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Marquee music festivals Coachella and Stagecoach are returning to Riverside County in 2022, Palm Springs’ beloved Modernism Week runs Feb. 17 to 27, and the desert playground beckons with a host of new spots.
“I’m really drawn to Palm Springs as an escape from my normal, often hectic, schedule,” says design expert and Emmy-nominated Queer Eye host Bobby Berk, who is currently hard at work restoring and designing a vacation rental, Casa Tierra, in the area. “It’s a place to completely unwind, fully relax, poolside ideally, and take in the gorgeous desert landscape.”
Berk, who’s been heading to the area for getaways since moving to California in 2015, adds “Palm Springs, and indeed the entire Coachella Valley, continues to grow and attract visitors from all over the world.”
To See and Do
Intersect Palm Springs Art Fair
The party starts with the Intersect Palm Springs art fair — formerly known as Art Palm Springs — welcoming a roster of 50 art and design galleries, running Feb. 10 to 13. The list of events includes a conversation with Robert Longo and Jeffrey Deitch on the night of Saturday, Feb. 12.
At Modernism Week, which celebrates all things midcentury modern, highlights include Saving Iconic Architecture’s “A Night for Preservation,” at the Donald Wexler-designed home owned by Leonardo DiCaprio that is rarely opened for events and once belonged to Dinah Shore; and a tour of a recently restored home designed by architect William Cody for actress Beverly Garland; a walking tour of the Mesa, the quirky neighborhood Barry Manilow calls home; and, of course, the Palm Springs Modernism Week Show and Sale, featuring more than 90 furniture, decor and fine art dealers.
“I’m a huge fan of architect Albert Frey, so I’m hoping to catch the tour of Cree House,” says Berk of another gem open for tours. Maison Bleue Moderne by Michelle Boudreau Design is also high on Berk’s list.
Palm Springs Downtown Park
Opened last fall and designed by Rios, the new two-acre Downtown Park is located across the street from the Palm Springs Art Museum (at the intersection of Belardo Road and Museum Way). It features two lawns, palm groves, and a water feature inspired by the Tahquitz Canyon waterfall. (Nearby and not part of the park is the area’s reinstated Marilyn Monroe statue, which has been criticized as sexist and “hyper-sexualized”).
DINING AND IMBIBING
Dog-friendly restaurant and bar Boozehounds (2080 N. Palm Canyon Drive) boasts a dedicated dog menu. “A great meal, a stylish space and your furry friend by your side? It doesn’t get much better than that,” says Berk, who totes along his pup Bimini.
Sandfish Sushi & Whiskey chef Engin Onural takes inspiration from the 1920s for his latest venture, the new speakeasy Tailor Shop (140 W. Via Lola).
Gigi’s (333 E. Palm Canyon Drive) offers everything from wedge salads and deviled eggs to Lobster Thermidor pasta with indoor and outdoor seating and a firepit cocktail area.
“LGBTQ+ culture is a defining aspect of Palm Springs, and Queertique [120 La Plaza] highlights the queer experience,” says Berk. Selling everything from art to apparel to home goods from independent queer artists, it’s the perfect one-stop shop for supporting the community.
Jeff Holt and Peter West, the duo behind San Francisco’s Hewn, are opening Scout this spring in Cathedral City’s Perez Road Art & Design District, selling gently used, high-quality pieces culled from their wide-ranging contact list of interior design insiders. It’s right next door to Hedge, a mainstay for vintage accessories and furnishings that’s owned by Thomas Sharkey and Charles Pearson, Shirley MacLaine’s former assistant.
Fig & Nash
To supplement the bustling business at their Palm Canyon Drive decor shop, partners Mick Fox and Dino Raimondi have opened a second Fig & Nash store (73200 El Paseo) in Palm Desert.
REST AND RELAXATION
Cheetah and Tiki Hotels
Kitsch-minded hotelier Tracy Turco’s newest properties are the animal-print-filled 12-room Cheetah Hotel (from $142, 354 E. Stevens Road) and the 11-room Polynesian-themed Tiki Hotel (from $184, 1333 N. Indian Canyon Drive). The Tiki includes a boutique that sells vintage style dresses, shoes and makeup.
Azure Sky Hotel
The adults-only 14-room Azure Sky hotel (from $350, 1661 S. Calle Palo Fierro), which will begin accepting reservations May 1, is the first Palm Springs area property from Acme Hospitality, known for Santa Barbara’s Helena Avenue Bakery and Loquita.
Opening March 1, the 24-room Hermann Bungalows (from $1,000, 1050 E. Palm Canyon) from designer Steve Hermann looks to the desert for its subdued and moody color palette. Guests are invited enjoy the amenities at Hermann’s L’Horizon Hotel and Spa next door.
JW Marriott Desert Springs Spa
Billed as “the largest spa in Palm Desert,” the renovated 38,000-square-foot spa at the JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort (74-855 Country Club Drive) offers an extensive new treatment menu that includes a Dermyoung Rapid Recovery Facial ($199) devised by Harvard Medical School skin biologists. The property overlooks 450 acres of desert gardens, mountain views and lakes.
Berk will soon complete his seven-bedroom Spanish-style vacation rental, Casa Tierra (@casatierra on Instagram). “I knew it was the perfect fit,” he says. “My intention is to create a rental unlike anything else on the market.” Due to be completed this spring, it will include two stand-alone casitas nestled into a hillside on two-and-a-half acres just outside Palm Desert. He admits that his “most memorable trips to the desert are the ones where I didn’t even leave the place we were staying.”
As for where else Berk likes to go — when he does venture out — the Queer Eye star shares a few favorites:
Locally owned Koffi (four locations) is his “go-to for morning coffee.”
At the La Serena Villas boutique hotel (339 S. Belardo Rd.) he highly recommends “grabbing a drink at the restaurant’s rooftop deck, Sugar High.”
Berk calls Sunnylands Center & Gardens (37977 Bob Hope Dr., Rancho Mirage), the former Annenberg estate, “a tranquil spot to spend an afternoon admiring the gorgeous interiors and desert-inspired gardens.”
He loves to explore Palm Canyon Drive. “Palm Canyon Drive has something for everyone,” says Berk, recalling memorable meals at Workshop and Sandfish. “I alway find chic mid-century treasures at Christopher Anthony.”
Berk’s choice for a hike, Andreas Canyon Trail At Indian Canyons, is best experienced early in the morning. “It’s a simple one-mile trail for an easy, and picturesque way to start your day,” he says.
“The building alone is worth a visit,” says Berk of the Palm Springs Art Museum (101 Museum Dr.). “It’s an incredible mid-century space with 28 galleries, as well as a separate Architecture & Design Center.”
A version of this story first appeared in the Feb. 11 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.
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