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September 19, 2012

Guest Blogger: Rachel Deol

Everyone needs a break now and then–especially parents.  See how Rachel recharged her batteries on her weekend getaway to Palm Springs!

A Weekend Away

My husband and I recieved a happy surprise last weekend when we were invited to spend a weekend in Palm Springs. Having never been to Palm Springs (remember, I’m a So Cal transplant) I was delighted to experience the former Rat Pack oasis. Visions of mid century architecture and kitsch danced in my head, but I was pleased to discover that Palm Springs & Palm Desert are also pleasantly rough around the edges: rocky landscapes, cactus forests, and hiking trails are all there to explore—if you can tear yourself away from that poolside chaise.

Lay of the Land

Palm Springs is approximately two hours outside of Orange County, far outside of the homogenous suburban landscape. On your way you’ll pass some interesting sights, not the least of which are the rows and rows and ROWS of giant windmills, generating electricity. I understand the Desert Hills Premium Outlets are a popular destination for discounted designer & brand name goods, so I imagine this would be a great end of summer trip if you wanted to incorporate some back-to-school shopping.


Killin’ Time
We spent two glorious days lounging at the pool; in 105 degree heat, however dry it may be, that’s about the only daytime activity that we could be convinced to take part in. As for the resort itself, it’s beautifully appointed and very family-centric, making it a terrific place for families to escape too. It was at the resort that Gabriel, caught up in the upbeat energy of his surroundings, finally overcame his fear of the pool and it now a certified aquaphile.

The area itself has many great options for long-term stays with families, most of which include a full kitchen set-up to ease pressure on your waistline and your budget. Our room at Shadow Ridge had a beautiful kitchen and we ate most of our meals in-room, snacking on items packed in from home via cooler.

Hip City
Our first night in we ventured out as a family to Mama Gina’s Ristorante in Palm Desert. Zagat rated, this old-school spot offers a romantic interior, crisp-white tablecloths, absolutely exceptional service and a price point to match. Hubby & I both thought it felt like a place that mafioso might hang out, in a table in the back corner. The food was delicious & their menu was veg-friendly. This would make a great special occasion spot or a good place to split a place, as their portions are generous, and I understand they have a great Happy Hour at the bar.

The second night out was kids (that’s us, now) choice and we picked The Ace Hotel. A revamped motel, The Ace is a spot that looks like it was plucked straight out of the pages of Urban Outfitters & doused with a sprinkling of grown-up class. The bar was ecclectic but overpriced (eight dollars for a PBR tallboy? Come on, now.) but the restaurant was fantastic. In fact, we loved it so much that we made it a point to come again for brunch on our way out of town and we had a top-notch experience. We also ventured out that night to The Riviera for a little dancing & cocktails and the weekend vibe was glamorous and fun

Had we more time, we certainly would’ve liked to have stopped by both The Parker Palms & The Colony Palms, as well as to have done some shopping & snacking throughout the downtown area.

We’ll Be Back
We had an excellent time and will most definitely venture back. After a little research on deals sites, checking different dates, it looks like the fall is a great time to visit Palm Springs/Palm Desert and you can find great hotel and resort options.  It’s my opinion that you can make this trip as laid back and inexpensive or as ritzy as you like, and it’s a great place to take kids. Go if you get the chance-you won’t regret it!

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