Tranquil Retreat in Heart of Palm Springs’ Uptown District
Robert Hunt, general manager of the Alcazar Palm Springs, is all tan skin and sparkling teeth as he walks the grounds of the boutique hotel. There must be something in the Palm Springs water supply. How else to explain the way the population always manages to look at once glamorous and relaxed?
Then again, maybe it’s no wonder everyone on the property seems so well-rested. A sense of serenity pervades the place. Nestled in the Uptown District, the Alcazar Palm Springs (formerly the Pepper Tree Inn) was remodeled and reopened in September 2011. It now exudes the zen-like atmosphere of a day spa—from the complimentary water at the welcome desk to the hushed conversations of guests strolling through the white terra-cotta courtyard or stretching out beside the pool. In guest rooms, white walls meet white linens, and clear acrylic chairs are tucked into sleek desks. IPod docks and brand-new flat-screens add a tech-savvy flourish. And in true California fashion, eco-friendly toiletries line the bathroom shelves.
Breakfast includes Intelligentsia coffee and fresh pastries from Cheeky’s, a bustling onsite breakfast-and-lunch spot that uses seasonal, locally grown, foreign-educated ingredients. In the evening, Birba, another onsite restaurant and bar, pairs pizzas with cocktails. A wall of windows opens onto a patio for taking in the desert night air or sipping a Heated Snake infused with tequila and habanero oil.
Palm Springs: SoCal Ease Meets Classic Hollywood Glamour
Set amid a rugged desert landscape recalling the face of a distant planet, Palm Springs is an oasis of casual living and midcentury Hollywood glamour. The Uptown District constitutes the city’s cultural center. Three blocks from the Alcazar lies the Palm Springs Art Museum, whose permanent collection includes a mix of contemporary and western American art.
The Uptown District’s central location between the glitzy Movie Colony and the architectural mecca of Las Palmas makes it rich grounds for touring on foot or by bicycle. Travelers can rent a bike to discover the homes and abandoned moonshine stills of old movie stars, or gawk at modernist gems such as Frey House II, a glass-and-concrete wonder.
In the winter, visitors can go from lounging poolside to skiing in mere minutes. A five-minute car ride from the hotel brings travelers to the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, where rotating carriages ascend 2.5 miles over expansive views of the Coachella Valley before reaching Mount San Jacinto State Park.