Spa Diary: Two Bunch Palms
Located in the high desert just 15 minutes from downtown Palm Springs, you’ll find the spa-friendly town of Desert Hot Springs, which is also the home of the world-renowned resort, Two Bunch Palms. The majestic San Jacinto Mountains serve as a backdrop for this popular getaway, known for its mineral-rich hot springs amidst 75 acres of well-manicured desert landscape.
Two Bunch Palms first came onto the scene more than 75 years ago when, as rumor has it, gangster Al “Scarface” Capone used it as his West Coast hideout. Today, people escape to the recently renovated resort from all over the globe to soak up its therapeutic and mood-enhancing mineral waters that flow from a 600-year-old natural spring, as well as to enjoy healing massages, lithium-infused mud baths, or to simply meditate to the sound of the hypnotic desert cicadas.
With two teenagers at sleep-away camp, I too felt the need to hide out Capone-style for a couple of days. I longed to lose myself in a bubble of tranquility, relaxation, and good food. Despite being a native Angeleno who’s racked up countless desert excursions throughout my life, Two Bunch Palms was one of the places I had never visited. So after emailing an “Out-of-Office” notification to my clients, I packed my swimsuit and some yoga clothes, then picked up my friend Stefanie one Monday afternoon before heading east.
Upon check-in, friendly staff members automatically offered me an upgrade from my Desert Double to a Capone Master Suite, which boasts a 600-square-foot modern floor plan, its own private outdoor mineral soaking tub, and a hardwood deck. I didn’t think I looked that exhausted from just escaping the city, but I didn’t argue either—the inviting accommodations were gladly accepted.
Here’s what you’ll love about Two Bunch Palms:
Last year, the resort and spa underwent a $2 million renovation, updating the suites and improving the natural, indigenous landscape.
Two Bunch Palms irrigates with recycled water, uses biodegradable cleaning and treatment products, and generates its electricity from 100% renewable sources, making it the first carbon-neutral resort in America. The resort’s restaurant Essense also serves locally-grown produce throughout the year.
The famed mineral springs descending from Miracle Hill are low in sulfur, rich in lithium, and are famous for helping guests achieve a deep state of relaxation.
The resort offers one pool, two hot mineral water grottos tucked away amidst palm trees, as well as several concrete and wooden tubs (all outdoors), and all are open for soaking purposes 22 hours a day. (Maintenance is performed between 6 to 8 a.m.)
Hands down, the most novel part of my stay was experiencing the renowned mud baths. Featuring a mixture of peat moss, groundling clay, and mineral water, this magical mud is known for exfoliating the skin, detoxing the muscles, and restoring the mineral balance in the body.
Being told to completely strip down before entering the tub was nothing compared to trying to physically submerse my body into the thick, 100-degree vat of therapeutic sludge—it was not easy. I had to shimmy my back end down while holding onto the side railings, then once I was secured, my therapist Eliana opened the doors to my grotto so I could enjoy the mesmerizing view of the tree tops. A Chai Soy Epicuren Face Mask was expertly applied to my face and for a few minutes, I almost felt like I was floating.
The Spa at Two Bunch Palms also offers a vast menu of body treatments, facials, and massages. After thoroughly rinsing all the mud out of every crevice, I willingly succumbed to a deep tissue massage incorporating CBD oil. I could barely lift myself off the table to dress when it was over—I had found my state of pure bliss.
Building on its reputation as the place for health and wellness in the desert, Two Bunch Palms added a mesmerizing 3,000-foot yoga dome with a palapa thatch roof to its grounds in 2015. A variety of yoga classes are offered throughout the day, along with occasional sound baths for guests to partake in.
I made sure to sign up for the 9 a.m. “Electric Yoga” class with instructor Lisa-Marie. After several down-facing dogs, tree poses, and a lovely shavasana, I was ready to tackle what was next in this adult playground.
A variety of daily art classes are offered free of charge at Two Bunch Palms in their picturesque “Glass House.” Vicky, the creative art coach, led a “Gratitude Art Class”for a small group that I participated in. We were each given two cardboard sheets, a palette of several paint colors, and a paint brush, then asked to paint with our less dominant hand and to let the brush do “its own thing.”
Reaching for colors with my left hand that I was drawn to without any forethought, I created two canvases that Vicky later analyzed. My bold, heavy strokes indicated to her that I’m a “go-getter” and the metallic colors I accented with represent a lot of wisdom. Another guest in the class created many beautiful and symmetrical cylinder shapes in reds and greens, which were said to represent a strong sense of self. What I thought was going to be a something similar to a kids’ arts ‘n crafts class turned into a thoughtful, eye-opening hour. If I’d had more time, I would have taken Vicky’s classes all week long!
Essence is the only restaurant on the property and is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Locally-sourced and organic farm-to-table dishes are plentiful with plenty of vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options. All dishes are free of hormones, synthetic preservatives, hydrogenated fats, artificial colors, high-fructose corn syrup, and genetically modified ingredients.
From my attempts at Instagram-worthy pics, you’ll see I did not starve! The house-made Lemon Chlorophyll Yogurt with house hemp granola and market berries sounded interesting I had to order it and I’m glad I did. It’s made with decadent buttermilk and was unlike anything I’d ever experienced. Delish!
On my second day of decompressing, I was definitely feeling the lithium-waters, so I asked to be served lunch by my chaise lounge. It was sheer heaven—I will definitely be coming back to Two Bunch Palms very soon!
Insider Tips: Upon check-in, you are gifted a recyclable water bottle and Two Bunch Palms tote bag to use during your stay. There are many sites and activities to partake in outside of Two Bunch Palms as well depending on your interests, such as a picnic in Joshua Tree, art gallery visits in Palm Springs, shopping the extensive Cabazon Outlets, or a game of golf in La Quinta.
Cost: $105 for a 30-minute Mud Bath. $245 for a 90-minute CBD Massage.
10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Mon. - Thur.)
10 a.m. to 7 p.m. (Fri. - Sun.)
Address: 67425 Two Bunch Palms Trail, Desert Hot Springs, CA 92240
[Images by Robin Tolkan-Doyle]
A native Angeleno and face mask fanatic, Robin Tolkan-Doyle has worked in the beauty industry for more than 25 years writing beauty articles for magazines, launching a hair accessories company and running @CharmedPR, a PR & marketing agency focusing on all things beauty.