When you’re staying at this historic property, it’s worth waking up early to watch the sun rise and turn the sky pink against the San Jacinto Mountains. Romance suffuses this upscale three-acre resort of low-slung bungalows, designed in 1952 and later refreshed by acclaimed designer Steve Hermann. The light-drenched Fireplace Junior Suite Bungalow—once Marilyn Monroe’s room of choice—is a favorite for couples, with its private outdoor shower and wood-burning copper fireplace, plus Frette robes and L’Horizon-branded eye masks. The property’s restaurant, SO•PA, is equally alluring, thanks to a linear fire pit and fountain outdoors and sparkling modern metallic chandeliers inside. While the menu of New American fare is inspired—try the honey mussels paired with an Infinity Paloma cocktail—the chef will also create, with advance notice and upon request, a personalized tasting menu riffing off the day’s best produce and in keeping with any dietary restrictions. Pro tip: The deep-tissue rubdown at the indoor-outdoor spa is unparalleled, but pampering doesn’t need an occasion here—hit the poolside sun beds early for complimentary back and foot massages.
Since opening her first store in Palm Springs in 2002, fashion designer Trina Turk has forged a style that’s become synonymous with desert chic—an inimitable riot of color, pattern, and texture. Her original shop has now expanded twice to fill an entire 3,800-square-foot Albert Frey building, helping spark the revitalization of the city’s upscale Uptown Design District. Designed by Kelly Wearstler, the interior’s penny tile flooring, vintage foil wallpaper, and Lucite and acid-yellow accents create a glamorous, playful backdrop for Turk’s trendsetting women’s and men’s collections. This being Palm Springs, an entire department is devoted to swimwear (don’t miss the dressing room’s wallpaper). You’ll also find curated pieces that fit with the Trina Turk aesthetic, such as pool floats from Sunny Life, Missoni Home towels, Dinosaur Design resin accessories, and Jonathan Adler home goods. Insider’s tip: This is the brand’s only location where you’ll find vintage treasures, including Missoni and Pucci caftans, that Turk hand selected.
Regulars at Workshop Kitchen + Bar know not to get too attached to any one dish. Innovative chef/owner Michael Beckman—who trained in Lyon and worked in Berlin—might be serving honey-lavender glazed black cod one night; a sausage, rapini, and fennel pizza another; and his signature burger (with pastrami and wagyu oxtail) the next. Diners in the know ask for the off-the-menu whole striped sea bass, grilled in the wood-fired oven with seasonally shifting ingredients. The adventurous menu is a big draw, to be sure, but so is the magical setting: The 90-year-old Spanish-inspired building—once an art gallery and movie theater—features 27-foot-high ceilings, which the trendsetting architecture firm SOMA updated with poured concrete for an industrial cathedral aesthetic. (The work won it a James Beard Design Award.) If you’re there for Sunday brunch or an early dinner, ask for booth #7, which is flooded with natural light, or a table in the whitewashed courtyard. Cocktails such as the Mountaineer—made with little-known Génépy des Alpes liqueur, pineapple and lime juice, and bitters—are just as revelatory early in the evening as they are on late weekend nights, when the place is bustling.
The high desert seems to generate its own creative force field, attracting and inspiring artists for decades. Today’s generation showcases its work at BKB Handcrafted Art + Design. The Palm Springs outlet of this shop (the original is in Joshua Tree) features locally crafted, modern pieces, each one chosen for its soul and authenticity. You’ll find pendant lights and vessels by the shop’s founder, ceramicist Brian Bosworth, along with desert-influenced weavings by All Roads Studio, block prints by Aili Schmeltz, and sculpture by Jonathan Cross, displayed in a gallery-like space that’s both minimalist and warm. The shop’s selective, exclusive element extends to locally made olive oil, jewelry, and furniture, too, making it a must-visit for thoughtful gifts and souvenirs. BKB has also become a stylish and unparalleled hub for the desert’s creative community, regularly hosting art openings, artist talks, and events. Pro tip: Swing by on a Saturday—that’s when artists usually drop by to deliver new work or just hang out.
Architecture geek or not, you only need a set of eyes to appreciate the Albert Frey House II. The innovative architect built his personal home on a mountain lot that to most people seemed uninhabitable, shaping a compact modernist glass-and-steel structure around a massive rock so it almost blends into the landscape. Even the interior takes its cues from the desert, with its original sky-blue ceiling and curtains to match the yellow Encelia flowers that bloom each spring. The glass invites in streams of light by day and reflects the stars at night, bringing the rooms to life in ways Frey surely planned. A longtime Palm Springs resident, Frey bequeathed his home to the Palm Springs Art Museum on his death in 1998, allowing it and its contents (including architectural drawings, correspondence, and personal effects) to be seen by people in the field of architecture. But even those not in the industry can get the full experience by booking through the Modern Tour at least 48 hours in advance. Tours are led by author and historian Michael Stern, who knew Frey—and many of the midcentury masters—so a deep dive full of insightful anecdotes is guaranteed.
In Partnership with Afar.