Postcard from Palm Springs

Desert meets mountain vistas, year round sunshine, swanky bars and celebrity appeal help make Palm Springs an inviting destination at any time of year - not just during Coachella - writes Kaye Holland

The Joshua Tree National Park credit: roman_slavik

In recent years Palm Springs has become synonymous with Coachella - think Glastonbury minus the mud - which, this year, will take place over two weekends in April (14-16 and 21-23) and play host to artists like Kendrick Lamar, Lady Gaga, Radiohead, Skepta and Stormzy, as well as around 80,000 visitors.

Coachella - aka the most glamorous music festival on earth - aside, there are plenty of reasons why you should head to Palm Springs, a favourite hangout of the Rat Pack back in the 60s and 70s. Here’s five of the best…

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Chilling out at Coachella credit: epicurean

Celebrity homes

Located 110 miles east of Los Angeles, Palm Springs is where Ol' Blue Eyes and his cool cronies escaped to when they needed a break from the pressures of Hollywood. However, it wasn’t solely Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jnr and Dean Martin who flocked to this decadent desert oasis. Old school Hollywood actors and entertainers including Clark Gable, Marilyn Monroe, and Liberace all had ex-travagant homes here.

And no trip to Palm Springs is complete without seeing the homes of the afore-mentioned, in addition to the street where Bob Hope and Bing Crosby both lived, the house where Elvis and Priscilla honeymooned, plus the properties featured in both Ocean’s Eleven and Miami Vice. TNT can vouch for the Best of the Best’s 90 minute ‘Rich And Famous’ tour: expect to see the estates of the celebrities who helped put Palm Springs on the map.

It’s got architecture

Architecture is another of Palm Springs’ attraction. Not only was Palm Springs a mecca for Hollywood stars but star architects - step forward E. Stewart Williams, John Lautner and Donald Weller - who created some spectacular buildings. As such, the desert town boasts the largest concentration of mid-century modern architecture in America. Keep your iPhone close as you’ll see one storey homes with curved roofs, rectangular pavilions and floor to ceiling glass walls.

To learn a little more about the area’s buildings, visit the Palm Springs Architecture and Design Centre.

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credit: constantgardener

Good retail therapy

Palm Springs is also certain to satisfy shopaholics. For funky vintage stores and second hand furniture shops, the Uptown Design district is where it’s at. Even if shopping doesn’t interest you, don’t miss Dazzles (760-327-1446) whose garden is choc full of kitsch 1960s phone cabinets, plastic flamingos and 1950s sun loungers making for retro sensory overload.

Elsewhere label lovers will want to head to the Desert Hills Premium Outlets to pick up Prada, Burberry and Armani Exchange threads for a snip of the recom-mended retail price.

Pool parties

The number one reason people flock to Palm Springs is to drink designer cock-tails and dance to fresh DJ spun tunes, around kidney shaped pools until the wee small hours. (Forget New York, Palm Springs is the real US city that never sleeps). The pool party over at Ace – a hip, happening and celebrity ridden hotel – is a great place to drink over sized margaritas. Another hot spot to gather post midnight is the rainbow hued Saguaro Palm Springs - pronounced Suh-whar-oh - where the pool is surrounded by beds of bright desert flowers.

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The Saguaro credit: Kaye Holland

The great outdoors

Contrary to public perception, Palm Springs isn’t all about rubbing shoulders with celebs at pumping pool parties. Anyone who loves the great outdoors will want to take a trip to the Indian Canyons – the ancestral lands of the Cahuilla tribe – and the natural wonder that is the Joshua Tree National Park. Approximately a one hour drive away from Palm Springs, this slice of protected wilderness encompasses two desert eco-systems and, of course, the spiky leafed Joshua trees.

Back in Palm Springs, golf enthusiasts can hit the fairways – there’s more than 100 courses to choose from, including the famed PGA West Stadium, which hosts the CareerBuilder Challenge (formerly the Bob Hope Classic) every February - or ride the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. The world’s largest rotating cable cars will take you from the scorching desert valley to the summit of San Jacinto mountain in a mere 10 minutes. TNT’s tip: it gets chilly at the top of the mountain – even in summer – so bring a jumper.

For more information on Palm Springs, visit www.visitpalmsprings.com

For more information on Coachella, visit www.coachella.com

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