Heighten your Palm Springs Experience this Season

What’s new and different in the desert.

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  • Written by
    Darren Elms

With Coachella and Stagecoach this month, Palm Springs and neighboring Desert cities are mobbed. But it’s not just the star-studded concerts that pack in the crowds. During spring’s high season, the Desert draws a diverse crowd in search of the region’s latest attractions, newest hotels and trendiest restaurants. Here’s a list of what is catching our eye.

What to See

April visitors arrive just in time to enjoy the tail end of Desert X, a region-wide art installation, free to the public. The exhibition spans 50 miles across the Coachella Valley and expands to the south to explore the ecological bellwether of the Salton Sea and further across the border into Mexico. Don’t miss Sterling Ruby’s SPECTER, a large, neon orange block just off Highway 111 as you come into Palm Springs. Down by the entrance to the aerial tram, you’ll also get a glimpse of Irish artist John Gerrard’s Western Flag, a digital simulation of the first major oil find in Texas called Spindletop. Find out where to see all 19 installations of Desert X at desertx.org.


Where to Stay

The most buzzed about addition to Palm Springs’ blossoming hotel scene is the intimate and inviting Villa Royale. Tucked off Palm Canyon Drive on the southern end of the city, this attractive newcomer offers an old-world feel, sprinkled with Hollywood glamour and contemporary art. With only 38 uniquely designed villas, the property boasts two pools, in-room cocktail parlors, lush patio gardens, and its own bar and restaurant, Del Rey. Added bonus: it is also pet-friendly.


Where to Dine

After making an opening splash a couple years ago, The Rowan is now out to prove it’s more than a hotel. That doesn’t require much convincing after enjoying a meal at the rooftop eatery 4 Saints. With one of the loftier views in downtown Palm Springs, the eatery takes advantage of the killer scenery with open patio seating. Diners can expect a delicious selection of sharable and seasonable plates with a Mediterranean edge by Chef Stephen Wambach. Highlights include the house cavatelli with mushroom ragu, whipped ricotta and rye gremolata; and “Fish in the Forest,” a beautifully plated Kona Kampachi with wild juniper, matsutake and baby leek.