Designers Brian Wolk and Claude Morais of Wolk Morais take a much-needed break from the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles at the oh-so-relaxing (and chic) Two Bunch Palms at the base of the San Jancinto Mountains, 30 miles south of Palm Springs.
A hideaway for the famous and infamous dating back to 1857, the Two Bunch Pals spa has served everyone from Al Capone to Gwenyth Paltrow, so its reputation as a respite for weary Los Angelinos is well earned.
Evident upon arrival, the unwritten code of the spa is nonchalant luxury. The check-in cabin’s walls are flanked with clipboards and sign-up sheets for hourly seminars. The experiences offered include harmonic vibration sound baths, shaman healings, hypnotherapy, and Qigong.
The campus’ 30 acres are peppered throughout with accommodations bearing distinct personalities. Our suite was located in the newly renovated springs section overlooking the grotto, which serves as the resort’s center of activity. Upon arriving at our blissfully designed organic-modern quarters, we slipped into our robes — the weekend’s uniform — lit some Palo Santo and let our earthly concerns slip away.
Our first stop was the grotto. This serene oasis is the crown jewel of the resort. Naturally heated waters flow down from the springs of nearby Miracle Hill and evoke a sense of peace that is unparalleled and indescribable.
Surrounded by luscious palm trees, the calming effect of the lithium-infused spring is immediately noticeable. In addition to the main baths, teak wood tubs surround the oasis and provide opportunities for more intimate soaking experiences.
Whether luxuriating, soaking, or taking classes, all guests share a common mission to let go and connect. The theme of oneness with nature is further emphasized by the farm-to-table food served at “Essence,” the spa’s communal dining space. The organic comfort food and wine perfectly juxtapose luxury and nature.
After a dreamy night’s sleep, we headed to a morning yoga class, indulged in a sumptuous breakfast by the pool, and made our way to the spa for their signature mud bath treatment. At Two Bunch Palms, the mud bath alone is practically an institution unto itself.
As immortalized in Robert Altman’s film “The Player,” one truly connects to the primordial self when covered in slurry of warm organic Canadian peat moss and clay. This detoxifying and altered-state-inducing treatment is a de rigueur experience for any spa aficionado.
In the late afternoon, we luxuriated by the pond feeding the ducks while enjoying the dry heat of the desert sun.
After a glorious massage at dusk, we headed to a farewell dinner where we enjoyed chickpea curry, crispy skinned barramundi and a grass-fed filet complimented by a very memorable bottle of California Pinot Noir. Under the light of the moon and stars, we took a final plunge in the healing waters and warmed ourselves by the outdoor fire pit while reflecting on our magical desert escapade.
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