From Mid Mod to Moroccan, These Staycation Spots Are Perfect for a Desert Escape
From picture-perfect swimming pools and suites to gallery walls of original artwork, these stylish stayovers are Instagram gold. When it comes to a relaxing desert getaway, nowhere ticks the box like Palm Springs. An au courant destination since the 1920s, when movie stars flocked there from Hollywood, visitors today are enticed by more than its see-and-be-seen pool parties. Design aficionados dig the midcentury modern architecture, wellness seekers love the luxury spas and foodies relish in a mix of contemporary chef-driven and classic Rat Pack-era restaurants. Annual events, including Modernism Week and Palm Springs Pride, are major draws too. Deciding where to stay? The city is dotted with darling boutique hotels, from a Morocco-meets-Mediterranean affair to a chic casita-only retreat.
For the Nakedly Confident
Palm Springs is an LGBTQ mecca and one of its longstanding favorite gay resorts among discerning travelers in the know, The Hacienda. The upscale, almost all-suite hotel is famous for its impeccable concierge-style service—think surprising travel partners with champagne and anniversary flowers along with having rooms prestocked with specific amenities. Framed by San Jacinto Mountain views, be prepared to go au naturel among the lush tropical grounds, which feature two sizable clothing-optional swimming pools. Stays include a continental breakfast and catered lunch, but downtown is just minutes away by rideshare when, and if, you feel like venturing out.
For the Fabulous and Fun Gals
Chris Pardo, co-founder of ARRIVE hotels, recruited artist Louise Jones to paint larger-than-life floral murals across several casitas at his latest project, the gorgeous adults-only hotel Fleur Noire, which opened last November. Pet-friendly outdoor living spaces (for dogs under 25 pounds), fire pits and a charming pool area keep guests happily ensconced on the property. Rooms, including the fabulous one-bedroom suite, feature bold floral wallpaper and midcentury modern-inspired furnishings. There’s no on-site restaurant, but rosé and champagne bar La Boisson, now open next to the clubhouse, is happy to serve guests poolside.
🥈Runner Up: Orbit In
For the Stylish & Design-Savvy Traveler
If you’re a fan of Wes Anderson-style whimsy, then Les Cactus will be your new happy place. Dubbed Palm Springs’ “most Instagrammable new hotel,” the petite property (whose name comes from Jacques Dutronc’s ‘60s French rock ‘n’ roll hit) skews more residential on design aesthetics and features a mix of one-bedroom suites and studios across its 27 guest rooms. So once you’re done snapping photos, hop on one of the beach cruiser bikes to explore the Warm Sands neighborhood or just hang out in the hammock garden, rooftop deck or poolside—with cocktails in hand, of course.
🥈Runner Up: Dive Palm Springs
For the Couple Seeking Romance
Built in 1947 and reopened after being beautifully restored in 2018, this old Hollywood haunt in the south end of town has a wow-factor lobby and 38 equally Instagram-friendly guest rooms. Each is designed and decorated with original oil paintings and vintage midcentury furniture, including the two-bedroom Impala suites. Soak up some of that desert sun beside one of three sparkling pools before sliding over to Del Rey bar for Mediterranean-style small plates and cocktails in the evening. Pets (including cats!) are welcome too with fun amenities like plush toys, custom-made dog tags and VIP (Very Important Pet) door hangers.
🥈Runner Up: Sparrows Lodge
For the LGBTQ+ Crew
Located in the buzzy Uptown District, Palm Springs’ newest and most exclusive men’s resort skews “Hollywood Modern” on the design front, and all 16 rooms facing its lovely swimming pool. Flanked by sun loungers and lush landscaping, it’s the central social hangout spot at The Descanso, where floating around in the hotel’s white terry robes is actively encouraged. With a continental breakfast, catered lunch from local restaurants brought in each day and a self-service 24-hour cantina with coffee, hot chocolate and snacks, there’s really no reason to leave this serene little palm tree-shaded gem.
🥈Runner Up: El Mirasol Villas
Keri Bridgwater is a freelance writer covering travel and lifestyle. Her work has been featured in Fodor’s Travel, Marie Claire, Matador Network and InsideHook, among other outlets and publications.