Several of Palm Springs’ resort and spa hotels offer day spa services such as massage and skin and body treatments. If you’re interested in the type of day spa that is more about relaxing in a pool or Jacuzzi, the town of Desert Hot Springs 12 miles north (a 20-minute drive) is your best bet.
Palm Springs Spas
The hotel spa at the trendy Technicolor Saguaro Palm Springs (1800 E Palm Canyon Dr., 760/969-6483, 10am-3pm Sun., by appointment only Mon., 10am-6pm Tues.-Sat.) offers massage and signature facial and body treatments for rejuvenation, hydration, and detox.
Estrella Spa (415 S Belardo Rd., 877/760-0846), in the classic, luxurious Avalon Hotel, offers massages, facials, scrubs, nails, waxings, and holistic health treatments by appointment. The spa also offers seasonally based specials including romance packages.
The Hard Rock Hotel Palm Springs offers signature treatments in its Rock Spa (150 S Indian Canyon Dr., 760/969-6665, by appointment 10am-4pm Mon.-Thurs., 10am-6pm Fri.-Sun.), including a massage with a soundtrack and therapeutic sound vibration as well as wraps, facials, and skin treatments. Treatment packages are available for couples …or for you and your entourage.
The Hilton Palm Springs offers an assortment of services in its Elements Spa (400 E Tahquitz Canyon Way, 760/318-8528), including Swedish and deep-tissue massage, exfoliating and rejuvenating skin treatments, manicures, pedicures, and aromatherapy. Day guests also enjoy hotel amenities such as a pool, hot tub, and fitness facilities, as well as access to a full restaurant menu and poolside bar. Spa and couples packages are also available.
The hip Ace Hotel features organic treatments with raw botanical products in its Feel Good Spa (701 E Palm Canyon Dr., 760/866-6188, by appointment 9am-6pm Sun.-Thurs., 9am-8pm Fri.-Sat.). Body treatments range from body masks and reflexology to massage and facials.
Desert Hot Springs
Situated along the San Andreas fault line, Desert Hot Springs’ claim to fame is the abundance of hot natural mineral springs that propelled the development of the town’s spas and resorts. The 1950s were a heyday, and some of the operating boutique hotels sport the clean lines and neon signs of desert resort mid-century architecture.
Desert Hot Springs has never achieved the popularity of nearby Palm Springs. The town has seen growth in recent years but much of it in the form of newer residences. Desert Hot Springs’ spas are mixed in amidst the more recent housing. The town attracts snowbirds and other visitors looking for a more low-key and affordable experience than Palm Springs. Its spas range from retro-hip to sleekly luxurious.
Desert Hot Springs Spa Hotel (11740 Mesquite Ave., Desert Hot Springs, 760/673-8689, 8am-10pm daily, $7 day pass) takes a quantity-over-quality approach. A day pass gets you access to the 1940s resort hotel’s eight mineral pools in a large, palm-studded courtyard. The hotel also has an on-site café and sports bar. The hotel is well known as a party spot and has live music on weekends.
The charming Moroccan-themed El Morocco Inn (66810 4th St., Desert Hot Springs, 760/288-2527, 9am-4pm daily, $50 pp or free with one hour spa treatment) offers a huge, covered hot spa, outdoor mineral pool, sauna, and spa services.
A range of spa services including massage therapy and facial and body treatments is available at the impeccably maintained midcentury Lido Palms (12801 Tamar Dr., Desert Hot Springs, 760/329-6033, 9am-8pm daily, $40 for four hours without spa service). Spa services include four hours of mineral pool day use. No alcohol may be brought on premises for day-use guests.
The Miracle Springs Resort & Spa (10625 Palm Dr., Desert Hot Springs, 760/251-6000, 9am-6pm daily, age 21 and over only, $14) offers eight pools and spas for day use. They also have an on-site salon (manicures and pedicures) and a full-service spa with a range of services. The on-site Capri restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and has a full bar and poolside lunch service.
At The Spring Resort & Spa (12699 Reposo Way, Desert Hot Springs, 760/251-6700, call for reservations 7:45am-8:45pm, $120-350) guests receive two hours’ use of mineral pools with day spa services. They offer several different packages combining massages, scrubs, and wraps from 1.5 to 3 hours.
The quiet Tuscan Springs Hotel & Spa (68187 Club Cir., Desert Hot Springs, 760/251- 0189, $45 for four hours) offers mineral pool day use (free when purchasing any treatment from the on-site La Bella Spa).
The setting at family-friendly Sam’s Family Spa Hot Water Resort (70875 Dillon Rd., Desert Hot Springs, 760/329-6457, $14 Mon.-Fri., $20 Sat.-Sun. and holidays) includes a spring-fed swimming pool and a series of hot mineral pools tucked amidst palm trees in a park-like setting.
Excerpted from the First Edition of Moon Palm Springs & Joshua Tree.