Where better to chill than in California's Spa City? With its natural healing waters, Desert Hot Springs is a must during any Greater Palm Springs getaway.
Your fast pass to relaxation can be found at the many independent inns and resorts around the city, thanks to a wide array of pools, jacuzzis and spas filled with mineral water from the warm- and cold-water aquifers beneath Desert Hot Springs. Just east of the San Andreas Fault, super-heated, sulfur-free water emerges from an underground aquifer at temps of up to 180 degrees Fahrenheit. Nearby, to the west of the fault, a cold water aquifer produces water so tasty that it has medaled numerous times at the annual international water tasting competition in Berkeley Springs, West Virginia.
Desert Hot Springs is home to an eclectic assortment of independently-owned boutique hotels. The pools at these properties are filled with the curative spring waters, which are said to improve health, reduce pain and increase metabolism. Moreover, with its concentrated focus on wellness, Desert Hot Springs is also home to some of the top spa therapists in the world.
Ready to chill? Here are a few resort and spa options in Desert Hot Springs:
Hacienda Hot Springs Inn
For a totally laid-back experience, the six-room Hacienda Hot Springs Inn is about as intimate as they come. At this size, staying here feels more like visiting a family friend than it does booking a hotel. You can even book the entire resort for a small group outing or a girlfriend getaway. With gorgeous views of the San Gorgonio and San Jacinto Mountains, this tranquil retreat encourages lounging. Each room is decorated with desert memorabilia as well as an in-room library that is stocked with an eclectic selection of books and novels. Chill with a massage or soak in the pool with day spa access.
Two Bunch Palms
Perhaps the most famed property in the area is the luxurious Two Bunch Palms. The adults-only Desert Hot Springs resort is home to mineral water flowing from a 600 year old natural spring. The main draw is the Grotto, with its three large teak tubs where you can adjust the mineral water temperature as well as three additional concrete mineral water soaking pools. With the adjacent landscaping, the Grotto replicates the sensation of soaking in a secluded forest. After a day of soaking, eat at Essence, which offers tempting meals featuring fresh flavors and healthy cuisine including vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free and nutritional whole food options.
For a simple and sophisticated stay, venture over to Sagewater Spa. The hotel received Trip Advisor’s “Certificate of Excellence” award and after spending time here, you’ll see why. Built back in 1954, Sagewater Spa is one of the older hotels in Desert Hot Springs. It’s been updated since then, yet still keeps its original mid-century architecture. With seven private rooms, a 360-degree view of the mountains, 104-degree spa and 90-dree swimming pool, it’s the ultimate place to relax and chill.
The Spring Resort & Day Spa
For a more intimate experience, the 12-room The Spring Resort & Day Spa, has also earned a number of awards, including Spa Magazine’s Readers’ Choice Awards for “Favorite Mineral Springs Spa.” Splurge a little and stay in the 1,100-square-foot Desert View Villa. Set slightly apart from the rest of the resort for maximum privacy, the villa features unparalleled views of Mt. San Gorgonio.
El Morocco Inn & Spa
A TripAdvisor Travelers Choice Award winner, and for good reason, the El Morocco Inn & Spa offers an exotic getaway in the heart of the California desert. Lavishly decorated with lush colors and exotic furnishings, many of which were sourced in Morocco, the resort is home to a variety of guest rooms and canopy beds. Be sure to request one of the Round Bed Rooms, featuring a round 7-foot bed ensconced in its own nook covered with colorful sheers.
The nightly happy hour ritual entails a signature “Morocco-tini” cocktail, which we encourage you follow with a massage and dip in the jacuzzi.
Tuscan Springs Hotel & Spa
If you’re looking for a quiet, relaxing accommodation try Tuscan Springs Hotel & Spa. This 21+ boutique hotel offers natural jacuzzis and a generously sized hot mineral water pool. The water is pumped from a 350 ft aqua well naturally volcanically heated to 117 degrees. They provide a continental breakfast, plush robes, and spa services at La Bella Spa.
Lido Palms Resort and Spa
Located 10 minutes from Palm Springs and 25 minutes from Joshua Tree is where you will find Lido Palms. The resort offers private rooms surrounded by palm trees putting you at peace during your stay. Featuring both indoor and outdoor jetted hot mineral pools, the waters will have you feeling ultra-relaxed. Try one of their water therapy treatments exclusively provided by a licensed Physical Therapist to release your stress and tensions.
Aqua Soleil Hotel and Mineral Water Spa
Among the larger of the area's properties lies Aqua Soleil. There’s a restaurant and bar on site, distinguishing this from many of the other Desert Hot Springs properties. The resort features Celebrity Theme rooms which will add a bit of nostalgia and fun to your stay. Stay in the Audrey Hepburn, James Dean, Rat Pack or Marilyn Monroe themed rooms for an experience you won’t forget.
The well-appointed Mountain View Suite has a private balcony for maximum views of the San Jacinto Mountains, but the customer favorite is the Soleil Suite, which includes an in-room jetted mineral water pool.
Living Waters Spa
Awarded one of the “Top 10 Clothing Optional Resorts in the World” and one of the “Top 25 Small Hotels in the USA,” Living Waters Spa will provide you with a unique getaway you’ll never forget. They encourage guests to soak in the healing mineral waters “au naturale” to totally immerse in nature (and avoid the tan lines). The resort boasts of having one of the highest repeat guest rates of all the hotels in the area.
History of Desert Hot Springs
In the early days, water was sourced from three areas, Seven Palms, Two Bunch Palms and Willow Hole which was used by wildlife and Native Americans. In 1908 Jack Riley became the first European to establish a homestead, soon to be followed by Ethyl Rouse and Hilda Gray. An explorer named Cabot Yerxa was credited for discovering the natural hot water the city is known for now.
L.W. Coffee started lying out streets for the town of Desert Hot Springs by the 1930s. Cabot Yerxa and his Wife built a historical museum which was then designated a historical site after his death in 1965. Today, his whimsical homestead (Cabot's Pueblo Museum) remains a nostalgic, one-of-a-kind stop in Desert Hot Springs.
In the early 1930s, Yerxa met L.W. Coffee, who envisioned tapping into the warm spring waters to build a spa capital like the ones in Europe. Coffee opened the area’s first spa. The city was incorporated in 1963 and experienced the majority of its growth in the 1980s and 1990s. Desert Hot Springs High School was opened in 1999.
Before your next visit, learn more about the spa city of Desert Hot Springs.
Two Bunch Palms photos courtesy of Chris Miller