Dining in high style in the low desert is easier than ever, thanks to continuing enthusiasm for preserving midcentury architecture, and renewed ardor for landmark resorts.
Poolside cocktails at the fabled Colony Palms Hotel are a must, especially as the sun sets behind the San Jacinto Mountains. Continue to Spencer’s for gourmet American classics: Enjoy the Colossal Shrimp Cocktail on the romantic patio. The spirit of the Rat Pack looms large. so drop in at the reliable The Purple Room for good combos. Or head to fabled Melvyn’s for dancing and jams with guest musicians. 572 N. Indian Canyon Drive, colonypalmshotel.com; 701 W. Baristo Road, spencersrestaurant.com; 1900 Palm Canyon Drive, purpleroompalmsprings.com; 200 W. Ramon Road, inglesideinn.com/melvyns_restaurant.html
Breakfast and dinner are star meals in desert towns. Hipsters start with Stumptown coffee, eggs, and house-made sage sausage at King’s Highway at the Ace Hotel & Swim Club. Ultradiner Billy Reed’s is a lunch exception, dishing out chilled salads and old-school cakes for 39 years. 701 E. Palm Canyon Drive, acehotel.com/palmsprings; 1800 N. Palm Canyon Drive, billyreedspalmsprings.com.
It’s hard to resist dinner at Lord Fletcher Inn, the desert’s version of our Five Crowns. Or, make the drive to Morgan’s in The Desert at the historic La Quinta Resort. Chef Jimmy Schmidt’s seasonal dinners are the finest, and his James Beard Award-winning talent elevates every dish. Expect vintage California hacienda elegance and five-star hospitality. 70385 California 111, lordfletcher.com; 49499 Eisenhower Drive, La Quinta, laquintaresort.com/dine/morgans-desert
WHILE YOU’RE HERE
Don’t miss an eye-popping tour of local midcentury modern design, above, including peeks at many landmark and celebrity homes. PALM SPRINGS MODERN TOURS, themoderntour.com
Friendly owners make it easy to taste and nibble for hours at WINE BAR BISTRO, 78085 Avenida La Fonda, winebarbistrolaquinta.com
No retro or resort connection, but MIRO’S is a local fave serving terrific European fare with great style in an art-filled room. 1555 S. Palm Canyon Drive, miropalmsprings.com
Recently refreshed casitas make LA QUINTA RESORT’S 41 pools and 45 glorious acres even more inviting. 49499 Eisenhower Drive, La Quinta, laquintaresort.com