The Saguaro hotel, the newest stay in Palm Springs, has a wild style all its own. Its palette is loud, the entrance has swagger, and the rooms are a rainbow of saturated shades from neon lime to screaming yellow to the orangest orange you’ve ever seen. Named after the cactus of the Sonoran Desert, The Saguaro (which is pronounced suh-gwarh-oh), boasts more than a dozen colorful tones found in native desert wildflowers. The hotel feels fresh, fun, energetic, and one might even say ‘happy.’ Opened in February 2012, the 245-room Saguaro Palm Springs lies just outside town, down the street from the trendy Ace Hotel. The Saguaro was formerly a Holiday Inn (if you can believe it), but has been completely renovated with a spirited splash and injected with new vibrant life.
For dining during your stay, be sure to try Tinto wine bar and restaurant at the Saguaro. It is run by celebrity chef Jose Garces and brings a modern spin to tapas. Tinto is inspired by the culinary Basque region of Northern Spain and Southern France. Recommendations include the La Bruja tequila cocktail that has a spicy kick, and the Cheese Mixto is an irresistible selection of three cheeses, acacia honey and membrillo. Other standout tapas choices include the Artichoke Vegetable dish with baby artichokes, fresh pappardelle, lemon and idiazabal. For Pintxos tapas, the range includes Crab to Chicken to Tuna Tartare, so pick according to your foodie flavor. Finally, for dessert, you must finish with the sweet Bunuelos mini-sized donuts. Tinto has a lovely ambiance and intimate design.
Also on the menu at the Saguaro Palm Springs is the retreat of the boutique-size Saguaro Spa. A unique signature treatment to try at the Spa is the Desert Essence Poultice Massage—a pressure-point massage coupled with the moist heat of wild crafted desert herbal compresses. The 90-minute massage is stimulating to the senses and soothing to the body.
With both the spa and fine dining at the hotel, the Saguaro Palm Springs offers a complete experience for guests. Plus, there are often DJ-hosted pool parties (where even at the pool, you’re drenched in color cornucopia of pink towels, yellow lounge chairs, orange tables and more). Additionally, the Saguaro has an upstairs event space, and, as you can imagine, the scene can be set as intensely hued as you’d like.
Ask For The Top Floor
The Saguaro Palm Springs is the second in an expanding collection of Saguaro hotels managed by Joie de Vivre Hotels, following the opening of The Saguaro Scottsdale in November 2011. An insider tip to your Saguaro Palm Springs stay: request the top floor —– while the Saguaro’s color scheme is concentrated, the ceiling and walls are a bit thin (perhaps due to the original bones of the 1977 construction). Many at the very social Saguaro aren’t there for R and R though; this is the desert and people want to party. Special room packages are always available at the very affordable Saguaro, including the Hot and Blonde.
While not lounging poolside at the hotel, you’ll want to hit town to take in the sights. The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway is just one of those things you must do, or do again. It transports you 2.5 miles up into the mountains aboard the World’s Largest Rotating Tramcars. The lush, crisp wilderness that awaits is stunning considering the desert land you came from. The Tram ride continues to get more popular each year, even setting a record recently with 470,871 annual visitors, which is up 5.6% from last year. The view really is something, and the 30-degree temperature change is refreshing. Pairing the experience with Peak’s Restaurant offers upscale dining at 8,500 feet. The restaurant is a relaxing way to pause, reflect and take in the spectacular sights. Tram tickets and menu options at pstramway.com.
Dining in Town
A must-visit eatery in town is Trio Restaurant on North Palm Canyon Drive. The very popular Trio has modern, fabulous food at surprisingly reasonable prices with top-notch service. The spot is a favorite with locals and insider out-of-towners. Don’t-miss menu items include the SpaTini (Pearl Cucumber vodka, agave and a splash of lime juice) for a light, festive start that’s just right. The Fried Artichoke Hearts dish is delectable and not heavy. The Angel Hair pasta entrée is deliciously divine. And, for the love of Trio, don’t leave without ordering the Trio Nut Tort—a wicked good combination of hazelnuts, pecans, walnuts, caramel and chocolate. Portion-sizes at Trio are healthy to say the least, so pace yourself. Be sure to call ahead and get reservations, because the word is out that Trio is among the town’s best culinary choices.
The Saguaro Palm Springs
1800 East Palm Canyon Drive
Palm Springs, CA 92264