The Rat Pack is back, baby, or at least its hangout is. In the 1950s and '60s, Palm Springs, some 100 miles east of LA, was the swinging getaway of Sinatra, Elvis and dozens of other stars, partying the night away in fancy modernist homes. Once the Rat Pack packed it in, though, the 300-sq-mile Coachella Valley surrendered to retirees in golf clothing. That is, until the mid-1990s, when a new generation fell in love with the city’s retro-chic charms: steel-and-glass bungalows designed by famous architects, boutique hotels with vintage decor and kidney-shaped pools, and hushed piano bars serving the perfect martini. In today’s Palm Springs, retirees and snowbirds mix comfortably with hipsters, hikers and a significant gay and lesbian contingent, on weekend getaways from LA or from clear across the globe.
Palm Springs is the principal city of the Coachella Valley, a string of desert towns ranging from ho-hum Cathedral City to glamtastic Palm Desert and America’s date capital of Indio, all linked by Hwy 111. North of Palm Springs, Desert Hot Springs is garnering its share of visitors thanks to a slew of chic boutique hotels built on top of those soothing springs.