Palm Springs is one of those great American anomalies: an improbable desert settlement wedged between the folds of inhospitable mountains. It’s as if someone came out here with a mind to build another Las Vegas, took a hot soak in the area’s eponymous thermal waters and thought, “Bugger it, who needs neon?”
The place is a testament to nothing, a celebration of still, somewhere to come to be far from anywhere. Between the 1930s and 1960s this desert town in back-country California became home to Hollywood on holiday, with stars such as Elvis, Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr taking part-time residence. But somehow Palm Springs remained determinedly low rise, defiantly low-key – an anti-Vegas. Even its little airport, beneath the incongruously snow-capped peaks of the San Jacinto Mountains, looks like a small luxury resort with barely a signpost to hail its entrance.