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Dining & Drinks at Caliente Tropics

Caliente Tropics _ Visit Palm Springs_KF

From Tropical to South-of-the-Border

Caliente Tropics Resort is a retro-style hotel known for its Polynesian-themed decor. It offers a variety of accommodations including guestrooms, suites, and bungalows that are perfect for couples, families, or groups.

The resort also features three excellent on-site restaurants: the Sansho’s, La Fern and The Reef. They are located next to the resort, so easy access to all. While La Fern and The Reef are more cocktail forward, they all offer delicious food and drinks. In addition, they all have Happy Hour!

sancho's graphic caliente tropics

Meet Owner Rory Snyder

Rory was a popular mixologist at Trio Restaurant and Wang’s in the Desert, creating craft cocktails. While at Trio, he became friends with SHAG artist Josh Agle and his business partner Jay Nailor, owner of the SHAG store. The SHAG store is right next door to Trio. This helped drive his enthusiasm for midcentury modern and Tiki styles.

In 2008 Rory decided to share is love of all things Tiki by founding and hosting the annual “Tiki Caliente” at Caliente Tropics Resort, which takes place every May.

In 2013 he created another annual event, “Mod Palm Springs”, which celebrates midcentury style with a Tiki twist.

After collecting so much Polynesian artwork, artifacts and furnishings, he co-authored “The Cocktail Compendium” with SHAG in 2013.

He then came to Caliente Tropics Resorts to be their restaurant proprietor and continue to produce fun events. Since then he has opened his own restaurant and two tropical-themed bars.

rory snyder sancho's palm springs


Sancho’s has the “bones” of the former Sambo’s Pancake House and plays off the 1964 history of the former coffee shop that operated there through the mid-80s. It’s similar to what the Ace Hotel did with King’s Highway, a prior midcentury style Denny’s. Playing on the name, Sancho’s is now a popular Mexican restaurant.

It offers traditional Mexican cuisine, including tacos, burritos, enchiladas, and fajitas. One dish you won’t find on other local Mexican menus is Queso Fondido, Mexico’s delicious version of fondue, which makes a great appetizer. There is also a large selection of soups and salads. You’ll find a veggie menu and a kids menu.

Sancho’s opens at 11 am for lunch and 8 am on the weekends for breakfast. Breakfast includes traditional dishes like breakfast burritos, huevos rancheros, huevos con machaca, and enchiladas con heuvos. They also have a kids breakfast menu.

The bar libations focus on tequilas, mescals and beer collections. Happy Hour is 2 – 4 pm, Monday – Thursday.

rory snyder sancho's

La Fern

Next to Sancho’s is Le Fern. It’s a bar that features a retro-inspired decor with midcentury modern furniture and vintage lighting. It has a vibrant atmosphere that attracts both locals and visitors.

La Fern offers a creative cocktail menu featuring classic drinks with a twist, using fresh and unique ingredients. The La Fern Martini is with Amass dry gin, crafted with 29 organic natural botanicals. Their signature Manhattan is served with Templeton Rye, Antica Carpano vermouth, and Black Walnut Bitters. La Fern may be the only place in Palm Springs you can order an old-school Grasshopper, with Crème de Menthe, Fernet Branca Menta, Crème de Cacao, and cream.

la fern bar

They have their own bar menu, which includes classic comfort food like loaded tots, blooming onion, wings, and grilled cheese with tomato soup. Happy Hour is Mon. – Thur., 4 to 6 pm.

las fern

The Reef

The Reef has seen many changes over the years. It began as the Conga Room restaurant. It’s been reimagined with a tropical theme and Tiki elements. They don’t call it a Tiki bar, but instead a tropical libation sanctuary. That’s because Tiki people are very particular about what Tiki is and is not. In either case, it will make you feel like you’re vacationing on some exotic island.

The Reef’s menu features an extensive selection of craft cocktails, beer, and wine, all made with fresh, high-quality ingredients. It’s Island themed, so of cocktails with rum, including classics like Mai Tai, Blue Hawaiian, and the Zombie. They are famous for the Palm Springs Punch with Blackheart spiced rum, triple sec, crème de moyaux (almond flavored liqueur), and pineapple juice. Ask the bartender about unique off-menu cocktails, too.

reef graphic

Happy Hour is Mon. – Thurs., Noon – 5pm.

The food menu offers a variety of small plates, salads, sandwiches, and flatbreads, perfect for sharing or as a light meal. They also have a large burger menu, including their signature Caliente Burger made with grilled pineapple and teriyaki sauce. Entrees include coconut shrimp, Kalua port with pineapple sauce, fish & chips, and beer battered shrimp.

reef bar

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