48 Hours in Palm Springs
By Ashley Robinson
In the last 10 months, I’ve gone to two bachelorette parties in Palm Springs, thereby making me an undisputed expert in the region. (That was a joke, but still, my two experiences were different but informative enough to know that I like the place and that others may benefit from my knowledge.)
For anyone planning a bachelorette party, Palm Springs is great location. It’s low-key enough for any group of girls just wanting to kick back and get some sun, while also offering a wide array of nightlife that keeps people on their feet.
Viceroy Hotel – This place is fabulous, and I mean fabulous in that it is late 1960’s Palm Springs fabulous, citrus shades, retro furnishings, three pools, and should always be playing samba and bossa nova music over the subtley-hidden loudspeakers. It’s very relaxing, very chic, and a great place to mellow out with an intimate group of girls. Plus, it’s between the mountains and downtown, so you are within walking distance of all the action but with stunning views outside your pool. We also took advantage of the free yoga classes out of the spa one morning, a nice break. (The spa also offers free hikes, mani/pedis, and massages by a small private pool.)
Rental House – For the other, much larger b-party I attended, we rented out a house to sleep 15 girls. Rental houses are great because they provide the space and privacy, and sound barriers needed for a wild (and inappropriately-themed) party. It had a pool, hot tub, fire pit, a bed for everyone, a big kitchen and dining room … the best thing about this particular rental was that each room had its own bathroom. As someone who lived with 33 other girls for three years in college, there are never enough places to get ready for going out. Check out this house.
Zelda’s – I LOVED this place. This strip mall club is a surprisingly fun place to dance to some LMFAO. Friday night is officially Ladies’ Night, which means it entails some gender-specific (ok, or not) entertainment. I’m not a huge fan of strippers, but the emcee and dancers were not too aggressive and fairly … professional? In other words, you didn’t feel uncomfortable. Best part of the evening is that Marines from the Twentynine Palms base stand in the back of the club until the “dancing” is over and then swoop in on the bachelorette party attendees ready to do their own entertaining. Very strategic on their part.
JW Marriott Costa’s Night Club – I gotta say, I was not so much a fan of this place. It’s grimy, the security and wait staff are not accommodating, it’s about 30 minutes away from Palm Springs, and from my observations, the guys were … just too Jersey Shore to be taken seriously. (Translate: Ed Hardy shirts are not attractive.) However, we still had a great time (a testament to my fellow partiers), the music was good, the bottle service option is recommendable, and there are lots of fast food joints on the way back to your destination to soak up the booze.
Village Pub – Right in the heart of Palm Springs, this place is more like a big college bar with three settings – downstairs, upstairs, and a dance room in the back. Lots of outside seating, a vibrant crowd, and live music. It has a diverse scene, to be sure, which made this place a fun reprieve from the Ed Hardy shirt crowd we witnessed at Costa’s.
Gay Clubs – Palm Springs hosts a more than a couple of gay clubs that are supposedly super fun. I have not yet made it to those establishments, but I’ve heard good things.
Okura Sushi – As much of a fan of sushi as I am, I would say the best part about this place was the service – not to say the food was not excellent. The quality of wait staff can make even a five-star restaurant repulsive. We sat out on the patio facing pedestrian traffic, shared platters of food from the huge and tasty menu, got free drinks, and had a great time. The website makes it look very ultra-loungey, which it is not, but that’s ok. I highly recommend this locale to start off the night.
Spencer’s – This was an excellent choice for the second night of more intimate/mellow b-parties. It’s fairly high-end, right at the base of the mountain, and the wine list is decadent. I would recommend this for small parties or dates. It’s not the place to be loud and make toasts to each other, or wear veils or be crazy. It’s a grown-up establishment.
Matchbox – Right at the heart of Palm Springs (yes, it’s down the street from Village Pub), this pizza-focused place upstairs from the famous Sonny Bono fountain is the opposite of Spencer’s in that it is a great place for a large group, family-style sharing, and teary-eyed toasts. And because I knew I wasn’t going to be seen in a swimsuit again for a while, I ate lots of yummy pizza.
Café Jasmin – Oh never heard of this place? Well, keep it that way. My friend and I decided to eat brunch there because it was across the street from a very popular brunch place that had a line out the door and down the street. In our haste to consume food, we also sacrificed our standards. But hey, the mimosas were cheap and steep. (The fact that this place has more than two stars confirms my fear that Yelp is rigged.)
Ace Hotel – I was originally against the idea of paying to gain attendance to a pool party as we had one at the rental house, but in the end, it was a good choice. I am really recommending this because it is a supreme people-watching location. I felt like I was from freaking National Geographic watching these rare creatures stalking around the watering hole. The Ace Hotel is known for being high-end hipster, and that reputation holds. We saw a lot of tattoed individuals smoking American Spirits and drinking 24 oz cans of PBR. On the other side of that, there was a sizable crowd of Pauly D lookalikes. (Seriously, we saw a large group of juiced up dudes taking pictures of each other. It was odd.) Please note, this place can and will fill up fast, so while they will let you in, seating is not guaranteed.
Riviera – I did not go to this place, but I understand it is also a popular spot for pool partying. It’s a little expensive only because you are recommended to reserve a cabana with table service.
And there it is! So you tell us – what’s your favorite spot in Palm Springs and why?