Sipping prosecco poolside while friends float lazily in the cool turquoise water and the nutty one cannonballs into the pool, then freshening up, each in our own master suite, before heading out for another delicious supper… I have to tell you; life could be a lot worse. And although we did eventually have to head home to our own grinding lives, living the movie star life in Palm Springs, (even if only for an extended long weekend) is something you are going to want to do at least once. A year. I mean you are definitely going to want to do it once a year.
To channel your inner starlet, you need to find a base that matches your vibe. There is no dearth of hotel choices in Palm Springs, ranging from funky downmarket bo-ho hipster to upscale as all get out, but a movie star vacation calls for the privacy and luxury of a house. Scratch that. A mansion.
Palm Springs is renowned for its mid-century modern architecture, and it really does feel like you have transported into an alternate time, where the coolest parts of the post-war years dominate, with far less homophobia. The neighbourhood of Movie Colony is named for the Hollywood types who would escape to the area from the rigours of the studio life in LA. Expansive homes that are long and low (no higher than a palm tree!) are the norm, each with a glittering pool shining behind cement walls painted in vibrant colours to stand out against the desert mountain backdrop.
If you don’t have a mogul to invite you to stay in their guest house, Vacation Palm Springs vacation rentals will help you find the best place to lay your pretty head. Figure out what are your “must haves” and your “nice to haves” and go from there. To me, a pool was more important than having my own room, but living the movie star life meant I didn’t have to choose – we got both! We had a beautiful lap pool, plus a private plunge pool (think hot tub size but with cool water instead of cooking yourself) and the rooms! Oh! I slept in the king sized bed diagonally to take advantage of having the whole thing to myself… a rare occurrence if you are a co-sleeping mama in your real life.
I can’t imagine wanting a fire in 40 degree plus weather, but it was nice to know we could have laid a fire in any of the 3 fireplaces. You know, just in case.
There are some super supper (and lunch and brunch… movie stars sleep in past breakfast so don’t worry about that) options around town, but for an authentic movie star experience, you need to know where the drinks are. Poolside is perfect, and the lenient American liquor laws mean you can stock up at the grocery store or the gas station or pretty much wherever. I had never been to Trader Joe’s before, and I feel a tremendous gaping hole in my life thinking about what I missed. But I’m not going to get all Norma Desmond on you, reminiscing sadly on all my regrets. Now that I know Jalapeño Lemonade is a thing and that it mixes very nicely with vodka, I am a changed woman.
Our vacation rental very thoughtfully came equipped with a wet bar in the lounge, with glassware and bar supplies of every variety. It made for some very fun evenings. And afternoons. One time at breakfast. Just know that Palm Springs has Draconian noise ordinances that prohibit “amplified noise” outdoors in vacation rentals, which means that you can’t play music outside, and “people noise” needs to cease by 9 pm. So if you have a friend with a shrieky laugh, you’ll have to keep her inside after 9. Ahem. She knows who I mean.
If you are looking for a night out, there are plenty of watering spots around town. The patio at the Kaiser Grille is great for people watching, for more of a party vibe, check out the Ace Hotel and Swim Club, complete with skateboarding servers poolside or bask in the old school Hollywood aura at the Tropicale Restaurant and Coral Seas Lounge.
The Shops and Sights
Palm Canyon is the main drag in town, hosting a plethora of shops to fulfil your souvenir requirements, design and gift shops, and places to indulge your retro lusts. On Thursday evenings it gets shut down to vehicle traffic and becomes the pedestrian friendly Village Fest market. If in real movie star fashion, you need high-end designer brands, you can find a steal or two at the nearby outlet malls. Be warned there is no duty-free shop in the compact Palm Springs airport, so if you want to stock up on tax-free Hennessy and Dior mascara, you are out of luck. Yes, I’m still pouting about it.
Of course, even the most indulgent movie star getaway cannot consist of sunbathing and shopping solely (and I am fully open to refuting this claim) So when you want to discover the other great things Palm Springs has to offer, make sure you have downloaded the app to guide you!