Springs eternal

Palm Springs, California’s desert resort, has long been the balmy home-away-from-home for the rich and fabulous. Pat Nourse dons his shades and checks out the best of this hedonist’s playground.

By Pat Nourse
Ace Hotel Palm Springs
Is this the ace in the sleeve of the Ace Hotel brand? It's certainly among the most impressively rendered of its properties. Cinder block never looked better than in its retro-fitted rooms, replete with push-button fireplaces and carefully curated minibars that have become something of a signature for the group. The pool club is a magnet for the younger section of the visiting Hollywood set on weekends, while the bar rocks out with drag trivia and mescal-spiked cocktails during the season. Hello, hedonism. 701 East Palm Canyon Dr, +1 760 325 9900
Parker Palm Springs
This sister to Le Parker Meridien in Manhattan is the slickest operation in town. It's got a spa to be reckoned with, a diner - Norma's - and a restaurant that's the closest thing Palm Springs gets to a dressy eatery that's actually any good: Mister Parker's. Think tuna tartare with flying fish roe and crackers, and roast chicken with farro, root vegetables and red wine sauce. Nothing earth-shattering, perhaps, but it's a cool scene. The bar here is also one of the best in town. The Parker manifesto - "We believe you are only young once… but you can be immature forever" - is reflected in the eclecticism of the interiors but not, thankfully, in the service. 4200 East Palm Canyon Dr, +1 760 770 5000 
Pappy & Harriet's
Pappy & Harriet's is half an hour's drive towards the high desert from Palm Springs, and a world away. This one-time biker bar is now a very unusual roadhouse and rock venue. It might be close to the middle of nowhere, but Robert Plant has played here, as has PJ Harvey. We just missed Laura Marling (for $20!). Little wonder it's been called one of the 10 best live music venues in the US. 53688 Pioneertown Rd, Pioneertown, +1 760 365 5956
Mr Cox
As a longtime home-away-from-home for the Hollywood set, Palm Springs is one of the great vintage-shopping capitals of the US, and Mr Cox is one of the standout stops. The store's focus is the 1960s to the '80s, and owner Amy Cox has a particular interest in the likes of Pucci, Paco Rabanne, Azzedine Alaïa and Pierre Cardin. 457 North Palm Canyon Dr, +1 760 898 6443
Route 66 West
You could say Matt Burkholz wrote the book on Bakelite jewellery collecting because, well, he did. If you have no qualms about paying top dollar for antique plastic, his collection of necklaces, bracelets, earrings and accessories will be second heaven. There's also a selection of acrylic pieces from Judith Hendler, a designer whose works you may recognise from Dynasty when they adorned Joan Collins. 465 North Palm Canyon Dr, +1 760 322 6669 
The keystone of the Cheeky's group is a café that's consistently crammed beyond capacity over the warmer months. In terms of food it's not exactly in the same league as, say, Bills, but for Palm Springs it's about as good as it gets. The menu's plenty of fun: breakfast quesadillas and a tasting flight of five different bacons. 622 North Palm Canyon Dr, +1 760 327 7595
The after-dark sibling of Cheeky's is Palm Springs's bona-fide dining hotspot. It runs to pizza and fairly basic but reasonably hip Italian food. The sausage and cime di rapa pizza, and the burrata with caponata are thoroughly edible. Get in early, grab something from the savvy, all-Italian wine list and settle in. 622 North Palm Canyon Dr, +1 760 327 5678
Tyler's Burgers
Tyler's may be in the middle of a car park in the middle of town, but its reputation for the best burgers for miles is well-founded. 149 South Indian Canyon Dr, +1 760 325 2990