On our January cover: designer Sarah Sherman Samuel at Palm Springs' Korakia Pensione. (Thomas J. Story/Sunset Publishing)

Sarah Sherman Samuel loves a weekend escape to low-key Palm Springs. From a mineral-springs spa to jalapeño bacon, get her desert gems.

Sarah Sherman Samuel  – December 10, 2015

On our January cover: designer Sarah Sherman Samuel at Palm Springs’ Korakia Pensione. (Thomas J. Story/Sunset Publishing)

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—for more, follow us on @sunsetmag as Samuel takes over our Instagram feed the week of December 14.

The Grotto, a mineral-waters pool at Two Bunch Palms (Sarah Sherman Samuel)

LoungeTwo 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. twobunchpalms.com

EatCheeky’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. cheekysps.com

SipBirbaCheeky’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. birbaps.com

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

A greenhouse collection at the Moorten Botanical Garden. (Sarah Sherman Samuel)

GoMoorten Botanical GardenLooking 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.commoortenbotanicalgarden.com 

High above the Coachella Valley, the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway ascends Mt. San Jacinto. (Sarah Sherman Samuel)

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! pstramway.com

SleepKorakiaThis 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. korakia.com

One of the pools at Korakia Pensione, a Moroccan-inspired B&B. (Sarah Sherman Samuel)

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. theamado.com