The Saguaro Palm Springs

Postcard Perfect Palm Springs and The Saguaro

On Day 6 of our Spring Break Getaway we left L.A. It was Cole’s 30th birthday which began with a stop at Joshua Tree on our way to Palm Springs.

The windmills of the Coachella Valley were in Mission Impossible 3.

We drove from L.A. to Joshua Tree 127 miles via Interstate 10, passing the San Bernardino National Park and and San Gorgonio Pass windmills on our way to the Yuca Valley. You can tour the windmill farm. Info is here.

Windmills outside Palm Springs

road trip to Joshua Tree, California

Joshua Tree, California

Roadtrip from L.A. to Joshua Tree

Joshua Trees in Joshua Tree, California

We had a big lunch at Crossroads Cafe in Joshua Tree, California. Popular with locals and folks passing through, they have vegan options, a huge breakfast menu available until 1:30 PM, and local brews. Their hours were 7 AM – 9 PM (check website to be sure).

We wanted to spend more time in Joshua Tree National Park but between the 5 days in L.A. and road trip, we were ready to get to our Palm Springs hotel and relax. Ben had been to Joshua Tree before. I first heard of the place thanks to U2, but learned that Joshua trees are actually succulents. 19th-century Mormon settlers named them after Joshua in the Bible because they felt the trees’ outstretched arms were guiding them westward. The rock formations remind me of those we’d seen in Colorado Springs.

Joshua Tree California

On to Palm Springs and napping by the pool under tall palms…

Palm trees in Palm Springs California

Palm Springs is as postcard perfect as it gets. Spotless. Safe. Midcentury Modern. Beautiful. Even the airport is cool.

Locals obviously love living there — especially women of a certain age (mine and older) who I saw chilling with friends downtown. My family loved it too. However, if you stay where we did, be warned.

There’s just one problem with The Saguaro in Palm Springs…

you won’t want to leave! No, really. It isn’t an all-inclusive resort, but we so enjoyed the property, relaxed vibe, and food and drinks at great prices that we spent most of our remaining vacation time there. Even when it was over, I still didn’t want to leave.

In the Old West, settlers found a place to call home and staked a claim. I wondered … If I refuse to budge, will the Saguaro Palm Springs let me live here?

Cole’s taste in accommodations was impeccable, from the serene, white home-away-from-home rental in L.A. to this fun stay. Turns out, The Saguaro Palm Springs is the most Instagrammable place in town. The boutique hotel has been lauded by Architectural Digest, The Telegraph, CBS News, Harper’s Bazaar, Elle, New York Times, Vogue, National Geographic and so many more. Prior to 2012, it was The International, then Holiday Inn. It was built the year I graduated from high school and reminded me of childhood vacations. Like the title of Chicago’s song that ended every high school dance, The Saguaro succeeds at its mission to “Color Your World.”

The 14-color palette was chosen by the Sydell Group and architects Peter Stamberg and Paul Aferiat based on the hues of local wildflowers. At first, the Palm Springs Architectural Advisory Committee rejected the departure from neutral shades, but Aferiat argued the hotel’s rainbow effect inspires optimism. Thanks to Flower Power and persistence, the architects won. Read more about the Battle of the Beige here.

Californians love The Saguaro (and the Coachella Valley which hosts the music festival). Our host in L.A. asked where we were staying in Palm Springs. When we said The Saguaro, he said he likes to stay there and we’d love it, too. If you’re headed to Coachella this year or ANY year, The Saguaro is a great option. It was the perfect way to spend the last two days of our vacation. Here you can book a stay at Saguaro Palm Springs, too.

Saguaro Pam Springs
The Saguaro Palm Springs is a destination in itself. Located downtown, it has been named one of. the most colorful hotels in. the world. Surrounded by three mountain ranges — The San Jacinto, The Santa Rosa, and The San Bernadino — guests get breath-taking views from the pool, gardens, and rooms.
The Saguaro Palm Springs
The Saguaro has two hot tubs and a poolside bar. They provide sunscreen for sunning on a poolside lounger, or you can reserve a shaded cabana.
Cabana at Saguaro Hotel Palm Springs California

When we pulled into the hotel parking lot, it was crush-at-first-sight. Cole went inside to check us in. When he came out I asked him what the reception area looked like. He grinned with a sigh and shook his head. “You’re going to go crazy.” I did.

Saguaro Reception Area Palm Springs

Cole, my son, did a great job choosing this hotel. Taylor, Ben, and I were soooo pleased. Turns out that The Saguaro is the most Instagrammable place in town.

Palm Springs is a dream town for artists. No wonder surrealist Salvador Dali loved it. Go no further than the reception area of The Saguaro and you’ll find an installation of works created at the hotel in 2016 by Anna-Alexia Basile. An Italian -American who grew up between Italy and Florida, the fashion, travel, and lifestyle photographer loves using color to explore the relationship between reality and the surreal. Her extensive client list includes Elle Decor, Apple, Disney, H&M, Vogue, Refinery29, and Banana Republic. She says The Saguaro is “the perfect place to bring my inner world to life.” Her online photography classes look amazing!

Resting and playing in such spaces is a beauty break for the soul. The natural wonders of Palm Springs fuel creativity.

Historic snowfall in Palm Springs created a surreal view from our balcony at The Saguaro Palm Springs.

I was in pink heaven. Our suite was huge. See all of the room choices on a virtual tour here.

We had a gorgeous mountain view (above). Across the street was a grocery, but we didn’t need it. El Jefe Desert Cantina has great breakfast options, poolside lunch service, and daily Happy Hour on the patio. Their Taco Tuesday and Thursday deal is amazing. They also have a 24-hour fitness center, weekend yoga, free bikes (Palm Springs is the perfect bike town), two hot tubs, and other areas to socialize in all weather. The patio has fire features. There are Adirondack chairs, hammocks, and a bocce ball court.

We missed this event by a week. It tops my Next Time list.

While my kids slept in after a late night playing pool, I took photos of the gardens, had breakfast on the patio, and met a new friend by the swimming pool. A yoga teacher, author, and for several years single mom, Erin Ford hit a milestone at Palm Springs Recording Studio. She showed me her book, Words That Rhyme and Lullabies which is available here. We talked about writing and the value of creative community (aka retreats). She wants to do my next writing retreat in Morocco. I want to do her yoga retreat in Palm Springs. She told me about hiking by a waterfall and the Thursday Night Palm Springs Village Fest. A huge bonus of travel is meeting kindred spirits.

Saguaro Pool Palm Springs
Ben checking out the Saguaro Palm Springs pool

I couldn’t leave Palm Springs without attempting a drive-by of the homes of Elvis (my first pretend boyfriend) and Frank Sinatra. Cole drove me and sent his sister a photo of me stalking Frank.

On the California Now podcast, Palm Springs Celebrity Kurt Cyr explains why the city is the epicenter of Midcentury Modern design. He explains Desert Modernism that started after World War 2 and why Palm Springs became the playground for celebrities. Note the hotel featured on the episode cover. I’d love to do his Rat Pack Tour to see homes that belonged to Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin (my grandmother loved Dino and I’ve always been obsessed with both of them), Peter Lawford, and Marilyn Monroe. It ends with Martinis at Melvyn’s, a Rat Pack hangout. How cool is Melvyn’s? Check this out.

The perfect time to be in Palm Springs is Modernism Week. Flip through the pages of the October 2022 schedule and be blown away at all there is to see. And by the way, October is just the mini-festival! The 11-day event is February 15-25, 2024. Make plans now for these events. If you go at other times of the year, fear not. You can do a self-guided tour of desert modern design or contact Kurt Cyr for a Mod Squad tour.

We’re not sure if we saw the outside of Elvis’ hideaway or not. I did stumble upon (literally) his star on a quick stop downtown and on Trixie’s Cactus Garden.

Palm Springs California

Trixie's Garden Palm Springs

BIG THANKS to Cole for planning this trip (and for donning the Cannon for a mini photo shoot). L.A. and Palm Springs provided a perfect getaway. To Cole, Taylor, and Ben I saw in the words of Bob Hope, a former resident of Palm Springs, thanks for the memories!

Cole McCain Saguaro Palm Springs

Ben, Taylor and Cole at El Jefe Desert Cantina at The Saguaro Palm Springs

Happy 2010

So it’s January 2nd and I’m already a day late. But not really.

I’ve vowed  to write more regularly on this first blog in the coming year.  I plan to continue writing freelance pieces, articles as the Latin Dancing Examiner, blogs as owner of  Classic Coup all while grading essays, dancing salsa, and being a fulltime mom.   I may even paint again and try tango.  But perhaps these are more good intentions than resolutions… considering I’ve already blown writing a post on New Year’s Day.

Instead,  craving Indian food, I shut my MacBook yesterday and met four friends at Sitar.   During the workweek, we can never get together for lunch. Teachers don’t get grown up lunches off campus and even if I did, we’re spread out between a Brentwood health care company, Vanderbilt, The Tennessean, and, well, Holland.   We needed to celebrate Kim’s new job and welcome Patrick back for another visit to the States.  And so it goes…By the time I returned home, my teens were finally awake.  Rather than sticking to my plan to begin 2010 blogging and starting Crush It! (recommended by a friend to draft my game plan for Classic Coup this year), I watched a movie with my son instead.  Time for bed and still no blog post looking back on ’09 or looking forward to ’10.

But then I realized…  yesterday was a living example of what I’d say in a January 1 post anyway.

It was spent exactly how I’ve tried to live my life the past few years and especially since I started this blog in January ’09 with the post My Cup Runneth Over.  Though a cliche, I really want my priority to stay “People before things”–including my laptop.  I’ve vowed to enjoy the moment rather than missing it looking too long at the past or future.  I appreciate the last year that brought three of the four friends at table yesterday into my life.   I know a year from now we may not all be in Nashville.  Who knows what the new year will bring, but starting the rest of my life over some chicken tiki marsala with good friends felt right.

So today… the second day of the new year,  I will look back in some sadness,  much joy, and all gratitude for the surprises of 2009.  There were the big events: my grandmother’s birthday last August (though when she died the next day we realized she had held on to see her family gathered for one more celebration);  for a cookout at Heather’s, a road trip, and a  party at Mad D’s for my much dreaded but greatly enjoyed milestone birthday; for seeing Monico and eating in Montmarte with my mom; for an afternoon in Venice with my old friend, Giorgio, who took the time to travel from Milan;  for the ride up the coast to Malibu in a convertible  with Taylor and Cole and watching fireworks with them at Marina del Ray; for falling in love with Gaudi on a trip to Barcelona with Kim and Patty; for starting Classic Coup with Angela;  for friends met through salsa and especially the deeper relationships that have extended beyond the dance floor; for spending a last Christmas with our Annie.

And there were other great moments, the ones that don’t revolve around holidays, birthdays, or vacations.   The ones I too often take for granted:  laughing at dance lessons with Michael, James, and Kim followed by Las Cazuela’s and Los Arcos; a new movie to add to Life is Beautiful and  Chocolat as my favorite movies of all time; interviews for Examiner where acquaintances became friends (like when Sheyla talked of Cuba over an impromptu dinner Kenny cooked for us and served  in the backyard as the sun set) and where friends, like Dann, told me more of their story; calls “just checking” on the kids and me; a kitty my children fostered; Shakespeare in the park with my children, my sister’s family, and Sara, Greg and Trent;  calls from Angela to discuss designs for the next shirt;  discussions with Sherry and Darin on how Classic Coup can support the children of   Quito, Ecuador.   Attending the reunion of one of my favorite graduating classes ever and the daily antics of Nick and Trey, two students I’ll never forget,  who said I looked like Angela on The Office and made sure everyone noticed.  Discovering churros and chocolate in Barcelona and making fresh tortellini and gnocchi in an Italian cooking class.  Seeing my oldest friend (dating back to kindergarten) marry off her oldest daughter…then the wedding party dance out of the church to “Forever.”  Watching every episode of The Office with family.  Hearing from SO many over the death of Annie.  Being convinced to join friends on New Year’s Eve.

I look forward to 2010 with specific hopes and dreams but know that what is IS enough.  I thank God for an abundant life.