Heading to California with kids? A weekend of Palm Springs’
desert glamour is an absolute must
Words Helen Baron
Palm Springs is an American legend in its own right, a small resort town with a reputation as outsized as the mountains that encircle it.
Situated amid the searing heat of California’s Coachella Valley – and a home-from-home for celebrities and the super-wealthy since Frank Sinatra set up home here in 1948 – the town wears its glitzy credentials with a cool confidence. The streets are clean, the palms are high, the architectural portfolio is crammed with modernist masterpieces – and the atmosphere is sweetly, subtly electric.
There’s a surprising amount of history here, and a pop culture reference point on every corner. If you’re open to the allure of Americana, you’ll spend much of your stay feeling like you’re on an ineffably cool, cocktail-fuelled pilgrimage.
Of course, you’ll need a car to explore properly (this is California, after all). But if you fancy a little Los Angeles-style glamour in a magnificent natural setting – with sunshine pretty much guaranteed – it doesn’t get much better than this.
Palm Springs is brimming with hotels but the Miramonte Resort & Spa must be one of the finest for families seeking activity, tranquility, luxury and, importantly, space.
Situated a few miles from the commercial centre of town, you might be forgiven for thinking it’s a little far from the action; the truth is, Palm Springs is so compact that the satellite ‘cities’ of Cathedral City and Indian Wells (the Miramonte is located in the latter) could more accurately be described as neighbourhoods. A short drive up the road (complete with mesmerising views of the mountains) is all it takes to reach the buzzing restaurants and shops of South Palm Canyon and South Indian Canyon Drives. And you get to see so much of the area along the way.
Don’t fancy a jaunt? Don’t worry: the Miramonte has everything required to keep you happily rooted to the spot, including golf for Dad and that spa for Mama… Not forgetting two big, beautiful swimming pools which will no doubt be the main attraction for younger guests. Our baby loved our private poolside cabana, clambering all over the soft cushions in between dips.
You can fit a lot of luxury in 11 acres – which is the size of the sweep of land on which the Miramonte has made itself (very) comfortable.
Architecturally, the hotel is inspired by the Mediterranean – think sandy-coloured stone, sun-dappled terraces, manicured lawns and trailing flowers – but there’s also an emphasis on keeping things spacious in the great American tradition. Our suite was quite literally vast (actually bigger than our London flat), with a tastefully furnished open-plan living and dining area, guest bathroom, terrace, beautifully appointed bedroom, walk-in closet and master bathroom with skylight and spa bath.
Neutral tones prevailed throughout – and the plush carpet and spacious layout were bliss for our baby, who had just started walking and was able to rampage through our quarters without getting herself into (too much) trouble.
There’s free wifi in all rooms plus a 24-hour fitness room, two pools with hot tubs and sundecks, a farm-to-table restaurant and a bar (with happy hour). Golfers can also take advantage of tee times at the high-end Indian Wells Golf Resort nearby.
The spa at the Miramonte is one of the best in the world according to no less an authority than Conde Nast Traveller.
It features 13 treatment rooms, seasonally changing menus of expert services and a private salt-water therapy pool.
My massage was amazing – just what was required after a couple of days lugging a heavy one year-old around the swimming pool – and the Tuscan-style surroundings only made the experience more enjoyable. A truly luxurious way to round off an amazing stay.
Summer rates start at $129 per night.
45000 Indian Wells Lane, Indian Wells, CA 92210; +1 760 341 2200