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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

“If you saw a heat wave, would you wave back?” — Steven Wright

The heat is on. Just walking to your car is like doing hot yoga without doing the yoga. But honestly? It’s still paradise. The skies are the bluest, the mountains remain majestic, and the nights are always blanketed with a billion stars. Pair that with a cocktail in the pool, and that’s the Palm Springs way. We’ve got that laid-back, small town feel, but I humbly submit that we are the 5-star, A+ rated, James Beard version.

July isn’t really hopping with activities because triple digits, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t fun things to do. (For the Independence Day celebrations, check out our blog post here). We also have some upcoming posts about places to stay in Palm Springs that will keep you well fed and full of libations without ever having to leave the pool — because if you can’t be in the A/C, you’ll want to be in the water.

In the meantime, check out these events that’ll keep you happy outside of your resort during your stay in Palm Springs:

Palm Springs POWER Baseball
Recurring weekly on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays until July 16.

Arrive Hotel

Mondays and Tuesdays: Night Swim, 7 to 10 p.m., no fee for guests. Locals can reserve a spot for $10.

Wednesdays: Dive-in Movie. Watch a flick poolside on the giant inflatable screen, with snacks and drinks available for purchase. 7 p.m. showtime.

Fridays: Poolside BBQ & Yappy Hour,  3 to 6 p.m. Enjoy Happy Hour specials, complimentary dog treats, and BBQ favorites available for purchase

Saturdays: Pool Party from noon to 6 p.m., with DJs spinning from start to finish. Limited day passes available for locals.

Sundays: Bottomless Mimosas at Brunch. $30+tax per person, with a two-hour time limit.

Palm Springs Cultural Center/Camelot Theaters

July 2: Mamma Mia! Sing-a-long 

Indoor Palm Springs Certified Farmers Market
Recurring weekly on Saturdays until Sept. 3

Agua Caliente Cascade Lounge

Jul 1: Cascade Nights Dance Party

Mondays: Mimosas, Martinis & Music with Don Wardell

Thursdays: Jazzville

Fridays: Caliente Comedy

Sundays: Latin Nights

That’s Amore! Photo courtesy of PS Underground

PS Underground

Three-course gourmet meals with a crazy good explosion of musical creativity and talent.

July 8: “That’s Amoré” — Gilmore Rizzo talks and sings about growing up Italian.

July 10: Cheese Brunch — cheesy songs, cheesy menu.

July 16: “The Sunny Side of the Street” — a tribute to Frank and Ella with Keisha D & Tod Macofsky.

July 17: Broadway Blind Brunch — one Broadway show and composer. Which one will it be?

July 22: Light — it’s the mack daddy of their shows. It’s pricey — $249 plus tax — but oh so special.

Desert Rose Playhouse

The only LGBTQ Theater in the valley. And they’re SO good.

Crimes of the Heart — through July 3.

I Dreamed a Dream Girl a two-man journey through stories and music, with the stars of Bravo’s The People’s Couch. One night only, July 9.

Grey Gardens — Big Edie and Little Edie Bouvier Beale were bright names on the social register, before becoming East Hampton’s most notorious recluses. It’s a musical! July 22 through 29.

V Wine Lounge. Courtesy of Visit Palm Springs

V Wine Lounge 

Retro wine lounge in a historic Hugh Kaptur building on Tahquitz (TAAH-quits). Don’t be fooled by the photo — that’s just the bar. There are a bunch of other set pieces as well as a very large patio.

Mondays: LeAnna and Miguel

Tuesdays: I ❤️ Taco Tuesday

Wednesdays: Karaoke

Oscar’s

Jazz, comedy, dinner, drag, and a tee dance, All are welcome.

July 1: Yve Evans — I love, love, love this woman and her music. Equal parts jazz pianist, jazz vocalist, and “jazz” comedian, she’s unique and super talented.

July 8: Nadya Ginsburg presents Anxious and Dangerous! The producer and star of the critically acclaimed Madonnalogues brings her new stand-up show, Anxious and Dangerous! to the desert. “Madonna” and “Cher” appear as special guests. Called “the woman of 1,000 voices,” she’s played New York, Los Angeles, and London stages, and has appeared in network television and feature film.

Wednesdays: Marc Antonelli’s Sultry Summer Nights, followed by The Marc & Tony Show.

Saturdays: Bitchiest Brunch (also Sundays), Mimosa Men, and Oscar’s Cabaret celebrate the great women of song. As it says in the description: “We’ve hired the best men for the job.”

An inside view of the Palm Springs Art Museum. Photo courtesy of Visit Palm Springs

Palm Springs Art Museum 
Thursday evenings are free from 5 to 7 p.m.

Exhibitions: Outburst: Mr. Wash (ends July 3); Gonzalo Lebrija: Miracle of the Eternal Present, (ends October 2); Pattern Play: The Contemporary Designs of Jacqueline Groag (ends Nov. 20); Leon Polk Smith: 1945-1962 (ends August 28)

Summer Film Series: Y Tu Mama Tambien on July 28

Various events

July 6: Backstreet Art District Art Walk — held the first Wednesday of every month.

Thursdays: Village Fest — a festive, pedestrian street fair on Palm Canyon Drive. 7 to 10 p.m. Perimeters are Indian Canyon Drive to the east, Belardo Road to the west. Vendor booths are set up on both sides of the street, and visitors are able to stroll through the traffic-free event.

July 16: Comedy at the Kimpton on the rooftop — the rooftop bar is one of the best views in town.

CannaBus Express Tours — what Silicon Valley is to tech, cannabis is to the Coachella Valley. One of the best tours you’ll ever take is the CannaBUS Express Tour. Learn all about the cannabis industry as you ride in an air-conditioned Mercedes Sprinter, from growing to distilling to distribution — and finally to some local dispensaries, using the CannaBus discount. Your tour guide is sassy and you’ll have fun while you’re learning.

The Palm Springs Aerial Tram on its way to cooler temperatures. Photo courtesy of Visit Palm Springs

Don’t forget about the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. It’s way cooler up there.

New restaurant alert! It’s fast food, but come on, it’s freakinI ❤️ Mac & Cheese. And it’s open very late!

The Mom Factor: I’m not a mom, so I’m not yours. But I’m gonna mom you. Wear sunscreen, drink plenty of water, then repeat. A lot.

Don’t forget to shop and stay local, and if you come visit, please tag us on your Instagram posts. Our Instagram; our tag #pspsh. Thanks, you’re swell!

I’m gonna be here again next month, yacking away about all things Palm Springs. Hope to see you then! 

Make Palm Springs, California, your affordable summer vacation destination thanks to Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels. To celebrate the season, several boutique hotels — all with amazing pools to cool off in — are offering special Summer Splash deals for guests, including free nights, percentages off, welcome gifts, and lower rates.

The luxurious Amin Casa is offering its lowest rates of the year, valid every day from June 1 to Sept. 30, 2024. Use the code “Summer Luxury Rate” to take advantage of this deal. 

Book direct with the vibrant Inn at Palm Springs and receive 15% off your stay, plus breakfast for two every day. Use promo code “Super.” Some exclusions and blackout dates apply.

The pool at Hacienda at Warm Sands on a sunny day

The relaxing Hacienda at Warm Sands pool. Photo courtesy of The Hacienda at Warm Sands

From June 3 to Sept. 26, 2024, stay four nights at the gorgeous Hacienda at Warm Sands men’s clothing-optional hotel and receive one free night. For an even longer vacation, book eight nights and receive two nights free or book 12 nights and receive three nights free. On top of that, The Hacienda is offering lower summer rates. Full payment is due at time of booking and is not refundable. Some exclusions apply.

Have a sizzling summer at the men’s clothing-optional Triangle Inn Palm Springs with $99 weekday rates. Valid for studio suites. Some exclusions apply. To book, call the Triangle Inn Palm Springs at 760-322-7993.

The lights glow around the sparkling pool at Alcazar Palm Springs

Alcazar Palm Springs glows in the evening. Photo credit: Visit Palm Springs

 

One, two, free! At Alcazar Palm Springs, stay two nights in a queen room and get your third night free, Sunday through Thursday. Valid through Aug. 29, 2024. Some exclusions apply. To book this offer, call the hotel at 760-318-9850 or online use code “WDB.” 

At the chic Azure Sky Resort, stay two nights and enjoy 15% off, stay three nights and take 20% off, or stay four nights and receive 25% off. Each guest will also be greeted with a bottle of Notary Public rosé. 

A quaint bungalow with a tile roof at Casa Cody boutique hotel in Palm Springs, California

Casa Cody is the oldest standing inn in Palm Springs. Photo courtesy of Casa Cody

The choice is yours at the historic Casa Cody. Book by July 2 and take 20% off a stay of two nights or more (reservation must be made at least 14 days in advance). From July 8 – Aug. 29, 2024, take 20% off your stay.

For more information on the Summer Splash 2024 deals and all the fine print, click here. 

Blackhaus has everything you need from a home base while in Palm Springs.

Open since February 2023, Blackhaus is the newest AvantStay property in Palm Springs, joining The Wesley, The Marley, Hotel El Cid, and The Monkey Tree Hotel. It was conceptualized as a “hotel-style asset” and brought to life by Chris Pardo from Elemental Architecture, who served as the architect and project manager.

An aerial view of the four black buildings that make up Blackhaus with the San Jacinto Mountains in the background

An aerial view of Blackhaus. Photo courtesy of Blackhaus

Welcoming groups of 2 to 40

The hotel was “built specifically for the new way people are traveling together via vacation rentals, with the flexibility and ability to rent the perfect space for any size of group and with contactless check-in,” Daniella Vito with AvantStay said. “Blackhaus, along with all of AvantStay’s boutique hotels in Palm Springs, offers the option of booking individual suites, a group of suites, or the entire hotel for complete seclusion.”

For a complete buyout, one group has access to the hotel’s four separate buildings, for a total of 16 bedrooms that can accommodate up to 40 guests. This is a popular option for those who want to host weddings, reunions, bachelor or bachelorette getaways, and corporate or wellness retreats. 

“You and your group can spread out and enjoy the pool and all of the amenities without any other guests in your space,” Vito said.

Everything you need to feel at home

A room with white walls, an open sliding glass door, and a large bed with a white comforter on it

Blackhaus can accommodate up to 40 guests. Photo courtesy of Blackhaus

The crisp and clean bedrooms are appointed with high-end bedding, towels, and toiletries, as well as flatscreen televisions and small private patios. The shared spaces are “filled with games, activities, and opportunities for groups to connect over food and entertainment,” Vito said, “so we made sure to include a pool, fireplaces, and outdoor cooking, as well as multiple shared bocce ball courts around the property.”

A bocce ball court at Blackhaus in Palm Springs, California, with pink clouds and palm trees in the background

This bocce ball court provides hours of fun. Photo courtesy of Blackhaus

Those are just some of the amenities offered at Blackhaus, and the team can arrange further pampering.”AvantStay offers add-on upgrades and experiences such as spa and massage packages, private chef options, stocked fridges on arrival, and even drip IV therapy to hydrate and replenish after a night of enjoying cocktails in downtown Palm Springs,” Vito said.

The pool and barbecue area of Blackhaus at sunset with pink clouds and palm trees in the background

You’ll want to end your day with an evening swim in the pool. Photo courtesy of Blackhaus