Destination Spotlight: A Sneak Peek at 5 New Event Venues in Palm Springs, Calif.

May 29, 2024

What’s new in Palm Springs, Calif.?

We’ve got the scoop of five new venues for events, including:

  • The world’s first-ever Tommy Bahama resort that opened in November 2023
  • The Palm Springs Surf Club that opened in January
  • The Thompson Hotel Palm Springs that’s slated to open in Q2
  • The Spa at Sec-he that opened in April 2023
  • The Agua Caliente Cultural Museum that opened in November 2023

If you are looking for a sunny locale in Southern California for your next event, Palm Springs, Calif., averages more than 350 days of sunshine and only five inches of rain each year.

Located in Coachella Valley at the base of the San Jacinto Mountains, Palm Springs has long been the preferred desert retreat for Hollywood royalty, sun worshippers, wellness seekers, golfers and tennis players. From mid-century modern architecture and the walk of stars in downtown, to incredible pools for relaxation and hiking in Tahquitz Canyon with its natural beauty and rich Native American history, Palm Springs offers a variety of activities for exhibitors and attendees. 

Presidents and playboys have mingled in the desert oasis throughout the decades. In January, the 35th annual Palm Springs International Film Festival, held Jan. 4-15, attracted A-List stars like Leonardo DiCaprio, Billie Ellish and Margo Robbie – to name a few, said Visit Greater Palm Springs Director of Communications Joyce Kiehl.

Getting there: Located approximately 110 miles southeast of Los Angeles and 140 miles northeast of San Diego, Palm Springs is a little over a two-hour drive by freeway, depending on traffic, of course. The Palm Springs International Airport (PSP) is two miles from the Palm Springs Convention Center.

Fun fact: Each year, the region hosts Coachella, the music festival that is celebrating 20 years in the desert when it returns April 12-14 and April 19-21. While the festival grounds are 23 miles from the Palm Springs International Airport, many festival goers stay in one of several desert cities in the region, including Indio, Palm Desert, Rancho Mirage, Indian Wells, Cathedral City and La Quinta. This year’s headliners include: Lana Del Ray, Doja Cat, Tyler, The Creator and No Doubt.

Must-do: Make time to shop at one of the many consignment stores in the area. In addition to high-end designer stores like Trina Turk, Gucci and Dior, Palm Springs features a plethora of vintage stores that have been known to offer rare and wondrous finds – from furniture and jewelry to art and clothing. Think Jackie O-style sheaths and Dinah Shore-like full skirts.

In January, Visit California and Visit Greater Palm Springs hosted a media tour for event and trade show industry press that included five venues. Here’s what we learned during our 24 hours in this Southern California destination.

The Palm Springs Surf Club
The Palm Springs Surf Club
  1. Palm Springs Surf Club

Did you know you can now catch a wave in the desert? Officially opened on Jan. 1, the Palm Spring Surf Club (PSSC) is one of a handful of surfing parks in the U.S. What was once a Wet N’ Wild has been transformed into a surfing club, featuring engineered waves that range from two to seven feet.

Need to know for events: The 21-acre club can be rented out for private events. With two restaurants and three bars onsite, the PSSC also features 17 private cabanas, daybeds that offer lockable safes, two waterslides, ADA-accessible lounge pools and a lazy river. The Amala restaurant can seat 250 people.

Fun fact: The 4 million gallon surf pool allows for a maximum of 12 surfers in the water at one time. Riding the wave starts at $100 for beginners (for a group of 12), $150 for intermediates (group of 12), and $200 for the advanced (group of 9).

Event focus: On Jan. 4, Rip Curl hosted its GromSearch National Finals, an event for the top kid surfers from across the U.S, at the new venue. Watch a recording of the event here.

  1. Tommy Bahama Miramonte Resort

Tommy Bahama, the upscale lifestyle apparel brand, opened its first destination resort on Nov. 1, 2023, at the base of the Santa Rosa Mountains in Indian Wells. 

Tommy Bahama

Staying there: Following a $20-million renovation of what had been the Miramonte Resort & Spa since 1988, the Tommy Bahama Miramonte Resort & Spa offers 215 guestrooms with five luxury villa suites that embody the spirit of island living and desert luxury. Quintessential Tommy Bahama design details throughout the resort include warm tropical vibes, woven textures, organic tones and signature amenities.

Need to know for events: With more than 35,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor spaces, the hotel features lush lawns and terraces, surrounded by breathtaking mountain views. The Grand Ballroom, which is the largest indoor space and can accommodate up to 300 guests, opens directly up to the Grand Lawn, which accommodates up to 400 guests. The second-story Sunset Terrace, which can host 75 people reception style, offers unparalleled views on an outdoor patio with a grand stone fireplace. Find out more about the meeting space here.

Things to do: The sprawling 11-acre hotel features three saltwater pools with pool and cabana service, bocce courts, Santa Rosa spa, 24-hour fitness center and movement classes. The Indian Wells Golf Resort is adjacent to the hotel. Tommy Bahama’s signature restaurant and bar, Grapefruit Basil, features island-inspired menus with al fresco dining on the patio.

Fun fact: Set amid an olive tree grove, flower gardens and more than 100 citrus trees, the grapefruit trees were bursting with ripe fruit during our stay at the property. Hotel guests can borrow a fruit picker and a basket to enjoy the “fruits of their labor” with a fresh squeezed Grapefruit Basil cocktail, a classic Tommy Bahama beverage. 

  1. Thompson Hotel

Set to complete construction this spring, the new Thompson Hotel Palm Springs will mark the second Hyatt-branded Thompson Hotels property in California. During our hard hat tour, Director of Sales and Marketing Kelly Teo told us the “urban oasis” hotel is pushing to open phase 1 with about 100 rooms in time for Coachella. Phase 2 with 68 rooms is currently slated to be open in June.

Thompson Hotel

Staying here: Located in the heart of downtown Palm Springs, the 168-room hotel will offer unique bungalows that are surrounded by two outdoor pools, gardens, lounge areas and winding walking paths. One of the suites features a wrap-around balcony that overlooks downtown’s iconic Palm Canyon Drive.

Need to know for events: The upscale luxury hotel will offer approximately 8,000 sq. ft. of flexible meeting and event space. Located blocks from the PSCC, the Thompson Hotel will feature a 6,200-sq.-ft. ballroom with its own entrance on the lower level.

Fun fact: The hotel will feature HALL Napa Valley, a 3,400 sq. ft. tasting room from owners Craig and Kathryn Hall, showcasing selections from their family of wines: HALL, WALT and BACA.

Looking ahead: Thompson Palm Springs will build on Hyatt’s intentional growth strategy in key leisure markets, joining 18 Thompson Hotels properties worldwide, with four additional properties expected to open by the end of 2024 in destinations like Houston, South Beach Miami and Monterrey, Mexico, as well as the brand’s entry into Asia Pacific in Shanghai.

  1. Spa at Sec-he 

Spa at Sec-he

For generations, the sacred waters protected by the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians have soothed, healed and transformed, and now spa guests have the opportunity to discover the benefits of this ancient hot mineral spring.

Need to know for events: Since opening in the spring of 2023, the 73,000 sq. ft. luxury day spa complex offers a wide array of services designed to promote healing and wellbeing. The Spa at Séc-he (pronounced seck hee) features 15 treatment rooms offering massages, facials and body treatments. A nearly 17,000 sq. ft. pool deck area features a main pool with a relaxing waterfall feature.

Wellness experience: A visit to The Spa at Séc-he isn’t complete without a soak in its hot mineral baths. Its water is silky and mild with a high pH. A 10-minute soak in the slightly sulfuric water is said to relieve stress, ease muscle aches and joint inflammation, as well as help treat skin conditions such as dryness, redness, eczema and rashes. Included with a visit to the spa, the salt cave offers halotherapy that uses the power and cleansing effect of salt to help support lungs and respiratory system.

Fun fact: The name “Palm Springs” is derived from these hot springs and the grove of indigenous palm trees that surrounded it, according to Visit Greater Palm Springs officials.

  1. The Agua Caliente Cultural Museum

Agua Caliente Cultural Museum

Opening in November 2023, the Agua Caliente Cultural Museum highlights the history and culture of the Agua Caliente People with a nearly 10,000 sq. ft. gallery, which is divided into five exhibition areas that each offer a unique piece of the Agua Caliente story. 

Need to know for events: Located blocks from the PSCC, the museum offers a unique venue for off-site events looking to immerse attendees in local culture. The entire venue can be rented out for events, allowing visitors to take in the Native American history of the region. With a meeting room for up to 125 people that opens up to a 2,500 sq. ft. outdoor garden, the venue was the perfect backdrop for an event about Killers of the Flower Moon during the Palm Springs International Film Festival in January.

Back story: Master planning for the Agua Caliente Cultural Plaza, encompassing the Agua Caliente Cultural Museum and the Spa at Séc-he, began in 2015. Construction commenced in 2018 and was completed in 2023.

Fun fact: The inspiration for the Museum’s curved shape comes from traditional Cahuilla basket-making. The footprint of the building represents a basket start, the first few coils of a new basket.

Lead image: Thompson Hotel Palm Springs


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