Driving on Palm Canyon Drive, I noticed downtown Palm Springs is being redeveloped into a new pedestrian friendly urban village with retail shops, restaurants and two hotels (Kimpton and Virgin Hotel) being built. Continuing on to East of Palm Canyon Drive, I pulled into the driveway of the recently opened V Palm Springs resort.
The 1960’s style mid-century hotel, used to be an economy Travelodge and a Curve hotel until celebrity criminal law attorney Mark Greagos and some partners purchased the property. They had it taken down to the studs and framing while investing $15-million in renovations. The striking lobby offers a butterfly-style roof, reminiscent of the modern and iconic Palm Springs Information Center.
During the Coachella music venue, they had a soft opening with half of their 140 rooms completed. Every day they continue to complete another room with a large bathroom. Their goal is to have all the rooms and a Polynesian theme restaurant completed by September. Meanwhile guests can take advantage of discounted rates during the summer as they put the final touches throughout.
The entrance of the lobby has a large glass door, with a small business center planned and sparkling and inviting pool beyond. There are two large inflatable golden swans floating on the surface, offering a fun vibe. The large concrete patio deck offers luxury lounge chairs and deep seating areas for guests to relax, read a book or nap.
There is a small fitness room and aqua yoga classes in the brand new pool at 9:30 a.m. on the weekends. Checking in, a staff member will escort you to a room. The majority offer views of the pool area, palm trees, nearby San Jacinto Mountains, and the newly open Elixir pool bar and grill. Some have semi-private patios with chairs and a hanging rattan swinging chair.
The air conditioned rooms offer a king size bed or two double beds with white and navy blue decor. There are a few Junior suites and one V Suite. All have fluffy feather duvet covers and down pillows. The 300 thread count fine linen sheets on the new pillow top mattress is a guarantee for a comfortable sleep. All have a 47″ flat screen smart TV, and inside the closet are two light hooded bathrobes, and a personal safe.
The large bathroom has a white tiled walk-in shower and large viewing mirror. The bath products include an interesting rum bar soap, peppermint shampoo, cilantro hair conditioner, rum body wash and vitamin B5 body moisturizer.
Al fresco dining is offered at the onsite Elixir Grill near the pool with breakfast, lunch, Sunset Hour and dinner menus.
Leave your car in the parking lot and hop on the complimentary Buzz shuttle service to Downtown Palm Springs on Thursdays through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. It starts at The Riviera Resort with multiple stops before it reaches the V Palm Spring stop and continues on to Saguaro Hotel.
Another mode of transportation is complimentary bicycles from a staff member in the lobby. They will provide helmets, a bike lock, and bottle of water if needed.
The timing is perfect for V Palm Springs to open, because the first two weeks of June is the Greater Palm Springs Restaurant Week. It’s the tenth year the Coachella Valley has showcased a diverse dining event with over 90 restaurants. It begins on June 3 and runs through June 12 with exclusive deals and prix fixe dinner menus available for $28, $38 or $48 per person. To see a list of participants, go to – http://visitgreaterpalmsprings.com/restaurantweek/
Here are 10 of my favorite restaurants to try during Restaurant Week or on your next visit to Palm Springs –
1. The SteakHouse at the Spa Resort Casino – 401 E. Armado Road
2. Smoke Tree BBQ Bar & Grill – 1175 East Palm Canyon #405
3. Chi Chi at The Avalon Hotel – 415 S Belardo Road
4. Kaiser Grille – 205 S. Palm Canyon Drive
5. Las Casuals Terracce – 222 S. Palm Canyon Drive
6. TRIO – 707 N. Palm Canyon Drive
7. Reservoir at the Arrive Hotel – 1551 N. Palm Canyon Drive
8. Workshop Kitchen + Bar – 800 N. Palm Canyon Drive
9. Mr. Lyons – 233 E. Palm Canyon Drive
10. Ernest Coffee – 1100 N. Palm Canyon Drive
When the desert floor heats up, a ride on the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway is a 10-minute thrilling journey up the sheer cliffs of Chino Canyon.
The views from the rotating tram cars are spectacular, and the temperature drops 30 to 40 degrees cooler.
Another cool afternoon destination is the air-conditioned Palm Springs Art Museum featuring 28 galleries, a 90-seat lecture hall and 433-seat Annenberg Theater.
To learn more about what is new in Greater Palm Springs this summer, go to www.visitpalmsprings.com.