Blog created in partnership with the Meet the Mentor Program. Cathleen Jeanty visited Greater Palm Springs in October and shared her experiences below.
Greater Palm Springs is noted for its cacti, a plant unique in that it photosynthesizes at night. Strange, considering most other plants do so during the day. This reversal of processes feels emblematic of this Southern California oasis, which is rife with dualities — yet it somehow all fits.
Driving around, it all feels like a dream. Greater Palm Springs is a desert, yet easily one of the greenest, most lush places I have ever seen. Boutiques abound with racks of 1970s vintage pieces hanging next to this season’s couture.
In the midst of this expansive oasis, one place in Desert Hot Springs feels particularly striking: The Good House Hotel and Spa, a boutique hotel that is — quite literally — a hidden gem. The small, wooden entryway is shrouded in trees and shrubbery, concealing the sanctuary that lies inside the unassuming haunt. It is also one of the only Black-owned hospitality properties in the Southern California region: a sunny harbinger of the diversity that is on the horizon for Desert Hot Springs. But if you ask owner Brian Edson, diversifying Greater Palm Springs was never expressly his goal.
“People from my community don't know this exists,” Edson says. “They don't come out this way. It's not what they think about when they want to relax. There's no skewer focus, but I just happen to know who our target audience is, and their reach happens to touch a certain amount of people.”
For many who are headed to and from the more populated cities in Greater Palm Springs, Desert Hot Springs offers a reprieve from the busier cities. And a notable part of this is The Good House. Though it’s only been a little over two years since Edson purchased the property, its natural hot springs have already garnered the hotel a solid reservoir of public acclaim. Recently, The Good House was among those named Travel + Leisure’s 2023 Most Beautiful Places to Visit in California. And it’s not hard to see why.
Located in what’s known as Miracle Hill, The Good House sits on a hot water aquifer in the Hot Water Zone, which features the hottest mineral springs water available in Desert Hot Springs. The water has deeply therapeutic properties, which is much of the draw for visitors.
Throughout the time I’m there, it’s clear the hot springs pool is the hotel’s centerpiece. Guests dip in-and-out of it, sometimes for hours at a time. Eat. Sunbathe. Soak. Repeat. One guest stands in the pool and pours through a philosophy text for at least an hour. The beauty of hot springs water? Due to its properties, each time she reaches up to turn a page, her hands never even prune. Miracle Hill, it seems, is aptly named. And all the while, hotel staff mingle with guests, many of whom they know by name.
Edson is making rounds. His extemporaneously loquacious nature is reflective of The Good House’s expansive plans for growth. So far, the property boasts a cozy seven rooms, though more are on the horizon. The property’s Desert Reset Spa features both western and Ayurvedic styles of wellness services from its aloe and herb facials to the aromatherapy massages. The day spa will be expanding to soon include self-serve saunas.
In the kitchen, Chef Van Stevens, a former chef under Wolfgang Puck, leads the charge in the kitchen. A fan favorite is his pizza, made with a family pizza dough recipe that stems back to 1857. His creative takes on classic recipes like black bean burgers with vegan coconut feta and supergreens salad with housemade herbed vegan ranch. Rosemary bushes grow across the property and can be found sprinked in meals and drinks across the menu. These bushes, though small, are fully emblematic of the light, growth-oriented, and expansive nature of The Good House. The property also features a pomegranate tree, a grapefruit tree, and two lemon bushes. In the midst of this restful ambiance, Stevens’ kitchen makes sure to — literally — bake nature into everything.
On top of its chill vibe, The Good House also has its finger on the pulse of culture. For the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival two years ago, international rapper Meg Thee Stallion was one of the surprise guests at a pop-up right in the property. Last year, Ciroc Vodka even did a campaign with The Good House to launch a new mango-flavored drink.
“We're here to be able to serve the community at large because, ultimately, everyone has the right to feel good,” Edson says. And with the growth plans The Good House has on the horizon, their community will only grow larger.
With one foot in this peaceful ecosystem and another on the gas, The Good House is poised to reconfigure the face of Greater Palm Springs. But not without a quick dip into the hot springs pool.