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A Palm Springs Revival

With a revamped hot springs resort, stunning Mid-Century architecture, and a new hotel water park, there are many reasons to head to the desert this spring

Hyatt Waterpark aerial shot Palm Springs
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I recently made a single-day sortie and discovered lots of good reasons to plan a longer return trip. 

Azure Palm Hot Springs Resort & Day Spa

Located in Desert Hot Springs, this retro 40-room resort has been beautifully updated and will reopen later this month or in early March. I love the restful muted tones and the emphasis on healthy dining. The spring water here comes out of the ground at 170 degrees and is cooled to 90 degrees for the swimming pool. My favorite rooms are the spa suites, where guests enjoy 104-degree mineral water in deep soaking tubs with distant mountain views. Rejuvenating spa services are available in 12 treatment rooms, and cleansing and juicing retreats are available year-round. azurepalmhotsprings.com

Spa suites at Azure Palm Resort include deep mineral water soaking tubs
Spa suites at Azure Palm Resort include deep mineral water soaking tubs

HyTides at the Hyatt

The Hyatt Regency Indian Wells built an $8 million waterpark during an extended COVID closure in 2020. The result is a super family-friendly destination (pets included) with a total of nine pools. These include two 30-foot waterslides, a three-story tower, and a 450-foot lazy river. There’s also one adults-only pool and a “splash pad” for kids under 48 inches. The expanded deck space allows chaise lounges to be socially distanced.

Hyatt Waterpark aerial shot Palm Springs
The HyTides waterpark at the Hyatt Regency Indian Wells includes a lazy river and nine pools

The hotel offers 530 rooms and villas and is adjacent to the Indian Wells Golf Resort with two 18-hole courses. Tip: If the course is closed by COVID precautions during your visit, head to one of the area’s nearby courses located on tribal land.

With over 100 courses, Greater Palm Springs is a top destination for golf
With over 100 courses, Greater Palm Springs is a top destination for golf

Touring with the Mod Squad

Palm Springs is well known for its numerous examples of Mid-Century Modern architecture. Many of these homes were built for the Hollywood stars who flocked to the desert in the 1940s and ’50s. These famous folks included Dean Martin, Peter Lawford, Dinah Shore, Kirk Douglas, Debbie Reynolds, and Marilyn Monroe. Today, their houses are well-preserved by residents who honor this unique style.

Modernism Week, which will take place from April 8-18, celebrates Palm Springs’ unique architecture with in-person tours and programs. modernismweek.com

In addition, Palm Springs Mod Squad offers self-driven tours year-round. From the safe distance of our car and connected by cell phone, my husband and I followed guide Kurt Cyr and a couple other vehicles through the quiet Twin Palms neighborhoods of single-story homes and towering palm trees. He paused in front of some of the best Mid-Century examples and pointed out classic elements including clerestory windows and floating butterfly roofs. psmodsquad.com

Mod Squad guides point out elements of Mid-Century architecture
Mod Squad guides point out elements of Mid-Century architecture

We also saw a Mid-Century-style KFC and a fire station, but they weren’t as impressive as Frank Sinatra’s estate in The Movie Colony neighborhood. The house is available to rent for private vacations, special events, and destination weddings. sinatrahouse.com

And just a quick FYI, in case you fall in love with a home in the area: Palm Springs is a popular Zoom town and real estate prices have gone up 16 percent in the last year.

In addition to architecture, Mid-Century automotive and fashion design are on display during Modernism Week
In addition to architecture, Mid-Century automotive and fashion design are on display during Modernism Week

Socially Distant in the Desert

While Palm Springs is best known as a golf and tennis destination, it’s also a beautiful area for walking and hiking. One of my favorite places is in the Indian Canyons, the ancestral home of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians. The scenery here includes palm groves, natural waterfalls, and hot mineral springs at the base of towering mountains. 

I also like the Living Desert Zoo and Gardens in Palm Desert. This attraction has long showcased local wildlife, but on our recent visit, I noticed new exhibits featuring animals from Africa and Australia — all connected by a series of wilderness loops. Hiking trails, ranging from .5 to five miles, extend into the desert environment. livingdesert.org

What else is new? Locals recommended The Rowan Hotel, a Kimpton property near the Palm Springs Art Museum. Sadly, we didn’t have time to dine at the hotel’s charming 4 Saints rooftop restaurant, but it’s on the top of my list for our next visit.

That’s what I love about Palm Springs. It’s close enough to be a day trip. There’s plenty to do for a longer visit. And there’s always something new.

Featured Photo The HyTides waterpark at the Hyatt Regency Indian Wells includes a lazy river and nine pools
Image Credits HyTides waterpark: Photo courtesy of Hyatt Regency Indian Wells, fAzure Palm Resort Spa suites & sunset pool: Photography courtesy of Azure Palm Hot Springs Resort & Day Spa, All other photography courtesy of Greater Palm Springs CVB 

One Comment

  • Sandra lee

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    Very informative. Well done

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