While I just returned to the US from Paris this last Sunday, my mind is still fixated on that feeling of living my best life in Palm Springs for my birthday weekend. Probably because that's where I wish I was...Although not going to lie Paris was great too.
A couple weeks ago now, I had the most INCREDIBLE birthday weekend. Literally beyond my wildest dreams. So much so that I can't stop thinking about it! It's making this whole back to work thing a little difficult I must admit.
I've probably discussed this on the blog before butttt in case I haven't, I've realized that as I've gotten older I much prefer experiences over things for my birthday. Don't get me wrong, I love a good present as much as the next girl but experiences are so much more memorable and for that reason I'm here for it. With that in mind, my boyfriend got to planning a birthday escape.
While I tried as best as I could to not snoop and keep the surprise a, well, surprise, I ended up guessing where we were going. In my defense there's really only so many places you can drive to from LA for a getaway. I kept my knowledge to myself until we were pretty far along the drive too so I was still kind of a good girl...Kind of...
Knowing that it was the beginning of June and I had added Palm Springs to my weather app, I was pretty nervous for 3 days in above 100 degree temperatures. I haven't experienced that much heat over consecutive days since living at home in Sacramento.
After a quick couple hours in the car, we pulled up to our weekend oasis. Hidden from the main road, L'Horizon Palm Springs is a magical surprise from the moment you pull into the driveway. I could immediately tell this was going to be a winning destination based on the 2018 Conde Nast Traveler Ranking of #1 Resort in America and #4 Resort in the World.
Our room wasn't ready upon arrival but we were offered glasses of champagne and ushered out to the bar near the pool to enjoy some food and drinks until the room was ready. Don't have to tell me twice to sip some champagne under misters at the bar while gazing out on the picturesque pool.
From the moment we sat down the staff was incredibly friendly and just the right amount of attentive, I know you know what I'm talking about. We enjoyed a few rounds at the bar before making our way to our home away from home for the next two nights.
As if the hotel couldn't get any better - the room was an absolute dream. The decor was a beautiful modern with a vintage flare with a giant king bed to die for. Did I mention the fact that we could walk out onto our patio and go another 100 feet to the pool. Like I said, an absolute DREAM!
I felt so invited, so welcomed from the moment I walked onto the property. This truly was our new home for the extended weekend.
We relaxed poolside (and in the pool - that was a necessity with temps reaching well above 100 degrees) for a few hours before getting ready for dinner reservations at Le Vallauris.
This upscale indoor/outdoor restaurant was the perfect romantic setting. We visited on a good day too as it was actually the last day of restaurant week so we had the option of ordering from the pre-fixed restaurant week menu and enjoying three different courses. A great way to try a variety of items on the menu if you ask me.
The crowd skewed a little bit older - then again it is Palm Springs - and the food was what you would expect from a 5 star restaurant - small portion sizes and ingredients that you have to Google but overall it was a beautiful experience. The waiter was very attentive with her beautiful French accent and the dessert was incredible - complete with a candle and Happy Birthday wishes. What can I say, dessert is my favorite part. It's really the only part I care about if we're being honest. Overall, Le Vallauris was very reminiscent of the Inn of the Seventh Ray if you've ever visited that restaurant in Los Angeles.
It was quite close to our hotel as well so we enjoyed a leisurely walk home following a beautiful dinner under the stars.
The following morning, my actual birthday morning, was quite unfortunately ruined by a 4am wakeup call. Adam's phone rang at that time and I knew it was trouble. Nothing good comes from the phone ringing that early in the morning. Adam had scheduled an early morning hot air balloon ride (something we've always wanted to do) to start off my birthday.
Unfortunately, according to our pilot, the wind was blowing straight into the mountains and we wouldn't be able to go up that morning. We were of course extremely disappointed but also appreciated a little extra sleep as we hit the snooze and went back to bed.
Since our morning plans were altered, we had some added free time in the schedule to decide what to do on that glorious birthday Monday. I found an utterly Insta worthy brunch spot that I wanted to check out, turns out there's actually quite a few of those in Palm Springs, so we made reservations at The Pink Cabana at The Sands Hotel for a late morning brunch.
Talk about GOALS.
The Pink Cabana seriously exceeded all of my expectations. Inspired by 1950s/60s Tennis and Racquet Club culture, this pink and green destination is an absolute dream. From the moment we sat down I was absolutely transfixed - from the lanterns hanging from the rafters to the green tile on the floor to the pink banquets that reminded me of Sketch in London, my eyes were darting around the room nonstop, spotting some new amazing design detail at each turn. Even the wallpaper was perfect - palm fronds everywhere. I also need to get their contact for whoever hung their gallery wall(s) because it was sheer perfection.
Usually I don't care about the food, I'm just being honest as a self-proclaimed anti-foodie, it's more about the overall experience to me, but boy this did not disappoint. Adam had a pancake and I had the granola parfait both of which were mouth-wateringly delicious. I'm actually salivating just thinking about that granola for real. The funny thing is I actually didn't even order the granola, I ordered the oatmeal but I was not disappointed by this flub. I also enjoyed a mimosa in the swankiest mimosa glass my heart could ever desire.
I truly didn't want to leave but the rest of my birthday was calling me. We drove to El Paseo Drive (The Rodeo Drive of Palm Springs) to do a little walking around and shopping, which I now know to be insane given the extreme temperatures, but nevertheless we persisted and thoroughly enjoyed the AC once we popped in and out of stores.
Believe it or not there weren't a ton of people out so we didn't spend too much shopping before we decided to head back to the hotel and enjoy our number one favorite destination - the pool.
We quickly changed and Adam headed to the bar to order some drinks and french fries to enjoy poolside - calories don't count on your birthday remember that. While it was darn near impossible to comfortably lay out by the pool for more than five minutes, once you were in the pool it was the most glorious place to be. We dunked french fries in ketchup and sipped mimosas and wine with our legs in the pool basking in the glory of that perfect birthday afternoon.
Time seems to move so much faster when you're truly enjoying yourself, isn't that just a shame...Sigh.
Anyway, we rinsed the chlorine from our bodies and got ready once again to venture out into the evening. This time our destination was the Palm Springs tram. For those terrified of heights like myself, I will tell you the ride up is much worse than the ride down. Granted we also grabbed a window seat which happened to be in front of a window that was open at the top believe it or not, but still, it was pretty terrifying. I mean the incline is literally STRAIGHT up. It felt like the longest 10 minutes of my life.
I got out of the tram on wobbly legs to enjoy the view. The fruits of our "labor" if you will. And boy what a view it was. All that climbing to get you to 8,000 feet above sea level. You are literally above the clouds from the observation deck. There are a couple restaurants at the top (more like cafeteria style food) but Adam and I wanted to try out another Palm Springs hotspot so we walked around a few minutes before catching the next tram back down.
That evening we hit up a new local spot, Tac/Quila. I was in the mood for good Mexican food and after a quick google search this particular location caught my interest for its Insta-worthy interior. Are you seeing a theme here?
This two month old indoor/outdoor tapas style restaurant absolutely hit the spot. It was honestly the perfect birthday dinner destination. We sat outside under a covered patio with fans and air conditioning blasting so while it was probably still 90 degrees outside you could not tell at all. We were perfectly comfortable.
Everything on the menu sounded divine! I'm honestly usually lost when it comes to ordering at Mexican restaurants as I don't eat a lot of things featured on the menu. This was a completely different experience. I actually had a hard time deciding between multiple options! Thankfully since it was tapas we could get a handful of things to try and enjoy together.
I would highly recommend the taco chips (warning - this is NOT chips and guac if that's what you're looking for) as well as the quesadilla trio. Both were fantastic and honestly so filling on their own, I definitely did not need anything else after that but nevertheless enjoyed my seared Ahi Tuna open faced taco.
While this is a tapas style restaurant, they do offer larger, individual portion sizes as well.
Before we were even finished eating we were talking about coming back to try more things on the menu - it was that good!
After enjoying a little birthday dessert at Coldstone it was time to bid adieu to my birthday this year and head back to L'Horizon to watch a little Love Island before hitting the hay.
With checkout at noon, we weren't in any rush the following morning other than to get to the pool and enjoy our last dip before hitting the road home. Man I was sad to see that beautiful pool go. Since we've returned home I've described this hotel, that pool, our gorgeous room, as the perfect place to escape the toils of daily life and gain inspiration to write that novel you've always wanted to - no? Just me? Well I'll write while you sip martinis by the pool.
Nevertheless, it was time to head back to LA but not before making a couple stops on the way home. First we stopped at Moorten's Botanical Garden to check out this desert garden filled with every variety of succulent and cacti your heart could desire. It was however the HOTTEST day in the desert so we did a quick lap around (and I mean QUICK) before jumping back into the air conditioned car.
From there we drove another thirty minutes to the Cabazon Dinosaurs. These two life-sized dinosaurs on the side of the road at a pit stop are a major tourist attraction. Who knows their purpose other than posing for photos but they were a must-see on our way home.
And just like that, an hour and a half later we were back in LA, like we'd never left it. But boy my mind has been on that perfect weekend in Palm Springs ever since...
Words honestly cannot adequately summarize our experience at L'Horizon. The only thing that was missing was more time there. From the staff, to the amenities, the pool, the insanely comfortable kind-sized bed, the indoor/outdoor shower and everything in-between, this is honestly one of my FAVORITE hotels I've ever stayed in (second to COMO Uma Ubud in Bali).
It had all the vintage charm of a Palm Springs 1950s/60s home with the modern amenities of a 5 star resort. If you're considering a trip to the desert in your future, I would highly suggest looking into this property, hey I might even see you there...
(Originally Published June 25, 2019)