Photo: Courtesy of The Parker Palm Springs
The Parker Palm Springs, California
This stylish 144-room spot has oodles of midcentury modern charm, courtesy of the whimsy of Jonathan Adler. Picture sexy pools with chic cabanas and striking umbrella-topped lounge chairs, guest rooms with cheeky color schemes and shag rugs, a fabulous spa, and playful touches like lawn croquet. (Admit it, you know you're dying to play.)
Miraval, Tucson, Arizona
Designed for health-minded travelers, this desert spa caters to couples with active pursuits — think horseback riding, mountain hikes — and plenty of healthy cuisine. But just because you can stay fit here doesn't mean it's all work and no play. The spa serves up impressive massages, there's wine with dinner, and the pools are heated and downright sexy.
Amangiri, Canyon Point, Utah
If you're favorite take on the desert is a remote, nothing-for-miles-around escape, you'll love this luxurious outpost of the Aman resort, which has devoted followers who adore its modern design. The property itself is gorgeous, and rooms have showers made for two and decadent soaking tubs. Public spaces bring the outdoors in with sand-colored furniture and floor to ceiling windows. You can hike in the neighboring canyons or head out to a nearby national park for the day; then end the day by stargazing with cocktails and blankets on the terrace.
The Cosmopolitan, Las Vegas, Nevada
Las Vegas is as cosmopolitan as the American desert gets: Think plenty of dry, hot days and palm trees, but with some of the best celebrity chef-helmed restaurants in the country and top-tier nighttime entertainment. This sultry casino manages to be, well, a bustling casino, but also a sultry resort with spectacular restaurants (don't miss Jose Andres' spots or Scott Conant's Scarpetta), or the cool supper club, Rose.Rabbit.Lie.
Omni Resort at Montelucia, Scottsdale, Arizona
This resort brings a little Spanish and Moroccan design to the suburbs of Phoenix. Sure the palm-lined pool is lovely, but the spa — with its tiled Jacuzzi, hamam, and Mediterranean touches — is the centerpiece here.