Maybe August in the desert might not be your cup of tea, although there are few things more refreshing than jumping into a (climate controlled) pool when the mercury hits 110 degrees. But Southern California’s Coachella Valley is only that hot in the summer. All year long, it’s an oasis, not just of green at the foot of mountains, but of arts and culture.
Palm Springs has been a haven for Hollywood stars since the ’30s, and the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, founded in 1999, comes to Indio in the spring. Outside summertime, when temperatures drop and cold weather sets in, the desert sees average highs in the 70s and 80s half the year.
In addition to being ringed by mountains with the Salton Sea to the south, the Coachella Valley is also the gateway to Joshua Tree National Park at the confluence of the Mojave and Colorado deserts. Aside from the boundless hiking opportunities, Joshua Tree is a perfect place to gaze at the night sky thanks to its elevation and dark sky conditions.
The area is dotted with canyons offering adventure to the rock climbers in the family, with The Living Desert in Palm Desert providing family fun with a zoo and botanical garden. El Paseo shopping center and the Palm Springs Art Museum are a respite when things do get too hot. With March comes the BNP Paribas Open, a pro tennis tournament in Indian Wells. Any time of year, a Jeep tour or hot air balloon ride taking in the whole valley show off the area’s stark beauty.
Arts, food and wine festivals come to the valley throughout the year, with the Desert Circuit Horse Show taking place January through March at the Polo Grounds. About the only thing missing is the carrot festival Bugs Bunny came looking for in a 1953 cartoon. No matter your interests or the time of year, the Coachella Valley remains an oasis in the desert. Even if all you want to do is jump in the pool on a hot day.
Where to stay:
La Quinta Resort & Club, A Waldorf Astoria Resort
The Original Desert Hideaway, La Quinta Resort & Club—a member of Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts—has been a haven to Hollywood stars since 1926. Set on 45 acres of vibrant gardens, the resort features hacienda-style casitas, suites and villas clustered around 41 pools. Together with PGA WEST, the resort offers five unique golf courses designed by legends Nicklaus, Dye and Norman. Also available: Spa La Quinta, 23 tennis courts, seven restaurants and seasonal, live outdoor music. A multimillion-dollar restoration has furnished the resort with a modern look in line with the property’s history and serene desert surroundings.
Hyatt Regency Indian Wells Resort & Spa
Hyatt Regency Indian Wells Resort & Spa offers unrivaled hospitality in the Palm Springs area. This award-winning resort boasts 530 newly renovated guestrooms, including 26 luxury Penthouse Suites and 43 extravagant villas with the area’s only personalized butler service. It is a premier golf and tennis destination, home to two PGA championship courses and world-class tennis facilities. Agua Serena, the 30,000-square-foot spa, is annually recognized as one of the nation’s best. Other highlights include seven outdoor pools, one of which is adults-only; private, poolside cabanas; and four tantalizing dining venues.
The Ritz Carlton, Rancho Mirage
The Ritz Carlton, Rancho Mirage offers a desert-chic ambience that embraces its beautiful natural setting. You’ll especially find this in your accommodations’ décor, which reflects the desert surroundings with locally sourced stone and wood. Admire the views from your private balcony or patio. Club Level rooms offer a private, well-stocked lounge with a dedicated concierge. The Ritz Kids program keeps children and teens occupied so you can indulge in the spa’s indoor-outdoor Spirit of the Mountains renewal treatment. Close proximity to Palm Springs brings golfers within range of more than 100 fine courses.