Prequel to the prequel: Palm Springs Spring Break, Part 1: Destination Capitulation
Ahhhhh. At long last. The luxury portion of our Palm Springs Luxury Spring Break Trip.
I should probably mention that I’m not talking about Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous-type luxury here. Nobody peeled our grapes or fanned us with oversized palm leaves. No butlers attended to our every need. We’re two teachers, after all. I’m talking just your average, middle-class, run of the mill-type luxury—as in lovely accommodations, some nice amenities, and eating out for days on end.
During the planning process for this trip, I spent several weeks paralyzed with indecision over whether to book Talavera or another lovely accommodation called La Serenas Villas, but in the end, it was the private hot tub that skewed things in Talavera’s favor. To be clear, the cost of both these places would normally put them in the “VERY SPECIAL special occasion” category, a category that is home to our 20th anniversary hotel, Mokara Hotel & Spa. But something about enduring the pandemic, the stressful year we’ve had, and the depressing lack of travel made me throw financial caution to the wind . And spending the first few nights of the trip at the Harmony Motel helped balance the books and swept away any lingering guilt.
You know how sometimes you want something, but you can’t have it and you end up with something else instead, and that something else ends up being better than the thing you wanted in the first place? That’s what happened here. By the time I finally pulled the trigger on the hotel reservation, the Kasbah Suite was taken. We “settled” on the Sunflower Suite, but once we got there, quickly realized it was the much better choice. First, based on the pictures, I don’t think the Kasbah was technically a suite. More importantly, the Sunflower Suite had, in our opinion, the most advantageous location of all eleven rooms on the small boutique property. Plus, it was spacious and lovely.
And let’s not forget that deal-sealing hot tub and private patio.
But what about Palm Springs? you’re probably wondering. Good point. The city has many attractions and various activities to keep the out-of-towner busy. Take the Moorten Botanical Garden, for instance. We talked about going there. Several times, in fact. But instead, we did this:
We considered visiting the Palm Springs Art Museum, which is just a short walk from Talavera, but we ended up doing this instead:
We toyed with the idea of checking out the conservation-focused Living Desert Zoo & Gardens, but found we couldn’t resist the draw of this:
We most definitely planned on taking a ride on the rotating aerial tramway, but couldn’t pull ourselves away from this:
I know what you’re thinking, but we weren’t total layabouts. The one thing Talavera lacks is an on-site eatery. This meant we had to extricate ourselves from our hedonistic pursuits to find food. Fortunately, it’s only three blocks to the main street filled with restaurants and shops, and this is where we began to see some of the quirk and flair we’d been told exists in Palm Springs.
The main street is positively littered with benches and they’re all festooned with bright and bold designs.
But even more salient than the chromatic seating is the city’s obsession with 50s-era entertainment icons.
Some art installations had me scratching my head:
And then there was a smattering of random quirk and flair.
But we did more than just walk the main drag. We hiked the Museum Trail, which starts in the parking lot of the Palm Springs Art Museum (so in a way, we did go there). The lot has several seemingly random signs in a language (or languages?) that even Google Translate struggles to identify and refuses to interpret.
The hike is a little tricky because after a while, a few trails converge, and if you take the wrong one, you’ll find yourself on the 28-mile Cactus to Clouds trail to the San Jacinto peak, rather than on the much more reasonable Lykken trail, which we wanted to hook up with. To mark the route, white dots are painted on rocks here and there as sort of two-dimensional cairns. It was a hot and sweaty hike, even in late March—never mind how dehydrated hikers might become in the summer months—so I thought the use of white dots was ill-advised. I mean, don’t people see white dots swimming before their eyes when suffering heat stroke?
Lucky for us, no medical emergencies or wrong turns occurred, the latter boon the husband attributes to his beloved wristwatch cum minicomputer that steered us in the right direction.
Near the crest of the trail, we were able to engage in a pullup challenge, which I immediately lost.
Despite the crowds in town, we saw very few people up here and got some nice views, which included an almost aerial view of that strange sandy square of oversized naked babies.
As we finished the hike and made our way through the city streets to get back to the hotel, we discovered that there is more than one way to word a street sign.
The other moderately active thing we did was to borrow Talavera’s bikes and ride the self-guided Architecture Tour route. Some of the posh neighborhoods in this town aren’t full of mansions as I would normally think of them. Rather, they’re full of well-maintained 50s-style ranch houses. It was like being on the set of The Brady Bunch.
I would have taken pictures of the homes to show you, but, accustomed to a high-tech road bike as I am, I spent the entire hilly ride struggling to adjust to this gearless, pedal-backward-to-brake-just-like-the-banana-seat-bike-you-had-when-you-were-ten bicycle.
What I did manage to capture in pictures, however, were the various signs wealthy Palm Springers employ to scare off burglars.
Here in Minnesota, we don’t generally let the intruders know what they’ll be up against should they elect to break in. We like to keep our burglars guessing. Ah well, it’s just another quirk of this southern California desert community, I suppose.
And then, far more rested and relaxed than we had been before the trip, it was time to go. We made our way to the Sonny Bono concourse of the airy Palm Springs airport and retraced our route over the scenic American west and back to reality.
I’m not sure Palm Springs is a place I need to return to again and again (though I wouldn’t mind seeing all those things we missed, and I’d eagerly welcome another stay at Talavera), but it gave us exactly what we needed at exactly the right time, and for that I will always love it.
The Palm Springs Luxury Spring Break Trip series: