Friday 22 November 2019
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What She Said! with Christine Bentley & Kate Wheeler

Palm Springs – A Hot Place for California Cool

sanandreas inblog

It’s as though the 60’s moved in, and refused to leave. But while Palm Springs honours its swinging past, there is a new energy to this low slung city. With a population of 45,000, which swells to three times that during “The Season” (January to April), new hotels are being built, restaurants are springing up, and the airport has expansion plans. Their estimated 5 million visitors a year continues to grow, especially with the popularity of the Coachella and StageCoach music festivals.

The San Andreas Fault providing a constant reminder of the shifting earth’s plates, as well as the fact that the extreme heat makes it very expensive to get air conditioning higher than a second floor. The highest hotel in town is only 6 stories high. Vacation home rentals are not only abundant in Palm Springs, they are fabulous. One of the most unique is Colony 29, which was an Artists’ Colony in 1929, and after major renovations now offers homes for rent or provides for a terrific wedding venue.
This desert heat keeps up well through October, with the hottest part of the day coming at 4pm, so try to arrange your outdoor adventures in the morning.
We started ours with a visit to the San Andreas Fault, about a 20 minute drive outside of the city. “We’ve always treated water as precious”, our Desert Adventure tour guide “Captain” Morgan said, as she deftly handled her Jeep, named Ghostwalker, through the Fault, and our three hour tour of this remarkable and somewhat tortured landscape. “I’ve been shifting gears for 28 years” she said as she provided us with a barrage of geological facts. “See those palm trees? They grow along the fault line. A palm tree is really just grass on steroids”.
After wiping off the dust and shaking off the fear of nearby rattlesnakes, we dropped into Trio for a fresh and reasonable lunch. Like all restaurants in Palm Springs, water is only served to customers if requested.
As the heat of the day came upon us, we ascended up 8,516 feet via the rotating Aerial Tramway. The temperature dips a full 30 degrees Fahrenheit at the top of the peak which provides a breathtaking (literally, due to the high atmosphere) view of Palm Springs and surrounding towns. After tackling some of the 54 miles of hiking trails at the top, water was just the first beverage on our minds.
We dropped into the Workshop Kitchen for some of their famous Pisco Punch, and then finished the day off with a unique and deconstructed meal at Dish Creative Cuisine, one of Palm Spring’s newest restaurants.
The stars come out at night, but you can visit stars’ homes during the day. “Do you want architectural history or Hollywood gossip?” our guides from the Historical Society asked. Well, both, of course. A specialized walking tour took us to the heart of the Movie Colony district, where Frank Sinatra was its undisputed king. “And if Frank flew the Jack Daniels flag, it was a sign for all his buddies that “Tini Time” was on.” Frank, of course is Sinatra, and his “buddies” were Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, Carmen Miranda, and many other Hollywood A Listers.
You can see the house that Elvis Presley rented for his honeymoon night with Priscilla – and of course rumour has it that Lisa Marie was conceived that night. What is true that while Elvis and Priscilla were married in Las Vegas, it was Frank Sinatra’s Lear Jet that flew them to Palm Springs directly afterwards. And in a serendipitous nod to the transition between old Hollywood and new stars, Leonardo DiCaprio just purchased the Dinah Shore Estate.
Long a hangout of the Hollywood A List, the Parker Meridien is the perfect setting for a flat as a pancake crab cake at their café, Norma’s and no visit to Palm Springs is complete without spending some of it poolside. The Saguaro hotel rooms surround their very private and colourful pool, which has a calming vibe.
Our last dinner embodied the cuisine and culture of Palm Springs; an organic food experience on the outdoor patio of Tropicale, a favourite of both locals and visitors.

Visit for more information on accommodations and events.

by Kathy Buckworth

Author, I Am So The Boss Of You (Random House)
Family & Travel Expert, CBC’s Steven & Chris Show
Travel Expert, How She Travels, on Sirius/XM What She Said
Chief Family Advisor, President’s Choice Financial & PC Plus

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