Concerts and festivals in the Coachella Valley have lured a new generation of desert explorers, creating a selection of design-driven hotels and restaurants.
Chalk it up to Pearl Jam. In what Time magazine referred to as “Rock ‘n’ Roll’s Holy War,” the Seattle-based band, along with others, became vocal about what they believed to be Ticketmaster’s high processing fees. In protest, the band sought out venues not controlled by the ticket behemoth, one of which was the Empire Polo Club in Indio. Pearl Jam’s concert there in 1993 instantly validated the site’s ability to host large music events and, in 1999, the inaugural Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival was launched.
Once the exclusive playground for the golf and country club set, the Coachella Valley in spring is taken over by those attending the Coachella festival, the Stagecoach Festival and other popular music festivals that take place at the valley’s southern border around Joshua Tree, fueling a desert boom that extends to almost every inch of Indio, Indian Wells, Palm Desert, La Quinta and Palm Springs. If you’re looking for places to eat, play and stay, here are some of the newest additions to the valley.
PLUNGE INTO THE APRÈS SWIM EXPERIENCE AT LA QUINTA RESORT & CLUB
While La Quinta Resort & Club is among the oldest resorts in Palm Springs—deep traditions and relationships have been established since its opening in 1926—it also caters to a younger generation. So when music lovers take over the Coachella Valley while attending festivals for most weekends in April and a few weekends in May, September and October, La Quinta’s various accommodations make it the ideal choice for festival groups. Choose between a private one- or two-bedroom suite with your own yard and patio, or reserve a group of poolside casitas, perfect for a larger group.
True to form, La Quinta’s fresh approach to cater to festivalgoers involves a trendy adults-only pool fit to impress the most discerning of Instagram influencers. Paralleling the après-ski culture, La Quinta has launched a 21-and-over Plunge Pool and Après Swim Lounge in partnership with Veuve Clicquot Champagne. Before or after a chaotic night of dancing and dehydration, there’s no better way to relax than refreshing poolside with a picturesque view of the Santa Rosa Mountains as your backdrop. Guests can unwind in a private Veuve-branded cabana with bottle service or grab a lawn chair and soak up the desert sun. As the sun sets, migrate toward the bar to indulge in some light bites and Champagne flights or Veuve craft cocktails, and get competitive in the array of lawn games. When you’re ready to head back to the festival, hop on the resort shuttle for a quick ride to the festival grounds just a few blocks away.
(49-499 Eisenhower Drive, La Quinta; 760-564-4111; laquintaresort.com)
CHECK INTO AN AIRSTREAM AT HOTEL PASEO IN PALM DESERT
The first new luxury hotel in over 30 years in Palm Desert, Hotel Paseo—steps from El Paseo, known as “The Rodeo Drive of the Desert”— opened last spring, just a 20-minute drive from Coachella. The midcentury design highlights the California-cool vibe and the eclectic collection of local art gives the space shocks of color that make it stand out in this white marble terrain.
The pool and hot tub that take up part of the hotel’s “backyard lawn” are the perfect spots to relax after a hectic festival day. Retreat to a trio of cabanas, grab a cocktail at the poolside bar, play a game of cornhole or find your Zen at the small putting green. If you want to entertain, book one of nine specialty suites that feature billiard tables, soaking tubs or wet bars. The hotel’s custom restored 1950 Airstream trailer is also available for overnight bookings.
The signature restaurant, AC3 Restaurant + Bar, off ers new American cuisine and a full bar serving up handcrafted cocktails in a contemporary setting, and Spa La Lé is a full-service spa with 24-karat gold and mimosa, caviar and pearl facials, body treatments and massages that will make anyone feel like a rock star.
(45-400 Larkspur Lane, Palm Desert; 760-340-9001; hotelpaseo.com)
ENJOY A MOD MOROCCAN GETAWAY AT THE SANDS HOTEL & SPA IN INDIAN WELLS
Thanks to much lauded Los Angeles based interior designer Martyn Lawrence Bullard, the 1950s-era Sands Hotel & Spa reopened last spring as a glamorous and swanky property conceived to be the first designer boutique hotel in the exclusive community of Indian Wells. With the reimagined Sands, Bullard’s Morocco-meets-midcentury vibe has influenced the complete redesign, new building additions and substantial renovations with a palette of emerald greens and deep blues accenting the desert rose exteriors and midcentury black, white and yellow interiors. Some 46 guest rooms, many with patios and balconies, some with standing soaking tubs, wrap around the swimming pool with wide pink daybeds and black-and-white striped cabanas that spread across the space.
To appeal even more to a millennial crowd, the in-room entertainment system is designed to work with guests’ personal entertainment devices and services such as Spotify, iTunes and Netflix. At night, a lounge area with fire pits sits between the pool and The Pink Cabana, the hotel’s year-old destination restaurant helmed by Executive Chef Jason Niederkorn, formerly of Newport Beach’s Aubergine among other notable destinations. The Moroccan- and Mediterranean-influenced menu includes shareable dishes such as the cabana meze with citrus-scented olives, hummus and grilled yogurt naan; freshly farmed California produce; sustainable, freshly caught seafood; and Moroccan-inspired large plates such as harissa chicken with turmeric and saffron potatoes. To further enhance the menu, classic and modern craft cocktails have been created, such as Pushing Buttons, a concoction of grapefruit, vodka, amaro, fresh lime juice, saffron and a buzz button—a tiny flower attached by a mini clothespin that, when ingested, creates an acidic burst of sensations in the mouth that amplify the taste buds while imbibing the drink.
Located in an olive grove, the property’s pink signature spa offers a menu of Moroccan-inspired services in a small private space with three treatment rooms and a reception and retail area complete with lush seating for lounging preand post-treatment—the perfect way to wind down after a day in the Coachella sun.
(44-985 Province Way, Indian Wells; 760-321-3771; sandshotelandspa.com)
COACHELLA VALLEY MUSIC AND ARTS FESTIVAL
What: The 2019 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival will mark its 20-year anniversary in Indio. Childish Gambino, Tame Impala and Ariana Grande are headlining this year’s event, which includes the biggest names in rock, indie, hip-hop and electronic dance music.
When: Weekend 1: April 12-14
Weekend 2: April 19-21
Where: Empire Polo Club, Indio
What: This outdoor country music festival combines acts from lesser-known artists and country stars with folk, bluegrass and mainstream country music. Headlining this year is Luke Bryan, Sam Hunt and Jason Aldean.
When: April 26-28
Where: Empire Polo Club, Indio
BHAKTI FEST/SHAKTI FEST
What: This yoga and sacred music festival offers yoga, dance, meditation, vegetarian cuisine and more.
When: Shaktifest: May 9-13
Bhaktifest: September 12-17
Where: New location at Joshua Tree Lake RV and Campground, Joshua Tree
JOSHUA TREE MUSIC FESTIVAL
What: The biannual (May and October) Joshua Tree Music Festival is a family-inclusive global music experience “committed to radical inclusion.” Music during the three-day, four-night festival is from diverse and eclectic up-and-coming and unknown artists playing everything from dance-world-electro-funk’n groove to soulful global-ethno melodies. JTMF also promotes personal growth through a variety of multidisciplinary workshops, such as yoga and movement, visual arts, music and myth.
When: May 16-19 and October 10-13
Where: Joshua Tree Lake RV & Campground, Joshua Tree