Luxury Resorts in the Desert
Lucas Himovitz

Luxury Resorts in the Desert

Luxury Resorts in the Desert
Relax at spoil-yourself spas under the desert sun

Pampering just comes with the territory in the California desert. Maybe in the old days, desert visitors had to pack in supplies and sleep on the hard ground, but the swaying palms, cool tile walkways, and spring-fed pool at Death Valley’s Inn at Furnace Creek don’t exactly scream “rough it.” More like, “Find your sunlounger and relax.” So it goes at California’s desert resorts, dotting the dramatic landscape from northern parklands in the Palm Springs region to manicured landscapes in the Coachella Valley.

“Find your sunlounger and relax.”

You’ll find resorts in all styles--from lavish opulence to sleek modernism--with many lodgings reflecting the era they were built. The Parker Palm Springs, the former ranch of singing cowboy Gene Autry, has the sleek, low-slung coolness of Mid-century Modern design. The flower-filled courtyards and red-tiled adobe casitas at the expansive La Quinta Resort & Club, opened in 1926, hint at romance under a desert moon. At The Willows historic Palm Springs inn, once a millionaire's private retreat, terraced gardens beckon. And everything old is new again at the styled-to-the-roughing-it-nines at Sparrows Lodge, where vaulted wood ceilings, stone details, and restored horse troughs for bathtubs give a relaxed ranch feel--though no luxury is spared.

There’s all-out luxury too. At Ritz-Carlton Rancho Mirage, settle into a suite with contemporary furnishings and mountain views, then play a round of golf before enjoying a body treatment featuring desert herbs and minerals.

Kodiak Greenwood

Southern California

Discover the Deserts

The thwack of a golf club, the hum of the wind buffeting towering sand dunes, the splash of a dive into a perfect pool—the desert region is a sensory feast.

Following winter rains, springtime wildflowers paint the desert with colour.

Death Valley National Park holds the record for hottest temperature ever recorded (129°F/54°C in 1913), while the deserts of Joshua Tree National Park have giant boulders and alien-like yucca plants. At Anza-Borrego, California’s largest state park, discover amazing springtime wildflowers. The oasis-like Palm Springs region (2 hours east of L.A. and 3 hours northeast of San Diego) has golf resorts, midcentury modern architecture, and every spring, the epic Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.

At 282 ft. below sea level, Badwater in Death Valley National Park is the lowest point in the contiguous United States.
Harriot Manley/ Sunset Publishing

Spotlight: Greater Palm Springs

Hipster cool in the desert. Das Ledderhosen!

Fed by underground springs, the desert comes alive here, not only with signature palms, but also with a string of resort communities—Palm Desert,...

Trip 3-4 days 10 stops

Route 66 - The Mother Road

Legendary Highway, California Dream
Santa Monica

Start your trip in this idyllic oceanfront city, bounded by a 3.5-mi/5.6-km-long beach, and feeling more like a weekend getaway spot than a city just a few minutes west of downtown Los Angeles. Car-free options, including a shuttle to Los Angeles International Airport (8 miles/13 km south) make...

Anza-Borrego Desert State Park

On your way to this park, you’ll pass through the little community of Borrego Springs. Stop in at the town’s visitor centre to get driving maps to an astounding collection of enormous prehistoric animals—metal sculptures made by artist Ricardo Breceda—that dot the surrounding desert landscape....

Alex Farnum

Spotlight: Joshua Tree National Park

Rugged mountains, vibrant sunsets & uncountable stars

Boulders and buttresses, rugged mountains, gold mining ruins, desert plains dotted with the oddball trees—this is one weird place. Joshua Tree,...

This is the sense of the desert hills, that there is room enough and time enough.
Mary Austin
Laura Flippen

Desert Shopping

From boutiques to bargains, vintage to boho-chic, you’ll find it here

In-the-know visitors make sure to come to the Palm Springs area with room in their suitcases. Bargain hunters beeline for the town of Cabazon,...

SPECIAL FEATURE
Where to release your inner fashionista

Shopping is an art form in California. Whether you're in search of the perfect cocktail dress or an authentic Mexican piñata, you'll find it here. Want to sample fresh produce? Try our farmers...

Shopping Hot Spots
South Coast Plaza
Mar 6
May

Saddle up for Stagecoach, the country cousin held in the same venue—the Indio Polo Grounds south of Palm Springs—as the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. From the impressive inaugural...

Courtesy of Stagecoach
Golf & tennis
Kodiak Greenwood

Golf & tennis

Swing clubs and racquets where the pros do in the Coachella Valley

With world-class golf courses set against dramatic desert landscapes and top-quality tennis courts beneath towering palms, two sports get classy...

Mid-Century Modern Design
Courtesy of Elvis Presley Estate

Mid-Century Modern Design

Swing into Sinatra cool in Palm Springs

Filled with distinctive post-World War II buildings designed by leading architects of the time, Palm Springs is America’s Mid-century Modern mecca...

The lowest golf course in the world is Furnace Creek in Death Valley, at 214 feet below sea level.
SPECIAL FEATURE
From edgy rock n’ roll to haute fashions, find your fest in the desert

For all of the desert’s natural splendor and outdoor destinations, creativity comes with the territory, too. Throughout the year, the region finds ways to celebrate art, design, music, and film...

 Events in the Desert
The Lumineers at Coachella by Lucas Himovitz
SPECIAL FEATURE
Vast landscapes, spectacular desert vistas

Both vast and intimate, the California desert is a region that ranges from arid, barren expanses to oasis-like canyons with hidden waterfalls. Towering sand dunes rise above the desert floor,...

Joshua Tree National Park by Alex Farnum
Amboy Crater
Courtesy of Bureau of Land Management

Amboy Crater

Hike into a 6,000-year-old volcanic remnant

Hike into a 6,000-year-old volcanic remnant

Designated a National Natural Landmark in 1973 and located just off historic Route 66, Amboy...

Fossil Falls
Photo by The Greater Southwestern Exploration Company/Flickr

Fossil Falls

Rushing river, sculpted black lava

The truth is that the name Fossil Falls is a bit of a misnomer. After all, there are neither fossils nor a waterfall here. But a walk through...