From Dabblers to Detoxers, the Wellness-Seeker’s Guide to Greater Palm Springs
On a scale of one to Deepak Chopra, how transformed do you want to feel when you return home from your next trip? Whatever the answer—less stressed, more fit, cleansed from head to toe—the nine towns that make up Greater Palm Springs have you covered. From ancient natural pools to brand new (and totally decadent) spas, the wellness menu is overflowing in this desert oasis. Here, our top suggestions—each based on your own appetites.
Want a little something light?
Maybe this is a quick trip. Or you’re dipping your toes in the wellness waters for the first time in a while (or ever). The great news is that a little self-care goes a long way, as you’ll find with the offerings below.
Get to know the neighborhood on two wheels: Your hotel may well have loaner bikes for guests—and there’s always Bike Palm Springs Rentals. The perfect intro ride? The Downtown Bike Tour, a three-mile loop through the heart of the shopping and dining district. But even the longest of the five in-town bike routes is just 13 miles—so an hour-ish out of your day, on average.
Of the 100-plus local hiking trails, there are plenty of shorties but goodies. And one classic gives you a serious head start: 6,000 feet or so of vertical gain courtesy of the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. Once you get to the Jacinto State Park stop, follow the Long Valley Discovery Trail for a vista-blessed 3/4-mile loop that’s no sweat—in part, because the temperature is about 30 degrees cooler than at ground level.
But whether you’re biking, hiking or even boutique-hopping (hey—retail therapy counts as self-care), you’ll want to replenish your electrolytes early and often. One favorite place to do so: Raw Remedy Juice Bar, famous for its Holy Kale juice and—given all the local date groves—the Date Me smoothie bowl (medjools, banana, cinnamon, raw honey and rice milk). Or fuel up at Chef Tanya’s Kitchen, where the motto—“Eat plants, look good in your pants”—translates to such specialties as the Coachella Forever salad (greens, quinoa, avo, cuke, black beans, jicama, cilantro, toasted pepitas, currants, creamy mango dressing and chili-limon dust) and fresh fruit cobblers.
Of course, no wellness experience is complete without at least a little time on a treatment table—and several local hotels make that easy for you, whether you’re their guest or not. Yes, the hotel day spa game is strong here, and only getting stronger thanks to such newcomers as Spa La Lé at Hotel Paseo in Palm Desert (try the Organic Farm to Face facial) and the Spa at the Sands Hotel & Spa in Indian Wells (try the Royal Rhassoul body Treatment, with—among other things—a masque of rose petals, coconut milk, honey and Moroccan clay).
To be enveloped in mystical music instead of masques, head to an evening Sound Bath Session at the Ace Hotel &Swim Club—if you’re in Palm Springs during a full moon (Sept. 9, Oct. 8, Nov. 7, Dec. 6). Made of pure quartz, the night's starring singing bowls are said to resonate with your body’s energy points. But regardless of how your chakras feel about the whole thing, consider it a free concert without the crowds and obligatory flower crowns of Coachella.
Want to go deeper?
Great! Your options include longer hikes, daily yoga and a legendary destination spa.
Just like the beginner-level hikes here, the intermediate (and beyond) tend to pair your workout with gorgeous wilderness. Case in point: The moderate, 3.9-mile Murray Canyon trail, which takes you almost 600 feet up to a point where you’ll spot waterfalls, fan palms, cacti, desert willows, cottonwood trees, a variety of birds and possibly even a big horn sheep.
If the great indoors is where you find your Zen, get your yoga on at the visitor-friendly Bikram Yoga El Paseo-Palm Desert, where your weekly rate includes a mat. Or, if you’d prefer a studio that doesn’t exceed the average annual high temperature for Palm Springs, you can also pick up a 5-class pass to Urban Yoga Center in Palm Springs, where more than 25 classes round out the weekly roster.
On the other hand, you could simply stay at a destination spa where nature walks and yoga are part of the program, to say nothing of the mineral springs and countless other wellness offerings. And this fall, Two Bunch Palms—the most iconic of the, well, bunch—is reopening after a major refresh (everything from renovated guest rooms to a new tea shop and wine bar). For all the tweaks, however, the place is still rooted in its hot soaks, mud baths, long list of rubs and scrubs—and even longer list of course offerings. (Gentle Water Yoga? Sure! Intention Saging? That, too. Balance Your Chakras to Your Destiny? Why not?) Of course, there’s also good, old-fashioned yoga and Pilates on the menu.
The full Deepak
If the words “wellness” and “workshop” put a (Palm) spring in your step, you’ll want to check out these retreats.
Deepak himself will be in the house January 24-27, 2019—the house being The Westin Mission Hills Golf Resort & Spa, where the grand master of personal transformation and his team will run the Infinite Possibilities retreat. The goal? Oh, just to help you find your purpose and live your dreams. The healthiest possible version of an all-inclusive resort stay, your getaway comes with nutritionist-sanctioned vegetarian meals, daily meditation and yoga—and not a single chocolate fountain on the buffet.
If you’re interested in a broader range of wellness topics and experts, come to town three months earlier for Wanderlust Wellspring—October 26-28, 2018—when more than 200 sessions await at the Renaissance Palm Springs Hotel and neighboring Convention Center. You’ll find everything from a Body Blast Bootcamp to How to Make Your Money Matter, a conscious investing discussion.
Another October retreat with an epic lineup: The Women of Color Self-Care & Wellness Retreat (October 12-14, 2018) at Miramonte Indian Well Resort & Spa by Hilton, which offers sessions such as Rise to Breathe, Dance and Live (a dancing meditation) and the Soothing Sound Spa (a sound healing session). To say nothing of the swag bag you get on arrival.
There's also an express retreat option: For a one-day dive into the myriad wellness options in Greater Palm Springs, visit the LiveWell Festival on January 5, 2019, at Palm Desert Civil Park.
Bonus badass wellness: Four events worth catching
If you need a little competition to get your wellness juices flowing, mark these dates on your calendar.
- Oct. 20 brings the Patriot Ride for our Heroes, with cycling courses that range from 33 to 102 miles (and a 16-mile Fun Ride for participants of all skill levels).
- Oct. 27 will see runners face a 2,643-foot elevation gain in just 3.7 miles during the Aerial Tram Road Challenge.
- Dec. 9 greets in Ironman triathletes with a 2.4-mile swim in Lake Cahuilla; a 56-mile bike course through rural roads with spectacular views of the Santa Rose mountains and a marathon through the Indian Wells Golf Course and Tennis Garden.
- Feb. 9, 2019 will bring the Tour de Palm Springs, with four different courses that range from 10 to 100 miles.