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Barack and Michelle Obama's Palm Springs break: how to holiday like the couple

Harriet Charnock-Bates
Contributing Travel Editor
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Barack Obama marked the end of his presidency by whisking wife Michelle on a well-deserved holiday; and it comes as no surprise that Palm Springs was the first stop on the couple's itinerary. Before heading off to spend time with Richard Branson on the British Virgin Islands, Barack and Michelle made the most of this Southern California desert, long famed for its year-round sunshine, mountain air and Rat Pack vibe. Hailed as where Retro Hollywood glamour meets modern-day style, Palm Springs remains a firm favourite amongst A-listers - we took a look at how you can have a relaxing getaway there just like the Obamas...


palm springs where to stay

Step into a classic-Hollywood vibe at modernist masterpiece L'Horizon Palm Springs. Designed in 1952 as a private retreat to entertain stars including Marilyn Monroe, the original low-slung guest bungalows, hemmed by neat palm-dotted lawns, have been transformed into a top-notch resort and spa. As you bask beside the pool with its mountain views, close your eyes and picture yourself back in the 1950s.


palm springs things to see

Stars have flocked to Palm Springs since the 1920s to soak up its hot, dry, sunny climate. Sights include mid-century masterpieces like Alber Frey's pastel-hued City Hall and Elvis's Honeymoon Hideaway. For a taste of the wild, explore Murray Canyon on horseback.

MORE: Inside the Obamas' luxurious Necker Island getaway


palm springs things to do

With retro glamour at its core, it would be criminal to leave Palm Springs before doing a spot of vintage shopping. Selling whimsical, boho-inspired pieces, The Frippery is a hip treasure trove, while Hedge is the place for mid-century homewares. Worn out? Make tracks for Estrella Spa at Avalon Palm Springs for a balancing Desert Rhythms massage or vigorous Salt scrub.


palm springs where to eat

Cheeky's on the North Palm Canyon Drive knows how to rustle up a mean brunch. The main attraction is the bacon flight, offering five mouthwatering artisanal varieties, though the sourdough French toast with apples and salted caramel comes a close second. Come evening, Birba is the place to be. Order a pizza or other Italian delicacies fresh from the wood-fired oven and stay on after supper for a round of ginger gimlets on the candlelit terrace.

MORE: See where other stars have been jet-setting off for exotic holidays


holiday playsuit

The Sweetest Sound playsuit, £75, Minkpink from

chloe suede bag calfskin

Mini Hudson bag in suede calfskin, £1,190, Chloé; visit

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Mojave Ghost Eau de Parfum, £90, Byredo; visit

Bungalows in high season at L'Horizon begin at $650 per night (£520) for two people sharing; visit Virgin Atlantic flies from London to Los Angeles International Airport from £567 return; visit

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