Palm Springs is located about two hours south east of LA. Its basically a resort town in the middle of the desert. In summer the temps get to about 45 degrees with no humidity and in winter to about 20 – 25 degrees during the day and about 6 degrees at night. A ski resort, Big Bear I think it was, is about an hour and a half drive away, so in winter people can ski one day and sun bake the next, then sit by a fire (which most hotels have) and have drinks at night, pretty unique I think.
Palm Springs was created back in the day of Bob Hope and Elvis etc as their contracts only allowed them to be 2 hours away from Hollywood so this area would be interesting for people who are 60s enthusiasts.
Palm Springs is made up of about 5 different cities and takes about half an hour to drive from one end to another. The only casinos you find here are on Native American land (no casinos are permitted in California but as these are sovereign states and not governed by California Law they have set up their own casinos). There are no high-rises or tall billboards so it is nothing like Vegas.
Palm Springs is a Weekend Destination from LA so you will find during their peak season, winter, there will be 90% occupancy over the weekend and will drop to 40% during the week. So in winter, try to avoid weekends. Most places we found were very reasonable in price, ranging from USD79 per night – USD180 per night. Most resorts had a resort fee of about USD25 per night on top, paid direct.
I wouldn’t recommend Palm Springs as a single destination for Australian travellers, but would include it in a longer itinerary. For an itinerary through California and Nevada I would recommend something like San Francisco (3 nights) – Yosemite (1 – 2 nights) – Death Valley (1 night) – Vegas (5 nights) – Palm Springs (3 – 4 nights to relax) – San Diego (3 – 4 nights) – Los Angeles.
Rancho Las Palmas Resort and Spa –
This is the hotel I stayed at – very nice, resort, golf course, good for kids as it has a pool with slides etc. A long way out of town though, about USD30-40 in a cab to get to where night life, shopping is. Basically this was just a typical, but very nice, resort.
Ace Hotel and Swim Club –
Very funky, boutique, boho, kitch, hippy hotel and I loved it. Looks like a standard budget hotel as you drive in but very unique once you get inside. Each room is furnished differently and definitely has its own feel about it. I have never seen a hotel like this before. Apparently Drew Barrymore loves this hotel and stays here often when she goes to Palm Springs. There are rooms you can get that have their own private fire pit so would be excellent on a cold winters night. I would recommend this for young or old funky people who like things a bit different. The bar they have here has been voted top 10 hotel bars in the states, or something like that. They have Sissy Bingo every Monday night and Craft nights every last Wednesday of the month, crazy yes, but fun!
Hyatt Grand Champions Resort, Villas and Spa –
Again this hotel was a fair way out of the main drag, but is a HUGE complex. Golf course, golf buggies to get around…. Huge. Was very beautiful and the likes of Gwen Stefani and Victoria Beckham had recently stayed in the villas here which were lovely (and roughly about USD1200 a night, which isn’t tooooo bad considering you could possibly fit up to 6 people in a villa). A few of the people thought that this resort was too big and wouldn’t like to take kids here, even though they had plenty of kids facilities. However, if you had clients who were just after a resort holiday for a while, and weren’t interested in seeing palm springs, then this would be good.
Holiday Inn Resort Palm Springs –
This was just your everyday Holiday Inn hotel and pretty cheap with rooms starting at roughly USD79 per night. It had a great pool and restaurant and on some nights they had a dive in movie theatre where they set up a screen by the pool. If you’re after a budget hotel this would be perfect, but as most of the other nicer hotels weren’t too much more expensive I would recommend one of the other places.
Viceroy Palm Springs –
I loved this hotel, very small looking boutique hotel but once you get inside the size of the property is bigger than it looks. About 2 – 3 blocks from the main nightlife area. Built around 1920-1940 it has all been done up to look very chic. Small little villas or hotel rooms are available. A few adult pools and one family pool. Beautiful gardens all over the property give it a Garden of Eden feel. All in all a very beautiful hotel with spectacular mountains as the back drop. Apparently Miley Cirus just stayed here. If I were to go back to Palm Springs this is where id stay (actually toss up between here and the ACE. Maybe ill go back twice….)