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The Best Resorts In Palm Springs/Palm Desert

By The Smoking Chair Editors  |  2021

If you’re thinking about escaping the cold weather and spending a few days in the Palm Springs/Palm Desert area you’re going to make sure you find yourself a place to stay that doesn’t disappoint. We did the homework for your — and here are our favorites.
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Palm Springs is a desert resort city in Riverside County, California, United States, within the Colorado Desert‘s Coachella Valley. The city covers approximately 94 square miles (240 km2), making it the largest city in Riverside County by land area. With multiple plots in checkerboardpattern, more than 10% of the city is part of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians reservation land and is the administrative capital of the most populated reservation in California. Traditionally the Cahuilla refer to the Palm Springs area as Sec-he or Se-Khi.

The city is noted for its mid-century modern architecture, design elements, arts and cultural scene, and recreational activities.

Palm Springs is located in the Sonoran Desert. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 95.0 square miles (246 km2), of which 94.1 square miles (244 km2) is land and 0.9 square miles (2.3 km2) (1%) is water. Located in the Coachella Valley desert region, Palm Springs is sheltered by the San Bernardino Mountains to the north, the Santa Rosa Mountains to the south, by the San Jacinto Mountains to the west and by the Little San Bernardino Mountains to the east.

Palm Springs has a hot desert climate, with over 300 days of sunshine and 4.93 inches (125.2 mm) of precipitation annually. The winter months are warm, with a majority of days reaching 70 °F (21 °C) and in January and February days often see temperatures of 80 °F (27 °C) and on occasion reach over 90 °F (32 °C), while, on average, there are 17 nights annually dipping to or below 40 °F (4 °C); freezing temperatures occur in less than half of years. The lowest temperature recorded is 19 °F (−7 °C), on January 22, 1937.

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Palm Springs

Santiago Resort

650 E San Lorenzo Rd

$$ • Hotels

The Santiago Resort is hands down the best gay accommodation we have ever stayed in and we have traveled the world. From the moment you arrive, you will be pampered by Kent, Bill, and their amazing staff throughout your stay (thanks so much Bob and BJ; unfortunately I didn’t get the names of all the great crew).

After the delicious breakfasts, lunches, snacks in our room/cantina, it was hard to have an appetite for dinner. But no matter, with the conversation flowing among friendly guests and the perfect pool temperature, why would anyone leave the complex?!
There is such a festive, loving, and convivial atmosphere at The Santiago! On most nights a group of us would order delivery for dinner and then get back in the water.  I’ve never been to a place where everyone was so friendly (other than a gay cruise), but I credit Kent and Bill for fostering an environment with fast friendships and memories that last a lifetime. We look forward to returning again and again!

— Review by David R.

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Desert Hot Springs

Azure Palm Hot Springs Resort Oasis

67589 Hacienda Ave

Resorts, Hotels, Day Spas

My husband and I spent our honeymoon here last week and we are still reeling from the amazing experience! We weren’t sure what to expect but Azure Palm exceeded our expectations 🙂 It was the perfect oasis of relaxation, restoration & rejuvenation.

We stayed in a spa suite which I HIGHLY recommend – I think this is what makes the resort so unique and unlike anything else I’ve ever experienced. We were able to fill the tub with mineral spring water and enjoy the view of the mountains anytime of the day, complete with candlelight, incense & champagne. The pool and spas are quiet and relaxing. I saw a review on here that says this resort is for old people… it’s not. It’s for people who are looking to unplug and relax. There’s no loud music or children running around. It’s specifically an adult-only resort for a reason. Not to mention we LOVED not having a tv in the room.

Note that the cafe is closed Tuesday and Wednesday so we were a little bummed about that as we had to venture out and find food elsewhere. But we ate at the cafe Thursday and Friday and everything was delicious – breakfast burrito & french toast for breakfast, salad & reuben for lunch, with some juices and coffee too.

We also got a couples massage and it was delightful! A great, relaxing experience with very knowledgeable therapists. A bit high price point but we were prepared to splurge for our honeymoon. We liked the convenience of going to the spa right downstairs. And don’t forget the salt room & ice room! We enjoyed the salt room every day – it’s incredibly therapeutic and relaxing. We also did the video yoga a couple times. Loved having a room specific for yoga!

Oh & go outside and enjoy the courtyard! We sat by the firepit every morning or night, and it’s great sunset view. Ugh I miss this place already. It was the perfect environment for us to reflect on our wedding & have quality conversation & time together. We’re already talking about returning for an anniversary 🙂  Thank you Azure!

— Review by Ashlee G.

Desert Hot Springs

The Spring Resort & Spa

12699 Reposo Way

$$ • Day Spas, Hotels

The Miracle Hill area of Desert Hot Springs (aka the Spa Zone) features quite a few resorts and spas with mineral water pools. I’ve been to three of them. The Spring is by far the best by every metric, a class of its own, an utterly soothing and refreshing experience that is worth every penny. I’ve visited the Spring several times over the years both for day use of the spa and as a guest at the hotel. Impeccable is the only word to describe my experience.

WATER: The water of Desert Hot Springs is famous all over the world and for good reason. It is soft as silk, buoyant, soothing and calming. I’m no chemist but when I asked a staff person what makes the water so special, he gave me a list of the mineral content including sulfate, sodium, bicarbonate, chloride, calcium, silica, fluoride and magnesium. Whatever the formula, it’s magical. So magical, in fact, that the water of Desert Hot Springs was recently named the Best Water in the World at the 30th Berkeley Springs International Water Tasting.

POOLS: The pools are kept in absolutely perfect condition. And they are open 24/7 for hotel guests. Squeaky clean, the temperatures, chlorine level and cleanliness are monitored constantly. The swimming pool offers plenty of room for laps; there’s also an outdoor jacuzzi and relaxation pool. More here: the-spring.com/about/min…

SERVICE: Everyone at the Spring was helpful, courteous and thoughtful. An amazing balance of attention to detail with complete lack of stuffiness.

HOTEL ROOMS: I stayed in the Mountain Suite which includes a kitchenette, patio, its own private entrance and parking spot, and stunning mountain views. Tons of thirsty towels, super clean, and beautifully decorated, I wanted to move in and was already planning what to say to the Sheriff when he came to evict me when I refused to leave. (Reality bites. I left of my own accord, much more relaxed.)  Amenities include Spring robe and slippers, hair dryer, and toiletries.

BREAKFAST: Included in your hotel stay, a breakfast of safely prepared foods are available daily from 8-10 am. I was served fruit, hard-boiled free-range eggs, yogurt, pumpernickle bread with cream cheese and jam, oatmeal and granola. Almond milk available, as well as coffee and tea.

PANDEMIC SAFETY: Masks and social distancing were maintained, hand sanitizer was available and all safety protocols honored. Because The Spring is a small, boutique hotel, there is not a chance of running into big crowds. The clientele here tend to be the type that value solitude, so chances of running into overly chatty folks are slim to none.

SPIRITUAL RENEWAL: Words cannot describe the effect of staying at the Spring. Was it watching the Moon and Mars rise in tandem from the jacuzzi? The mineral balance restored in my body? The effects of peace and quiet on my soul? All I know is that the stress of the past year had taken its toll and the Spring helped restore my peace of mind. Thank you.

— Review by Isobel L.

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La Quinta

The Chateau at Lake La Quinta

78-120 Caleo Bay Dr

$$$ • Hotels

Absolutely wonderful place to stay! Very quiet and beautiful atmosphere.  They have a nice pool and a great on-site restaurant where the food is amazing! Best part is the staff is so friendly and welcoming.  If you get a chance to have Jasmine as your waitress you will be very lucky! She’s amazing! The rooms are so nice and open up to a view of the lake. It is close to casinos, nightlife and downtown Palm Springs. I will definitely stay there again!

— Review by Lisa R.

Desert Hot Springs

Caliente Springs Resort

70200 Dillon Rd

Resorts, RV Parks, Vacation Rentals

Everything about Caliente Springs Resort met our expectations.  The pool and spas were clean and well maintained, the staff was friendly and the other guests were quiet, friendly and polite.   We decided to try Caliente because my wife is learning to play golf and we enjoyed the small but fun golf course.  We thought $12. per round was very fair.  We played a little pickle ball and enjoyed the nice courts.  The cable TV is the best I have come across at an RV park.  The wifi could be greatly improved, but I used my cell phone for a hot spot and it worked fine.

— Review by Dave S.

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Palm Desert

Hotel Paseo

45-400 Larkspur Ln

$$ • Hotels

Hotel Paseo is a delightful boutique hotel in Palm Desert with a mix of modern and nostalgic design.

Valet parking was available during our visit. The front desk staff was polite and down-to-Earth even though it’s a luxury hotel. They went over every amenity that’s available and I appreciated it all.

If you’re an art lover, then you’ll appreciate the art adorned hallways. Be sure to take some time checking it all out.

Our room was more toned down than the common areas of the property. Hotel Paseo kept things simple with clean white lines. The bathroom was surprisingly inviting. It is brightly lit, yet warm and screams relaxation.

My favorite part of the stay were the freebies included in the resort fee like the yoga sesh and bike rentals. The kitschy lawn/ pool area is not to be missed. It’s an ode to an easy-living era gone by.

My stay left me feeling rejuvenated and a giddy, and I can’t wait to come back!

— Review by Latoya R.

Desert Hot Springs

Tuscan Springs Hotel & Spa

68187 Club Cir Dr

$$ • Hotels, Day Spas, Massage

We just returned from a three night stay at Tuscan Springs Hotel.  This was a first time for us with mineral pools and we really did enjoy the three pools.  The temperatures were perfect in each one – the large pool being the coolest and the other two with the jets were hot and hotter.  We used all three every day.  I must say these were the cleanest hotel pools I have ever been in.  The water is crystal clear and the tile was quite well kept and lovely.  The entire pool deck area is full of chairs and loungers and tables and wonderful king size cabana type beds.  There is a pleasant view of the mountains, although the telephone wires are there which is a tad bit of a bummer.  The wind blows up the hill that this spa is perched on which is most welcome when it’s over 100 degrees!  There are three main courtyards including the pool area and they are all full of flowers, cactus, and unique decor.  The two courtyards by the rooms have fireplaces that we gathered around in the evening and chatted with other guests, bring your own wine and wine glasses and it’s truly wonderful.  Morning dining can be done in any of the courtyards or taken back to your room.  

The rooms are nice but not extravagant.  The water temp and pressure is very good in the bathroom.  The shower/tub was quite nice and had a very good but attractive grab bar if you need it – and is perfect for hanging your wet swimwear on.  AC and ceiling fan make it comfortable for sleeping.  Wifi was adequate as we both had some work to do.  Mini fridge and microwave in each room.  TV was cable only – not smart TV.  Daily maid service – fresh towels and super plush robes.  The end units have large very private patios, that don’t have much view, but are perfectly shaded for an afternoon nap.  King size beds are comfortable.

The breakfast was nice – make it yourself waffles, several baked goods, fruits, avocados, tomatoes, hard boiled eggs, cereal, milk, OJ, french press coffee or coffee maker if you prefer.  

We did not use the spa services – but I got envious as people returned to the pool area from their treatments and every single person was raving about it!

Overall facility – it’s charming, kitschy, unique, and a tad bit run down.  I feel like it is so much work to maintain a property like this and the weather of the desert is so hard on everything.  Cushions are faded, wood shade covers some need a redo, columns were never painted, fountain is out of water, flower beds need weeding, front door needs a re-staining.  But the vision is there and the detail is there, and that is what you see in the big picture.  The location is what is it is – many properties in this area are unkempt  – it’s not Las Vegas strip or Orange County – it’s Desert Hot Springs!  But really, you walk in the door and you can already feel the stress melting away – soak for a few hours in the pool and you will “get it” – you will know why you are here and you will relax!  A short drive into Palm Springs for fine dining and nightlife – you have the best of both worlds.

— Review by Randi L.

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Indian Wells

Sands Hotel & Spa

44-985 Province Way

Hotels

Just stayed here this past July 4th weekend and it was great. Even dined at The Pink Cabana and the food was delicious. There were a couple issues I had staying here but overall enjoyed my stay.

First of all, the security of the hotel keys. After checking in around 8pm, we were informed of where to go but it was quite dark and my boyfriend misread the room#. Our room was 26 but he went to 25. The strangest part, our room key opened room 25 and someone happened to be inside at the time too (we are sooo sorry). We informed the front desk and she seemed just as confused as we were as to why this happened. She said she didn’t know why this happened and would inform the manager. We never heard back. Thankfully i purchased those portable locks prior to this trip and was able to use it for extra security.

Secondly, i do not recommend for you to use the mini bar fridge in the hotel room. It took two whole days for our drinks to get cold. It wasn’t even ice cold… I would recommend for you to bring your own cooler and request for ice.

Lastly, the hotel room itself was very clean upon entering but the carpet felt somewhat wet. Maybe they steam cleaned the carpet. Not sure. Also, it doesn’t seem like house keeping checks the balcony area because there were dirty towels from previous people hanging on the balcony chairs.

I hope this review helps! We did really enjoy the overall stay though. FYI, this is an 18+ hotel spa so its perfect if you want some peace and quiet.

— Review by Lily Y.

Rancho Mirage

The Ritz-Carlton, Rancho Mirage

68900 Frank Sinatra Dr

$$$ • Hotels

It doesn’t get much better than this! Having read “the New Gold Standard” a book about Ritz Carlton creating a legendary customer service experience, I wondered can they really live up to all the hype. Could they really pull this off on a day to day routine with regular people like me? Not just the celebrities that may pass their way.

So my wife and I booked a room for one night to celebrate our 45th anniversary and we couldn’t be more pleased. To start, using their app, we received notification that our room was ready for us too check in at 10am! Since we only had one night this made a huge difference. To our surprise when we arrived they noted that I had an electric vehicle and offered to charge it for me free of charge! Upon checking in we were offered to come back after noon to receive a complimentary cocktail. Which we did and it was wonderful.

We enjoyed lunch at the State Fare which surprisingly was not more expensive than many other local places, and had a beautiful shrimp appetizer and salad. Oh and the best part was that the barkeep offered us a complimentary Amaretto Sour that was absolutely delish! Upon going to the pool the next morning we noticed that someone (later learned it was Alicia) had placed chilled water bottles on our lounge chairs while we were in the pool.

In short everything was perfect, and every attention to detail was provided with great genuine care and concern. Everyone addressed us by name and greeted us with warmly. We were treated like true guests in every respect.

— Review by Larry A.

Desert Hot Springs

Sea Mountain Nude Resort & Spa Hotel

66540 San Marcus Rd

$$$ • Day Spas, Dance Clubs, Nudist

This was my very first time being naked with strangers and I am  Absolutely In love! I’ve never felt more accepted and SEEN as a human in my life!  No one was looking at me and making me feel uncomfortable when they did look at me they looked at me in the eyes, it’s filled with respect and The energy is just  amazing.   i couldn’t stop smiling , laughing , and dancing. my heart felt completely full and I felt 100% at home!. Dewy is just  phenomenal.  has created the perfect environment  for everyone to feel safe, free and accepted. What happens at sea mountain stays at sea mountain , unless you don’t want it too 😉  what I loved most was how genuinely happy everyone was and how from the second you walk in you feel nothing but the  energy  of love. I left feeling like I could accomplish anything in life, i just felt so empowered, grounded and like I was reborn. Every hour or so dewy and a staff member would come to the pool and hot tub with a bottle offering sweet shots to everyone 21+ as they dance and sing, this is the perfect place to go if your new to everything and your a bit anxious. It’s very calm and so relaxing. I guarantee that you will love this place! I was honestly impressed by how many loyal customers I met today’, people from all around the world have traveled thousands of miles for years just to visit THIS sea mountains couple clothing optional hotel and spa in desert hot springs! That said a lot on its own.

— Review by Summer C.

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