This past weekend Matt and I took a much-needed vacation to Palm Springs. And today, I’m sharing everything we did during our Palm Springs weekend including where we stayed and ate, plus other fun little Palm Springs “must-do’s” while you’re in town.
In case you missed it, I announced yesterday a brand new monthly series through the end of the year called The Road Trip Series. You can read all about it in this post, but long story short, we’ll be visiting a new Covid-friendly road trip destination every month and I’ll be sharing the experience here with you.
Without further delay, here are the details of our Palm Springs weekend!
Where we Stayed for Our Palm Springs Weekend
In my opinion, Palm Springs has three main types of accommodations: trendy, stylish hotels like The Parker or Ace; Airbnb homes great for group travel; and small boutique hotels that fall somewhere between the bigger hotels and private rental.
They’re all great for different reasons but usually have one thing in common: Palm Springs is mid-century and design gold. Given that I wanted something quiet (and away from crowds), we opted for the boutique hotel option at Les Cactus. It’s also a 21+ hotel, so in general I felt like the “crowd” here was purposefully staying here to relax and also be away from others.
Les Cactus provided a complimentary weekend stay for us, but all opinions in this post are my own.
Les Cactus is a 27-room, single-level hotel with a pool at its center. It’s a pink and green dream, located on a quiet street with plenty of parking. They also allow dogs with a $100 cleaning fee, so we took Audrey with us! (Be sure to check the website for weight restrictions.)
We stayed in the “comfortable” room, and it was exactly that! It had plenty of space but also contained a mini kitchenette with counter space, a sink, and a fridge. The updated bathroom didn’t have sink storage, but long open shelves ran the length of the closet/dressing area to stow toiletries, etc.
The bed was comfy, as were the pillows. The rooms are minimally yet perfectly decorated, with small accents like a rattan mirror or chair that play up natural wood tones of the furniture.
However, the real interior lover’s dream is the lobby of Les Cactus. The lobby is kind of like a clubhouse, with different open rooms that connect into others, with chairs, a piano, and a pink fireplace. This place is CUTE and the front desk staff couldn’t have been more friendly and encouraging for photo-taking.
Palm Springs in July is extremely hot (upwards of 100 degrees, even at night) and so if you’re coming in the summer, be sure you have access to a pool. It’s really all you can do outside during this time. The pool at Les Cactus is small, but it never felt overly crowded since it’s a smaller property to begin with, and the other guests were quiet. Both pools days were relaxing.
Our Hotel Experience During COVID-19
Les Cactus, I thought, did a great job at making us feel comfortable during our Palm Springs weekend.
The check in desk had a guard up, every staff member wore a mask, and masks were required in all public spaces. They even had extra masks in a bowl at the counter in case you needed one, and plenty of hand sanitizer.
The only time you could remove your mask was at the pool, and the chairs were laid out pretty sparingly to keep the 6 feet distance. Like I mentioned, the other guests were super respectful, and some even moved further away. All in all, everyone staying the weekend really made it work, which was nice.
I also noticed visible sanitizing happening with the lounge chairs after people would leave for the day.
Matt and I brought our own wipes and wiped down handles and surfaces upon our arrival, and opted to not have anyone clean our room, which is something we’ll continue to do on future road trips
Normally Les Cactus provides a traditional continental breakfast (per their website), but creatively modified it to the cutest takeaway picnic baskets available from 8-10am. I actually really loved this idea, and hope they keep it beyond the pandemic!
Where We Ate
Since our breakfast was included thanks to our picnic baskets, we only had a couple of dinners and lunches to think about.
Restaurant options and seating is very limited right now, and many places require reservations. Make reservations prior to your trip.
On Friday night we went to Trio Palm Springs and had our first dine-in experience since March. It felt so nice to sit at a table and not have to cook food! The hostess was great and sat us as far away from others as possible, but in general I did feel like the tables were spread further than the 6 feet minimum to make patrons feel more comfortable.
Matt and I split the wedge salad, and the dressing as so could I honestly wanted to drink the reminder from my plate. For the main course, I wanted a good old’ burger, and Matt got the lamb shank. My burger was a good, solid burger, and Matt raved about his entrée. Officially, he said, “It was delicious.” (The photos below aren’t the best since it was nighttime!)
We spent Saturday by the pool; Matt picked up sandwiches from a spot called The Real Italian Deli. In lieu of ordering a custom sandwich on the spot, they had freshly pre-made sandwiches ready to go. We split a caprese sandwich and the Parma sandwich with pesto. YUM. The pesto tasted homemade, and the sandwiches were a great no-fuss lunch for lounging by the pool.
There is an amazing milkshake spot in Downtown Palm Springs called Great Shakes. You must go and get a milkshake. It’s the only thing that’ll properly cool you down aside from a pool. I got the Oreo with caramel swirl’ Matt got butter pecan.
For Saturday’s dinner, we opted for takeout to eat on our private patio. Any time it’s hot, I always crave Mexican food, so we had street tacos and chips/salsa from Tac/Quila. We ordered the chicken tacos and carnitas tacos. Both were good, but Matt and I definitely preferred the carnitas over the chicken.
What We Did During Our Palm Springs Weekend
Although the days were spent by the pool and restaurants were limited, we still managed to hit a couple of cute shops and drive through the city.
There are lots of home stores and art galleries, so make sure to walk downtown Palm Springs. (We walked up and down a couple of blocks, then drove the car to another location since it was so hot.)
Here are a few shopping highlights:
A collective of multiple stores in one, The Shops at Thirteen Forty Five houses multiple vendors ranging from clothing to pottery, furniture, and home décor.
The artist, nicknamed Shag, creates retro, super colorful pieces of art that are so quintessential Palm Springs. Although his pieces don’t match our LA home, they’re super fun to look at, and the store is worth a visit.
If you’re looking for a quirky shop that sells crystals, sage, and kitchenware, then Thick as Thieves is your spot. I loved this store. It’s tiny, but well curated with cute home accents you can’t get at your average shop.
The Moorten Botanical Garden was closed, but I’ve seen the pictures and it looks amazing. It houses thousands of desert plants from around the world with a nursery with plants for purchase.
My favorite thing to do in Palm Springs, without a doubt though, is tour the neighborhoods. Palm Springs is a mid-century modern lover’s paradise. In fact, I think anyway who has any type of appreciation for design and architecture would love these homes. They’re retro gems, all with characteristics unique to their respective architects and a give you a glimpse into the past.
You can easily Google “Palm Springs architecture map” and a dozen will pop up. We went with this article from Medium. It breaks down the historical significance of many of the homes, from architects to building styles. We saw Marilyn Monroe’s House, Elvis’ honeymoon house he rented with Priscilla, and lots of other gems. You can really picture what life felt like through the 50s and 60s. Half the time I expected a man in a suit to come out the front door despite 115 degree weather.
You really don’t need a ton of time to experience Palm Springs, as it’s overall a pretty small city. I highly recommend Les Cactus if you’re looking for a small, boutique experience. Even if you don’t follow a map, spend an hour or so getting lost in the neighborhoods. I hope you enjoyed reading about our Palm Springs weekend!
Stay tuned for our next stop on The Road Trip Series – Joshua Tree!