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.

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!

 

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.

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.”

Tamanrasset is an installation of large-scale abstract paintings and light by Vivian Suter. Photo Lance Gerber.

There are plenty of us who love getting out to see the desert close up and personal. Especially this time of year, the cacti are starting to bloom, and wild desert flowers are peeking their fragile heads out of the desert soil. Breathing the fresh desert air is sure to revive a tired soul. Now, there is another way to explore and appreciate the desert… by exploring Desert X, which is happening now through May 16, 2021.  Book a romantic getaway with your sweetheart or take the kids to a family-friendly small hotel. Either way, prepare yourself for the creative desert adventure known as Desert X .

What is Desert X?

Desert X is an exhibition of 13 contemporary artwork installations, created by artists from eight countries, that are designed and built on site-specific locations through the 40 miles of Coachella Valley. The exhibition is  organized by the Desert Biennial Board, a California nonprofit that selected the sites and artists.

Students and scholars worldwide come here to study and write about the art and emerging and established artists who created these often monumental edifices in unexpected places.  Subject themes range from the environment, immigration, or climate change, to name a few.

However, what makes this adventure very special is that it is an activity an entire family can enjoy. Finding the locations, which are often obscure, may require one to use GPS coordinates. Get the whole family involved in the treasure hunt to find another installation often not visible from the road. The Desert X mobile app is a great tool for learning the details about  the art and its artist.

Here a few examples of the sites that will be revealed as you explore.

Desert X Wishing Well by Ghana Artist Serge Attukewei Clottey

These brilliant canary yellow cubes are constructed of plastic water buckets used to carry water in Ghana. The four-inch squares are connected with wire on four corners. The artist wanted to bring attention to the Coachella Valley’s future and its continuing dependency on water.

Desert X What Lies Behind the Walls by Saudi Arabia Artist Zahrah Alghamdi

This wall is about a quarter-mile hike up a slightly elevated path.  It is made out of insulation dipped in glue and then rolled in the earth surrounding the area. Metal rods in the interior hold it in place. Thus, it displays the different colors of the soil and forces one to think about people’s diverse cultures and experiences throughout the world.

Desert X ParaPivot by Poland Artist Alicja Kwade

This art installation is placed on top of a hill with a path that quickly gains elevation. More than one person has stood at the bottom of the trail and decided it is too much of a challenge to tackle on a warm Palm Springs day.  Representing glaciers, balanced in precarious positions, one walks through it and contemplates the what-ifs surrounding our everyday life.

Note: IF you have a disability placard, please let the volunteers know, and they will facilitate a way to see the art.

So make your reservations to come to Palm Springs. Pack your suntan lotion and your hats, and head out to explore this unusual way to see our valley.

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.

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.

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.”