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Bucket Listers’ Ultimate Coachella Valley Guide

The insider’s guide to staying, dining and playing in Coachella Valley. 🏨🍽️🌴🌵

by Los Angeles Bucket List

 

Henno Martin said “the magic of the dessert is hard to define,” but we’re spending this article trying! 

Coachella Valley is an arid rift valley in the Colorado Desert of SoCal, often called “Greater Palm Springs.”

Nestled between the awe-inspiring San Jacinto and Santa Rosa mountains, there’s room to wonder and wander among the lush palm trees, hidden waterfalls, blooming brittlebush and blazing desert sunsets. Around the world it’s known as home to the great Coachella Valley Music Festival, but its nine cities have far more to offer for adventurers, social butterflies, holistic health seekers and serenity seekers.

Below is our guide of some of the best hotels to stay at (whether you’re looking for pool parties or a deeply healing retreat), hikes through twisted desert canyons, soaks in mineral hot springs and organic Californian fare. Whatever your seeking for your Greater Palm Springs journey, we’ve got an option below:

HOTEL: Nurturing Nest Mineral Hot Springs


A tranquil retreat lies nestled against the magnificent San Jacinto/San Gorgonio mountains. The Nest is minutes away from Morongo Bird Sanctuary and Joshua Tree National Park–and specializes in holistic wellness and spa treatments, plus stunning natural mineral pools.

Amenities + Services:

Day use of mineral pools is available from 11 AM—7 PM for $25 per person for 2 hours of use. (Call for availability.) 

Spa: An array of single purchase spa treatments.

Where: 1149 Sunset Ave, Desert Hot Springs, CA 92240
For more information on Nurturing Nest Mineral Hot Springs

HOTEL: Margaritaville Resort Palm Springs


The lively Margaritaville is the perfect blend of poolside parties and fanciful relaxation. A 10-minute drive will take you to three golf courses. Inside are two pools with spa tubs, and the largest resort spa in Palm’s Spring, open to guests and the public. The 5 o’Clock Somewhere pool is always popping and serving frozen cocktails, plus weekly live music outside the JWB grill—while the Lone Palm pool is a quieter affair. 

Amenities + Services:

Cabana and Day bed rentals available; with cabanas seating up to 10 people with a TV, cabinet and cooler. Mon—Thurs the cabanas are $250, and Fri—Sat are $500.

Eat + Drink: Six island-inspired bars and eateries onsite, providing upscale eats, cheeseburgers in paradise or signature frozen concoctions.

St. Somewhere’s Spa: Palm Springs’ largest resort spa, open to guests and the public. 

Where: 1600 North Indian Canyon Drive
For more information on The Margaritaville Resort.

HOTEL: JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort and Spa


Taglined “one resort - 100 adventures,” the JW Marriott Desert Springs is a full experience. Recharge in their reimagined hotel rooms, take a dip in one of five pools, test your swing at one of two championship golf courses or play a set on the tennis courts! You can also enjoy pampering at the day spa, or maybe you’re seeking some family friendly fun? Don’t trip, their family package includes flamingo feedings, root beer floats and snow cone specials, game nights, and much more! 

Amenities + Services:

The Spa: Array of therapeutic messages, ayurvedic treatments and saltwater lap pool sessions. Patrons can reserve a package for a day of rejuvenation. 

Eat + Drink: Ten resort dining outlets, varying between casual poolside bites/golf course snacks, to five-course tasting menus. For innovative cuisine with a stunning pool and skyline view, we recommend the crowd-pleasing Rockwood Grill to start.

Where: 74-855 Country Club Dr, Palm Desert, CA 92260
For more information on the JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort and Spa.

HOTEL: Ace Hotel and Swim Club Palm Springs


The Ace oozes effortless rustic style, is located near shopping and golfing opportunities, hosts local darling bar Amigo Room and two vibrant swimming pools, and live DJs each weekend!  The Ace also hosts a Full Moon Party every month to celebrate the full moon with tarot card readings, free dancing and more.

Amenities + Services:

Spa: The award-winning Feel Good Spa focuses on organic botanicals with natural ingredients.

Eat + Drink: The King’s Highway is a refined “roadside diner” that pays homage to the open West (with an excellent coffee bar and breakfast entrees), and the cave-like hideaway bar we mentioned, the Amigo Room, is a local favorite for the best craft cocktails in town.

Where: 701 E Palm Canyon Dr, Palm Springs, CA 92264
For more information on Ace Hotel and Swim Club Palm Springs.

HOTEL: The Saguaro Palm Springs


The color-dipped Saguaro Palm Springs offers a vibrant pool party scene with weekend DJs and a pool bar stocked with all-day snacks, plus fresh fruit punches and boozy frozen drinks. Mexican street food brunch and dinner are served at El Jefe, where tequila flows from their rustic, stylish cocktail bar. 

Amenities + Services:

Pool day and evening passes are available with poolside drink and food service for $60, or patrons can join the Saguaro Social Club’s annual membership for $400 for unlimited pool and fitness center access, weekend yoga and some other goodies. 

Daybeds and Cabana rentals are available for $100—200.

The Saguaro Spa: Achievable classics like manicures and traditional facials, plus deep tissue massage options.

Eat + Drink: At El Jefe Desert Cantina has tacos on the lawn, fresh fruit margaritas, daily happy hour, and serves in-room dining. And coming soon: El Jefe’s NEW speakeasy will roll out with seasonal cocktails and late-night bites!

Where: 1800 E Palm Canyon Dr, Palm Springs, CA 92264

For more information on The Saguaro Palm Springs.

HOTEL: Bellevue Oasis


Amongst the lush green palms, in the heart of the desert with views of the San Jacinto mountains, lies an adults-only, serene retreat space. You’ll still be close to the action—5 minutes from downtown Palm Springs—but you can also spend all your time in the turquoise private pool and the high-vaulted, sophisticated 1950’s interior.

Amenities + Services:
The bellevue has a private pool and jacuzzi, available mini golf and bike rentals.

Where: 641 E San Lorenzo Rd
For more information on Bellevue Oasis.

HOTEL: Kimpton Rowan Palm Springs


The newly minted Kimpton Rowan answers the essential question: where’s the best place to see the sunset in Coachella Valley? Answer: Kimpton's rooftop pool—which is the only one in the area! Plus, floor to ceiling window views of the San Jacinto mountains, chef-forward mediterranean plates at 4 Saints, and poolside drinks at the High Bar—all make the Kimpton a must-see.

Amenities + Services:

Rooftop pool with Private Cabanas Rentals. Rent a Daytime Cabana from 10 AM—5 PM for up to 6, with an included bottle of bubbly and seasonal fruit bowl, for $350 during the weekday and $450 on weekends. Rent an evening cabana any day for $300. 

Eat + Drink: Mediterranean small plates at 4 Saints and fresh cafe eats at Juniper Table, with in-room dining also available. Craft cocktails at intimate Window Bar and rooftop High Bar.

Spa: In-room spa services.

Where: 100 W Tahquitz Canyon Way, Palm Springs
For more information on Kimpton Rowan Palm Springs.

HOTEL: The Colony Palms Hotel and Bungalows


The Colony Palms Hotel has a rich history in Palm Springs playing host to Hollywood’s elite. Set in a stucco building dating from 1936, this glam hotel is just a block from the mid-century modern furniture shops, and boasts bright guest rooms, claw-foot bathtubs,outdoor whirlpool tubs, croquet and mountain views. A stylish, fine-dining restaurant offers poolside lunches.

Amenities + Services: 

The Spa: Holistic treatments and a diverse selection of massages, body wraps and facials with organic ingredients. 

Eat + Drink: The Colony Club is their signature restaurant, with a sophisticated California fare, art deco glamor, and pool and mountain views.

Where: 572 N. Indian Canyon Drive, Palm Springs, CA 92262
For more information on the Colony Palms Hotel and Bungalows.

RESTAURANT: Mr. Lyons


Slip into the inky green booths of this modern steakhouse, and dine on their classic prime New York steak, rich creamed spinach, and of course—their signature Mr. Lyon’s burger with bacon jam. And if you’re feeling fancy, add an icy gin cocktail from the intimate speakeasy hidden behind Mr. Lyons: Seymour’s.  

Where: 233 E. Palm Canyon Dr.

Hours: Wed—Sun: 5 PM—10 PM
For more information on Mr. Lyons Steakhouse.

RESTAURANT: Farm


Farm is a traditional Provencal-style, rustic chic restaurant in the historic downtown Plaza, tucked away from traffic. Their elegant menu is full with locally sourced produce and artisanal meats, French-pressed coffees, and house-made jam. Take a seat in the garden patio and taste their hyper-local, handmade meals to feel transported to the French countryside.

Where: 415 N Palm Canyon Dr, Palm Springs

Hours: Breakfast and Lunch Daily, 8 AM—2 PM, Dinner: Fri.—Thurs.: 5:30 PM—9:30 PM.
For more information on FARM.

RESTAURANT: Boozehounds


The name says it all: Boozehounds is a dog friendly restaurant and cabana bar, with an expansive patio, atrium, and lounge/dining room to hold everyone comfortably. Enjoy daily happy hour and dinner service, plus brunch on the weekends with your four legged friends—along with mountain views, specialty beers, and a delicious SoCal menu with a global touch. 

Where: 2080 N Palm Canyon Dr

Hours: Sun: 10 AM—10 PM, Mon—Thurs: 2—10 PM, Fri—Sat: 10 AM—11 PM.
For more information on Boozehounds.

RESTAURANT: Jake’s


Welcome to Jake’s! This Palm Springs staple (especially for weekend brunch), has been serving the community for over 15 years with a variety of elevated-comfort food. This includes clever cocktails—i.e. the mezcal rum on the rocks “My Favorite Tia,” “Heroin Margaritas” and the Gray Goose vodka “The Vaccine”—brunches made of waffle sandwiches and plentiful scrambles, and Po’Boy filled lunches. 

Where: 664 N Palm Canyon Dr., Palm Springs

Hours:  

  • Tues—Thurs: 11 AM - 2:45 PM, Dinner 5 PM - 8:45 PM, 
  • Fri: Lunch 11 AM - 2:45 PM, Dinner 5:30 PM - 9:45 PM, 
  • Sat: Brunch 10:00 AM - 2:45 PM, Dinner 5:30 PM - 9:45 PM, 
  • Sunday: Brunch 10 AM - 2:45 PM

For more information on Jake’s.

RESTAURANT: EIGHT4NINE


Serving patrons in a 9,000 sq foot former post office, with contemporary design and modern West Coast menu, EIGHT4NINE is making waves as a new addition to the Design District. (It’s even already made it onto the local Pride best-eats list.) Come for the sleek design, stay for the amazing sandwiches—trust us.

Where: 849 Palm Canyon Dr.

Hours: Mon—Thursday: 11AM–2PM, 5–9PM, Fri—Sat: 11 AM—2 PM, 5—10 PM, Sun: 10 AM—3PM, 5—10 PM.
For more information on EIGHT4NINE.

TO DO: Living Desert Zoo and Gardens


SoCal never slouches when it comes to gardens and Zoos, and the Living Desert is no exception. Representing the deserts of the world, visit over 500 animals, a botanical garden and the newly opened Rhino Savanna, which houses two black rhinos: Nia and Jaali (pronounced Jolly).

Where: 47900 Portola Ave

Hours: Open daily, 8 AM—5 PM.
For more information on the Living Desert Zoo and Gardens.

TO DO: The Street Fair at College of the Desert


For over 36 years, the famed Street Fair has offered thousands of items for sale from artisans, home goods, fashion, furniture, gourmet food—even vintage cars! Grab an Italian Ice and wander the stalls a bit to find your hidden gem.

Where: 43-500 Monterey Avenue  Palm Desert

Hours: Sat—Sun 8 AM—2 PM
For more information on the CODAA Street Fair.

TO DO: Fantasy Springs Resort Casino


For a fun little escape, try your luck at the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino! This stunning casino features 30 “Best of Gaming” awards from Casino Player magazine, and 2,000 of the slots and world-class table games. Plus, you can dance off any losses at their free outdoor amphitheater concerts after. 

Where: 84-245 Indio Springs Pkwy

Hours: 24 Hours Daily.
For more information on the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino.

TO DO: Palm Springs Art Museum


Modern, innovative and stunning collections from the 19th—21st century await your perusing at the Palm Springs Art Museum. This includes two sculpture gardens, a 433-seat Annenberg Theater, and a charming cafe and museum store to boot. While GA tickets are a reasonable $14, visitors are welcome Thursday evenings for free admissions!

Where: 101 Museum Dr Palm Springs 

Hours: Mon. 10 AM—5 PM, Thurs.-Sat. 10 AM—5 PM
For more information on Palm Springs Art Museum.

TO DO: Indian Canyons


The Indian Canyons—the ancestral home of the Native American tribe Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, comprises the Andreas Canyon, Murray Canyon and Palm Canyon. Each is filled with cascading waterfalls, indigenous flora and fauna, lush mountain trails and pristine wilderness. Visitors can come to meditate, picnic, hike or horseback ride the various trails throughout the canyons, plus visit the Palm Canyon Trading Post for native art and artifacts. 

Where: 38520 S Palm Canyon Dr

Hours: Daily, 8 AM—4 PM
For more information on Indian Canyons.

TO DO: Sunny Dunes Antique Mall


For all the twinkling vintage gems of the desert, Sunny Dunes is the Coachella Valley’s one-stop shop. Wander the labyrinth of rooms and discover your newest treasure. This mall houses over 40 indie shops with items from around the world, ranging from art, books, vintage collectibles, jewelry, pottery, and much more. 

Where: 507 E Sunny Dunes

Hours: Open daily, 10 AM—5 PM
For more information on the Sunny Dunes Antique Mall.

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