Two Bunch Palms: A Wellness Oasis In The Heart Of The Desert

Credit: Stephanie Pia

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Late Checkout is TQE’s travel vertical. Whether you’re seeking an Eat Pray Love moment of your own,  or a wholesome family sojourn, we hope you embark on an adventure requisite of a late checkout below.

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If you’re a Los Angeleno, then you know there is absolutely nothing better than leaving LA. But if you’re a Los Angeleno (or just a person existing in this world), you also know that there is nothing worse than having to plan a trip, let alone muster up the strength to leave your routine—even if just for a long weekend. “But we must!” the people scream!

Having reached my own personal record-breaking level of #BurnOut, I was desperate to “get out of dodge” without having to go too far, look for any activities, or suffer the endless scrolling of Yelp reviews to find a memorable restaurant. I just wanted wellness, stillness, and spirituality in the desert—mostly because my astrologer told me I have “good karma” in the desert (he hasn’t been wrong yet).

I had heard about Two Bunch Palms from a few “in-the-know’ers” in my orbit for quite some time, proclaiming that this luxuriously hidden—almost secret—wellness oasis, which is just 10 miles from Palm Springs, was a vortex in its own right. From mineral pools to sound baths to massages to spiritual awakenings, Two Bunch promised an all-in-one, one-and-done quick getaway that I had been yearning for, so I grabbed my mom, said, “It’s March, but we’re going to pray for sunshine,” and made our way into the depths of the desert.

Credit: Adrian Gaut

The Grounds Of The Gods

Comprising 77 acres, Two Bunch has completely transformed since its inception in the 1920s.

Before Two Bunch became California’s equivalent to The Mummy’s “Oasis of Ahm Shere,” it had been rumored to be 1) a secret hideaway for notorious gangster Al Capone as well as 2) Capone’s property altogether (that, again, he built as a West Coast hideout). We love legacy! 

In the 1940s, Two Bunch began its operation as a Desert Hot Spring spa getaway, maxing out on its singular, naturally heated mineral hot spring (still known as The Grotto) with a built-in restaurant, classic spa treatments, and alternative healing activities. However, after changing hands in 2012, Two Bunch underwent an enormous Millennial-approved transformation, where amenities were upgraded, facilities were completely modernized, mineral pools were added, room capacity expanded to reach 65 total rooms (51 standard, 14 suites), and the old-school restaurant turned into a full-blown, farm-to-table dining experience that any holistic health coach would approve of. 

The daily “Am I dreaming?” Golden Hour.

While the property feels super in line with the zeitgeist, its “face lift” did not erase many of Two Bunch’s historic elements like The Grotto, Restaurant, Yoga Dome, Glass House, and Capone Suite, which have been totally preserved. This juxtaposition of new and old provides an energetic flow throughout the property, where one minute you’re walking by a pond with ducks and turtles, and the next, you’re sitting in a modern teak tub getting a Vegan Caesar Salad delivered to your lap.

What is most notable about Two Bunch’s property is the way the grounds shift from day to night and from swirling wind to unbelievable stillness. No matter how cosmopolitan you may be, there is just something about being the desert—to which all desert-goers can attest—that grounds you. This highly kinetic energy was one of the biggest (and most magical) components of the entire Two Bunch experience.

Gone With The Wind, Fabulous

Letting the sunshine in….to my Villa Suite.

As my mom and I pulled into the property—which is so hidden off the side of the road, you could almost miss it—I got news that our room had been upgraded to the Villa Suite, one of the nicest accommodations on the property (yes, that is a brag).

Not only did we have our own private teak soaking tub in an enclosed patio, but we had a second patio just off of the bedroom—and I qualify “bedroom” because we also had a living room / dining area, and an enormous two-sink bathroom. I kept saying, “Is this even real?” but my mom had already accessed Dynasty on the big-screen TV in our “sitting room” so she couldn’t hear me.

Our mini fridge / bar area had all of the greatest hits like Mountain Valley Spring Water, Smart Sweets, Hippeas, Taos Bakes Granola Bars, Harmless Harvest Coconut Water, and other restorative snacks after a day of basking under the sun. 

Given that the property is so vast, it was a total plus to be so centrally located to Two Bunch’s main attractions and amenities (I’m looking at you, Restaurant). There were also no concerns about whether or not we’d be able to get a good night’s sleep since Two Bunch is an 18+, adults-only hotel—so as to give guests the most restorative experience possible (not that we don’t love kids!).

While our luxe Villa normally runs upwards of $900 per night, the going rate for their more standard rooms—like Desert King (which is anything but a downgrade)—is a little over $400 per night in the cooler months, and more in the $300-range in the off-season (when temperatures can get pretty spicy). They also have different offers, depending on the vibe you’re looking for—single wellness, couples retreat, day-long restoration—which can allow for longer stays, better rates, and a seamless work-from-hotel environment if need be.

Pool Yourself Together

Your very own hot spring mineral pool (which has enough natural lithium to keep you happy for eternity). Credit: Stephanie Pia

When I was initially looking into staying at Two Bunch, I was a little concerned about staying at a wellness resort that lacked a plethora of wellness facilities—think: sauna, steam room, gym, etc. However, once my time on the property began, I quickly understood that I wouldn’t need any of that to feel restored or fulfilled by my experience.

Aside from our own private teak tub, Two Bunch has a whole lineup of stunning teak and cement mineral tubs filled with 600 year-old natural spring water that recharges every 24 hours, and returns to the ground afterwards—re-emerging at over 100 degrees. The water is both low in sulfur and rich in lithium (yes, I said lithium), making it super therapeutic for aches and pains and for enhancing your mood (no wonder I was so happy!).

I was pretty “wound up” upon arrival, thanks to chronic stress, too much stimuli, and sore muscles from going too hard during my workouts (not a brag!). As the perfect test case for the mineral pools, I found myself relaxed within the first minutes in the warm, soothing water (which was within the first 30 minutes of my arrival). After three full days floating in the different pools, I felt like my central nervous system had completely rebooted.

Life doesn’t get better than this.

Two things to call out:

  1. Reserve, reserve, reserve. In order to bask in the glory of your own basically private mineral tub, you need to reserve the tub for however many hours you want in advance. During the off season, this won’t feel like a big deal (and will almost seem unnecessary), but when I went, it felt slightly competitive—akin to my childhood vacations where my dad would wake up at 6am to reserve a cabana at our hotel—so booking a few days prior was absolutely essential to my mom and I having our own designated station for renewal. BUT, if you can’t reserve in advance, don’t fret. There is a main pool area that is absolutely divine with plenty of seating, and The Grotto (which I’m about to dive into).

  2. Don’t skip The Grotto. Any Two Bunch veterans, with whom we made contact, were emphatic that we don’t miss spending time in The Grotto—which is the OG mineral pool at the hotel. “It is the vortex on the property. Just go spend time in there, and see what happens,” we were advised. Now that I am a Two Bunch veteran, I relay the same message: Do not go to Two Bunch without spending quality time in the Grotto. It is magically quiet, serene, and the spiritual energy is palpable.

A California Kitchen

The Zhug Braised Short Rib with Crispy Sunchokes (which are seasonal!).

One of the main reasons I will be going back to Two Bunch year after year for the rest of my life is thanks to their outstanding food program.

Whether you’re vegan, pescatarian, vegetarian, gluten-free, paleo, or absolutely nothing categorizable, there is something delicious for everyone. The Restaurant menu is super veggie-centric, utilizing seasonal ingredients that are well-sourced, fresh, and insanely flavorful. 

My daily fixations included kicking off breakfast with gluten-free avocado toast with smoked salmon, lunch with the Vegan Caesar with chicken + avocado, and adding a “surprise” entree (which meant my mom and I would just try something new) alongside our fan-favorite Crispy Artichoke Hearts + Jicama Tacos at dinner. 

I will also say The Restaurant is a VIBE. When you walk in, you’re immediately confronted with an expansive view of the desert mountains, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t cozy nooks to be had throughout the open space (again, something for everyone!). I saw many people opting to pick up food to bring back to their rooms as well. Remember: Similar to the tub reservations, things can get busy during the cooler months, so be prepared to make a reservation (even though it might feel silly!).

Two Bunch also has an adorable cafe, but a stone’s throw from The Restaurant, called The Twine. There’s complimentary coffee and tea in the morning, but if you miss it, you can get your LA tonic fix with a casual  Skin-Glow Matcha Latte or Chill Vibes Mushroom Latte until 2pm every day.

Bonus: Because The Restaurant and hotel grounds are for guests only, you can enjoy all of your meals in your robe or a pair of sweats…unless you’re dying to dress up, which is totally viable too.

A Spiritual Awakening

The Glass House where all of Two Bunch’s classes—spiritual and otherwise—take place.

A significant (and definitely talked about) facet of Two Bunch’s panache is their weekly class lineup. From Vinyasa Yoga to Vino Van Gogh, Two Bunch offers a pretty diverse spread of enrichment classes and activities to break up your mineral hot tub time machine.

I, personally, planned on taking a full break from exercise of any kind during my stay, but for those looking to gently move their bodies, Two Bunch offers different types of yoga flows as well as Qi Gong and pilates.  Instead, my mom and I went “spiritually rogue” and went to Two Bunch’s iconic Angel Messages and Sacred Path Tarot sessions with their resident desert healers who have been doing readings at the resort for years.

What I loved about the experience—beyond the readings themselves (which were profound)—was that all of the people who attended within the confines of this intimate Glass House were present, vulnerable, and kind. I got the feeling we were all sharing something special  together, and it actually provided for further connection throughout the rest of my stay. I also noticed that many of the people in my sessions had come to the same class years prior, still holding onto the original reading they had received—that’s how impactful they were!

In the future, I’d love to try their Lunar Sound Bath, Cacao Creation, Ayurvedic Healthy Lifestyle Class, and Two Bunch Palms Nature Walk (there are truly so many to choose from!). 

Wellness From Within (& Out, But Not Without)

The stunning, individual treatment rooms. Please note: I was instructed to hug the tree on the right (I did it). Credit: Adrian Gaut

While I did not pursue any spa treatments during my stay, it’s worth mentioning that Two Bunch has a pretty robust treatment menu that has been designed to complement and enhance the healing properties of the natural mineral waters.  

Some of the treatments on my list for the future (do you notice I keep mentioning the future?):

  • Lymphatic Massage 
  • Desert Abhyanga Massage
  • Superfood Facial
  • Magnesium Body Wrap

Take The Plunge

A moment of silence, please.

What I noticed throughout my three-night, four-day stay at the resort was that every single person there was there for a different reason. I saw many women there by themselves, which I thought spoke volumes of the incredibly healing and safe space Two Bunch provides. I also saw many couples using the property as a romantic retreat, friends reconnecting, and mother-daughter duos catching up on some serious R&R. 

With so many different ways to leverage the property, my mom and I never found ourselves bored or counting down the hours. Time flowed seamlessly, and in the moments that I caught myself opening my laptop to tackle some of the bolds in my inbox, I was able to do so without stress, which made me ponder going back on my own in the future, knowing I could easily do work while still only wearing a spa robe.

So with all that I say to you: You may not have an astrologer telling you that you have “good karma” in the desert, but there is a soul path reader waiting in Two Bunch’s Glass House, eager to tell you that you’ve made it to the right place (and he hasn’t been wrong yet either!).

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