One night in Palm Springs was simply not enough. However, we were definitely able to pack a lot in and enjoyed every second of our time in the desert. When looking for a destination for a girls weekend, we thought some time in Los Angeles followed by a Cali road trip to Palm Springs and back would make for a wonderful getaway. We were right. None of the girlfriends I traveled with had been to Palm Springs and we all instantly fell in love with the palm trees lining the streets, the mountains, the bright colors, and the uniqueness of the city. It was such a charming destination that I can’t wait to revisit.
When we arrived in Palm Springs, we stopped by the Parker Palm Springs for brunch at one of their restaurants, Norma’s. The Parker is the former Givenchy Resort, which was remodeled in 2004. The remodel included adding thirteen acres and now boasts spaces designed by Jonathan Adler, who designed the hotel in a mid-century modern meets art pop culture style. The Parker features 144 rooms and two restaurants: Norma’s and Mister Parker’s.
When you pull up to the Parker you are greeted by an oversized white wall with a beautiful geometric design. Perfect for a photo opp! You then enter the hotel through a pair of oversized, bright orange double doors.
The lobby is so colorful and welcoming and the design by Jonathan Adler throughout the Parker is absolutely gorgeous.
Perhaps my favorite space, the main area on the first floor is also one of the most famous. I recall seeing images of the large ‘drugs’ marquee light sign in this space long before my travel research for Palm Springs began.
Norma’s at the Parker has a wonderful atmosphere. After a two+ hour drive from Los Angeles to Palm Springs (after a night of little sleep), we were very excited to finally arrive and Norma’s was a perfect start to our time in the desert. Norma’s has both a dining area inside and outside, which is the most cheerful and colorful patio.
We started with mimosas and mojitos (we were employing a ‘hair of the dog’ mentality) and this insane lobster macaroni and cheese as an appetizer. They actually call it: chunks of lobster swimming in cheesy macaroni. ‘Chunks’ is one of those words that sort of makes me cringe, but I was sold at ‘swimming in cheesy macaroni.’ With little convincing, my girlfriends agreed to split this with me as an appetizer.
For my entree I had the real tuna tuna sandwich. It was the best I’ve ever had. It was so good, that I may have e-mailed the restaurant and begged for the recipe and my mouth might be watering as I reminisce looking at this picture. Stay tuned for my attempt at remaking this amazing dish.
Following our lunch at Norma’s, we explored the grounds of the hotel.
Next, we were off to check in at the Ace, where we were staying.
The Ace is a former mid-century hotel that had a Denny’s and was remodeled to be a wonderfully charming place to stay. There are 173 rooms, a spa, two pools, and a restaurant: The King’s Highway. The design can be described as organic, retro, and bohemian. The hotel grounds also have event spaces, common areas, and communal fireplaces that make it a perfect relaxation retreat. The bar at the Ace, the Amigo Room, has something happening every night from a DJ, to bingo, karaoke, or other fun activities.
We checked in and wasted no time making ourselves at home in our room.After a little time acting half our age, we quickly changed and made our way down to relax at the swim club pool, which was lively but not overcrowded for a Friday afternoon.
El Jefe is overseen by Iron Chef Jose Garces and is a modern Mexican restaurant and margarita bar that serves small plates inspired by Mexican street food and has over 100 tequilas. We enjoyed a number of flavored margaritas, two orders of queso fundido (we started with one and it went quickly, so we HAD to get another) and a variety of tacos. Everything was great, including the service. We then went to explore downtown a little more and ended the night with wine by the pool and by the fire at the Ace.
When we woke up the next morning, we didn’t want to leave. We decided to push back our original departure time so we could enjoy more time at our hotel and specifically at the pool. We walked through the hotel grounds to eat at the restaurant at our hotel, The King’s Highway and of course stopped to take some photos along the way.
We started with mimosas and bloody marys and split a ricotta pancake as an appetizer, which they serve with berries, bananas, plenty of syrup, and honeycomb butter. I had a BLAT sandwich as my entree which includes bacon, bib lettuce, tomato, crushed avocado, cumin, and lime mayo. I added a fried egg to mine and it was the perfect brunch meal to soak up the margaritas and wine from the night before. We went straight to the pool after brunch for another sun-filled day. Being that it was a Saturday, it was a little more crowded and the hotel ensured that all pool guests were either guests of the hotel or swim club members. We were lucky enough to snag a large day bed right by the pool.
We loved the Saguaro when eating at El Jefe and had to go back on our way out of town to see all the amazing colors in the daylight. It did not disappoint.
Our last stop on the way out of town was Great Shakes. When researching Palm Springs, this was consistently a recommendation. When I saw that they had a shake with s’mores (one of my favorite desserts) I knew it would have to be added to our to-do list.
I mean.. graham crackers, hot fudge, toasted marshmallows, and a donut on top? Yes, please.
Thanks for a great 30 hours, Palm Springs. You were a perfect girls weekend getaway destination.
Things to do my on to-do list already for next time: The Moorten Botanical Gardens, Workshop Kitchen + Bar, Cheeky’s, Trio, Crave, and a day trip to Salvation Mountain.
Until next time, Palm Springs![Photos are my own or are via hotel or restaurant websites and/or related travel sites.]