3 Days in Palm Springs
It’s got glamour, history and scenery in spades, but did you know that Palm Springs, California, (and the nearby Palm Desert) is also a hot spot for wine lovers? Catering to a celebrity clientele since the 1940s (Frank Sinatra and Liberace were two famous residents), the Desert (as the greater Palm Springs area is dubbed by locals) offers a taste of the good life, with chic poolside hideaways, midcentury modern architecture and all-star wine-and-food spots. Here’s how to eat and drink your way through 72 hours in Palm Springs.
The Greater Palm Springs area is a golfer’s paradise, boasting 350 days of sunshine a year. If you packed your clubs, check into the JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort and Spa. It’s like an oasis in the sand, with two championship golf courses, four swimming pools and a gondola that leads to your room via connected waterways. Unwind after a morning on the greens at the property’s Rockwood Grill. In keeping with the restaurant’s farm-to-fork cuisine, the wine list is comprised entirely of California offerings, with 43 selections by the bottle and 15 by the glass, including several from nearby Temecula Valley.
In downtown Palm Springs, Johannes Restaurant (pictured) offers adventurous wine and food pairings in a mod setting. The 15-year-old dining destination is notable for the global cuisine of Austrian chef Johannes Bacher and its eclectic wine list, with 23 options by the glass. Try the summer vegetables braised in yellow coconut curry, matched with the food-friendly Türk 2009 Kremser Sandgrube Grüner Veltliner from Austria’s Kremstal region.
Don’t forget your oversized shades. The Colony Palms Hotel (pictured) is where Hollywood starlets come to hide out. Built in 1936 by reputed mobster Al Wertheimer, the secluded Palms was once the site of an underground speakeasy and brothel. Today, it’s a charismatic pick for poolside lounging and libations. Don’t miss the Purple Gang cocktail, comprised of vodka, muddled grapes, lemon juice and topped with a Pinot Noir float. After working on your tan, head to the hotel’s Purple Palm restaurant for dinner. In addition to dishes like grilled peach salad and sweet corn flan, you’ll find a wine list stocked with 70 bottlings, including esoteric California wines and international favorites (22 are available by the glass).
Start your final day with a morning ride on the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway (pictured). It’s a 10-minute trip in a rotating tramcar offering 360-degree views up the steep cliffs of Chino Canyon. Disembark at Mountain Station, where the elevation is 8,516 feet, providing breathtaking views of the Coachella Valley. Afraid of heights? Hit the bar at the Peaks Restaurant for liquid courage before heading back downhill. In addition to cocktails like the Mountain Gust (made with Absolut Citron and lemon, lime, cherry and pomegranate juices), you’ll find 21 wines by the glass. Make your last night count at the Viceroy Hotel in downtown Palm Springs. It epitomizes modern desert chic, sporting sleek black, white and yellow décor and three manicured courtyards that surround heated pools (all serviced by the hotel’s restaurant, Citron). For a real taste of Palm Springs, opt for a poolside dinner in one of the cabanas. The wine list is organized by variety, with 18 selections by the glass. The menu offers light, seasonal fare with local ingredients, like watermelon gazpacho and date & prosciutto salad, so you can easily slip back into your swimsuit for a post-dinner dip. This is California, after all.
- 2Day 1: Stay and Play
- 3Day 2: Pool Party
- 4Day 3: Views and Booze