Cute gift shop sells candles, yoga gear, and wellness books
Pesky resort fee (pays for Wi-Fi)
Reports of cockroaches sightings
Some maintenance issues like rust around the mud baths
Grotto rooms have dingy plastic furniture and dated (though maintained) bathrooms
No guests under 18 allowed (a pro for some)
The upscale Two Bunch Palms Resort and Spa is renowned for its natural mineral springs and glamorous Hollywood past (it was a rumored hideout of Al Capone's). Originally built in 1930 as a private, gated resort on 77 acres, the current owners completed a multimillion dollar renovation in 2014 that gutted the 70 rooms, refreshed the grotto and pool, and brought a farm-to-table restaurant. The Grotto rooms still maintain some of their vintage details, notably in the bathrooms, while the Solstice rooms are modern and sleek. The spa has everything from mud baths to watsu pools. Grounds include hiking trails, lakes, and a walking labyrinth. A dedicated yoga dome, tennis courts, lap pool, and fitness center highlight the resort's emphasis on a healthy Californian lifestyle. Watch out for a daily resort fee and remember that bug sightings come standard with any natural, outdoor property. Signs asking guests to speak in a whisper and no kids allowed add to the overall zen-like quality of this eclectic and relaxing resort.
Two Bunch Palms Resort and Spa doesn't allow guests under the age of 18. The lack of little ones and posted signs by the grotto encouraging visitors to speak in whispers is part of the reason why many guests have been visiting the spa resort for the past 25 years. The revamp in 2014 was designed to bring an upscale Californian-cool vibe to the iconic property, while still maintaining some of its appealing vintage charm.
77 acres of landscaped, garden grounds mean there's lots of privacy and ample space to walk, explore, and relax. Stone cottages with stained glass windows and native plants look quintessentially Californian. A duck pond is a popular spot to feed fish. The front office can be found in a cute hexagon-shaped building. Most public spaces for gathering or resting are outdoors, as there isn't a proper lobby. A chalkboard sign affixed to one wall lists the week's schedule of yoga and fitness classes.
Desert Hot Springs is a relatively large town in the Coachella Valley famous for -- you guessed it -- its natural hot springs. The town itself is fairly residential and a peaceful escape for travelers, many of them from Los Angeles.
Vintage Grotto rooms and modern Solstice rooms plus a Capone suite
There are 70 rooms and suites spread out on the garden grounds at Two Bunch Palms Resort and Spa. Grotto Standard rooms are the most affordable option. These were part of the major renovation in 2014, but many original vintage details were left in place. The bathrooms have peach-colored tubs and tiles, and the furniture is more antique than contemporary. Mini-fridges, robes, bottled water, and terraces furnished with 80s-era patio chairs are standard.
Solstice rooms are sleek and sophisticated with contemporary furniture. White walls, gray tile floors, and pendant lighting looks modern. Large patio doors allow ample sunlight into the room and lead out onto a private terrace. Bathrooms include a bowl sink, large glass shower with a rain showerhead, and luxurious toiletries. Upgrade to the Solstice suite for an Illy espresso machine, living area with an oatmeal-colored sectional sofa, and pocket doors that close off the master bedroom. The Capone suite is a real blast from the past: red velvet furniture, a stone fireplace, and heavy oak bar make it easy to imagine the gangster planning his next move from the stone cottage. Is that a fake bullet hole in the bedroom mirror?
All rooms include flat-screen TVs and Wi-Fi covered by the resort fee.
Garden House restaurant, fitness facilities, and a wellness themed gift shop
Features at the Two Bunch Palms are designed to keep guests healthy, happy, and relaxed. The Garden House restaurant serves three meals a day, along with a curated list of California wines, organic beers, and specialty organic cocktails using fresh fruits and house made syrups. Healthy, gourmet comfort food best sums up the menu. Think: ahi tuna towers with avocado mousse, homemade hummus, and a local cheese plate. Freshly squeezed juices and smoothies may inspire guests to go on a cleanse.
Outside, two tennis courts, seemingly endless walking trails, and a stone labyrinth are interwoven into the garden grounds. There's an indoor fitness center with cardio machines and weights, and a full schedule of regular fitness classes. Yoga classes are held in a 3,000-square-foot passive earth mound dome. The wellness theme continues in the gift shop, which sells swimming suits, essential oils, candles, and self-help books. Wi-Fi is included in the resort fee and there's a conference center for business guests (probably the type of business people who own yoga empires).
The spa at Two Bunch Palms Resort is often the entire reason guests choose this property. The most popular treatment is probably a soak in the mud baths where guests "float" in a combination of peat moss, mineral-rich clay, and healing water. Herb poultices and essential oils can then be applied to heighten the muds' effects. Watsu pools and outdoor gazebo treatment rooms for facials, massages, and wraps are available, as are nail services. Spa packages for singles and couples are a good way to get a deal on a variety of treatments.
Lush, natural landscaping and rock walls line the pool deck of the two hot mineral springs grotto pools. Posted signs remind guests to keep their voices low as this is more of a spa experience than a swimming/partying scene. One pool is kept at 104 degrees and the larger one is at 99 degrees, making them ideal for an evening of star gazing, even when the weather is chilly.
For more active swims there's an outdoor lap pool. Towels and sun loungers are provided, though some of the deck chairs look straight out of the 80s.