It all started with a visit from my best friend, Rachel, who lives in Wisconsin. I purchased a couple of spa packages on Groupon from the spa at Westin Mission Hills for us to enjoy on her trip. Mission Hills is a neighborhood in San Diego, so I assumed that’s where the hotel was.

Turns out, the hotel is just outside of Palm Springs in Rancho Mirage. Not San Diego. So after panicking for five minutes, I realized a trip to Palm Springs was actually the perfect girls’ getaway. And since I’d never been there, I could explore it with my oldest friend.

Road Trip: Part 2

About 20 years ago, Rachel and I took a road trip from Arkansas (where I lived) to Wisconsin. It was about 18 hours, I think, and filled with the kinds of antics that only happen when you’re 20 years old. We jumped out of the car and posed in the middle of the street, with a giant fireworks emporium behind us. We shouted out the window at boys. We laughed until our sides ached.

We’re older now, and possibly a little wiser, but road trips are just as fun (even the ones that are only 2 hours). There were plenty of talks (yes, some still about boys) and lots of belting out ’80s and ’90s tunes. A good time was had by all.

When we arrived in Palm Springs, we spent a few happy hours meandering the old-school downtown (I’ll write a separate post about that), and then headed to the hotel. Or should I say, Paradise?

“Can We Just Live Here?”

We checked in and dumped our suitcases in the room before heckling the guy at the front desk for free drink coupons and then settling in at Fireside Lounge. The cocktail menu was creative, and the cocktails themselves were stellar. We lucked out and had the enormous fire pit mostly to ourselves. The stars glittered above in the desert-dark sky. A pair of ducks ambled by and Rachel, always happy to feed a wild or tame animal, delighted in tossing them some of our flatbread. All was right in the world.

“Can we just live here?” Rachel sighed in pleasure. I agreed. It was heaven.

The next day, we headed to the restaurant for breakfast, but got an even better tip from a few golfers we passed: rather than spending $30 on a buffet breakfast at Pinzimini, we should, they suggested, order breakfast burritos at the walk-up counter just behind the restaurant.  An excellent (and more affordable) option.

After breakfast, we meandered around the property. I don’t play golf, but if I did, I told Rachel, I’d play there. Mount San Jacinto served as a gorgeous backdrop to the lush property.

Throw in a Little Spa and Sun…

We enjoyed our massages at the spa, which came with complimentary champagne. Always a plus in our book. I didn’t bring my swimsuit, but the spa had a jacuzzi, as well as aromatherapy sauna and showers. After we stumbled out into daylight (a nice 80 degree day in February!), we posted up at the pool for a few more drinks.

Maybe a Tortoise and Hare or Two…

By now, we know that my friend Rachel really loves feeding, petting, and cooing at animals. I have many photos as proof. She squealed with delight when we saw an enclosure with two tortoises and two hares, along with a sign that said there were feedings later on. Naturally, we were first in line. Woe to the child who tried to get in Rachel’s way.

One of the employees brought out masses of lettuce, carrots, and strawberries, and we fed the animals. It was a cool feature for a hotel, and definitely our most memorable experience.

And You Have Perfection!

When it was time to go, neither of us were ready to leave our sanctuary. This hotel has so many things to explore (as well as plenty of opportunities to do absolutely nothing), so I know I’ll be back.