appearance of hundreds of windmills. To be exact, 2200 at this writing. Few people know that it is possible to take a tour of this windmill farm. Standing at the bottom of a windmill and looking up is a thrill for even the most skeptical participant.

Windmill Farm Background 

The formation of the windmill farm, as it is now called, began in 1984. The location was chosen because it is consistently the windiest place in the United States. Winds are clocked regularly at 30 mph because air current is trapped and funneled between the two mountain ranges.

With the 1980s oil crisis came the need to increase the development of alternative energy; thus, this area received international attention and became a focus for rapid design and development of more efficient windmills. Today, constant research is done by four companies, including one from Spain.

Public Access 

With changing times, the Windmill Tour Company pivoted. Previously, a bus trip through the area was accompanied by a volunteer narrator for the tour. Now, one can take a vehicle with up to eight people and drive through the farm with a video or audio narration.

Upon arrival, you are handed a sanitized iPad in a plastic bag.  Then you drive through the designated path, which is marked, and look for the blue barrel with a number that matches the narrative on the video. At each stop, there is room to park so that you can get out and take as many pictures as you want.

Highlights of the Tour 

For engineer types, there is a display of the original turbines with detailed descriptions of the design. We learned that the original open-tower design proved noisy and caused the demise of many birds. Thus, it was back to the drawing board for redesign, especially the blades. Today, the fiberglass blades can be 144 feet long, almost the width of a football field.

One of the stops allows you to get right up to the windmill with a column that extends 300 feet into the air. The majesty of this engineering feat is difficult to comprehend.

This approximately 1.5-hour tour is truly a magnificent experience. You learn, take in the fresh desert air, and your appreciation of windmill power will increase tenfold.

 

Helpful Hints: Make reservations on their website. There are no restrooms available. Make sure you take plenty of water and a hat, for there is no shade on this tour. Finally, when you sign up for the tour, be sure to copy the directions. It is handicap accessible. 

Palm Springs Windmill Tours
www.windmilltours.com
62950 20th Avenue
Palm Springs, CA 92262
800-531-5834

 

Amin Casa exterior

Amin Casa embodies the quiet sophistication of Palm Springs, with a twist of old Hollywood glamour.

Once the residence of actress Gloria Swanson, Amin Casa made its debut in the Historic Tennis Club neighborhood in November 2016, following several months of major renovations both inside and out. “Amin” means “ours” in Tagalog, while “casa” is Spanish for “home,” and owners Ramon Bautista and Nelson Cooley want it to feel like “your home away from home.”

“On property, guests will find the relaxing, club-like ambiance and genuine, heartfelt hospitality they have come to treasure,” Ramon said.

The compound dates back to the 1920s, and when fully occupied, the property only accommodates 14 guests, adults only. The bungalows come with living rooms, kitchens complete with microwaves, coffeemakers, blenders, and dishes, eco-friendly toiletries, and bathrobes and slippers, plus the Swanson residence with two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a fireplace, and the property’s largest kitchen. There are stunning gardens, fountains, a swimming pool, cabanas, and an outdoor dining area with a grilling station.

Above all else, Ramon and Nelson, who have experience at some of the finest hotels in the world, strive to give the patrons of Amin Casa one thing: “Intuitive, gracious service provided by a staff passionate about pleasing our guests.”

Amin Casa embodies the quiet sophistication of Palm Springs, with a twist of old Hollywood glamour.

Once the residence of actress Gloria Swanson, Amin Casa made its debut in the Historic Tennis Club neighborhood in November 2016, following several months of major renovations both inside and out. “Amin” means “ours” in Tagalog, while “casa” is Spanish for “home,” and owners Ramon Bautista and Nelson Cooley want it to feel like “your home away from home.” 

“On property, guests will find the relaxing, club-like ambiance and genuine, heartfelt hospitality they have come to treasure,” Ramon said. 

The compound dates back to the 1920s, and when fully occupied, the property only accommodates 14 guests, adults only. The bungalows come with living rooms, kitchens complete with microwaves, coffeemakers, blenders, and dishes, eco-friendly toiletries, and bathrobes and slippers, plus the Swanson residence with two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a fireplace, and the property’s largest kitchen. There are stunning gardens, fountains, a swimming pool, cabanas, and an outdoor dining area with a grilling station.

Above all else, Ramon and Nelson, who have experience at some of the finest hotels in the world, strive to give the patrons of Amin Casa one thing: “Intuitive, gracious service provided by a staff passionate about pleasing our guests.”

In the desert, one of the best times to take the bikes out is early in the day. And many boutique hotels offer free loaner bikes to make it super easy for you to get around town or explore the canyons before the sun is high.

If you want to really explore the desert, Evan Trubee, owner of Big Wheel Tours, offers The Earthquake Canyon Express – Riders are treated to a geologic extravaganza on this 20-mile tour that descends through the heart of the San Andreas Fault zone on a paved road to the heart of grape country near Mecca.

There are no cross roads, no turns, and very little traffic which makes this a relaxing sightseeing adventure. Even the non-athletic can handle this ride but Evan offers electric bikes for those who need an extra boost.  And he takes care of everything from bikes, helmets, water bottles, snacks, and refreshments to knowledgeable guides and support vehicles.

Santiago Resort’s Bike Recommendations

Our friends at the Santiago Resort have put together a list of adventures that might be just the inspiration you need to jump on a bike during your next stay.

Twin Palms Neighborhood – One of the best “hidden gem” neighborhoods of Palm Springs! It is filled with beautiful mid-century homes that are so well taken care of, you can really feel the homeowner and neighborhood pride. Twin Palms is between La Verne Way, Palm Canyon and Camino Real, creating a perfect triangular neighborhood of very awesome homes.

Moorten Botanical Garden– This quirky little garden was created by Clark Chester “Cactus Slim” Moorten and his wife, Patricia. Cactus Slim was an original Keystone Cop and a stand-in for Howard Hughes. It is still in the family and is now run by his son, Chester. Thousands of specimens sourced from all over the world are represented here, yet the one-acre gardens retain a homey intimacy.

Moorten Botanical Garden
1701 S. Palm Canyon Dr.
Summer Hours 9AM — 1PM: Friday, Saturday, Sunday only
Winter Hours: 10AM — 4PM daily (closed Wednesdays)

Mesquite Bike Trail- Start out along the S Riverside wash trail, then at Sunrise and Sunny Dunes you will find the entrance to this fun, short trail at the beginning of the Mesquite Country Club & Condos.  You can ride through to see the entire Mesquite golf course and the area that is currently being considered the Mesquite Desert Preserve. You end up on El Cielo, and you can loop back through back streets of the neighborhoods ‘Los Compadres’ (a 70’s Neighborhood) and ‘Deepwell’.

Sherman’s Deli –Sherman’s Deli is a true Palm Springs Institution. They have a fantastic “NY Deli Style” menu that includes Jewish deli favorites like bagels and lox, matzo ball soup, potato latkes, and many more traditional breakfast favorites. The front patio sits in morning shade, and they have a bike rack right in front to make lock up very easy! Best of all, they open at 7:00 AM so you can beat the heat back to your hotel’s swimming pool.

 

Here’s a handy map to download of Palm Springs bike routes and trails.

Get out there and enjoy the ride!

 

By:  Kent Taylor

There are three spectacular ways to stargaze–all within an hour of Palm Springs.

Two International Dark Sky Parks (Joshua Tree National Park and Borrego Springs) are located within an hour’s drive from Palm Springs and offer unbelievably beautiful views of the night sky.

But if you prefer something a little more structured, one year ago, the Rancho Mirage public library opened a state-of-the-art observatory that has many programs, exhibits, and events that are open to the public. The building itself is quite beautiful even without the activities and exhibits.

The impressive observatory, adjacent to the library, is happy to welcome guests of all ages to learn more on astronomy with telescope-viewing and stargazing. Knowledgeable guides point out gems in the dark sky and answer questions — and yes, it is all it’s free.

If you are more interested in a “Star Gazing” event, pre-registration is required, as the stargazing events fill up quickly once announced.

The list of events and sign up information may be found on their calendar of events
http://ranchomiragelibrary.evanced.info/signup/calendar

Or if you would like to do a “Behind the scenes” Observatory Facility Tour: no registration is necessary. Simply meet in the Library Lobby, Tuesdays through Saturdays, two tours a day. (9am and 3pm) It is a 45-minute tour

Observatory
71-100 Highway 111,
Rancho Mirage, CA, 92270
ranchomiragelibrary.org

Wanderlust must be in my DNA. There are times when my innate desire to travel and explore wells up like hot lava that’s about to burst from a volcano, and I have no choice but to hit the road. Traveling via airplane fills the need, too, but there’s something about being on the open road that feels the most liberating—plus, I can pack as many pairs of shoes and hats as I want without paying extra baggage fees.

We always love it when travel writers visit Palm Springs and stay in one of our uniquely beautiful, independently-owned Palm Springs boutique hotels. But it is particularly heartening when a writer like Joanna visits us and is completely captivated by the charm of her hotel and Palm Springs. Joanna recently stayed at the Alcazar and here’s what she had to say about her trip.

Guidelines for Palm Springs Visitors

With temperatures in the 70s and the sun shining brightly, we are welcoming visitors who need to travel for essential reasons. There are restrictions you need to aware of as of December 11, 2020.

According to the state of California’s Public Health Department, essential reasons for travel include “work and study, critical infrastructure support, economic services and supply chains, health, immediate medical care, and safety and security.”

As you drive into town, you will see this banner across our main throughways into town. We local citizens are doing a great job of wearing masks and social distancing. We ask our visitors to honor us by doing the same.

Boutique Hotels

Unfortunately, our quaint and inviting hotels are not open except for essential Covid mitigation. At this time, we have no way of knowing if this restriction will remain in place after December 27, 2020. If a member of your household is at risk or has been exposed to Covid, you may safely seek shelter at one of the hotels.

Shopping

Retail stores are open. However, they are at 20% capacity. The good news is you can be sure of your safety in the store, for social distancing and masks are required.  You will want to call and check on hours for stores are adjusting their hours to accommodate the flow of traffic.

Dining

Hopefully, you have been here before and know which are your favorite restaurants, because the only way you can enjoy their food is by curbside pick-up or delivery service. The City of Palm Springs just passed a new ordinance that cut the delivery service’s amount and enhanced the amount the restaurant will get from your purchase.

At least through December 27, 2020, there is no outside or indoor dining.

Art and Museums

Unfortunately, museums remain closed. However, we have over 70 public art installations in Palm Springs. There is nothing like taking the paths less traveled downtown and finding them in unexpected places, like behind the Desert Art Center, located on Palm Canyon Drive.

Thursday Night Street Fair

This fun and engaging activity remains closed until further notice.

Certified Saturday Market

Located on the grounds of the Palm Springs Cultural Center, the vendors continue to provide farm-fresh produce.

Hiking

Palm Springs is renowned as a community of great hiking with spectacular views. Trails are open and attract hikers of all degrees of endurance. These hikes also offer the possible chance of seeing our famous mountain sheep. A reminder: Take plenty of water with you and wear a hat. Our sun here is hotter than you might think.

Walks and Bicycling

Each of our neighborhoods takes on its unique kind of personality. Old Las Palmas provides you with a look at mansions built in the late 40s and 50s. Gigantic palm trees and lush plants thrive in the desert air. A walk through the Movie Colony is always enjoyable.

Bike paths are prevalent in Palm Springs. You may want to rent a bike, so you can explore our many streets and view our palatial residents and modernism style homes.

Many of our attractions are closed. Yet, we local citizens never get tired of the sunrises as we sip our coffee in the morning, the sun dancing on the mountains during the day, or cocktails as we watch the sun setting behind these glorious mountains in Palm Springs.