48 Hours: The Ultimate in Swank
Upscale Dining, Staying, and Playing
By Kevin Perry
Life is short but your wish list is long and lavish. If you only have two days to treat yourself, then Palm Springs is the ideal vacation destination.
From the moment you roll through our sun-dappled downtown, your appetite for excess cries out to be satiated. Listen to that inner gourmand, feed it luxury by the mouthful, and experience the upscale wonders of 48 hours in Palm Springs…
Consider a stay at The Parker, a resort that embraces you with sophistication and style. But fancy doesn’t preclude fun, as you will soon learn from their playful menu listings. From a late afternoon noshing on “Chunks of Lobster Swimming in Cheesy Macaroni” at Norma’s, to a decadent dinner of Roasted Duck Breast with Poached Pears at Mister Parker’s, your palate is as pampered as you are. In between, visit the Palm Springs Yacht Club, a full service spa with 15 private treatment rooms and cucumber vodka to seed your relaxation.
All of that under one roof… perhaps it’s time to venture further into our Inland Empire utopia.
Just down the road, you’ll find Mr. Lyons, a steakhouse apportioned for Rat Pack royalty. The glimmer of their low lighting creates the illusion that you’re dining across the booth from Frank, Dean and Sammy in their Hollywood heyday. But the key to living like a celebrity is discretion, so leave the paparazzi in your dust by ducking into a speakeasy tucked quietly inside the same establishment. At Seymour’s, the martinis are as dry as Truman Capote’s wit, so laugh and linger into the wee hours of last call, then get ready for your next day of indulgence.
Swing on over to the Tennis Club District of town, where you’ll “love-love” the brunch offerings at Spencer’s. Their Braised Beef Wellington Sandwich will fuel your feisty side.
Visit the Agua Caliente Casino and you’ll always get lucky with their nightly array of entertainment options and the award-winning culinary prowess of The Steakhouse, their signature in-house, must-try restaurant.
If you’re a do-it-yourself’er, get gourmet with a cooking class at Copley’s on Palm Canyon. Executive chef Andrew Copley shares his venerable vision and demonstrates why he has won gastronomical accolades from London to Australia to Maui and all the way to our fair city. But be sure to check the calendar because these lessons are only offered on select weekends for the most discerning foodie fanatics.
For an even more subdued Saturday afternoon, check into l’uxury at L’Horizon. It has earned its reputation as one of the most dazzling resorts in the world, as well as being a coveted enclave for happy couples who want to share their wedded bliss surrounded by architectural esteem and comfort amplified. L’Horizon is also home to SO.PA, a transcendent outdoor dining experience founded by Michelin star awarded chef Giacomo Pettinari.
As the sun sets over your Chicken & Iberico Roulade, it’s time to set your sights on the night. Keep the good times rolling at the Purple Room, a rollicking cabaret-slash-time-machine that transports you back to the golden age of show business. Once there, you’ll encounter the garishly gregarious ghost of Judy Garland, as embodied by Purple Room owner Michael Holmes. S/he evokes the high notes of Garland’s career with the mouth of a sailor and the heart of a true entertainer. Clang, clang, clang indeed!
Or if audience participation is what you’re craving, dig into Palm Springs Underground, an interactive dinner theater experience that is super spicy, in more ways than one! The menu is tailored to the entertainment of the evening, so savor the unexpected and don’t be surprised to get pulled onstage.
As dawn breaks on your final hours in our haute hometown, follow your taste buds to Cheeky’s, but get there early – they don’t accept reservations, and their bacon flights are a first class ticket to top-notch taste-making.
Now that you’ve enticed you belly, it’s time to excite your brain. Culture and creativity waltz effortlessly at the Palm Springs Art Museum, the perfect way to raise your perspective without ruining your budget. They offer free admission on the second Sunday of every month, proving that upscale doesn’t need to leave you down and out.
After feeding your mind, it’s time to cap off this culinary quest with a stop at Le Vallauris, one of the most acclaimed eateries in Palm Springs. Their menu is refreshingly seasonal, so you may be greeted by Alaskan Halibut with a Lemon Grass and Coconut Reduction or perhaps a Roasted Organic Chicken au Jus will grace your plate. Regardless of your triumphant entrée choice, make sure to leave room for dessert; the Grand Marnier Soufflé with Tahitian Vanilla Sauce is a particular fave rave!
As the flavors of Palm Springs loiter in your memory and intoxicate your palate, take out a napkin and write down all of the aforementioned locales you didn’t get a chance to experience… and now you have a premier itinerary for your next visit.