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A first timer’s guide to Palm Springs

No Chella, no problems. Palm Springs is ALWAYS a good idea!

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The biggest festival of the social media calendar of the year took place over the last month and unless you’ve been having a digital cleanse (I hear they’re ‘all the rage’ right now!) you’ll have no doubt seen the of all the stylish and sassy shots from the weekends on instagram. I’ve personally never been to the festival, timings have just never worked out but every year for the past few I hear myself saying ‘next year!’.

As fate would have it however, I did travel to Los angeles and Palm Springs where the festival is hosted just a week before the shindig itself started and I fell positively in love with this now famous slice of the Californian desert.

If you’ve been following my blog for a while now you’ll know that I’m a London girl by practicality but a Cali girl at heart! For the last few years I’ve spent a lot of time out in the sunshine state and if it were in my hands, Mr C and I would have already set up home there. I’ve been fortunate enough to see a lot of states in the US but last month’s venture was my first trip to Palm Springs and I’ll tell you something, Palm Springs is cool! It’s trendy, it’s tropical and it’s the definition of Cali Chic. We loved it there!

So if you like me, are a newbie in town, here’s a little read-through guide I made about what to on your first time in Palm Springs.

During our recent stay we split our nights between two hotels, Avalon Palm Springs and Parker Palm Springs. Parker is the larger of the two and a destination all in itself, tucked away at the edge of town, then Avalon Hotel is a smaller boutique hotel located right in the thick of things. 

Avalon Hotel Palm Springs


The hotel is perfectly positioned within town with hikes and trails a walk or cycle away and local restaurants and bars within a few steps. We loved that you can borrow hotel bikes whenever you fancy as there’s so many cute streets to explore on two wheels. The hotel staff were really helpful and happy to aid us in our exploring plans 😉

Avalon offers simple yet chic rooms, a trendy restaurant with an adventurous menu, two swimming pools  a spa with treatment rooms and  and games area. Aesthetics wise, the theme is art deco with an old school Cali vibe and a modern twist.

Parker Palm Springs


This hotel is like it’s own little desert town, it’s absolutely huge and entirely tucked away from the ‘outside world’. The decor is divine with eclectic ‘one of a kind’ furniture and fabulously cool finishing touches. From the moment you enter the hotel (via a rather famous orange door) you feel instantly trendy. Every nook of the resort has it’s own charm whether you chose to sit an admire the amazing artwork indoors or toast some marshmallows on the camp fire under the palms.

There’s a couple of pools within the complex both large with a number of surrounding sun beds and a willing attendee to offer a cocktail whilst you lounge, then there’s a few handy eateries including a lemonade stand which makes for quite the photo op as well as having the yummy lemonade itself on tap.

I fell in love with the room we were booked into , it was honestly one of my favourite ever hotel rooms! So swanky and current with the coolest layout and beautifully unique furniture and accessories, there was so much space and a funky area to chill and order room service too 😉

You can see the rooms and tours of both hotels in my latest youtube video:

The National Parks

What’s super cool about Palm Springs is that there’s a little something for everyone (well, there was for mine and Mr C’s personality types for sure!) you can chill by the pool, brunch with the best and then over indulge in the evening if a more relaxing holiday is your preference. For those of us with more of an the adventurous streak however, there’s a number of national parks to explore all within a short driving distance from Palm Springs. With just a short stay in California we were able to visit two within the area,  Indian Canyons and Joshua Tree National Park.

Indian Canyons

[/one_half]Having rented a car, which if you haven’t already read my Los Angeles guide is, in my opinion, an absolute must if you are visiting anywhere in California, or any American state for that matter (apart from New York, that’d just be silly ;)). So with our car we travelled to Indian Canyons the first day for some morning exercise with a view! As with all National Parks in the US, you pay a small fee for entry and then once in the winding trails are yours to explore both on foot and on wheels, there’s also an equestrian option for those who ride. There’s a few places you can park throughout and a range of difficult to leisurely hikes, with map in hand, it’s just left to you to decide which one!

We drove straight round to the Murray Canyon trail for a slightly strenuous hike and to get through to the trail itself we had to wander through what I can only best describe as the actual set of Jurassic Park! Huge thick trunked palm trees, swooping curling and winding all in the sandy ground and leading off for miles in each direction. It’s quite surreal to walk through them and when we did venture higher up on our trail the views from above were insane!

We spent the rest of the morning walking wherever each of us decided left or right and I’d highly recommend it for an inquisitive and unique hike. You could easily spend all day here with a picnic but with our time shorter in town than we’d have liked, we finished up our visit after that hike.

Joshua Tree National Park


The other National Park that we visited was the famous Joshua Tree. This, for me, was originally my main lure to travel down to Palm Springs from LA in the first place and I wasn’t disappointed. The vast expanse of untouched land really is remarkable and seeing the diverse and interesting vegetation along the way was incredible. The roads wind through what feels like a totally different planet and you can jump out for a wander wherever you so wish. They have camp sites set up for spending a few days which I’d love to do next time but as we were just in the US for a long weekend we only spent a day in Joshua tree. The park is pretty awesome but the true wow factor for the wild is when the sun sets. We purposely drove to Cholla Cactus Garden to watch the colour fill the sky and against a backdrop of thousands of cacti it was a pretty special experience for both of us. One like no other sunset we’ve ever seen!

Unlike my wally of a hubby if you do travel to Joshua Tree make sure you wear solid closed toe boots. Mems may have worn sliders and lived to tell the tale but the harrowing screams from people accidentally treading on a cactus have scarred me for life! Once those spikes are in, the buggars take hold and the pain is unbearable so be sensible (unlike Mems) and boot up like me (who, if I’m honest was really only wearing the boots for ‘fashion’ purposes but it’s good to gloat in a marriage sometimes! ha).

After the sun retires for the day it’s time to hang tight for the stars. Joshua Tree National Park is one of the best locations in the world to Star Gaze and from April through to October you have a really high chance of being able to see the milky way painted brightly across the black night’s sky. We were driving trough on April 1st so didn’t catch a glimpse of the galaxy but we did see a breathtaking blanket of white sparkles and driving through the park underneath them was one of those vacay ‘pinch me’ moments. 

As I mentioned, Palm Springs is cool, it’s super cool and I’m itching to get back! I only spent 3 days there so I’ve barely even scratched the surface but for those of you cali desert novices like me I hope this first impressions write up lends a helping hand. As I have every intention of heading back, if you’ve been, please comment below on where I need to visit next!

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1 Comment

  1. May 17, 2018 / 9:21 am

    Palm Springs looks gorgeous! I never thought of visiting myself. I’m thinking about lining up another American road trip soon 🙂

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