I can’t believe we have lived in California a year now and still hadn’t visited Palm Springs. It has been on my list of places to visit, but it gets far too hot over the summer months and a lot of the town closes down, so I booked a September weekend ages ago hoping it would have cooled down enough to be enjoyable.
Only about a 2 hour drive from us, Palm Springs was ideal for a weekend getaway. It is a desert city, made popular by the Hollywood movie stars in the 1930s and the likes of Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr in the 1950s. It still has a very retro feel about the town, filled with mid-century modern architecture which I loved, hence why there are so many photos to follow!
It’s the perfect place to really feel like you are getting away from it all, spending the days lazing by the hotel pool and plenty of nice restaurants and bars for the evening. It’s also right by Joshua Tree National Park if you fancy some exploring, but the heat was still a bit much so we are hoping to visit another time.
We stayed in the Saguaro Hotel, which is about 10 minutes from Downtown, but so easy to get to in an Uber of Lyft if you don’t fancy driving. The Saguaro is a colourful boutique hotel, which looks a bit like a motel with a retro cool vibe. It is so photogenic, around every corner was another girl posing for the perfect instagram photo (I am not that girl, I am so awkward in photos!) and annoyingly I forgot my camera (again) so all of these were taken on the trusty iPhone.
The hotel was nice, but it definitely becomes a bit of a party hotel at weekends, and we weren’t particularly happy about being woken up at 3am on Friday by our hotel neighbours playing really loud music! I would expect this if I had paid $50 a night to stay in a San Antonio apartment in Ibiza, but this hotel wasn’t cheap and it wasn’t San Antonio. We moved rooms the next day and we were upgraded to a pool suite for the inconvenience but I have my eye on a quieter hotel for when we visit again.
We had a margaritas and guacamole in the hotel’s Mexican themed bar and then went out for tapas on our first night but were both pretty exhausted so headed back to the hotel fairly early without exploring much more of the downtown area.
Saturday morning was spent relaxing by the hotel pool, which was just what we needed as we have spent every weekend away recently and haven’t really stopped. The hotel has a pool party on Saturdays, so we stayed for a couple of hours before heading to explore Downtown a little.
I had read great reviews about the Reservoir restaurant at the Arrive Hotel, but you usually have to reserve a table in advance so I didn’t think we had any chance of eating there. We walked past and saw it was pretty much empty, so we stopped for lunch. I can see why this place comes highly recommended, the food was delicious and it had such a nice laid back feel.
After a late lunch we explored a little of the Uptown Design District, which is full of independent interiors shops and art galleries. It was nice to browse and to dream, but we didn’t buy anything.
We also found the ‘famous’ pink door, that even has it’s own instagram account!
We headed back to the hotel for a quick change before going out for cocktails and dinner. Palm Springs is full of nice restaurants and bars, and I’d read lots of blogs and reviews recommending Birba, an alfresco pizza restaurant. We managed to reserve a table so headed to a nearby bar for cocktails first. Bootlegger Tiki is a tiki bar hidden in the back of a coffee shop and serves amazing cocktails. I was very impressed when my Pina Colada was served in a parrot!
Dinner at Birba met all of my expectations. It is all outside and lit by festoon lighting in the trees which creates such a nice atmosphere. It is always very busy, so make a reservation otherwise you could be waiting a long time.
We checked out a couple more bars including Truss and Twine and the imaginatively named ‘Bar’ before calling it a night. It’s been so long since we had a nice night out just the two of us, drinking cocktails and eating nice food so it was really nice to dress up and go out.
A couple we were sat next to in Birba were local to Palm Springs and recommended we visit the restaurant next door, Cheeky’s, for Sunday brunch. I’m so glad they did because it was another great meal (if you can’t tell by now, we ate a lot of good food this weekend). We both opted for the Eggs Benedict, which they serve on a type of cheese scone, it was divine but so rich. I also got one of their home baked pecan and chocolate cookies to take away, the diet has totally gone out of the window!
We spent a couple more hours making the most of the pool at the hotel before checking out, then headed to the Moorten Botanical Gardens. It’s a little place in Downtown Palm Springs that has hundreds of different varieties of cactus (cacti?!) and it was fascinating to walk around.
It was a hot morning so we went back to the Arrive hotel to the ice cream shop we had meant to visit on Saturday before getting side tracked by lunch. It’s another place owned by the hotel called Ice Cream and Shop(pe), and they do amazing ice cream (and the toppings are free!) with a little shop attached full of quirky things.
I can’t wait to go back to Palm Springs, I absolutely loved it. I’m trying to work out when we can fit it in within the next 6 months as I would really like to go up the aerial tramway which was closed for maintenance, and visit Joshua Tree National Park. I also have my eye on a stunning boutique hotel that I would love to stay at.
We’re heading to Yosemite National Park this weekend which is a California ‘must-do’ so I WILL NOT FORGET MY CAMERA.