L.A. designer Sarah Sherman Samuel loves a weekend escape to low-key but high-style Palm Springs. Here are her must-hit desert gems
8 Palm Springs Hot Spots, According to a Top L.A. Designer
Designer Sarah Sherman Samuel at Palm Springs’ Korakia Pensione


Two Bunch PalmsLocated just outside of town, this resort is home to a relaxing spa and tranquil mineral springs where you can soak in one of the two carved pools under a canopy of palm trees. We stayed here when I was 8 months pregnant, and a dip in the 99° water was simply perfect. 


Cheeky’sIf you are just passing through Palm Springs, you may never know to stop by this small breakfast spot. But it is no secret to the locals. You will most likely have to wait in line to get a table (first come, first serve—and it is always full), but it is worth it for the best brunch in town. The menu changes weekly, but the kale smoothie and the jalapeño bacon are ALWAYS a good idea. 


Cheeky’s sister spot, Birba, is my favorite watering hole in town. Its open-air dining, twinkle lights, and a drink called the Heated Snake have me returning again and again and again. 

Ernest CoffeeGet your morning coffee (they serve Stumptown) or a happy hour bubbly at this darling cafe. 

Thomas J. Story

Chester Moorten was one of silent film’s original Keystone Kops. But when the silents went bust, he retreated to the desert to start a nursery, acquiring a new profession that matched his nick­name “Cactus Slim.” Today Chester’s son, Clark, is in charge of a stunning collection of more than 3,000 species of cactus and other desert-adapted plants. The garden doesn’t take itself too
seriously—kitschy knickknacks mingle with the plants, and a sign directs you to the “World’s First Cactarium”—a made-up term for the greenhouse. As for Clark Moorten, he pretends to be as bristly as his cactus collection but is ready to talk plants to anyone who will listen. One good story: That sideways-growing palm is the result of a lightning strike in the 1950s. $5; closed Wed; 1701 S. Palm Canyon Dr., Palm Springs; moortengarden.com. 


Moorten Botanical Garden
Looking for cactus heaven? This is it. I love to stroll through this peaceful garden to check out all the different varieties of cactus and get some major landscaping inspo. Learn more about this garden—and six more desert stunners—on sunset.com.

Palm Springs Aerial TramwayFor gorgeous panoramic views overlooking Palm Springs and the San Jacinto Mountains, you can jump on the aerial tramway for a 10-minute ride up to 8,500 feet! While at the top, take a hike—or just grab a drink a the Lookout Lounge. Either way, bring a coat! 


Korakia PensioneThis gem of a place will have you feeling like you’ve been transported somewhere along the Mediterranean. Various cozy bungalows and cottages are sprinkled throughout the property along with two pools and a lounge area where movies are played each night for viewing under the stars. 

The AmadoIf you are looking for a classic midcentury-modern hotel to rest your head, book a stay at the Amado. The boutique hotel has only six bedrooms, and each one is designed to let the modern architecture shine. 

And for the latest hot spot in Palm Springs, be sure to visit our 2017 Idea House. Tours in October and November will showcase the ultra-modern design with its expansive views of Palm Springs, breathtaking outdoor entertaining spaces, and all-new smart home technology.


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