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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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!

 

There’s no better way to see Palm Springs than by bike, and several boutique hotels in the city offer complimentary use of cruisers during the day.

Just off of North Indian Canyon Drive, The Avanti Hotel is a short ride away from the shops, restaurants, and nightlife in downtown Palm Springs. Hop on and hit such hotspots as Copa, Tropicale, and Jake’s. The Avanti Hotel, 354 E. Stevens Road, Palm Springs. 760-327-3866

Don’t feel like peddling all by yourself? The Desert Riviera has retro-style cruiser bikes available in single or tandem. Take a ride around the neighborhood to check out the different architectural styles, or even bike to a nearby hiking trail. The Desert Riviera, 610 E. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs. 760-327-5314

The Movie Colony Hotel is undergoing a major renovation, but one thing remains the same — guests can borrow touring bikes to take in the sites on two wheels. Adjacent to the Design District, the Movie Colony Hotel is just a quick bike ride away from museums, art galleries, restaurants, and boutiques. If you don’t mind going on a five-mile trek, ride over to the famous Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. Movie Colony Hotel, 726 N. Indian Canyon Drive, Palm Springs. 760-320-6340

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.”

As if 2020 wasn’t crazy enough, I welcomed my first baby in 2021. Adjusting to life with little Mabel has been a wild adventure, yet mostly done at home. I’ve always loved to travel and especially hop in the car for a road trip. With all things considered, the first weekend of Spring seemed like the perfect time to head out to Palm Springs.

If you’re thinking, they’re crazy to travel with a two-month-old. Don’t worry, my husband, Mike and I also had that thought. Yet, in Palm Springs, there’s no better place to chill-lax and do a lot of nothing except enjoy the views, pool, food, and weather.

We ventured out from Ventura County early Saturday afternoon. In the “old days,” I would have been gung-ho to leave early and make pit stops along the way. This trip? It was all about Mabel’s feeding times and keeping her in a good mood. While she does well on car rides, we love that Palm Springs is under 150 miles. This keeps us at three or fewer hours away. We did end up stopping a bit, yet still arrived while the sun was shining.

Check into the Los Arboles Hotel in Palm Springs

Nestled on the corner of Indian Canyon Drive and Tamarisk Road, we were thrilled to check into Los Arboles Hotel. Los Arboles is centrally located along the chic Uptown Design District and Movie Colony. They’re also a stone’s throw from foodie favorites like Cheeky’s. Need I say more?

With six room types, we made ourselves right at home in an Expanded Express suite. Instead of just grabbing our suitcases, we got baby situated with her playpen, toys, diaper bag, and bottle warmer. Despite the “express” title, our suite was spacious even with our extra load of gear. Our room boasted tile flooring throughout, a dining nook, bathtub, rain shower, an old Spanish-style armoire, and a vase of fresh flowers courtesy of Hermano Flower Shop. We thought the small dining corner would be great as we opted for mostly takeout yet we enjoyed our adorable patio at the entrance foyer. The weather was gorgeous and helped us enjoy the laid-back vibes even more so.

Entrance and patio to the Expanded Express suite at Los Arboles Hotel in Palm Spings

The grounds at Los Arboles take you to many different places. The surrounding desert mountains make it so you never forget where you are. Hacienda-inspired architecture gives you the essence of Spain. The aroma of homemade food from the hotel’s restaurant, El Mirasol, will take you South of the border. My favorite was the tropical inspirations thanks to the array of exotic plants and trees throughout.

Take a splash at the Los Arboles pool

With a baby in tow, we were nervous about her getting fussy. Luckily, Los Arboles’ hotelier, Karina Castaneda, kept this in mind. She reserved us a room tucked away in the back of the hotel with no shared walls. Personal touches like that can be hard to come by. It’s one of my top reasons for staying in Palm Springs. You can tell Karina and her family takes great pride in giving their guests a stay that feels more like “home.”

Comfy bed and suite at Los Arboles

Something I appreciated more than ever during our stay was the food. Days are so filled with taking care of Mabel, that we often slack on meals. Having a terrific slew of restaurants available, from higher-end to casual, was just what mommy and daddy needed.

Grilled Cubano Sandwich from 849

Having previously been to 849, their Scottish Steelhead was on my mind. Within a 5-minute walk of the hotel, 849 is a staple along the Uptown Design District. Its modern, posh dining atmosphere and patio make you want to look cute and maybe get out some heels. Since leggings and tees were more the goals this trip, we opted for takeout. The steelhead was flaky and cooked to perfection. Mike enjoyed the grilled Cubano sandwich with fries. Mabel took in the sights and sounds from the television (great OnDemand lineup with HBO) while we enjoyed our meal.

Takeout perfection from Cheeky’s

Did I mention how close you are to great restaurants? Another one is Cheeky’s. A Buzzfeed darling, Cheeky’s offers up modern takes on traditional breakfast favorites. What gets them the long wait times? Cult favorites like their bacon flight and Bloody Mary’s. One of my favorite highlights of the trip was enjoying our Cheeky’s takeout on the patio back at our room. I devoured my waffle (as always). Mike thought the bacon flight, which is five pieces of flavored bacon, was worth it.

When lunch rolled around, we found two fantastic and casual options. Favorites among the locals, Native Foods is a 100% vegan menu while Chicken Ranch is an excellent and healthy choice if you’re not looking for entirely plant-based.

Visit the giraffes at the Living Desert

Although past trips have found me taking a ride up the Aerial Tramway, we decided to hold off on it again until Mabel is older. Instead, we drove out to Palm Desert on a sunny Sunday afternoon to experience the Living Desert. 20 miles from Los Arboles, the Living Desert blends an impressive zoo with nature trails and botanical gardens. Visitors young and old will also appreciate their elaborate G-scale train set outlining the California railroad.

Even though it feels a bit more exhausting traveling with a baby, Palm Springs was ideal. I look forward to returning in years to come and tell Mabel that her very first trip was here.

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

Village Fest Palm Springs

March is one of the best times to visit Palm Springs. The weather is balmy, lots of flowers are in bloom, and activities abound.  Whatever your interest may be — hiking, biking, culture, art, shopping, history, entertainment, eating or drinking — there is so much going on.  Here are some ideas about what to do in Palm Springs in March.

Month of March:  Photographs from celebrated photographer, Michael Childers, will be featured in an exhibit titled “Rockin’ Hollywood,” which opens February 29 at the Palm Springs Cultural Center. The exhibit features portraits of such Hollywood greats as Elton John, Cher, John Travolta, Rod Stewart, and Ringo Starr and includes the fascinating history behind the celebrities portrayed.

March 4First Wednesday Art Walk at the Backstreet Art District, 2600 Cherokee Way, from 7 to 10 p.m. Art galleries and artists’ studios are open for art lovers to enjoy original art by local, national, and international artists. This is an amazing opportunity to interact with artists and to view their paintings, sculpture, photography, ceramics and jewelry, while savoring refreshments and vibrant camaraderie.

 

March 5, 12, 19, 26: Palm Springs Villagefest is a street fair held every Thursday along Palm Canyon Drive (between Baristo and Amado roads) in downtown Palm Springs, 6 to 10 p.m. More than 180 vendors feature food, art, crafts, and entertainment. This is always a wonderful time for sampling some great food, mingling, and shopping.

March 6:  Pulitzer prize-winning journalist Bob Woodward will be speaking about his career and current issues. Woodward is best known for uncovering the Watergate scandal with Carl Bernstein in 1973. Celebrated for his investigative skills and fair, objective approach, Woodward should be a fascinating speaker. He will offer a knowledgeable perspective on what’s happening in politics today. Richards Center for the Arts, 2248 Ramon Road, 7:30 to 9:30. Tickets $30 to $150 can be purchased online at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/palm-springs-speaks-presents-bob-woodward-tickets-67044334409

March 7 & 8; March 21 & 22:  Desert Art Festival will be held at Frances Stevens Park, 555 N. Palm Canyon Drive, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Artists present their works in all media for visitors to view and purchase. This beautiful setting in Uptown Palm Springs is an idyllic spot for a leisurely weekend stroll. Admission is free.

March 7Wildflower 5K Fun Run/Walk at the Civic Center, 43900 San Pablo, Palm Desert. This is a family friendly event with strollers and dogs welcomed. Registration opens at 7 a.m. and RSVPs are required. Registration fee is $30 and includes a t-shirt. RSVP at https://www.desertmountains.org/calendar/2020wf-5k-ccpark

March 9-11:  Max Von Essen is performing at the Annenberg Theatre at the Palm Springs Art Museum, 101 Museum Drive, 6 p.m.  Max has won many awards, including a Grammy.  He has starred in the Lincoln Center’s revival of Falsettos and has appeared in Jesus Christ Superstar, Evita and Les Miserables. This should be a truly inspiring and entertaining performance. To purchase tickets, go to the Annenberg website (link above).

March 11:  Let’s Talk: Walk a Mile in My Shoes. Anthony Purnel, a member of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, discusses the many challenges he faced during his inspiring 132-day hike from Mexico to Canada along the Pacific Crest Trail. Palm Springs Cultural Center, 2300 East Baristo Road, 6 p.m. $10 for members of the Cultural Center and $20 for non-members.

March 13-15; March 20-22: How to Survive an Apocalypse is a surprisingly delightful romantic comedy (despite the title) about a young, stylish couple who are convinced that their chic, partying lifestyle is coming to an end. They become hoarders and hunters and learn a lot about their relationship. At the Palm Springs Woman’s Club, 314 S. Cahuilla Rd. Tickets available via website (link above).

March 7, 14, 21 & 28:  The Certified Farmers Market is held every Saturday morning at the Palm Springs Cultural Center, 2300 Baristo Road, from 8 to 12:30. This bustling outdoor market features a seasonal variety of fresh food products, craft items, and chef demonstrations.

March 27:  Palm Springs Community Drum Circle. This unique, inspiring experience is led by sound healer, Scott Meredith, and held at the Gallery at Crystal Fantasy, 268 N. Palm Canyon Drive, downtown Palm Springs. Free event.

March 29: Slim Man Rat Pack Big Band Show.  Award-winning jazz vocalist, Slim Man, leads a 17-piece big band with favorite songs from the 60s, recreating the era of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Bobby Darin and Nat King Cole. At the Annenberg Theatre at the Palm Springs Art Museum, 101 Museum Drive, 5-8 p.m. Tickets available at  www.slimman.com

Also keep in mind that the Palm Springs Historical Society offers a wide variety of walking and biking tours throughout March, such as tours focusing on such topics as Architecture & Glamour, Rat Pack Playground, Frank Sinatra’s Neighborhood, Modernist Treasures, Uptown Design District and many more. To see what is available and sign up, go to the society’s website (link above).

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.”

How to Travel Safely by Car

Not since the days of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnez’ road trip to California and when the Hollywood stars like Frank Sinatra and Marilyn Monroe traveled to Palm Springs have road trips been so popular. This is the time to nostalgically take a road trip and reflect on those bygone days.

Pack your car and head to Palm Springs to enjoy one of the elegantly restored boutique mid-century hotels in the group known as the Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels. With almost 80 hotels from which to choose, you can be revitalized a poolside environment and snuggle in a cozy bungalow.

Before you head out, though, there are some safety precautions you should know during these times of Covid-19.

What to Bring in the Car

Even if you are traveling a short distance, bring all your travel documents—your auto insurance card, your driver’s license, auto registration, and your health insurance card.

Try to bring as much as possible of what you may need to be self-sufficient and cut down on trips to stores once you arrive. Bring water, snacks, lunch (to eat on the way or once you reach your destination), disinfectant wipes, masks, gloves, phone chargers, medications, and Ziploc bags. If you want to have some wine and spirits, pack those bottles under the car seat so you don’t have to journey to a liquor store.

Stopping for Gas and a Restroom

Like it or not, that gas stop and restroom is sometimes necessary. When you are pumping gas, disposable gloves are a great idea. Once you have finished pumping, use sanitizing wipes on anything you have touched– door handle, steering wheel, knobs for air conditioning or the radio, and your credit card.

As far as public toilets at gas stations, prepare for the worst. Bring toilet paper and soap. Make sure you really scrub your hands for at least those 20 seconds. Avoid touching your eyes, mouth, or nose before washing. Grab a clean paper towel to grab that door handle.

Staying at a Hotel

Here comes the beauty of staying at a Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotel. With all hotels being less than 50 rooms, your room will be on the ground level or one flight upstairs. There will be no elevator rides or long hallways to negotiate. That’s because most of the small hotels were designed to face open-air courtyards.

While all of the Palm Springs Preferred Hotels have undergone deep cleaning and as a group have in place a set of baseline of safety sanitation standards, it is still a good idea to practice safety cleaning of your room. Once you are inside, use sanitary wipes to clean areas where people touch like door knobs, tables, faucets, toilets, sinks, light switches, phones, remotes, and curtain handles. Wipe down anywhere you will rest your belongings.

Eating and Drinking During Your Stay

Palm Springs is currently not open to indoor dining. But the wonderful part about visiting Palm Springs is that the weather is conducive to dining outdoors, a much safer option. Many of the finer restaurants provide food and cocktail delivery so that you can just sit back and dine comfortably in your room or by the pool. A list of some of those options are: The Tropicale, Eight4Nine Restaurant and Lounge, El Mirasol Restaurant, Jakes’ Palm Springs, and 533 Viet Fusion.

Note that the City of Palm Springs mandates the use of face masks in public, whether you are indoors or out.

So, grab your swimsuit and a slice of nostalgia on a well-deserved road trip to Palm Springs where unsurpassed blissfulness, hospitality, and tranquility await.