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CALIFORNIA

Eat. Sleep. Play. Cheap.

Palm Springs, once a playground for Hollywood, is back in the swing of things, but now there are deals to be found on hip hotels, cool cafes and the great outdoors.

January 15, 2012|Rosemary McClure

High-season rates for doubles from $149, no additional charge for weekends; off-season from $109.

6. Hotel California

Hotel California, also new to the Palm Springs scene, has only 13 rooms. But its diminutive size gives it intimacy. This classic California Mission-style hotel was built in 1940 and updated before its reopening last year. Rooms are stylish, and amenities are interesting, including a large kitchen guests can share. As a sister property to Desert Riviera, the Hotel California also offers the stretch limo to guests needing a ride to dinner.

424 E. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs; (800) 642-7079 or (760) 322-8855, www.palmspringshotelcalifornia.com.

High-season doubles from $149, no additional charge for weekends; off-season rates from $109.

7. Los Arboles Hotel

Looking for a romantic hideaway? This recently renovated hotel hides behind high walls and seems insulated from the outside world. It has an old California feel with dark woods, tile floors and sunny colors on the bedspreads and drapes. There's an adjacent El Mirasol Mexican restaurant. No pets.

784 N. Indian Canyon Drive, Palm Springs; (760) 459-3605, www.losarboleshotel.com.

High-season doubles from $138 weekdays, $168 weekends; off-season rates from $108.

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RESTAURANTS

1. El Mirasol

The ambience is pure Mexican Riviera at this new restaurant adjacent to Los Arboles Hotel in uptown Palm Springs. The outdoor patio is surrounded by lush greenery, or you can dine inside in hot weather. Visit at lunch, when combination plates start at $8.75 and half of the 20 combos offered are less than $10.

784 N. Indian Canyon Drive (entrance on Via Altamira), Palm Springs; (760) 459-3136, www.losarboleshotel.com/dining.

2. El Taco Asado

This fast-food diner, near Palm Springs International Airport, draws hungry locals on a budget. Don't look for a pleasant ambience: Lights are bright, and tables are uncomfortable. But portions are huge, prices are right and food is authentic. Combination plates from $6.75 to $9.85.

440 S. El Cielo Road, Palm Springs; (760) 323-7544.

3. Fisherman's Market & Grill

The fish at this family-owned chain tastes fresh enough to have just come off the boat in San Pedro. That's because the owner is a fishing fanatic who was so passionate about his sport that he went into business. There's not much ambience -- and many entrees are pricey -- but you can get fish tacos for less than $10, and there's a value lunch menu for $7.99. The early-bird dinner (3-5:30 p.m.) is $10.95.

235 S. Indian Canyon Drive, Palm Springs, (760) 327-1766 (other locations in Palm Desert, La Quinta and Banning), www.fishermans.com.

4. John's

Order at the counter, then take a seat at a comfy booth at this uptown Palm Springs diner. You'll find lots of heart-stopping dishes on the menu, including the "Heartstopper Burger," a high-cholesterol cheeseburger that includes two sausage patties, bacon and an egg. Breakfast is served all day, and a special dinner menu is priced under $10.

900 N. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs; (760) 327-8522.

5. Lulu California Bistro

Take a seat at a high-top table and save as much as 40% at this popular downtown Palm Springs restaurant. Lulu's, which opened in September, has a 12-hour happy hour that begins at 11 a.m. and lasts until closing. All you need to do is sit near the bar at a high-top. Among the marked-down items: $7.99 for barbecue chicken pizza (regularly $13.99); $7.99 for fish tacos (regularly $11.99).

200 S. Palm Canyon at Arenas; (760) 327-5858, www.lulupalmsprings.com/menu-breakfast.htm.

6. Sherman's Deli & Bakery

New York deli fans can find lox, gefilte fish, cabbage soup and other favorites at Sherman's Deli, which has been serving Palm Springs residents since 1953. The downtown restaurant hasn't changed much over the years, except for its prices, many of which are now out of our price range. But budget travelers can still find a substantial selection of breakfasts and sandwiches for less than $10.

401 Tahquitz Canyon Way, Palm Springs; (760) 325-1199 (another location in Palm Desert), www.shermansdeli.com/lunch.html.

7. Thai Smile

This tidy restaurant in uptown Palm Springs wins big each year in desert magazine popularity polls, including scoring a Best of the Best award in the annual Palm Springs Life contest. Entree prices range from $9-$19.95, but the lunch special is a deal at $8.25-$9.50. It's served 11:30 a.m.-4 p.m.

651 N. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs; (760) 320-5503, www.thaismilepalmsprings.com.

8. Tyler's

Ask almost anyone in Palm Springs where to get a great burger and the answer most probably is Tyler's, a landmark for 16 years. The building once was the city's Greyhound depot; now it serves fat, juicy burgers and other simple foods. (The addictive potato salad sells out each day.) This chic indoor-outdoor cafe is so popular it can make its own rules: cash only; open from 11 a.m.-4 p.m., closed Sundays. Burgers from $6.25.

149 S. Indian Canyon Drive, Palm Springs; (760) 325-2990, www.tylersburgers.com.

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