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Great LA getaways: Why you should be in Palm Springs this weekend

View from a terrace room at the Hard Rock Hotel Palm Springs
View from a terrace room at the Hard Rock Hotel Palm Springs
Freddy Sherman

Palm Springs is hot again and not just the temperature. With the opening of both a Hard Rock Hotel and a Ritz-Carlton, the city now caters to both serious partiers and those seeking a five-star luxury experience. Here's why Palm Springs makes the ultimate weekend getaway from Los Angeles:

Convenience
Palm Springs is a two-hour drive from Los Angeles and doesn't require waiting in long security lines, intrusive pat-down searches or cramped flights. The large inventory of hotel rooms means even on a busy holiday weekend, there's usually something available, somewhere.

Hot new hotels
In addition to a nice variety of smaller corporate and boutique properties, the city has just seen the opening of the Hard Rock Hotel Palm Springs, which brings the wild Vegas party (and pool) scene the hotel is known for to the desert.

Beyond the scene, the rooms are stylish, rates are very reasonable and the service is really good. The area also now has its first five-star property with the recent opening of the Ritz-Carlton Rancho Mirage, about 20 minutes from Palm Springs.

Great food
With all this new hotel development comes great food and the foodie scene in Palm Springs is also sensational. For some serious gastronomy, Copley's, housed in Cary Grant's old guesthouse, serves innovative, locally-sourced cuisine.

For a more intimate, locals-only experience, head across Indian Canyon Drive from the Hard Rock Hotel to L'Atelier Deli, a great little French cafe run by a French couple. Funny enough, the French toast is a highlight of the delicious menu.

So many things to do
A major golf destination, the city and surrounding area is home to around 300 courses, including many championship level ones. Many of the best courses are open to the public and can be played by visitors. The city is also blessed with some incredible natural beauty and a ride on the Palm Springs Tramway is a must.

The tram takes visitors almost 9,000 feet up into the mountains and the transformation from arid desert to pine tree-filled mountain wilderness (and the 30 degree temperature drop) is amazing. Snow can be found most of the year and they offer snow gear rentals at the summit.