On Wednesday, I flew into Palm Springs for the first time. As usual, the flights with Westjet were great and on time -very uneventful (which is a good thing when flying!). Having never been to Palm Springs before, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Flying into Palm Springs, all you could see from the air in any direction were ugly, dry, brown hills and mountains. It didn’t look that appealing. It’s funny how much your perception can change once you’re on the ground and getting a different perspective.
Palm Springs is a lush, green oasis in the desert. There are gorgeous resorts, palm trees, and green grass everywhere. The mountains look quite majestic and provide a great back drop to the resorts. Other than the lack of beach and ocean, you could totally feel like you were in some tropical beach resort as you lay around the swimming pool.
Our host resort, the Rancho Las Palmas, is about a $35 cab ride – or 20 minute drive from the Palm Springs Airport. They have recently had a $35 million renovation to the rooms and will soon be renovating their ball room areas as well. They have nice, big rooms – everything is built and decorated in the Spanish Hacienda style. They have three swimming pools and two hot tubs. One pool is adults only, the other is a family pool. The third pool area is Splashtopia – a kid friendly area with waterslides, splash park and a lazy river. It would be a nice resort for families with small children. We have had three meals at this resort so far and all were excellent. Our balcony overlooks one of the golf green, as well as a pond which is always full of ducks. It’s very pretty.
We also visited the La Quinta resort – part of the Waldorf Astoria collection. Although it was getting dark when we arrived for dinner, we were treated to a gorgous sunset that show cased the pretty mountains right behind this 45 acre resort. This historic resort was built in the 1920’s and has had more than it’s share of famous hollywood guests. The hotel has kept a lot of it’s original architecture – it’s full of antiques and huge wood burning fire places. It is gorgeous and comfortable. It would be great for groups as they have over 40 swimming pools and each pool has several villas overlooking it – so your group could potentially have their own swimming pool to gather around. It would also be a wonderful place for weddings and for golfers – they have 5 courses on site that are available to their guests – plus some other private courses. One of their golf courses is rated 1 in California, 4 in the US and 9th in the world. Very pretty – I would definitely return.
The third resort we saw was the Westin Mission Hills. Another gorgeous, large property with two golf courses. The staff were wonderful and welcoming and they treated us to some time in their spa, which was heavenly. It’s a full service, high end spa with private steam rooms, hot tubs and every amenity you could want. The rooms were large and typical of Westin.
We had a few hours to experience the Cabazon and Desert Hills outlet malls yesterday. Unfortunately, they were open air and the weather didn’t cooperate, so we were running through a bit of rain and wind from time to time. Otherwise, the shopping was great. Some good deals to be had and we all came back with serveral bags and a few dollars poorer 🙂 I wish we would have had more time as there was one whole buiding we didn’t get a chance to check out. Next time! The outlet malls are about a 30 minute drive from our resort – a taxi is about $75-$100 dollars or there is a shuttle that goes twice a day and comes back twice a day for $25 per person per direction. Luckily we hopped in and caught a ride with another member of our group who had a car.
Last night was Marks birthday, so we went to a nice restaurant within walking distance of the Rancho Las Palmas called Roy’s. It was a great restaurant. The service was good – very attentive. The food and wine were also exceptional – especially the chocolate Souffle for desert. I had let them know ahead of time that it was Mark’s birthday and every person we saw from the hostess to the bus boy to the waiter wished Mark a happy birthday. His menu had a happy birthday note tucked into it and they brought him a special happy birthday desert of a macadamia nut tart. I would definitely recommend it – most entree’s were between $25 and $35 dollars.
I’m looking forward to this afternoon – the weather forecast is for 20 degrees and sunshine. We are heading out on a jeep tour through the desert along the San Andreas fault, ending with a BBQ dinner.