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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 need of a respite from daily life, we recently decided to visit Palm Springs with our dog, Fender. Not only did we want to stay at a dog-friendly hotel, but we were looking for a secluded setting with a nostalgic vibe, a wonderful pool for dipping and lounging, and a top-notch restaurant and bar. We found all this and more at Villa Royale, a beautiful hideaway — perfect for getting away in stylish comfort. 

Villa Royale, one of the first small hotels in Palm Springs, was built in 1947 with the Hollywood elite in mind. For many years, it was a sanctuary for celebrities who wanted to escape their hectic lives in Los Angeles, only two hours away. Several years ago, the hotel underwent a complete renovation, which fortunately retained the historic, mid-century charm of the original hotel. Today it is still an appealing popular retreat, not just for the rich and famous but for anyone seeking peace and tranquility in a lovely setting, highlighted by a stunning mountain backdrop.

In the cozy lobby, we checked in and were happy to be welcomed with a delightful cocktail. As we walked to our villa, we were thrilled to see not just one inviting pool surrounded by lounge chairs, but three. There are 38 villas at Villa Royale, each with its own unique mid-century modern character and design. We learned that the property has more than 50 pieces of original art commissioned for the hotel, with one in each room.

Our inviting room at the Villa Royale. Photo by Todd Montgomery

Our very nicely furnished room facing the serene pool was a haven for us and our dog, with a private landscaped back patio, luxurious bedding, and a wonderful walk-in shower. We were happy to learn that we could enjoy fresh coffee and a continental buffet in the morning. 

Welcome to the Del Rey. Photo by Todd Montgomery

In the evening, we were excited to be dining at Villa Royale’s upscale, popular restaurant, Del Rey, which specializes in tapas and small plates with a Spanish/Mediterranean flair. The menu is overseen by much celebrated Chef Louis Martinez. Since our dog was with us, we sat outside on the restaurant’s pleasant, inviting patio. It was a lovely but chilly night; however, we were warm and comfortable because of the very effective heating lamps strategically placed by our table. There was a wedding party dining nearby and, like us, they seemed happy and relaxed. We also checked out the inside of the restaurant which is romantic and intimate, with dim lighting and cozy tables. The restaurant features an inviting oak and marble bar where I would like to while away a few convivial hours someday. 

The inviting fireplace inside the Del Rey. Photo by Todd Montgomery

Del Rey offers a variety of enticing cocktails. We enjoyed a unique and surprisingly delicious Del Rey Martini made with touches of sherry, orange bitters, and olive oil (yes, olive oil). We also relished the El Ultimo cocktail made with strawberry tequila, absinthe, and orgeat syrup, served with lime and mint. In addition, Del Rey offers a full wine list, featuring Spanish wines. Fender was happy with his drink, too, when the helpful staff brought him a bowl of fresh water.

Then, in the Spanish tradition, we ordered a variety of tapas for our dinner. I love this kind of meal because you can sample small bites of a variety of dishes.  We really enjoyed the Basque asparagus, topped with romesco sauce and manchego, and also savored albondigas — beef and pork meatballs covered with a sweet and sour glaze. 

We loved the Chuleta de Cordero, rosemary and lemon marinated lamb chops, which were tender and full of flavor.  Another superb dish was a grilled flatbread called Pan Con Setas that was topped with mushrooms, manchego, red onion, and an herbed olive oil drizzle. For dessert, we savored the delectable walnut bread pudding. The friendly service at Del Rey was impeccable and added to the ambiance of the evening. Satiated, we sauntered back to our villa through the lushly landscaped courtyards with flowing fountains and pools that shimmered invitingly in the moonlight.

The delicious walnut bread pudding. Photo by Todd Montgomery

It was truly a special night and we felt very far away from our busy daily lives. It is surprising how relaxed you can become with just a night away in such a peaceful, glorious retreat. We may not be celebrities, but we felt like royalty at Villa Royale. 

The Villa Royale lights up at night. Photo by Todd Montgomery