The Art of Play at Parker Palm Springs

“I like nonsense; it wakes up the brain cells.”
— Dr. Suess


Grounds with Man on Bicycle

For nearly two decades, Parker Palm Springs has been a favorite escape for those seeking true relaxation. While our private, thirteen-acre estate, impeccable style, and understated luxury is a big reason why guests visit, what lingers with them long after their stay is just how much fun they had. 

A true Palm Springs Getaway should let your mind relax, make shoulders drop, and allow you to maybe even dream a little. Considered the best 5-star hotel in Palm Springs, if not all of Southern California, Parker Palm Springs is more than just a destination with gorgeous swimming pools (we have three). Here, we understand the true value of a little nonsense.

As soon as you arrive, you can feel that you are somewhere different. There is gentle frivolity in the air and an understanding that here, days are meant to be savored. This playfulness also extends to our rooms, suites, and villas, considered to be some of the dreamiest hotel rooms in the world.

Beyond our fabulous swimming pools, terre battu tennis courts, and incredible, on-property spa, Parker Palm Springs offers some distinct ways to play that make it easy to lose track of time, relax, and rejuvenate.




This classic French boules game is the perfect way to spend time with friends old and new, made even better by the house rules of Parker Palm Springs. The first rule is that to play like a true Frenchman, you must order a glass of Pastis. It is the perfect refreshment for an afternoon spent around our shaded Pétanque courts.

With glass in hand, the game can begin. Pétanque is similar to bocci or lawn bowling, but more fun. (Apologies to our Italian and English friends). The game begins by throwing a small ball called the Cochonnet (little pig), down the court. Leave it where it comes to rest. Then, with feet together, each player throws one boule, attempting to get as close to the Cochonnet as possible. The player who is farthest away goes next and play continues until each has thrown three boules.

Once the round is complete, scores are tallied – one to three points, depending on who is closest – and another round of Pastis is ordered. If you lose track of the score or forget the rules, no one will fault you, but our staff are always available to provide a refresher, a refreshment, or to help settle a dispute.  



English Croquet

If you know the English, you know how much they love their lawns, so it is no surprise that croquet is a very English game. Here at Parker Palm Springs, while we respect the game’s traditions, our sense of etiquette does not preclude you from feeling the grass between your toes if you are so inspired.

One tradition we do approve of is enjoying a Pimm’s Cup during the match — it is an English game after all. We set out the wickets and stakes in advance so all you have to do is choose the color of your ball and mallet. With the preliminaries out of the way, the whacking can begin.

To add an extra touch of authenticity, consider a delectable picnic basket from Norma’s, our on-property terrace restaurant. Filled with a choice of goodies to keep you going all afternoon, the addition of a bottle of Champagne will make both the basket and the croquet a day to remember. 


Giant Chess

Giant Chess

Known as the ‘game of games’, chess at Parker Palm Springs is also a spectator sport. Played outdoors, shaded terraces surround the giant chess board for easy viewing – perfect for novices and experts alike to follow along. 

After sides are selected, it is time to consider your tactics. Sicilian Defense? King’s Gambit? Or maybe the Réti Opening which attacks your opponents’ pawns from the flank. This is your personal Seeking Bobby Fischer moment so choose wisely. If you are first to act but unsure which strategy might lead you to victory, then stick to the tried-and-true opener: King’s Pawn to E4. Best move ever!  

For those that like to listen to chess rather than play or watch it, not far away are stands of giant palms with hammocks strung between them. Many guests tell us that the silent concentration of chess and napping in gently rocking hammocks are very complimentary.

Play at Parker Palm Springs is as much a mindset as it is an activity. How you play is how you feel, an art form all your own.


About Us

Parker Palm Springs receives regular accolades as the best luxury hotel in Palm Springs. We offer only 144 rooms on thirteen acres of exclusive, private property. To help plan your next vacation, weekend escape, special event, or wedding, please Contact us.




Call 760-321-4606 or email us with questions

Newsletter Sign Up

Life is better when you know.

Stories, events, and travel inspiration from Parker Palm Springs, America’s desert oasis.