Exploring Palm Springs with Daniel Taylor of Colliers International
I knew Palm Springs was a mecca for golf and a vacation spot for Old Hollywood stars. But I was unprepared for the remarkable variety of things to do in the area. A desert oasis in Southern California, the nine cities of Greater Palm Springs (Cathedral City, Coachella, Desert Hot Springs, Indian Wells, Indio, La Quinta, Palm Desert, Palm Springs and Rancho Mirage) each offer very different experiences.
You can get a birds-eye view of the area and get a close look at Mount San Jacinto State Park on the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. Shortly after starting a 2.5 mile journey through the cliffs of Chino Canyon in the revolving tram, I suddenly remembered that I was afraid of heights. Luckily I was able to calm my nerves in the bar at the top.
Other memorable outdoor experiences were a hike through the Indian Canyons – where standing among the towering palms made me feel like I had stumbled upon a land of giants – and a jeep tour of the Rift of San Andreas. It was fascinating to walk and drive through a maze of massive geological cuts and canyons.
I also made time for some fun indoor activities, including a visit to the Palm Springs Art Museum, which specializes in contemporary art and regional natural artifacts, and the Mod Squad design tour, which showcases renowned modern architecture of Palm Springs in the middle of the century. A “Martini & MCM” option features the homes of stars such as Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Marilyn Monroe and ends with a signature Rat Pack-era cocktail.
I spent the first two nights at the elegant Rowan Palm Springs in Kimpton, in the heart of downtown. At his restaurant 4 Saints, I enjoyed an outstanding three-course prix fixe meal, with rooftop seating under the stars. The hotel’s location made it easy to explore the shops and restaurants of the city’s historic La Plaza, including the farmhouse, where spectacular Provencal dishes are served. (I always dream of its croissants and pancakes.) Other must-visits include 1501 Uptown Gastropub (try the blue crab corn chowder) and the beautifully decorated Eight4Nine in the Uptown design district. Save room for the 849 Caramel Macchiato Cake and the house cocktail, a concoction of Crater Lake vodka, Mionetto prosecco, Limoncello and Mandarine Napoleon. It’s as delicious as it sounds.
After all the hikes (and meals), a restorative day was in order. I spent it at Azure Palm Hot Springs, a resort and spa atop Desert Hot Spring’s Miracle Hill, named for the healing properties of the hot mineral water below. After a nice long soak, I opted for the spa’s signature service – a fusion of Swedish massage and deep tissue massage with a hot herbal steam treatment and a ‘magic mint’ scalp massage. .
From there, we headed to the JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort & Spa, which offers a host of amenities. Stroll Flamingo Island to see exotic pink birds, reserve a gondola and travel the Venetian-style waterways to one of the resort’s many restaurants, or play golf at its championship courses. Be sure to dine at least once at Mikado Japanese Steakhouse, where the meals are as delicious as the teppanyaki chefs who prepare them.
For Daniel Taylor, Executive Managing Director of Colliers International, visiting Palm Springs is like stepping back in time. He and his family made frequent trips there as a child to visit his grandparents; they lived in Dallas but spent nearly half their time at their second second home at the famed Eldorado Country Club in Indian Wells. “If you’re a tennis player or a golfer, it’s like heaven,” Taylor says. “One of the most interesting things is that there are several types of golf courses, due to the mountains and the topography. Those in the valley or foothills are quite flat, but there are also [the canyon and mountain courses] to places like Bighorn, where it’s target golf. It’s fun too. And that’s something we can’t do here in Texas.
Christine is the editor-in-chief of CEO magazine and its online platforms. She is a nationally award-winning business journalist who has…