Just Back From

Find Inner Peace in Palm Springs

by Elana Dweck
Yoga at the Ace. Photo by Elana Dweck.

Of course Elana Dweck, founder of design firm Mélangerie, appreciates a well-appointed yoga retreat. In between the oms she snapped photos and took in the Palm Springs scene.

Just back from: Palm Springs, CA

Was it your first time? Yep.

How long were you there? Six days.

Why did you go? I went on a fab yoga retreat at the Ace Hotel & Swim Club with Stacey Brass and Bryn Chrisman, co-directors of Yogamaya, the yoga studio I frequent in NYC. I've been on several retreats with them in past and they always pick great locales that balance yoga and outdoor activites.

Who were you with? I went with my boyfriend and nine other yogis who quickly became friends. The beauty of retreats — they're like summer camp for adults.

What was the best tip you got before you left? Even though it is warm and sunny during the day, Palm Springs gets chilly at night. It's that desert air. Bring warm clothes along with your bathing suit to be cozy.

What's the #1 tip you'd give a friend who wanted to go? Stay at the Ace Hotel & Swim Club. Every detail is well designed, the service is great, and the overall vibe is young, laid back, and fun. The restaurant is great and features a sustainable, locally sourced menu of comfort foods.

What did you do? Lots of yoga, of course. In between classes, we lounged the pool and relaxed. We also took a day off from yoga and did a grand road trip with the whole group to Bombay Beach, Salton Sea, and Salvation Mountain, and then north to Joshua Tree and the Integratron where we got a sound bath.

Were you there for the right amount of time? I think a week would be just perfect.

This was especially great: The Integratron in Joshua Tree was really an amazing experience. Originally built in the 1950s by aeronautical engineer George Van Tassel, it's an acoustically perfect structure built on a geomagnetic vortex. Van Tassel apparently got instructions on how to build the Integratron from aliens. After his mysterious death in 1978, the building was taken over by a private group and is now open to the public for special events and "sound baths."

We did the sound bath as a group, which consisted of laying on the floor while a series of quartz crystal singing bowls keyed to the energy centers of the body are played. It's sort of like mental floss for your brain, resulting in an awesome state of peacefulness and clarity. Kinda trippy and highly recommended.

But this wasn't: Nothing comes to mind! It was all good.

Speed Round of Favorites
1. Meal: Chicken Salad with cojita cheese and avocado at the Ace Hotel's restaurant, King's Highway (a converted Denny's).

2. Hangout: Poolside at the Ace Hotel & Swim Club.

3. What did you bring back? Turkish cotton parka robe from the Hotel. New NYC friends.

If you go back, what will you do differently? Check out more of what Palm Springs has to offer and spend more time exploring Joshua Tree.

Any surprises? How much I love California. (Shhh, don't tell New York.)

You can't stop thinking about: Bombay Beach. It's eerie and beautiful.

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