“Instructions for living a life: Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.” ― Mary Oliver
My friend snapped this great instagr.am on her iPhone, it’s me on the phone saying goodnight to my girls and my sweetie in front of the Ace Hotel Amigo Room Lounge before we went in for drinks.
Got back late last night from what can only be described as a truly therapeutic girls weekend away in Palm Springs. We had the best time, so many laughs, so much delicious food, so much relaxation, and so much shopping!
First, some of the laughs… We stayed at the Riviera, which, unbeknownst to us turns out to be quite the party spot. Can’t you tell from this pic of the lobby?
We spent most of Saturday at the hotel pool and the crowd was definitely the younger bachelorette and bachelor party sort, similar to what you might find in Vegas (but more like the type at Hard Rock or MGM – not Bellagio, where we stayed for last year’s girls trip)! The people watching was definitely entertaining. There was a group of guys near us who were, as my friend aptly said, “all the same person, the Kevin Federlines”… replete with tattoos, long shorts, and trucker caps. They were posturing and posing, peacocking for the lovely ladies poolside. One group of girls, maybe a couple of years out of college, gave us a few good snippets as we were within earshot. We think it was the bride-to-be overheard saying, “I just need a break from reality for like three months.” Right! But lest you judge us, not all laughs were at a stranger’s expense. In fact, most of our giggles were at ourselves as the “moms on the town” and at some of the fun memories or inside jokes we’ve shared from our past girls weekends over the years.
So, though the pool scene was fun, the downside of staying at a popular spring break destination was – it showed. The rooms were, uh, as my friend observed, “beat to hell”. It was sort of a sad scene, because they were obviously meant to be sort of Palm Springs hip, and maybe they were when new, but this place was looking a little rough around the edges. Literally every piece of furniture in our room had a lot of knicks, and the service definitely left a lot to be desired. We all agreed that despite liking our location in actual Palm Springs (closer to the airport and outlet mall) we’d happily sacrifice that to be in La Quinta or Palm Desert (near El Paseo, the desert’s Rodeo Drive, and more upscale spas and restaurants).
One thing we did enjoy in the “downtown” was our visit to the Ace Hotel. The Amigo Room Lounge is one of those time warp experiences, like your best friends cool old basement, dark, sparsely lit, filled with 60’s/70’s decor like macrame and funky light fixtures. But the best was when we returned the next day to their restaurant, the Kings Highway Diner. Their poblano cheddar grits are definitely worth writing home about! And we had the full spread, their version of a BLT sandwich, with avocado and fried egg added, served on a brioche bun; a large latte, and ricotta hotcakes with bananas and maple crunch butter. Our breakfasts on this trip were by far the superior meals — between Cheeky’s and Kings you can’t go wrong.
We did work in dinner at Mister Parker’s at the Parker Hotel. Though we LOVED the vibe and eclectic decor they had going on, the food itself was unremarkable and the service was really underwhelming. We were often left for extended stretches waiting to place orders or pay our bill, and even were given the wrong food!
On our last day after soaking up a bit more sun (or in the case of the two of us who went to the Ace for breakfast instead, soaking up some cholesterol) we checked out and headed west to Palm Desert to eat lunch at El Paseo on the humongous, gracious second-story patio at Tommy Bahama’s restaurant, and to poke around the shops a bit before departing for the airport. When it was time to go I think we were all switching gears thinking about seeing our little ones and hugging our dutiful husbands who had been holding down the fort the past four days…it didn’t take long to start the re-entry mentally into our lives back in Minnesota. However, I think we all went back a lot lighter in spirit refreshed from our time together. Having such a good group of friends with whom we travel so well and have such a good chemistry is unusual and lucky. I’m SO grateful that we could continue our annual tradition with yet another successful trip, and we already started plotting about our trip for next year… look out wine country in 2013!