It seems that everyone has been taking trips to the desert lately and why not – it’s warm, has great architecture and the juxtaposition between the mountains, the palm trees and the vast desert landscape is an Instagram dream. Not to mention, the plethora of festivals that are growing year over year from Modernism Week to the Palm Springs International Film Festival to the upcoming Coachella, it’s the place to be. Recently, Joy Cho, the uber-talented creator of Oh Joy! and Dee Murphy, the equally talented interior designer behind Murphy Deesign spent a great deal of time scouting for the latest and greatest in between the work they recently completed on the Design Showcase House at Modernism Week. If you’re heading out to Palm Springs next week for the festival or simply adding it to your wanderlust list, you’ll need to check out their recommendations. They’re spot on.
Why Palm Springs?
Dee says, “Living in Los Angeles, we are blessed with a multitude of opportunities to escape “city life”, and head out towards the beaches, mountains, or desert in just a minimal twenty minutes to a few hours drive time away. Palm Springs is a moderate two hour hop, skip and a jump to fabulous resorts, historic design, and what I crave most… SILENCE.
Whether you’re lounging by a pool staring at the palm trees with a margarita in hand, or you’re taking in the desert and mountain scenery at an Airbnb in Joshua Tree with nothing to hear but a few desert critters scurrying by… there is something for everyone in this community that has seen a definitive resurgence in style, hospitality and popularity over the past few years.
There is definitely something for everyone… which means there is absolutely no excuse not to visit while you are in California!”
For Joy, “Palm Springs has always been one of my easy getaway locations ever since moving to Los Angeles six years ago. It’s warm, quiet, filled with lots of great design, and it’s all within two hours (give or take with traffic). Whether with your significant other for a romantic getaway, a trip with the girls, or a vacation with your kids, it’s fun in the sun for so many reasons.”
Read on for the top picks from these two ladies.
There is no shortage of amazing places to stay in Palm Springs, but if you’d like to stay near downtown (and follow my guide below), then the Korakia Pensione is the way to go! A combination of restored villas from the 1920’s and 1930’s, Korakia is a blend of Mediterranean and Moroccan suites set a few blocks away from shops and dining, and nestled at the foot of the San Jacinto Mountains. The first time I visited, I felt like I had just stepped foot in Positano, Italy (one of my favorite places in the world). Hop on one of the hotel bikes for an easy ride into the city…
Korakia Pensione, 257 S. Patencio Road, Palm Springs, California 92262 760.864.6411
If you are looking to stay in a home vs a hotel, I love The Samantha Davis House. I always look for homes with great details. Inside there was a beautiful piano the kids loved, a giant chalkboard wall, and other small instruments and games. It’s little details like this that make it super fun to stay at a great, well-designed and well-thought out home. The outdoor space was a dream with a pool, hot tub, crazy cute gold trailer, and the games the house had in the backyard.
I am admittedly a coffee snob, and the last few times I have been to Palm Springs I was disappointed in my options until my friend Kelly Lee, of Kelly GoLightly (and the unofficial ambassador to Palm Springs), told me to visit Ernest. It’s worthy of its residence in the “design district”, with its eclectic decor and Stumptown brews. Skip the chains and stop here to start your day!
Ernest Coffee, 1101 North Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs CA 92262, 760.318.4154
Ice cream and cool designed gifts all in one place? A great place to stop for an afternoon treat or some light shopping.
If you like hot dogs, this place is SOOO good. And that tornado potato might have been the best use of a potato I have ever had. They also have the BEST wallpaper designed by local designer, Candice Held —look really close for the hot dog in a tux!
Frankinbun, 540 S. Indian Canyon Dr. Palm Springs, CA 92264
If full-tilt desert, boho, style isn’t quite your thing, then Elizabeth & Prince has nailed the perfect mix of classic New York with a laid back California vibe that should suit you just fine, whether you plan on staying in Palm Springs, or traveling out to Coachella to rock out with Lady Gaga and her “little monsters”. Even the absent (and very pregnant) Queen Bey would approve…
Elizabeth & Prince, 800 N Palm Canyon Dr a, Palm Springs, CA 92262, (760) 992-5800
There’s a new pink wall in town, and it has The Shops At Thirteen Forty Five written all over it! There’s something for everyone, but my two favorite spaces are Lindy for vintage accessories (think brass figurines, jewelry and amazing art), and Soukie Modern for gorgeous moroccan rugs, pillows, textiles and more!
The Shops At Thirteen Forty Five, 1345 N. Palm Canyon Dr., Palm Springs, CA, 92262
Desert Wanderlust is filled with the work of independent designers and artists from the California area. If you wanted to buy a souvenir, this was a nice alternative to a traditional touristy gift shop with items that felt local but more designed.
Desert Wanderlust, 340 N. Palm Canyon Dr., Palm Springs, CA
Whenever I visit a new city, I like to “get out of town” and into the outskirts for some adventure, and Palm Springs and its surrounding desert communities offer plenty of action. Just a short 50 minute drive away is the Ladder Canyon Trail, a breathtaking hike through slot canyons, where you can either climb down ladders (easy/moderate), or pull yourself up ropes (moderate/difficult) for some beautiful photos and a true escape into the oh-so-quiet and revitalizing desert. When you’ve finished, you can head back to your hotel pool for a drink and a massage. You’ve earned it!
Ladder Canyon Trail, Painted Canyon Rd., Desert Center, CA
Joy Cho is the founder and creative director of Oh Joy! and lives in LA with her hubby and two little ladies, Ruby and Coco.
Dee Murphy is the founder of Murphy Deesign interior design firm, and the editor of the Murphy Deesign blog. She lives in LA with her hubby and her two littles, Parker and Avery.