Weekend in Palm Springs (With 25 Friends)
In April, Roanne Adams—who runs the creative studio RoAndCo—threw a (vaccinated) birthday party in the desert.
DAY 1 YOU DON’T HAVE TO STAY AT THE ACE ➽
My husband and I went to Palm Springs a bunch this past year, when we couldn’t travel by air, and we stayed in several Airbnbs until we decided to buy a house to rent out. This time, we wanted to get a big group of old friends together as a coming-out again party. We stayed with friends at an Airbnb, the Hey Casita (from $614 a night), that sleeps eight people and is so well designed—not kitschy like some other Palm Springs houses. And we used our under-construction house as an event space. There’s this great site, Boutique Homes, that lists more midcentury-modern rentals and event venues for bigger groups, searchable by architect. Just make sure you rent a house with a pool. Our other friends stayed at the Ingleside Inn (200 W. Ramon Rd.; from $237 a night), an Old Hollywood Spanish Colonial–revival hotel that was built in 1922. It’s glamorous but very humble—not showy and not as loud as the Ace Hotel.
LEAVE L.A. MIDDAY ➽
If you’re driving from Los Angeles, leave in the middle of the day. You want to avoid the 4 p.m. Friday rush, which adds an hour or more onto what’s normally an easy drive of an hour and 45 minutes. New Yorkers can fly direct to Palm Springs International Airport.
GET A STEAK AND A MARTINI ➽
We had Friday-night dinner in one of the private rooms at Melvyn’s, the classic Palm Springs restaurant, which can seat dozens. We got dressed up and did an Old Hollywood–glamour theme. Dessert was delicious: a molten chocolate cake. They have a piano player and a singer, and people stand around and sing along. The Ingleside also has a firepit by the pool, so after dinner we got drinks from the bar and sat around the fire.
DAY 2 HIKE BEFORE IT GETS TOO HOT ➽
There are amazing hiking trails, but I’m partial to the South Lykken trailhead at the end of our street, Mesquite Avenue, because if you are okay with hiking straight up a mountain, you end up at a waterfall. Get on the trail by 7 a.m. because Palm Springs temperatures can get up into the 100s during the day. If you’re hungry after hiking, there’s Cheeky’s (622 N. Palm Canyon Dr.), this classic brunch spot that’s been around forever. It’s very decadent-rich, a place to get a stack of pancakes.
BIKE TO THE VINTAGE STORES ➽
A friend who’s a stylist led a troupe of ladies on a bike tour of the vintage shops. Palm Springs is very flat, and you don’t have to rent the bikes; the hotels and Airbnbs all have them. My friend’s favorite stores are the Frippery (664 N. Palm Canyon Dr.) and Mitchells Palm Springs (106 S. Indian Canyon Dr.). Go to Hedge (open Friday to Sunday) or Bridges Over Time (2500 N. Palm Canyon Dr.) for midcentury-modern furniture and Old Hollywood finds.
SOAK IN A HOT SPRING ➽
Twenty minutes away in Desert Hot Springs, there’s Two Bunch Palms (67425 Two Bunch Palms Trail), an adult-only spa where you sit in these tubs of hot-spring water. It’s amazing—a great day trip. Right now, those soaking tubs are only open to guests, but I believe day passes might come back this summer. You can also book a private hot-spring soak for two people (from $85) through Airbnb Experiences. For a whole evening, you sit in an earthen hot tub and watch the sun set behind the mountains.
FRY UP SOME FISH TACOS ➽
For my birthday dinner on Saturday night, one of my best friends cooked a Mexican-style meal with fish tostadas inspired by Contramar. If you’re going out for Mexican food, go to Las Casuelas Terraza (222 S. Palm Canyon Dr.). It’s a fun atmosphere. Just get tacos and margaritas; it’s not complicated.
DAY 3 BIKE OVER TO THE BOB HOPE HOUSE ➽ If you’re interested in the architecture, Modernism Week usually happens once a year in late February (Modernism Week Fall Preview 2021 runs October 14 to 17), but there are tours year-round. I haven’t gone on any, but I like to bike around and see the homes: There’s the 1962 steel Wexler house (290 E. Simms Rd.) and the Bob Hope house by John Lautner (2466 Southridge Dr.) up on a hill. It’s this crazy dome shape.
WALK TO A WATERFALL ➽
After that, head to Indian Canyons. It’s a natural oasis with waterfalls where you can go swimming. Pack a picnic lunch from On the Mark (111 N. Palm Canyon Dr., No. 155), a meat-and-cheese shop in town. You can go midday because there are a hundred palm trees—natural ones, not imported or planted ones— that cut the heat. Keep your camera handy; when I was there, we saw a huge family of peninsular bighorn sheep.
GRAB DUCK-FAT FRITES BEFORE LEAVING TOWN ➽
Workshop Kitchen + Bar (800 N. Palm Canyon Dr.) is an ideal Sunday-evening dinner. The restaurant was built in an old movie theater. I think their fish is amazing, and they’re known for the duck-fat frites. And by the time you’re done eating, you’ve already skipped the traffic driving back to Los Angeles.
Cliffside Airbnb in Ensenada, Mexico
In October, model-activist-artist Gabrielle Richardson rented a beach house outside the city, which sits on the Pacific coast of Mexico’s Baja California peninsula, less than a two-hour drive from the Tijuana airport.DAY 1 DRIVE FROM L.A. TO SAN DIEGO ➽
It was my friend’s birthday, and we wanted to leave America, but we were also very nervous about traveling. So we actually drove from Los Angeles. There were two cars and nine of us altogether, and we headed out at noon.
CROSS THE BORDER ➽
I know you’re not supposed to take food to other countries, but because we were going for my friend’s birthday, I had picked up a jelly cake in L.A. from Eat Nunchi, which makes these really cool ones. At the border, I was like, “Hey, am I allowed to take this over?” They were like, “Uh, we don’t care.”
RENT A CAR IN MEXICO ➽
When you get across the border, the Tijuana airport is right there, and there are rentalcar places. We parked our cars and rented two new cars because one of my hour’s walking distance or a ten-minute drive from our house, and because a lot of us are vegan, we bought a lot of tortillas and a ton of veggies.
HIKE TO THE LOCAL BEACHES ➽
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