An avid list-maker, I wanted to make sure I had a stack of activities and outings planned for a trip to Palm Springs before heading south, so I asked a local acquaintance, “what is there to do in Palm Springs?”

The reply? There are loads of fun things to do, but ultimately, it’s about chilling by the pool.

Read a book by the pool, sip a cocktail by the pool, eat breakfast by the pool. It’s all about the pools.

And as I discovered, she was right, pools really are a thing. The hip hotels of Palm Springs try and outdo each other with their vibrant decor and eclectic style. Walking through lobbies is akin to being in an elaborate art gallery.

Here are a few of our favourite pools, perfect for a stay, a cocktail, and of course, a swim.

The Ace Hotel & Swim Club

The Ace Palm Springs Hotel

This re-imagined and repurposed 1960s Howard Johnson oozes a laid-back hipster vibe. Dogs and children are welcome at The Ace Hotel & Swim Club and we found couples and families lazing in large cabanas surrounding the pool. It was so chilled, I wanted to plop on a lounge chair and join the rest of the sun worshippers in their relaxed glory. Not a guest of the hotel? Fear not! Visitors 21 and older can purchase a day pass which is especially popular on weekends when the poolside turns into a DJ pool party. When most of Palm Springs pools shut down after dark, the Ace Hotel & Swim Club’s pool stays open until 2 am.

Ace Hotel Lobby Palm Springs

The Ace Hotel pool Palm Springs

The Parker Palm Springs

The Parker Palm Springs

The interior of the Parker Palm Springs was famously designed by New York City’s Jonathan Adler. The imposing front lobby wall with its cool concrete blocks, medieval guards and massive doors lead the way to the warm, retro interior, straight out of a posh 60’s television set. If you can refrain from getting whiplash walking through to the back, you’ll lose yourself on the grounds wandering from hammock to bocce court, to lounge chair, to giant chess set before rounding a curve to the pool. Simplicity rules at the pool, with palm trees, blue sky and red mountains providing the backdrop. The hotel is family-friendly with a pool for families and one for adults only. The onsite lemonade stand offers spiked refreshments for adults and free refills for kids, non-alcoholic of course.

Parker Palm Springs dining

The Parker Palm Springs

The Saguaro

The Saguaro Palm Springs
A technicolour treasure, the Saguaro Palm Springs is painted in 14 vibrant wildflower colours found in the California desert. Rainbow patios and balconies, lemony lounge chairs and umbrellas greet hotel guests. The free airport shuttle, free parking, and free bicycles rentals make this fun hotel highly accessible. We loved the curious “A Day in the Life at Saguaro,” Barbie Doll art installation found in the lobby. Although kids are welcome, the weekend scene can be a pure party, something to consider if you have little ones who are light sleepers.

Saguaro Palm Springs Pool

The Saguaro Palm Springs hotel

For more information about where to stay, what to eat, and things to do, visit