Palm Springs has been a favorite of mine ever since I went as a kid. I had been with my family then and for Coachella, not exactly the vibe I was going for this weekend. During MLK weekend, Drew and I had Monday off, so we did the quick (2 hour) drive to Palm Springs from LA to relax and thrive.
Using my absolute favorite app, Hotel Tonite, I scored us a room at the Ingleside Inn. I ALMOST chose the Ace or Sagauro, which are both really awesome and beautiful, but I decided to go for something a little more old school. The fact that Frank Sinatra had one of his many weddings here sealed the deal, and the on site bougie glamorous restaurant was the perfect setting for Drew to display his new ‘country club dad’ chic style.
BTW- Palm Springs is a California desert city that was the go-to weekend getaway to the stars back in the day. It has amazing mid-century architecture, like even the Chase Bank and KFC were atomic modern designs. Also, it’s a gay haven and amazing for vintage shopping and thrifting.
Hotel Tonite is a discount hotel app for the night of, or up to a week in advance (a new feature.) Something that I think makes them different than Expedia or any other site, is the curation of the hotels and the amazing interface. None of the hotels are bad, they are categorized well, have reviews, and nice images. Most of all- if you’re referred, you get $25 off. I’m trying to stack up the codes so I can get an almost free room. But this Palm Springs hotel was only $100 after the $25 off which was honestly more than worth it. (Use my code: LABASCAL for $25 off and then tell me about your adventure!)
Ok done with the shameless promo, here is what to eat, where to get a cheap martini, furniture shopping, and more in Palm Springs.
Our room wasn’t ready for check in yet, so we headed to brunch at Tinto, one of the two restaurants at the Saguaro Hotel, where I had previously stayed once while working at Coachella. The food was unbelievable. I legitimately want to drive down this weekend and eat it again. The menu is a la carte or a pre fix for $25, with add on bottomless drinks for $15. I opted for their take on a benedict, on a corn cake with chorizo, and Drew got the ceviche, still vibing off all the food we had eaten in Cartagena.
I got bottomless white sangria, and it was perfect, not gross sweet and so easy to down, with no hangover. One of my favorite parts about this restaurant was the staff. The 40+ year old gay waiters were so fun and friendly, and apparently we were a breath of fresh air from some of the snooty hotel guests, and we got a discount and they wanted us to stay and keep getting hooked up. Highly recommend, and please be nice, it always helps.
After brunch, we checked into the hotel, which was so adorable. All of the rooms are called Villas, which made me feel especially classy and on vacation. The rooms come with a complimentary cute fruit and cheese plate and everything in the fridge is complimentary (no alcohol- but still- a nice perk.) The pool was so beautiful, it looked exactly like a painting from the ’60s I had found online while researching the hotel.
After reading and napping, we headed to Citron, which has been called one of the city’s best happy hours and best deals. Citron is inside the Viceroy, a hip hotel. Despite the bartender asking us if we were staying with our grandparents when we said we were staying at the Ingleside (um hello do these pics look like a grandma vacation), the $6 martinis and specialty cocktails and nice snacks were a nice touch especially for such a nice location. I opted for a citrus martini and we split a charcuterie plate.
The happy hour is Sunday-Thursday and everything is $6. You can also bring your food/drink out to the pool. I think it starts at 4pm and goes till 8.
So as usual, my vacations revolve around food, but what else is there to do….. we stopped in a few shops because my shoe had literally broke in half (Asos I love/hate you) and headed back to the hotel to go to the infamous Melvyns Restaurant. First we stopped in the bar, where I ordered a dirty vodka martini ($8 honestly not bad at all.) Look at Sinatra on the napkin- so cute.
I have no problem spending a decent amount on a meal, but I am always bummed when the experience is short, bad service, or just seems not worth it. Melvyns was honestly worth the money and the time (it was about a 2 hour long ordeal.) I had done a decent amount of research (as I always do though it makes me seem insane) so I didn’t stare blankly at the menu and get the wrong thing. We opted to start with oysters, split a spinach salad with tableside prepared bacon dressing, and get steak Diane for dinner. The menu even stated that steak Diane was Sinatra’s favorite.
Ok ok its starting to seem like a Sinatra themed restaurant- I promise you despite the cheesy napkin, it really isn’t. When you step inside Melvyns and its bar, its honestly unlike anywhere else I had been. Everything from the decor to the menu is as if it hasn’t changed since its prime era. The bartenders, cocktail waitresses, and servers are all 60+ because they’ve been working there since the late ’70s. Our waiter, or captain should I say, was 65 and considered himself one of the new staff members. We were by FAR the youngest people there except some rich kids with their parents who didn’t deserve or appreciate the experience.
Let me tell you about tableside cooking. I didn’t really get what that was, and the menu refers to it as a “lost art,” but it basically is what it sound like. Your waiter prepares dishes on a small grill on a cart next to you so you can watch. It isn’t some Benihani shit, its a very fun experience that was probably even more entertaining back in the day. It was definitely considered upscale and lavish, and knowing how to do it was a sign of a seasoned server from a fine dining background. Only a few of the items at Melvyns are prepared this way but we figured why go and not pick one. SO we picked two and chatted with our captain as he made them and served to us.
The food was great and so filling despite sharing it all (yeah these are only pictures of my half- with the exception of the oysters which was the full serving.) One of my favorite parts was honestly the oysters rockefeller, which are topped with spinach and hollandaise and baked. You know its old style “glamorous” American food when it’s insanely filling.
We honestly were too full to go to this vinyl DJ night at the Ace so we just got tucked into bed, watched the Nicki Minaj documentary, and slept.
The next morning we headed to downtown Palm Springs, a few minutes away to the main strip, where I had been told that Pinocchios in the Desert was the best brunch spot and best deal in town. We took an Uber, which they have in Palm Springs, so Drew could take advantage of their $3 unlimited champagne.
Pinnochios is a fun diner-esq spot that has a patio and a long line to be seated. Drew and I each got one of their famous benedicts and split them. One is the country, and one is the crab cake. We each got a $3 bottomless champagne, which they give you one bottle at a time in an ice bucket on your table, not stingy at all, and a small orange juice. The entire meal was under $20 each. Highly recommend. Theres plenty of cute shops to walk to nearby and free gay lifestyle magazines to read as you wait to be seated.
Gone off the champagne and insane heat, we went back to the hotel and relaxed poolside. The mountains and palm trees are so beautiful even me, who as you know is so bad at taking photos especially on an iPhone, could capture some of it’s beauty.
Before we headed out, we decided to go to all of the amazing vintage and thrift stores I had heard about. Bummed I don’t have any photos of it, but below is a list of spots to hit, they’re all on North Palm Canyon Drive. If you’re into Danish design, mid century modern, Hollywood regency, or other decor, these spots have it all. The price point is significantly lower than in LA, and you can of course haggle. My mom told me that I was being lied to, but I swear that the shop workers had the most amazing stories about each item and the people they had once belonged to and the estate sales they had been to. Ok now that I type that out I realize I probably got taken for a ride, but whatever. Anyways- once I do an apartment post you’ll see how Palm Springs my dream vibe is.
Around these stores, there was also one thrift store that Drew found YSL and Polo and I found some girly vintage gems, each for under $5. You’ll find the place. Also if you’re in the market for Barbara Streisand merchandise, every single thrift store had a plethora of it. Palm Springs…