Prequel to the prequel: Palm Springs Spring Break, Part 1: Destination Capitulation

Prequel: Palm Springs Spring Break, Part 2: Desolation, Exploration, & Inspiration

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.

Enter Talavera.

The shaded pool at Talavera. Source:

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.

The sun-drenched pool and the doors to our suite.

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.

This got a lot of use.
As did this.

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:

Talavera itself – heck, all of Palm Springs – is a botanical garden. No need to make a special trip that cuts into your hot tub time.

We considered visiting the Palm Springs Art Museum, which is just a short walk from Talavera, but we ended up doing this instead:

A beautiful swim stroke IS a kind of art, no?

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:

He may look comatose, but this is what we needed most of all.

We most definitely planned on taking a ride on the rotating aerial tramway, but couldn’t pull ourselves away from this:

Relaxation Method #1: without book
Relaxation Method #2: with book

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:

I’m not here to judge.
A North Face/Gucci collaborative igloo. Purpose unknown.

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.

Google thinks “Shona.”
Google thinks “Xhosa.”
Google thinks “Marathi.”
You know the LOTR scene where Sam and Frodo climb up to Shelob’s lair? The first part of the hike felt like that.

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?

Are those route markers . . .
. . . or am I about to collapse?

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.

He loves his watch almost as much as he loves his bikes.

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.

Somewhere in the valley behind me is the San Andreas Fault.

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.

Many threaten weapons.
Some threaten loud noises.
Only a few are coy.

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.

This airport would be a disaster in Minnesota.

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:

29 thoughts

  1. I am glad to see you had a fun trip to Palm Springs which looks like a perfect blend of nature and sophistication. Intrigued by your mention of Botanical Gardens, I had to use Google to see what it looks like. They even have a place fondly known as Cactus Castle where you can see a enormous collection of cacti. Imagine that! Thanks for sharing and have a good day. We are finally getting ready to enjoy more freedom, too. May 10 has been earmarked as a key date for the beginning of easing restrictions which means, we’ll be able to travel within Ireland. Hurray! Aiva 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you – it was a great trip. I’m so happy to hear you’ll be able to move about the country soon. The US’s restrictions haven’t been so tight, obviously, so I can only imagine how challenging that must be. At least I have 3000 miles of American to explore…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. “Traffic calming ahead” makes even this native Southern Californian cringe a bit. Palm Springs and parts of L.A. (cough, cough Malibu and Rodeo Drive) are truly universes of their own… obviously even with their own language. I’ve been to the desert (do I hear a tune forming?) lots of times but you’ve given me some new ideas. Palm Springs has a Modernism Week every year that I’ve wanted to go to. Maybe a couple of e-bikes and a map would be a good alternative.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Talavera looks lovely. Great choice. I like all of your photos but adore the ‘humps’ series is my fave. Your conclusion is the same as mine/ours about Palm Springs. We enjoyed it the first time as vacationers, the second time as business conference attendees, but we have no desire to return. Been there, done that.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so glad you found the post ahead of your trip. A lot of things looked interesting, but we just couldn’t pry ourselves away from our chilling zone. If you get a chance to head over to Joshua Tree National Park for a day (50 minutes east of Palm Springs), that is well worth the time.


  4. Considering that I’ve never been to Palm Springs (despite being born and raised in southern California), I’d always imagined it’d be some kind of idle, palm tree-and-pool resort kind of vacation, which isn’t my thing. But it looks like the town itself actually has a lot of quirky and colorful sites to check out, which is making me reconsider the place…and to actually give it a chance someday! The art installations are a delight, and the hike up to the summit looks like the challenge I’d like to partake (and with a victory pull-up at the top!). Thanks for sharing your adventure in my home state!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Taking it with a grain of salt since I was only there for four days, it seems like a place that can be all sorts of things. Definitely a golfing mecca, but there’s lots to do, and lots of nice places to stay if you want to have nothing to do.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. It was heavenly! Funny you should mention cold, rainy England because it my post today I talked about how desperately we are trying to get back there to see family. Hopefully it won’t be quite so cold and rainy by then (if it happens).

      Liked by 2 people

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