Follow in the footsteps of the Rat Pack, and choose Palm Desert as the base for your luxurious Coachella Valley escape. Just 100 miles east of LA, this palm-filled desert oasis is renowned for its award-winning golf courses, lavish resorts, world-class retail hubs, and upscale fine-dining scene. Discover all this and more on your next Palm Desert getaway, with TripAdvisor’s pick of luxury experiences not to miss.
1. Buy one-of-a-kind art at CODA Gallery
A landmark on El Paseo for more than three decades, the state-of-the-art CODA Gallery boasts one of the most impressive fine art collections in the city. Look out for sculptures by emerging artists at this Palm Desert icon, before browsing the numerous other galleries – including Elena Bulatova – that you’ll find dotted along the street.
2. Spend the whole day poolside at Embarc
Unwind in peace in the adult-only outdoor pools and hot tubs, or sit out by the fireplace on your patio, at Embarc; where facilities are specially designed for grown-ups – and to make the most of Palm Desert’s year-round sunshine. Spend the whole day poolside and then fire up the BBQ, before enjoying a tranquil night’s sleep in a huge one-bedroom suite.
3. Tee off in style at the award-winning Desert Willow Golf Resort
Home to more than 100 private, semi-private and public courses, golfers are spoilt for choice in the Coachella Valley; often referred to as the “golf capital of the world.” Soak in the spectacular views and test your skills at Palm Desert’s award-winning Desert Willow Golf Resort, named one of Golf Digest’s “Best Places to Play.”
4. Reserve box seats at McCallum Theater
For an evening of world-class live performance, book the best seats in the house at the McCallum Theatre for the Performing Arts. From Broadway musicals to dance, this state-of-the-art facility rivals the best in the world; with fantastic acoustics, intimate seating, and a diverse program that caters to every taste.
5. Browse upscale department stores at The Gardens on El Paseo
Known as the “Rodeo Drive of the Desert,” Palm Desert’s mile-long El Paseo is a fashionista’s paradise. For all things high-end, head straight for The Gardens on El Paseo, a 200,000-square-foot alfresco retail center, filled with high-end department stores, chic boutiques, and luxury designer labels. Stock up on the latest season’s trends as you stroll in the sunshine; bliss!
6. Get a head-to-toe makeover at J. Russell! The Salon
Covering more than 10,000 square feet, and featuring close to 50 stations and treatment rooms, J. Russell! The Salon is Palm Desert’s ultimate destination for a memorable, head-to-toe makeover. Let its team of cutting-edge hairstylists, nail technicians, skin estheticians, and makeup artists, give you a whole new look; and leave feeling better than ever.
7. Choose a new statement piece at Leeds & Son
The most renowned fine jewelry store in the Palm Springs area, Leeds & Son is home to the most exquisite pieces money can buy; plus a great-value collection of luxury brand, pre-owned watches. Whether you’re on the hunt for a Chanel statement piece, or a Rolex that says it all, you’re sure to find it amongst the fantastic collection here.
8. Upgrade your airport transfer with Shuttle Me Five Star
Let Shuttle Me Five Star get you to the airport, amusement park, or even Hollywood in style, with their extensive fleet of luxury Suburbans, sedan town cars, and Mercedes Benz Sprinters. Covering the entire Palm Springs area, this top-rated transport company has been in business for over 15 years, and its great-value rates make it easy to travel like royalty.
9. Sleep surrounded by abstract art at Hotel Paseo
Nominated for Best New Hotel 2019 by readers of USA Today, Hotel Paseo is one of Palm Desert’s most stylish places to stay, with a cutting-edge fitness centre, state-of-the-art spa, and its very own gallery, filled with mid century abstract art. Relax on the balcony of your hip guest room before bed, and be sure to rise early for free yoga classes on the lawn!
10. Enjoy premier golf for less at Palm Desert Country Club
Offering premier golf at affordable prices, Palm Desert Country Club has been Coachella Valley’s leading public golf course for over 50 years. Make the most of reduced prices after 2pm, and enjoy a round or two on its lush, double-wide fairways, backed by mountains. Plus, splash out on a professional private lesson, for an extra treat.
11. See the sunrise over the desert on a Hot Air Balloon ride
Climb aboard a private Balloons Above charter for a bird’s eye-view you’ll never forget. Covering up to 30 miles, the 90-minute flight offers an unparalleled panorama of the desertscape below; including famous natural landmark, the San Andreas earthquake fault. Launching just before sunrise or sunset, you’ll feel like the luckiest souls on earth!
12. Pack a gourmet picnic for Concerts in the Park
Pack a gourmet picnic, lie out on the expansive lawn, and watch the sun slip below the mountains at Civic Center Park, before taking a seat in the amphitheater for an evening of world-class music. Free ‘Concerts in the Park’ are held every Thursday evening, through May and October, featuring top talent from some of North America’s best bands.
13. Dine in hacienda-style elegance at Jillian’s
Winner of numerous accolades, including the Wine Spectator ‘Award of Excellence,’ Jillian’s has been delighting diners in Palm Desert since 1994. Take your pick from its four intimate dining rooms, filled with antiques and flowers; or dine outside in the cozy courtyard; and feast on freshly-made pastas, seafood and more – surrounded by elegant, old-world history.
14. Be pampered to oblivion at JW Marriott Resort & Spa
With two golf courses, a top-rated wellness center, beautifully-manicured grounds, and a selection of renowned restaurants on site, there’s no need to ever leave the JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort & Spa. Book a whole day of treatments at its five-star spa, and let its talented team of therapists pamper you into oblivion.
15. Visit movie star homes with Palm Springs Celebrity Tours
Visiting with big fans of Hollywood? Treat fellow movie buffs to a memorable Palm Springs Celebrity Tour, packed full of history, the latest Tinseltown gossip, and the chance to ogle at more than 50 A-lister homes. Complete with your own guide and transport, this private tour will get you closer to the stars than ever.
16. Give your pup the royal treatment at Venus de Fido
Spread a little luxury your pooch’s way and let the Italian-themed Venus de Fido give your four-legged friend a taste of the royal treatment. Part dog groomers, part wellness spa, part fitness center; this huge, one-of-a-kind venue has something for everyone. Unwind in its unique salt cave as your pup gets a makeover; then stroll together through the climate-controlled park.
17. Sit runway-side at Fashion Week El Paseo
Don’t miss the largest fashion week on the west coast, right at the heart of Palm Desert! Fashion Week El Paseo (March 16-23, 2019) has been showcasing the hottest international design talent for years; and its star-studded runway shows, celebrity meet-and-greets, and cocktail receptions, are the ultimate opportunity to mingle with the couture-crowd.
18. Celebrate a special occasion at La Spiga
Looking for the perfect Palm Desert venue to celebrate a special occasion? Book a dining gazebo at La Spiga, set in a stunning Tuscan-style villa surrounded by rose gardens and fruit trees. Set outside on a wraparound patio, the setting is magical, the mountain views are spectacular, and the cuisine – seasoned with herbs from the garden – is exquisite.
19. Mingle with the A-list at the Palm Springs International Film Festival
One of the largest film festivals on the continent, the renowned Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) draws more than 100,000 attendees each year. Get tickets to its celebrated feature and documentary screenings; and keep watch for the likes of Cate Blanchett and George Clooney on the red carpet.
20. Book a 90-minute vacation photoshoot with Flytographer
Make like the A-list on your Palm Desert vacation, with a personalized 90-minute photoshoot, booked through Flytographer. Whether you want to capture your time on the fairways, visiting the area’s most iconic sights, or dining in style at a top-rated restaurant; magical backdrops abound in Palm Desert. Let your personal photographer immortalize them all!