With our one year anniversary approaching we decided it would be fun to plan a trip in May with some of our close friends. We went on a “double honeymoon” to Mexico with one of my bridesmaids, Fayola, and her husband, Nick, (they were married the week after us) and then went on another weekend getaway with them to Colorado last September. We figured the week before our first anniversary would be the perfect time to squeeze in a third honeymoon – you can never have too many, right? We decided on Palm Springs, California and invited Nick’s two brothers and their wives along too. Here are some of the places we ventured to and some tips for your next Palm Springs vacay.
One of the main reasons we decided on Palm Springs was the cheap flights to LAX from Kansas City and Omaha. Palm Springs is about 2 hours from LA, 4 hours from Las Vegas, and 3 hours from Phoenix so there are quite a few options to pick from. Palm Springs also has its own airport but there is a substantial price increase compared to larger airports. We flew into LAX late in the evening (around 10:00 p.m.) and rented a car so traffic was minimal. It worked out well but it was a bit stressful navigating through LA and worrying about rush hour traffic. I think next time we will fly into Phoenix for a change in scenery and overall less traffic stress. The other couples connecting flight into Omaha ended up being in Phoenix so they would have been better off booking through there and saving 2-3 hours. We also rented a convertible as our little “anniversary splurge” and it was seriously so fun! So worth the extra $60 for all the driving you have to get there and back!
Where to Stay
Airbnb: Since we had 4 couples we rented this house from Airbnb and it was seriously a dream. The pool was perfect, the rooms were spacious, and the location was great. I would definitely recommend this place. It is important to note though that there are a lot of different regulations with vacation rentals in Palm Springs so be sure to account for an additional “occupancy tax” and a few extra paperwork and rules including no music outdoors (which we broke and didn’t have a problem with…shhh…) and 10pm-8am quiet hours.
The Saguaro: I had read about this one a lot and we ended up eating at the restaurant here so we took a look around. The outside of the property is stunning but I have heard the rooms are pretty basic. We also noticed a lot of young college aged kids and you could definitely tell it was a party place so just be prepared for that. If you are looking for quiet and relaxing it may not be the place for you.
Ace Hotel and Swim Club: I had heard great things about this place and ended up being a bit disappointed. The rooms with communal bathrooms are fairly affordable and the aesthetic is gorgeous but overall it was very much a spring break vibe. Again, peaceful and relaxing would not be words I would use to describe this place. It would however be a great place for a bachelorette party or girls trip – same goes for The Saguaro.
The Parker: Seriously, I have never been in a more beautiful hotel. This place was STUNNING. The price tag is also STUNNING. If you can afford it I would not hesitate to stay here. If you are going on a special trip or need one night it would definitely be worth the splurge.
Arrive: We stumbled upon this place on our way to get some ice cream and ended up walking through the pool area. The rooms are fairly affordable and the vibe was relaxing yet fun. They had a schedule of events and some ping pong tables but overall the groups that were there weren’t at all rowdy. The aesthetic was modern and cool and the location was near a lot of the shopping and restaurants we visited.
Where to Eat
Stay In: Since we stayed in a house we ended up grilling out and eating a lot of meals there which saved us a ton of money. When you have a large group it can be hard to get reservations and coordinate so this worked out really well for us and was also pretty fun. Definitely look for a rental with an outdoor grill and dining space.
King’s Highway: I had read this one on a few travel guides and ended up a little disappointed. The restaurant definitely looks a bit cooler on Instagram then in person and the food wasn’t anything exceptional. If you go, I would suggest going for breakfast or lunch and get the breakfast burrito or the pancakes!
Norma’s: This place will put a dent in your budget but is so worth it and it is located in the Parker so it gives you an excuse to check out the hotel if you don’t stay there. The girls all ended up going while the guys golfed so that made it a bit more affordable but be prepared to pay around $50/person. The food was amazing! Our favorites were the crunchy french toast and the Waz-za? waffle. The portions are also pretty big so don’t duplicate any orders and split your plates and share or take some back to your golfing hubby!
El Jefe: We went to this tequila bar at The Saguaro for dinner on our last night. We got a couple margaritas which were delish – Fayola loved the jalepeno celery margarita. The guacamole was also awesome and the baja fish tacos were to die for!
Cheeky’s: We didn’t end up eating here but we did get drinks next door. The line for reservations was super long and you could tell it was a popular spot so I would go for it but definitely get there early!
Birba: I had heard the pizza here is amazing but we ended up just getting drinks before meeting up with the golfers. This place is mostly outdoors and is a super chill hangout. There is a coffee cart and a bar and lots of areas for large groups to hang out. Definitely a great spot to go on a girls trip or bachelorette party. I do not recommend the mimosas though. Alison and Fay ordered fun drinks off the menu and they came out looking super cute and garnished. My pineapple mimosa cost $11 and looked like a small glass of watered down lemonade with zero garnish in sight.
Bill’s Pizza: We stopped by and picked up some pizzas here after a late night at the casino. This place was super popular and reasonably priced. Fay ordered Bill’s Favorite and loved it. We ordered 5 pizzas for $60. Great for a late night snack!
The Sandwich Spot: This place was rated on Trip Advisor as one of the ‘top 50 reasonably priced places to eat in the US.” We stopped before heading back to LA and man was it delicious. It is a hole in the wall place but the prices and portions are spot on. I ordered “The Federer” and JR got the pulled pork – both were awesome!
Workshop Kitchen: We didn’t end up eating here but walked through since we had heard it was gorgeous inside. It was beautiful but not as spectacular as I was expecting. This would be a great place for a special anniversary dinner or a large group that wants to go somewhere formal. They had these beautiful long family style dining tables that would be gorgeous for a small rehearsal dinner.
Other Things To Do
House Shopping: Due to the time change we were up pretty early every day so we would grab some coffee and drive around to look at houses in the most beautiful neighborhoods. I would recommend Indian Canyons and the Movie Colony. Maybe even look online for some open houses – I had one show up on my facebook but we didn’t end up going since the pool was calling our name. Also check out East Sierra drive and you might spot that perfect pop of pink! 😉
Thrift Stores: We didn’t do a lot of thrifting since we hung out a the house a lot but JR and I did stop at Revivals which made me want to go to more had we had the time. Also check out any yard sale signs! Al and I ended up at a garage sale at 8am and she scored a Little Mermaid DVD for her kiddos for $1! It was fun to stop and talk with some locals and share where we were from.
Shopping: The area near Birba and Bill’s Pizza is an outdoor shopping area. The girls went here one morning around 10 and shopped for a few hours. It does get hot though and everything is outdoors so either go right away when they open or wait until later in the afternoon.
Ariel Tramway: JR and I went on the tramway on the last day and it was so fun. My childhood family vacations featured a lot of national parks so it is always fun to check out the nature scene when you are in a new place. There are a lot of great hiking trails once you get up there so if that’s your jam definitely plan on that one day. The views were spectacular and it was surprisingly cool up at the top which was a nice break from the 90 degree weather.
Ice Cream and Shop(pe): This little hidden gem was located right next to the Arrive hotel. They have free valet parking which we didn’t figure out right away so just pull right up! The ice cream was great and it would be a great place to pick up a pool float or a souvenir.
These are the recommendations from JR – I am an awful golfer! Overall they spent around $110 total for 54 holes, cart included! They played pretty early each morning to beat the heat but also didn’t have access to the drink carts until they were halfway through playing.
Escena: This was the nicest of the three courses they golfed at. It was a little more pricey but very well kept and groomed. All of the guys agreed this was the favorite of the three.
Indian Canyon: This was a more affordable course and had awesome scenery and houses along the course. The starter gave them a history lesson about the course and a few fun stories about Frank Sinatra. One of his Palm Springs homes was along this course! They also said the service was over the top and they were greeted the second they got there.
Cimmaron: Affordable and in good shape and had a GPS option on the carts whereas the others did not. JR found a Groupon for this course so check online before you book your tee time.
Other places I have read about that we will hopefully make it to next time are the Moorten Botanical Gardens, The Alexander Estate, Frank Sinatra’s Twin Palms House, Salvation Mountain, Joshua Tree, the Salton Sea, and Shield’s Date Farm.
The pace in Palm Springs is so calm and small-townish so it doesn’t hurt to just relax and make zero plans. We ended up spending a lot of time hanging out at the house and having a “pool party” every afternoon. The pool floats where a huge hit, we brought the pink swan – the white swan and popcorn one came with the house. We even named them and gave them personalities, Esther was the pink swan and Joyce was the white swan. Esther ended up dying after a fatal cannonball (RIP Esther) so unfortunately she did not make it back home. I also invented a game called Swan Pong which is exactly what you think it is (I feel like that was probably my high point of the trip/my life! LOL). We just swam, played games, snacked, jammed and hung out together. Everyone had a great time and we hope to come back in the future!
Travel Tip: Fay and I have traveled together quite a bit and she always picks a song as our “theme song” for the trip (it is the song on the video – also Fay is the playlist queen) and we play it a couple times a day. It ends up being a fun memory because every time you hear that song after you get home it reminds you of the trip. To this day when I hear Nicki Minaj “Starships” I reminisce about Panama City Beach on spring break in college.
Check out a recap of our trip and a couple shots of our Airbnb in the video above!