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“In order to be irreplaceable, one must always be different.”
– Coco Chanel

Named after Saint Valentine, the patron saint of lovers, epileptics, and beekeepers (weird three to lump together, but whatever), Valentine’s Day somehow took on the persona of the Greek god of love, Eros, which then morphed into Cupid, the god of desire. So now Valentine’s Day is symbolized by a chubby baby flying around with a magical bow and arrow shooting people in the heart with expectations of a lusty outcome. Fun!

The expectations and nerves leading up to Valentine’s Day are also (à la Gwen Stefani) B.A.N.A.N.A.S. Candy, a card, flowers, a fancy dinner, and perhaps a piece of jewelry are de rigueur, and while those are nice, why not do something different? Something that shows the object of your affection your creative streak. Here are some ideas to make the day a little easier (I got you!):

Date One: The Outdoor Adventure Date

What you’ll need: hiking shoes, a backpack, and dress in layers

Breakfast: Cheeky’s for breakfast. It’s very popular and it’s busy. 

Coffee: Koffi is great, but try something new, like Ernest Coffeehouse

Lunch to go: The Sandwich Spot. Pre-order your sandwiches and put them in your backpack. Or try On The Mark for a fancier fare.

Adventure: The Tram. Take it up the mountain (wear your mask, you are in an enclosed gondola). Once you get to the top, there are great views, telescopes, and two places to eat. Explore the manmade stuff and then hike your trail. You can see all of them here, and make your choice with your date.

Alternative adventure option: Replace the tram with a hike in either Indian Canyons (so  many trails!) or a lazier sexy hike at Tahquitz (tah’quits) Canyon to Tahquitz Falls. Once you get to the falls, it’s lunch time. Dangle your feet in the clear pool and enjoy. Don’t forget to pack up everything (no littering please) and hike back to civilization.

Dinner: The Rooster and Pig is only doing takeout at the time of this typing, but check the website. Things are opening back up. In keeping with the Asian theme, we have Fusion Five for pho, and 533 Viet Fusion on the south end of Palm Springs. If you want the best burger in town, head over to The Heyday. They also have a delicious magic mushroom burger (the magic is it tastes like beef, it doesn’t get you high). If you choose the Heyday option, you can go to the casino after and try your luck! 

Date Two: Bagels, Antiquing, Thrifting, Smok’em If You’ve Got’em

What you’ll need: A sense of adventure and a car. This date takes you to the south end of Palm Springs.

Breakfast: Townie Bagels — a very busy breakfast spot, but it gets you across the street from your first stop.

Cannabis?: If you’re cannabis friendly, there are three dispensaries in this area. Have an edible and let’s get on our now merry way.

Antiques, thrift stores, trading posts are across the street from Townies, and all along Industrial Place.

Antique Galleries, 505 Industrial Place gets you to the Antique Galleries and you can use your eyeballs from there.

Sunny Dunes Antique Mall, 507 E Sunny Dunes Rd. Sprawling shop featuring antique dealers selling vintage furniture, jewelry, and other collectibles.

Little Shop of Treasures, 616 E Sunny Dunes Rd. Unassuming store selling an array of antique furnishings, collectibles, clothes, and dishes.

Q Trading Co., 606 E Sunny Dunes Rd. Get your car and go to Sun Center Mall (turn right on Palm Canyon, then it’s less than half a block on your left).

Revivals, 611 South Palm Canyon Drive. This is a great little thrift store that benefits Desert AIDS Project.

Lunch options at Sun Center: 

Palm Greens Cafe — Organic and vegan

PS Air inside Bouschet — Yummy salads

Spaghetteria for pizza

Lunch options at The Plaza (near your next stop):

Farm — Outstanding lunch selections, French inspired

More antiquing and thrifting:

P S Trading,140 N Palm Canyon Dr.

Bon Vivant, 766 N Palm Canyon Dr · Near Trio Restaurant, (760) 534-3197

a La MOD INC, 886 N Palm Canyon Dr · Near Trio Restaurant, (760) 327-0707

Deja Vu Vintage Finery, 664 N Palm Canyon Dr.

Flow Modern, 768 N Palm Canyon Dr.

Mohave Flea Trading Post, 383 Indian Canyon Dr..

Angel View Resale, 462 N Indian Canyon Dr.

Dinner: Birba — New wave Italian American fare. Sit on the twinkly patio.

Date Three: Spaaaah Date

Yoga in the Park

Breakfast: L’Atelier in the Plaza. Pastries, quiche, salads, and champagne.

Spa options: 

Our Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels have some exceptional spa options in gorgeous settings.

Palm Springs Beautiful Spa Massage, 109 S Indian Canyon Dr. (760) 656-1028

Palm Springs Spa Massage, 471 E Tahquitz Canyon Way #226. (760) 808-4205

Lunch: grab and go eat in the new park (on Museum Way down from Marilyn). 

Haus of Poke

Stout Burgers

After the spa, check out the Palm Springs Art Museum, Marilyn Statue, and art installations. Behind The Block on Museum Way.

Dinner: It’s been a nice relaxing day, and dressing up and going out to dinner might be a bit much. If you’re a planner, a few weeks in advance you can order a custom dinner from Three Queens Catering. I recently went to an event they catered and the food was awesome! Plus, I know two of them, and they are some of the funniest people on the planet.

Bar Cecil (pronounced Sess’-ill) — Super fancy and the trendiest place in Palm Springs right now.

John Henry’s — Off the beaten path on Tahquitz on the way to the airport. Blink and you’ll miss it.

Date Four: Classic Palm Springs and the Rat Pack

Breakfast: Spencer’s, Grand Central, Melvyn’s at the Ingleside Inn

Coffee: Gre Coffeehouse — Great cup of java and vinyls to peruse and purchase.

Adventure: You’ll need a car. Download the Palm Springs Life tour app. It will take you on three different tours. That should take up most of your day.

Alternate plans: Open houses! This site tells you where they are the day of.

Lunch: Holiday House

Drinks: Del Rey inside Villa Royale or Melvyn’s

Dinner: Johnny Costa’s is super old school Italian fare with a Rat Pack vibe. The chef was one of Frank Sinatra’s favorites. Try the chicken parm.

Date Five: Traditional Valentine’s Day

Toffee from Brandini’s

Flowers (in advance) from Jensen’s (a beautiful plant will remind them of you year- round)

Valentine’s Day card from Just Fabulous

Dinner at Tropicale, Copley’s, Roly China Fusion (by the pool)

Finish up your evening at Dead or Alive Wine Bar or Seymour’s (inside Mr. Lyons) on the south end of town. Both are quiet and great before sexy times — if that’s your goal.

Happy Arrow-Slinging Chubby Baby Day everyone! I hope you’re with someone you love, and as the song says, “If you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with.”

“I need to disappear, escape for a little bit / Take a trip to Palm Springs if you’re into it.”Mistel Marie, “Palm Springs”

It’s hot and getting hotter in Palm Springs, and unless you’re a Bedouin, it’s a bit too too for outdoor adventures. How do desert rats even exist?

I’d love to tell you, thanks for asking.

We stay in and around the pool with snacks and (adult) beverages close at hand. We wear sun bonnets (we don’t) and sunscreen (we should). Our rosé is always chilled, beer mugs frosty, tequila iced, and our martinis are shaken, not stirred. The only thing missing is someone to do all the cooking, cleaning, and bartending.

And that’s where these resorts enter our three-part (!) story.

They all have gorgeous pools, and some have massage services, but they all have a restaurant or food options so you never have to leave. No cooking and cleaning for you, my friend. You are completely carefree to don swimwear all day, and work on your tan and alcohol intake in a place that is far, far away from the madding crowd, in the enchanting city called Palm Springs.

In this part, I’ll introduce you to the larger boutique resorts that have full restaurants.

Alcazar Palm Springs. Photo credit: Visit Palm Springs

Alcazar Palm Springs — Featured in Food & Wine, the Los Angeles Times, and Travel+Leisure, Alcazar has 34 suites and is located in the Uptown Design District. The rooms are modern and sleek, featuring Italian linens, flat screen televisions, fireplaces, and your choice of poolside or private patios. In addition to their immaculate attention to detail, Alcazar offers WiFi, coffee, espresso, tea, juice, daily fresh pastries, and Townie bikes for exploring the neighborhood.

It is also attached to two of the best restaurants in Palm Springs, Cheeky’s and Birba. Although they don’t do room service, there is a passageway from the resort to both restaurants so you can stay as cool as you are.

The Cole Hotel. Photo credit: Visit Palm Springs

The Cole Hotel — In the same neighborhood is one of the more affordable resorts in Palm Springs: The Cole. It’s a 30-room resort with three different floor plans — the Cole King, Cole Suite, and Pool Suite, plus the 600-square-foot Honeymoon Suite, complete with a private balcony. There’s also a nice, swimmable pool where they have 21+ pool parties. The Cole recently welcomed Freddie’s Kitchen, conceived by Chef Frederic, who has a long history in French cuisine in Southern California and was once chef de cuisine for Joël Robuchon — the chef and restaurateur named “Chef of the Century’ by the guide Gault Millau and awarded the Meilleur Ouvrier de France.

Alas, they do not serve breakfast, but they do open at noon and snacks and drinks are available poolside until 9 p.m. Dinner starts at 5 p.m.

The Ingleside Inn. Photo credit: Visit Palm Springs

The Ingleside Inn — Classic Palm Springs, old school vibe, and another very swimmable pool. The Ingleside Inn was built in the 1920s, and transformed into an invitation-only private club by Ruth Hardy (check out her park), where notables Elizabeth Taylor, Ava Gardner, and Marlon Brando stayed; Carole Lombard and Clark Gable honeymooned there.

Since then, the property has become open to the general public, but they’ve kept the Hollywood glam intact, including their restaurant, Melvyn’s, a favorite of Frank Sinatra. He was particularly fond of their Steak Diane.

This resort has 30 rooms and is situated on two acres of land, closer to the south end of Palm Springs on Belardo, and is still a home away from home for many celebrities. The Casablanca Lounge has a piano player nightly, and you never know who might sit in — anyone from Neil Sedaka (“Breaking Up Is Hard to Do”) to James Marsden (Enchanted and Dead To Me) to local favorites.

Poolside at La Serena Villas. Photo credit: La Serena Villas

La Serena Villas — Here’s another resort that has it all. It’s located in downtown Palm Springs, but well off the beaten path. They have the Whispers Spa that is for guests staying at La Serena Villas, the Del Marcos, and The Three Fifty Hotel only, so you can be pretty certain you’ll get the services you want, when you want them.

Also, it has a terrific restaurant called Azucar that is open to the public, so you can invite your friends to join you for dinner then invite them back to your suite for a nightcap on your private patio, or take it to the big, gorgeous pool.

The entrance to Smoke Tree Ranch. Photo credit: Smoke Tree Ranch

Smoke Tree Ranch — I have a friend who grew up in Palm Springs, and this is one place she’s never been and really, really wants to go. It’s that exclusive.

Located at the base of the mountains, the views from each of the 49 cottages are stunning. Sunrises and sunsets are actual events you won’t want to miss when you’re staying here. Some of the amenities include: flatscreen televisions, wet bars, refrigerators, coffee makers, cozy down pillows, deluxe down comforters and blankets, luxurious bathrooms with separate tubs and showers, plantation shutters, telephones with voicemail (!), private patios, and WiFi. Most cottages also have carports and wood-burning fireplaces.

Activities? Swimming, soaking, horseback riding, spa services, horseshoes, pickleball, tennis, golf, volleyball, basketball, croquet. And they have babysitting services.

The restaurant is old school; it has a dress code, so that’s kinda fun. Dress in your best summer designer fashion, and enjoy the poshness of it all while dining on the best Chef Tony Marks can cook up, including lobster and the finest steaks he can procure.

And get this — cottages are traditionally sold with three full meals per day in the Ranch House Dining Room. The meal plan begins with dinner on the day of check in, followed by breakfast and lunch the following day, and includes all gratuities.

But wait, there’s more! Coming up next week: a guide to the restaurants and bars at Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels that have no more than 30 rooms.

Missed Parts 1 and 2? Read them here and here.

Now, we’re delving into boutique hotels that have food and beverages available for guests only — but I’ve also got a few surprises tucked in here as well. 

With these resorts, breakfasts are almost always included, and the afternoons have other delectable amenities. It’s all about shutting out the rest of the world. These hotels really do provide everything you’ve ever wanted in a luxurious getaway — and more.

The beautiful grounds at Dive. Photo credit: Visit Palm Springs

Dive — This funky and stylish 21+, 11-room resort is a visit to the south of France (on the southern end of Palm Springs). Be on the look out for their neon 1940s, bathing suit-clad young lady in mid-dive, and you’ll know you’re in the right place.

That diving lady is one of the Lulus, and there are two more behind the stucco privacy walls that hide the soul-quenching slice of Saint Tropez waiting inside. The grounds are nook-filled, with a historic and very swimmable pool, and each room is a work of art. The place is truly unique.

When you’re ready for food, you can either pop by and place an order at the window, or text them from your phone and someone will bring it to you, because you’re on vacation and you’re posh. I can’t wait to tell you all about Dive, which I will do soon. Just know that you are going to lose your ish over it. Seriously.

The Marley’s spacious pool. Photo courtesy of The Marley

The Marley — Bring your besties, because this nine bedroom, nine bath property only books one group at a time (it can accommodate up to 22 guests!).

There is a gorgeous Viking catering kitchen so you can hire a chef and not have to worry about a meal. There is also a spacious pool and a fire pit. It’s the perfect place for a bachelorette weekend, a milestone birthday, a corporate workshop, or a yoga retreat. How about a college reunion with your old chums?

This place is equal parts sassy and dreamy. I encourage you to check out the photos on their website — I had trouble trying to figure out what part of it to show you!

Poolside at The Willows. Photo courtesy of The Willows

The Willows Historic Palm Springs Innn — I used to deliver rack cards for the Purple Room to this eight room resort, and I was never allowed past the gate, that’s how exclusive it is. It has a delightful history — this boutique hotel was once an old mansion, and Albert Einstein had a favorite bench here.

Guests are served a three-course gourmet breakfast in front of a 50-foot waterfall, and in the afternoon, wine and hors d’oeuvres are served in the lounge. Fresh fruit is available all day, and guests not wanting to leave for lunch or dinner can order room service from Le Vallauris, the French restaurant across the street.

One of the pools at Korakia Pensione. Photo courtesy of Korakia Pensione

Korakia Pensione — Downtown, but tucked away from any distractions, is Korakia Pensione, described by The New York Times as “one of the sexiest hotels in America.” 

Korakia is housed in two lovingly restored historic villas, and rests on 1.5 lush acres. There are bungalows, guesthouses, gardens, and pools. It positions itself as more of a retreat than a resort, although it’s not lacking in amenities. Expect a full breakfast, lunch options by the pool or in your room, yoga, meditation and afternoon Moroccan tea. They even have a bazaar for shopping (guests only). 

Truly an escape from the rest of the world.

The Orbit In at dusk. Photo credit: Visit Palm Springs

Orbit In — One of the cutest retro hotels around, even the staff gets into the ’60s vibe. Breakfast consists of gourmet yogurts and granola, there are pool snacks at lunch time, and Orbitinis are served during the cocktail hour. Nice pool, nice people, on a quiet street near Spencer’s (yum!).

The Santiago Resort’s pool and spa. Photo courtesy of The Santiago Resort

Men’s resorts

Santiago Resort — Gorgeous resort, with tropical plants and exotic flowers. Not only do they feed you breakfast and lunch, but there are spa services and a pool that is such perfection it’s nearly hard to describe.

Descanso Resort – Hipster hotel that’s as cool as you are. Breakfast and lunch are served at the resort, and massage services are available as well. You can read all about it here.

Hacienda at Warm Sands — It’s lush and tropical with a wonderful pool and spa. Breakfast is continental and lunches are ordered in: salads and sandwiches. You can read more here.

INNdulge — One of the larger resorts, it has a magnificent pool, and amenities include daily continental breakfast and evening social hour. The owner is a huge art fan, and there are fun and funky pieces throughout the property. More info here.

Triangle Inn – Built in the 1960s as The Impala Lodge, Triangle Inn has a help yourself continental breakfast, and on special occasions you can find Michael (one of the owners) outside cooking up a southern feast. This is the only resort I am mentioning that has kitchens/kitchenettes because they have a houseman that does your dishes for you. You get all of the fun of cooking, but none of the drudgery of cleanup.

Many of our resorts have full kitchens and kitchenettes but that’s not what this is about. This is about you doing nothing. And loving every second of it.

Of course, you can turn any hotel into a restaurant by using Postmates, UberEats, or Grubhub, but there’s comfort in knowing there is delicious sustenance readily available should you experience a food or drink 911.

Joking aside, it’s a very serious world right now, and I think we all need to take a break from the news and regroup. These small resorts offer unforgettable experiences, and each one strives to make their property uniquely their own. All are wildly different, but one thing they have in common is unparalleled hospitality — and you deserve a pampered and luxurious getaway.

Palm Springs in the summer is a bit of a scorcher, and because some people are extra precious, there are deals to be had. I encourage you to check those out.

As we say in Palm Springs, stay cool by the pool! No, we don’t say that. Not out loud. That would be a little cringe. We just go ahead and do it without talking about it because it’s a great way to beat the heat.

Not gonna lie, the A/C is super helpful, too.