This desert oasis offers a relaxing getaway that doesn’t involve long lines and airport security.
From surfside to ski slopes, and every vineyard in between, Southern California singles are spoiled with a bounty of nature, entertainment and activity options: and, truth be told, we deserve it. The hard-working single population needs ways to rejuvenate, celebrate, and explore when we break away from our overtime lifestyle.
The next time you’re feeling the itch to escape from the city without burning serious daylight or mileage points at LAX, follow the easterly winds to Palm Springs on just half a tank of gas, and feel yourself exhale. Angelenos are pros at coastal drives and hopper flights to Cabo, but those who haven’t been to Palm Springs in awhile should consider heading inland.
This short trek is just 97 miles east on the 10 Freeway, followed by a 10-mile jog (or, you can stay in your car) on Route 111, which becomes Palm Canyon Drive. If you prefer landmarks for directions, watch for cleaner air, majestic mountain ranges, and white windmills sweeping the landscape. The speed limit jumps to 70 mph halfway there, so it’s legally decreed that you can leave your blues (and the smog) behind, in short order.
In non-summer months, moderate temperatures make Palm Springs an ideal SoCal getaway, and the social climate is changing there as well. The Rat Pack’s martini image and golf cart community of the 1950s now merges with a younger homeowner demographic, a large gay population, and expanding tourism offerings. Its proximity to Los Angeles and Las Vegas, plus the bonuses of mountain resorts and hot spring spas, an outstanding art museum, year-round events, and a safe, friendly atmosphere draw tourists and townies alike.
As a single traveler, I find the brand-spanking-new makeover of the Hyatt Regency Suites Palm Springs to be particularly appealing for its inclusive design and great location.
The Hyatt’s proximity to the Convention Center will undoubtedly draw business folk, but the shopping, dining, and people watching on the main drag, Palm Canyon Drive, will likely make the hotel’s $15 million makeover a draw for all sorts of visitors.
The hotel seems to have considered solo travelers in an inclusive, sleek, but casual design concept. Lounges and dining areas within the Hyatt Regency include bench, bar, and modular seating with a variety of focal points, so a single patron can sidle up to another, or maintain personal space with an equally great view. Five-story vaulted walkways and modern decor make everything seem open and new, with a nod to the famed mid-century modern architecture showcased in the area.
The hotel’s small plate bistro, Share, features sky-high billowy drapes that allow dining sections to be separated for group gatherings, yet patrons are always visible to overhead passersby on the multi-layered balconies that surround the “open concept” eatery. This makes human beings and the table layout a sort of live art form beneath the upper level guests.
As the name of the city reveals, this desert oasis is known for the nearby springs, but in the winter, the snow-capped mountain range invites hiking and provides a grand view from the Aerial Tramway. Boarding at the edge of town on Route 111 (also known as Palm Canyon Drive North), the tram ride to the summit is not for fearful fliers, or those with weak stomachs. The view is breathtaking and the temperature drops 20 degrees or more, so take your camera and your coat.
In case you appreciate a more grounded outdoor activity, golf is still a prominent sport in Palm Springs, with award-winning courses offering daily tee times. The nearby La Quinta Resort and Club hosted the 2010 Bob Hope Classic, but since my golf handicap is, well, a relative lack of interest in the sport, I focused on other attractions around town, like a bit of casual “home for sale” perusals.
In recent years, real estate finds and the resurging interest in mid-century modernist architecture have shifted the median homeowner age to under 40. Some say the 56 percent gay population has also impacted the rising trend in single home ownership and has brought a younger vibe to shops and entertainment offerings. The mix of incoming youth and middle-aged citizens makes this an interesting time to see what’s happening in Palm Springs, formerly called “God’s Waiting Room” by elderly locals.
Do not, however, discount the contribution of senior citizens to the community. The historic Plaza Theatre on Palm Canyon Drive boasts a cast of elderly hoofers and entertainers with glorious resumes who perform a nearly three-hour variety show each October through May. Each year’s show is different, but many of the cast members return season after season. The master of ceremonies and producer, Riff Markowitz, seems to keep adapting his 19-year-long Vaudevillian comedy shtick to the changes in his town. Performers like Bing Crosby, Lucille Ball, and Jack Benny were well-known at the Plaza and around town in their heyday.
Hollywood celebs often established additional homes in Palm Springs, and the swanky vibe is still present, going back to the days of Elvis and Priscilla Presley’s honeymoon. There is a small town feel in the shopping areas and a natural awe in the environmental surroundings — but a sexiness about the nightlife, poolside parties and sleek retro housing.
On my recent trip, some of the other single travelers I encountered said they especially like Palm Springs as a destination when they don’t want to do anything. As in: “Hello, room service? We’ll have lunch by the pool, after our massage.”
Ah, yes — that sort of getaway is a winner also. Take along a partner or a friend, and just recharge your sunny disposition, spending most of your travel budget on self-nurturing and sunscreen.
We single adults are the fastest growing demographic in the country. Our vacation dollars can make a significant impact on the nation’s economy. So, singulars, consider it your patriotic duty to vacation as often as possible! Your country needs you, and Palm Springs is delightful this time of year.