The coolest places to visit in the iconic desert city.

Sensei Porcupine Creek Pool
Sensei Porcupine Creek. Photo by Chris Simpson

Not long ago, Palm Springs hotels came in two flavors: gracious Spanish revival and on-the-nose (if a bit campy) mid-century modern. But today a new era of hotel openings and restorations honors the innovation of the mid-twentieth century while pushing into the future of hospitality. A cadre of architects and designers are breathing life into a region that has defined luxury living, honoring the bold colors, bright patterns, and natural habitat that made desert design so unique, and giving new vision to the term desert chic. 

Here is the best of a new crop of Palm Springs hotels and wellness retreats that may tempt you to actually move here. 

Azure Sky 

Azure Sky Hotel Lobby

Sheva Kafai

Originally created in 1959 by Cioffi Architect and built by Hoffman Steel, Azure Sky is marked by the quintessential breeze block walls seen across the low desert. The original forms of the hotel were thoughtfully restored by hospitality group Lightning Bar, whose master carpenters crafted floating wooden beds, accent walls, and wood-and-mirror banding in the lobby. The bouclé swivel chairs and muted earth tones give it all a 1970s rec room meets Japanese ryokan vibe that somehow works. 

Hermann Bungalows 

Palm Springs Hermann Bungalows

Jim Bartsch

This luxury resort-within-a-resort, located inside the L’Horizon Resort & Spa built by William F. Cody, was designed with a nod to Richard Neutra and mid-century modernism. Its 24 spacious rooms are adorned with walnut walls, Venetian terrazzo floors, and custom furniture, giving the feel of an upscale home-away-from-home rather than a hotel. Each room features a private backyard and patio, giving guests an intimate connection to the stunning Southern California landscape. The sun-shelf pool is the perfect place to recline while watching the sun set over the San Jacintos before heading over to the hotel’s noteworthy (and very exclusive) alfresco restaurant, SO-PA 

Fleur Noire 

Hotel Fleur Noire

Courtesy of the Elevation Creative Agency

Experience the super bloom year-round at this modern mix of casitas and studios whose exteriors have been hand-painted with large-scale floral murals by renowned artist Ouize. Built in the 1940s as Burket’s Trade Winds Hotel, Fleure Noire features a contemporary native plant garden that provides a striking contrast to the eye-popping oversize artworks. Instead of sticking to the classic Spanish-style aesthetic, Fleur Noire adds a splash of French flair with a poolside rosé bar and moody floral wallpapers by Ellie Cashman. There are plenty of playful amenities on offer, too. Think baby-pink beach cruisers, life-size chessboards, and, of course, cornhole, making it a perfect spot to post up for festival season and beyond. 

The Paloma 

Palm Springs The Paloma Patio Bar

Courtesy of The Paloma

Originally opened in 1920 by two enterprising women, this delightful property boasts a just-right blend of the Spanish Revival and modernist architecture that the area has become known for. The vibrant, date-tree-dotted hotel situated just south of downtown has been thoughtfully restored to include Sol y Sombra, a Spanish restaurant inside the adobe main building, as well as a poolside bar where you can indulge in a frosty version of their eponymous cocktail, the paloma, made with tequila, fresh grapefruit juice, and agave.  

The Spa at Séc-he

Spa at Sec-He

Courtesy of the Spa at Sec-he

Palm Springs has long been known as a modern self-care oasis, with more than 25 destination spa resorts featuring the latest trends in health and wellness. But long before the area drew Hollywood celebs and in-the-know jetsetters, the Cahuilla Indians revered the hot, mineral-rich waters that spring up from a robust natural underground aquifer. The Spa at Séc-he will bring the ancient healing waters of the Agua Caliente Hot Mineral Spring to the public when it debuts in 2023 alongside the Agua Caliente Cultural Center, a 48,000-square-foot museum that is poised to be the hub of cultural tourism honoring indigenous tribes in California. It’s a welcome addition to the landscape, and a step in the right direction toward healing in many senses for the region. 

Serenity at Sensei 

Sensei Porcupine Creek Yoga Pavillion

Noah Webb

The world melts away at Sensei Porcupine Creek, the new 230-acre wellness retreat founded by Larry Ellison and David Agus, a world-leading physician and scientist. Their second location after Sensei Lāna’i, the desert property in Rancho Mirage focuses on integrating mindset, nutrition, fitness, and more. It’s the ultimate antidote to the hurried outside world and a bucket-list destination for a spa lover. 

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