There’s nothing like a trip to the desert to relax and unwind. It’s even better when you can get away in style. We dub the Viceroy Palm Springs the Best Desert Glam Getaway. It’s glam done right and located just blocks from town. Think bold statements in boutique size, a steamy setting that’s design-cool, privacy in a gathering spot and a refreshingly unique cold-stone Spa.
You can set your GPS to arrive at 415 South Belardo Road, but chances are you’ll still blow right past the Viceroy two or three times before you ever spot it. Instead of the address, look for the black Rovers and Jaguars near the one simple valet umbrella, and you’ll have arrived. This first subtle introduction to the Viceroy Palm Springs is telling of its low-profile ways. The resort is private and surprising with an often unspoken guest list of Who’s Who. Enter through the lemon yellow street gates, and into the lobby, and you’ll start to understand what you’re in for as you’re introduced to the Viceroy’s dramatic glamour under the sun. Everywhere you look are pops of yellow, white and black that ooze sleek chic.
The resort is a design marriage of classic Hollywood meets Mid-Century Modern style. And it’s a literal marriage of hotelier Brad Korzen and his famously fabulous designer wife Kelly Wearstler, Domicilium Decoratus (among her many titles). Kelly kept the Hollywood exclusivity of Bette Davis days and stays and added modern, upbeat creative cues, such as white leather furnishings and endless mirrored sculptures. Today it’s more Kanye West (a past guest) than Clark Gable, but it has an essence of both.
The property has 67 rooms, suites and villas, and the hotel has existed in various forms since the 1930’s; it’s only been the Viceroy since 2003. For the most spacious accommodations and ultimate privacy, book one of the four two-bedroom villas. They range in price from $600-$1700, depending on the season. Premium studios and Regency rooms are also available and at considerably less.
As far as the pace of the place, it’s very quiet and peaceful during the days and the resort picks up at night with weddings and swank events often hosted on the grounds. You get a sense that guests are there to get away from the urban chaos, so many keep to themselves, but that doesn’t mean that everyone may not come together for dinner by the pool or a glass of wine under the cabanas.
Speaking of poolside, the Viceroy has three pools to quench you during the 110+ summer temps (two pools for adults, one for families). The pool scene is particularly ideal at night with a cocktail under the cabanas; it’s near-perfect with the lit lanterns dangling from the Olive trees, white lights on the artistically manicured shrubs and candles dancing in the warm, balmy breeze.
What to Know
The Viceroy Palm Springs property is the “horizontal companion” to the vertical Viceroy Santa Monica flagship. You’ll also find the Viceroy luxury properties in Beverly Hills, Miami, the Caribbean, Turkey, even Istanbul next year. And while the hotel definitely draws an L.A. crowd, the Viceroy Palms Springs steadily attracts guests from Vancouver, England, Italy and New York.
Where To Dine
Citron Restaurant at Viceroy Palm Springs offers al fresco dining by the pool for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Or you may dine inside Citron, which hosts intimate, limited seating. The cuisine is California eclectic, with many choices including items such as a Wild Mushroom Frittata for breakfast, a Viceroy Burger in the afternoon, and a variety of dinner dishes, as well as a full bar serving drinks such as the Citron Blue Martini.
The Estrella Spa at the Viceroy Palm Springs is very private, serene and has a great indoor-outdoor setting. Because everyone often wants to be outdoors while in Palm Springs, the Spa now offers an unusual Cold-Stone Refresher treatment. So when the temps are climbing, check into Estrella and their outdoor spa cabanas to cool the body—you may even get goose bumps when its triple digits all around you. Imagine cold stones under your palms and between your toes as two therapists tend to you. One therapist performs a peppermint foot scrub and therapeutic reflexology massage with chilled pure basalt stones, while another therapist gives you an invigorating facial cocktail and gentle cooling stone massage to relieve tension. A pampered 30-minute treatment ($150), and you’ll be ready to return poolside.
Where To Shop
Fashion maven Trina Turk’s first boutique features vintage-inspired resort wear in a luxe setting created by Viceroy Palm Springs interior designer Kelly Wearstler. For additional shopping, consider El Paseo Shopping District (a 25-minute drive from the hotel). Located in Palm Desert, the world famous El Paseo Shopping District features over 300 world-class shops, clothing boutiques, art galleries, jewelers, restaurants and more. It’s known as the Rodeo Drive of the Desert.
The two 18-hole championship is a long-time favorite among Palm Springs golfers. The Legend Course at Tahquitz Creek is a par-72, 6,815-yard course sporting a traditional layout. It was originally designed by William (Billy) Bell in the 1950s, but recent renovations have marked the addition of 40 new bunkers to the Legends Course. The newer of the two golf courses at Tahquitz Creek Golf Resort, the Resort Course, is a Ted Robinson design that debuted in 1995. A par-72, 6,705-yard course with four sets of tees, the Resort Course, also features a desert links-style layout. Both Tahquitz Creek golf courses offer views of the San Jacinto Mountains.
For tennis, check out the Palm Springs Tennis Club, one-half mile from Viceroy Palm Springs at 701 W. Baristo Rd., Palm Springs, CA 760-325-1441.
Fantasy Balloon Flights
Perhaps the most memorable way to see the desert is floating above the landscape in a colorful hot-air balloon. Choose from specialty themes like sunrise, sunset, or romantic champagne flights.
Debbie Lavdas is a Southern California writer who writes features, cover stories and columns at Bask Magazine, Laguna Beach Magazine and more. Keep up with her on Twitter @deblavdas and her writings at DebbieintheOC.com.