Desert Hideaway

Every now and again the realities of life sink in and it’s just too much to bear.  Ok, that may be a little on the dramatic side BUT I’m sure we all know the feeling of needing a little getaway from time to time.

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Palm Springs has long been an escape for Angelenos and a destination for people from around the world.  Festivals like Coachella and Stagecoach have really put it on the map – likewise with hotels like the Ace, Parker Palm Springs, and the Saguaro.  But alas there is (and actually it’s been there for awhile) a true oasis amongst all the hip hype and mediocre resorts of the desert.

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You may know Two Bunch Palms from the classic film The Player.  That’s actually how we found out about it, after revisiting the movie one night we went on a frantic google search to find something comparable to the desert oasis featured in the flick.

Thank the Google Gods, we found the actual place: scroll away through our photo journey to learn and see more of this mysterious, hot AF,  palm tree shrouded magical hideaway in Desert Hot Springs, CA.

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Mineral hot springs from deep in the earth flow all throughout the property.

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THE ROOMS:

Here’s some useful info when it comes to booking your sweet home away from home.  They have varying types of rooms and suites, some of the rooms are more bare and basic, but the Casablanca and Desert Suites have more features like coffee maker, mini bar, snacks etc. Desert suites have actual yards which are incredibly private and relaxing and are perfect for the desert heat.  Just make sure when you call to book you know what you’re getting so you’ll be prepared.  There’s no room service (although the restaurant has take-out) so bringing a cooler is pretty essential.

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The backyard at one of the Desert Suites

THE HISTORY:

The unique history of this place is what really sets it apart and makes it special, but it doesn’t come without mystery and controversy.  During Prohibition Era this was the desert hideaway for Al Capone and his gangsters.  You’ll notice that the rooms near the cluster of hot springs seem especially fortress like: built out of rock and concrete, art deco style stained glass, narrow walkways with low ceilings built halfway below ground.

You can book the original room that Al Capone stayed in with his silent mistress (who according to legend wasn’t so silent.  She just worked in that film era.)  The room has not been renovated but is constantly undergoing museum quality restorations to maintain exactly how the notorious mobster would have liked during his hey-day.

Fun facts: the rooms surrounding the Al Capone suite were for his staff and crew, the restaurant was once a casino and the spa was once a brothel.  You’ll recognize it when you see it!

Also worth noting: this land sits in the center of an energy vortex.  Geographically it’s surrounded by mountains on all sides which creates the wind tunnel that powers all the desert windmills. Combined with the Native American burial ground history of the land- the staff regularly sages and provides offerings to keep the spirits happy.  Strange things tend to happen around here, more on that in a little bit.

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Seating area in Mr. Capone’s suite
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Piece of history: They even preserved a bullet hole in the mirror from a presumed shootout

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THE RESTAURANT:

You won’t be disappointed.  Although we packed a cooler of our favorite foods, we ended up dining here a lot. Essence is the restaurant of the property. All the ingredients are local, fresh, farm to table and they’re open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Spa food means it’s f*cking delicious without the guilt trip!

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THE SPRINGS:

These bad boys are at your disposal 24 hours a day.  Mineral water from deep in the earth that flows at 160 degrees Fahrenheit is cooled into two different pools: one kept like a warm bath and options for hotter pools.  Low sulfur and lithium rich mean you reeeally feel relaxed after a soak.  And if you soak a couple times a day for a couple of days, you’re on cloud nine.

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Lounge area that is rumored to have been a lookout post in the past.

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Offerings: meditation gardens and shamanic shrines on the labyrinth

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THINGS TO DO:

Pictured above is the dome where a lot of activities like morning yoga classes and Tai Chi take place.  There are plenty of things to keep you busy: a wine and painting course, Spirit Animal quest, or you can even book an appointment with their resident Shamen.

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One musn’t forget about the mud baths.  Although it may look precarious, fear not; these baths are completely nutrient rich, hot, and sooo relaxing.  Being suspended in mud gives you this weightless sensation that allows you to totally get lost in a trance, all while the body is being detoxed and healed.

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He loves it
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Back to the hot springs after the mud for a double dose whammy of relaxation
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Adam in front of the Al Capone room
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Essence the Restaurant
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Locally sourced ingredients breakfast at Essence
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View from breakfast

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THE DUCK POND:

Now here’s where things got a little bit… strange.  The duck pond is really an amazing part of the property, a badling of plump ducks paddle across the pond and waddle up to almost any passersby, likely for a snack.  It was very endearing.  Although one morning after breakfast, we heard loud screams from the pond; very uncharacteristic of the spa-like atmosphere.  As we got closer, there was a woman in a black dress flailing about in the pond in a panic, swimming and shrieking. As we approached, she came lurching out of the water like a swamp thing.

A closer look showed a black Dachshund swimming in the pond after a row of ducks.  He wasn’t on a leash, no collar, and seemed to be having a great time much to his owner’s dismay.  We helped her out of the pond and grabbed her dog.  She was afraid he got bit by a turtle- but the dog was totally fine.

All of that was a strange enough experience to start the day.  But later on, we had a conversation with a concierge who told us more about the history at Two Bunch Palms, including a tall tale of a “spirit” woman in a white dress who disappears into the duck pond, leaving many of the guests shook.

Could it be a coincidence we just rescued a woman in a black dress out of the duck pond, or something more nefarious…? We may never know. But I do know this place has some crazy vibes, perfect for a desert freakout.

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Walkabout at Two Bunch Palms

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This photo sums up how we felt leaving our little getaway in the desert.  Two Bunch Palms is one of my all-time favorite places to stay, so much so that I don’t even want to tell anyone about it!  But that would be selfish, so if you want to know more about Two Bunch Palms and book your next stay, click HERE.

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