palm springs area
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Three more reasons to love Palm Springs

Monday, 15 April 2013 | Tags: , , , , , ,

Palm Springs is becoming my go-to haven for some R & R. The weather is reliable, it's a relatively quick jaunt from Vancouver, and it's got the whole mid-century modern vibe that I love. After spending almost a week there, I have three must-stops to recommend:

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Colony Palms Hotel – street view

Stay

From the road, the Colony Palms Hotel on Indian Canyon is not much to look at.  But once you pass through the arched doorway, this boutique hotel is a chic desert retreat. 

The hotel has an intriguing backstory.  In the 30s, it was owned by a Purple Gang mobster.  He also used it to run an underground speakeasy, brothel and gambling house.

Today, the renovated hotel has 56 Moroccan-inspired rooms, a pool, a restaurant, a spa, and some lush grounds full of fragrant honeysuckle, bougainvilleas, and hummingbirds. 

The rooms are spacious, comfortable and quiet.  One exception: don’t stay in room #4. The air-con units outside are pretty noisy. We had to move.

The pool area isn’t huge, but I loved the chill vibe. The music is mellow (think Thievery Corporation) and the drinks, while not cheap ($13 for a lime margarita), are definitely stiff.

The clientele is predominantly made up of stylish couples.  I spent half my time reading and the other half taking notes on poolside fashions.  The hotel literature says it’s a desert hideaway for many of Hollywood’s music and movie industry elite. I saw Veep’s Reed Scott catching a few rays. 

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The pool at the Colony Palms Hotel

Eat

About half a block away, next to the always busy Cheeky’s restaurant, is Birba (look for the big red B), serving what is perhaps one of the best pizzas I’ve ever had.  Gluten-free no less!*  I also had a bite of their regular thin crust pizza and it was divine.  Try the homemade sausage, mushroom and onion.  The pie is so good, I had to go back twice in the space of five days!

*I found that PS does a great job of catering to the gluten-free crowd.  Lulu’s on Palm Canyon has a whole section of the menu devoted to GF foods.

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Thumbs up for the gluten-free pizza at Birba

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On a return trip to Birba’s big red B for more delicious GF pizza!

Shop

I also made two trips to the Desert Premium outlet mall in Cabazon.  (It’s a 20 minute drive from the hotel.)  OMG, it’s a shopper’s treasure trove.  Gucci, Prada, Versace, Tory Burch, DVF, Vince, Nike, Ugg, J Crew…SO MANY STORES!!!  Give yourself a good three hours to navigate it all.  In addition to packing a credit card, bring a jacket or sweater.  There’s a mean wind that blows through the mall (hence all the windmill farms you see on the way) and whenever I’ve been there, it’s always much chillier than PS. 

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Soaking up the desert sun, enjoying some quintessential Palm Springs scenery

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  • Tim Edwards

    Looks like you had a great trip Kristina. Good weather always helps. Are you two getting tired of Vancouver weather. Your seem to be always looking to get away. ;-)