I recently had a work conference in Palm Springs and, having not been there in a while, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to revisit this iconic California desert town. I determined the trip wouldn’t be much fun without the family, so after some very persistent conversations with the man of the house, I managed to sucker him into bringing the kids and making a family weekend of it. Hooray!
My time in Palm Springs started out with two days of early morning drives into the desert on Thursday and Friday. I normally dislike commuting, but the amazing views along the way more than made up for it. On Thursday, we drove the 10 freeway east into the desert. I love the windmills scattered across the landscape and the mountains that still manage to have some snow despite the recent 90 degree days.
Rather than take the freeway again, we decided to drive over the mountains on Friday. Man, what a view as you are starting to head down the mountain into the desert. No matter how many times I have taken this drive, the beauty never ceases to amaze me!
After work on Friday, my husband loaded the kids in the car and made the drive into the desert. I’d like to think his drive was as lovely and scenic as mine, but he had these two goofballs in the backseat. There’s a good chance his road trip consisted of “Stop hitting your brother!” and several rounds of the quiet game, each punctuated with, “Are we there yet?”
Once they arrived, we were able to officially get our little weekend away started. We checked into our hotel and then set out to enjoy a couple of days in the desert!
Hilton Palm Springs
The conference I attended was located in the downtown area and, being a very large conference, the hotels in the area booked up pretty quickly. We dragged our feet in getting a room and then it seemed that almost everything was booked solid. Ugh! Thankfully, having not lost all hope yet, my husband kept checking for availability and randomly hit the jackpot one morning when he found availability at the Hilton Palm Springs, just one block from the convention center. We booked immediately, securing a standard room with 2 queen beds.
When I checked in on Friday afternoon, I asked if there were possibly any upgrades to rooms that might better accommodate a family of four. You know, because as much as we love our little ones, sharing a small room with lights out at 7:30pm is kind of lousy! 😛 The guest services rep gave the typical canned spiel. Here is how it usually goes: “Well, we are booked up this weekend, but since you are Hilton Honors members, let me see what we can do…” Then the click clacking of the keyboard as they (pretend to?) look for available upgrades. And finally the typical answer: “Well, we already have you in an upgraded room and there are no further upgrades available, and thank you for your loyalty.” But wait–The story ended differently this time! At the end of the click clacking of the keyboard, she looked up with a smile and said that she would be able to move us to a presidential suite. Say what?!?! I proceeded to thank her profusely and I think I may have pledged my undying devotion to her.
Here are a few pictures of our suite:
The bathroom in our suite deserves its own cluster of pictures. Why? Because it was woooooonderful!
Aside from our room, we really enjoyed the hotel. It’s fairly simple and not one of the larger Hilton resorts, but the service, furnishings and amenities are very nice. The pool area is not huge, but did not seem too crowded, even on a busy Saturday. The Hilton Palm Spring’s best quality is the location, only a few blocks away from the heart of downtown Palm Springs.
Downtown Palm Springs
One of the main things we did during this trip was just enjoy wandering around the downtown area. There are restaurants and shops galore, excellent people-watching, and beautiful views of hills, mountains, and palm trees. Here are a few pictures that we took as we walked around:
Not too shabby, right? I could easily have walked around the area all day, if it wasn’t for the fact that my kids were getting tired and the hubby was a little sick of my stopping every 2 feet to get pictures. And the heat! In mid-March, it was already 95 degrees and that hotel pool was calling to us! But I think we got a nice taste and I know we will be back again. ‘Til then, Palm Springs…
Tips and Lessons Learned:
- If possible, stay in the downtown area and enjoy walking around. There are many nice hotels in the vicinity and there is a lot to offer within walking distance. We did not use our car until the day we left!
- If you are going to the desert, be sure to bring water and sunscreen! We live in a similar climate to Palm Springs, and yet the heat still caught us off guard. It just feels hotter somehow.
- Look into local events that may be going on. It turns out there was an art festival going on the weekend we were there. But since I had not looked into local events, we allotted no time for it and wound up staring at it wistfully as we passed it by with no time to stay (sigh…).
- On Thursday evenings, there is a street fair in Palm Springs. We did not make it, but I hope to head down to check it out one of these days.
Where to Eat in Palm Springs