By the time Thanksgiving rolls around, much of America will have had their first dusting, if not their first dumping of snow. Not so in Palm Springs! We’re just getting used to the cooler mornings, our warmer afternoons are full of sun and followed by sultry evenings, and you might need a little body heat (or a nice jacuzzi) to stay warm.
This year for Thanksgiving, instead of the inevitable familial bickering, why not enjoy four days in Palm Springs with a group of friends at one of our small resorts, and leave the clashes, the dishes, and cooking behind you?
Here are some boutique hotel options, and read on for where to eat on your special respite of thanks … and fun. I mean, you are in Palm Springs. We’re not Disneyland fun, we’re cool fun. That’s why we always wear sunglasses. (Don’t forget to bring yours so you can be cool too. They also help with our very bright sun.)
Once you’ve got your peeps, your sunglasses, and your hotel sorted, it’s time to figure out who’s gonna be cooking for you this year. All of the below come with at least one starter and a dessert.
Thanksgiving meals in Palm Springs
Tropicale — Known for its very popular happy hour and buzzy outdoor patio, their entree is herb-roasted Mary’s Farm organic turkey, along with sausage, apple, and sage stuffing, whipped potatoes and turkey gravy, buttered Brussels sprouts, and cranberry apple chutney. You also get a soup or salad option, and three different desserts from which to choose. Featured wines: Rombauer Vineyard Chardonnay and Sokol Blosser Estate Pinot Noir. $84 per person.
Lulu — For those who don’t have a great relationship with turkey, Lulu is a wonderful choice. They have 10 choices of entrees with only three featuring turkey, and there’s a veggie option too. Plus, the atmosphere is pretty groovy. $59.99 per person.
Grand Central — There be turkey and fixins’ here! There also be four non-turkey options, including salmon and steak. For the vegetarians: pumpkin ravioli. Located in La Plaza at Palm Canyon, it’s a very big room so your chances of nabbing a spot are good. $79.99 per person.
Eight4Nine — Spend Thanksgiving at the former Palm Springs Post Office, now home to Eight4Nine. Willie Rhine is one of our favorite local restaurateurs, and Eight4Nine is his most popular restaurant. The four-course meal includes fig ricotta toast, a list of options for your starter and your main (including the very popular turkey dinner), and dessert. All for $76 per person.
Freddie’s Kitchen — Located in The Cole Hotel, this would be a great choice for staying and for Thanksgiving dinner. The French restaurant is serving the classic slow-roasted turkey, but they also have barramundi and grilled seasonal vegetables Wellington. For a starter, choose from soup, salad, or escargot, and the finale has three options for dessert. You don’t even need to leave the hotel. $72 per person, $25 corkage fee.
Melvyn’s — It’s another 2-fer here. Stay at the historic Ingleside Inn and dine in the glory of Melvyn’s. After dinner enjoy a martini at the bar and/or take a stroll around the grounds. Choose between four starters, four mains (including apple cider brined turkey breast), and two desserts. Sides will cost you $14 each on top of the $115 per person cost. It’s pretty Rat Pack-y, and if that’s the vibe you’re going for, it can’t be beat. Plus, you never know who you’ll see in the lounge.
So•Pa — One more 2-fer. Stay at L’Horizon and you’ll not only be treated to an incredibly swanky stay, but also a meal at So•Pa. Their offering is strictly of the turkey variety with all the fixins’ and then some. $95 per person.
Spencer’s — Located in the Class 1 historic Tennis Club on Baristo Road, smack up against the mountains, it’s one of the fancier places to dine in Palm Springs. They have a gorgeous patio they call the Bougainvillea Room where you can eat al fresco. Three starters to choose from, six entrees, and two desserts. $79 per person.
Zin American Bistro — In the heart of downtown, right on Palm Canyon Drive, is local restaurateur Mindy Reed’s Zin. This Thanksgiving there are five options as starters, five as mains (including turkey), and four dessert choices. $69.99 with a 22% gratuity.
Mr. Lyon’s — Probably the most popular steakhouse in town, and always a treat to the palate, this restaurant is located on the south side of town and features a speakeasy called Seymour’s. It’s a terrific dining experience, and for Thanksgiving they are offering four choices of starters, four choices of main (including turkey), and three dessert choices. $95 per person.
Pomme Frite — Zero turkey to be had in this French bistro, but what would you expect? It’s not a French holiday. But if you’re a fan of French bistro food, this just might be your jam. Five choices of starters, entrees and desserts, all very Français. $64.95 per person.
Trio — Trio took a bit of a hit during the pandemic, but it’s coming back strong with a refresh of the interior and the menu. This Thanksgiving they have a family-style first course, three offerings for mains, three sets of sides served family style, and two desserts from which to choose. If none of those three mains suit you, there’s an a la carte menu featuring 10 extra items. $59 per person.
The Purple Room is offering a dining and jazz experience with the Pam Phillips Trio. If you haven’t heard Pam on keys, you haven’t lived. Four choices for starters, five choices for mains (including turkey breast), and three choices for dessert. $79 per person. This club is dressed in an homage to the Rat Pack era, and although it’s not as old as Melvyn’s, it gives it a run for its money on the Rat Pack front.
Finally, Palm Springs Aerial Tramway will operate a special holiday schedule Thursday, Nov. 23 through Sunday, Nov. 26. The first tram up each day is at 8 a.m. with the final tram at 8 p.m. The last tram down is at 9:30 p.m.
Thanksgiving Day Ride ‘n’ Dine tickets include tram admission and your meal at Pines Café, served from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Their fancy restaurant, Peaks, is also serving a special Thanksgiving pre-fixe menu. Reservations begin at 11 a.m. Tram tickets are not included. The regular menu is also available.
So why not hit all the right notes this Thanksgiving with a very special holiday away from home? Spend the four-day holiday in Palm Springs where the weather’s perfect, the food is fantastic, the small hotels are gorgeous, and the vibe is Barry White — laid-back and a little suggestive. We can’t help it; the sun makes us frisky.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!