Palm Springs’s appeal is obvious, from the desert heat to the food scene to Mid-Century Modern architecture and for some, golf. The Coachella Valley city remains top of mind for snowbirds, bachelorette parties, and destination weddings alike, but for this traveller – and many who came before her – Palm Springs is a prescription for wellness. The Cahuilla people knew the benefits of the area’s natural springs long before tuberculosis-suffering health tourists flocked there. Old Hollywood-types took refuge in Palm Springs, too, rejuvenating frayed nerves poolside before returning to the set. It helped that the region was legally paparazzi-free. In a what’s-old-is-new-again travel trend, here’s how to make a 2022 desert escape just as Old Hollywood did: with wellness at the forefront.

Stay near the springs

Azure Palm Hot Springs Resort & Day Spa OasisAzure Palm Hot Springs Resort & Day Spa Oasis

After a direct flight from Vancouver to Palm Springs, my stay begins at the Azure Palm Hot Springs Resort & Day Spa Oasis. Located on Miracle Hill above a mineral-rich underground aquifer in Desert Hot Springs, this property is just under 20-kilometers northeast of the airport and is best accessed by Uber, Taxi or rental car. Opened in 2020, Azure is a destination that boasts a luxurious feel, minus any pretentiousness. Cue, absolute Zen

Overlooking the San Jacinto Mountains, the on-site mineral spring pools – which include an 80-foot cool pool and multiple hot tubs – are rich in lithium, magnesium, potassium, and calcium, all of which have healing properties benefiting muscles and skin. There's even an ice room to catch a chill. 

 Azure Palm Hot Springs Resort & Day Spa OasisIce room at Azure Palm Hot Springs Resort & Day Spa Oasis

With the cool breeze making its way through the blue-striped cabanas and the sun gently radiating across my shoulders, I find myself relaxing into a state of contentment before ducking into the Himalayan salt room. (It’s the only one in the Coachella Valley.) Here, I fall asleep as the rich heat and pink light glows me up from head to toe. 

When I retire to my room later that evening, I’m greeted by California-chic furniture and fixtures, and a cozy, queen-size bed awaits. Did I mention there’s an in-suite mineral tub?

Azure Palm Hot Springs Resort & Day Spa OasisAzure Palm Hot Springs Resort & Day Spa Oasis

Azure Palm Hot Springs Resort & Day Spa OasisAzure Palm Hot Springs Resort & Day Spa OasisAzure Palm Hot Springs Resort & Day Spa OasisAzure Palm Hot Springs Resort & Day Spa Oasis

Following one of the most restful slumbers of my life (thanks, natural hot springs), I enjoy a nourishing breakfast and perk up with a coffee at the Azure Palm Café. The menu serves eggs, overnight oats, avocado toast, and organic juices, to name a few. Speaking of juice, the property hosted a six-day yoga and juice retreat in early 2022.

Practice mindfulness 

Sunnylands Center & GardensSunnylands Center & Gardens

I soon learn that wellness and mindfulness retreats like Azure’s are popular in this desert region. With the perfect climate and idyllic views, how could it not be?

This is also the case at the formidable Sunnylands property, historically a meeting place for politicians from around the world, but also an opportunity for Palm Springs visitors to immerse in nature and history.

Visit Greater Palm SpringsVisit Greater Palm SpringsVisit Greater Palm SpringsVisit Greater Palm Springs

Sunnylands was commissioned in 1963 by Ambassador Walter and Mrs. Annenberg as a winter home and was completed in 1966, with the estate being maintained with the original landscape, gardens, bird sanctuary and private golf course. At Sunnylands, visitors can book a tour to experience the bird sanctuary and plant conservation (where monthly yoga sessions take place on the green), and the expansive, 200-acre site is remarkable in its distinguished landscape where visitors gather and enjoy the sights and sounds of the desert ecosystem. 

Perhaps the most interesting part of the gardens at the Visitor’s Center is that it was designed with mental health in mind. Renowned mindfulness architect, James Burnett, strategically devised 9-acres of the landscape around the Visitor’s Center to relieve low moods and anxiety through maze-like pathways (to help keep the mind focused) while gentle fountains and chirping birds can be heard all around. I come to experience this as a truly pleasant way to unwind during my mid-afternoon slump, with no caffeine required.

Splurge on skincare

Visit Greater Palm SpringsBody Deli | Visit Greater Palm Springs

It’s not a wellness escape if skincare isn’t involved so I opt for a dose of self-care by visiting the region’s organic skincare destination, The Body Deli. Located on El Paseo in nearby Palm Desert, the shop whisks me away with natural scents that incorporate desert flora like cacti into its product line and a wide range of skincare treatments. I buy a vitamin C serum (a necessary addition to any sun-worshiper’s routine) before venturing back into the sunbaked day for a dose of the natural type.  

Whether a wellness retreat looks like a visit to natural hot springs, early morning yoga retreats or afternoon naps by the pool, Palm Springs proves to be a rejuvenating hideaway for all, no matter the itinerary.    

Disclosure: This writer's trip was hosted. All opinions are her own.


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