Hello from Ives & Christy
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It's FINALLY here. We promised to share our ULA Travel Guide for Palm Springs with you all and man does it make us want to go back! If you followed along on instagram, we went to Palm Springs for a wellness weekend girls get away in April. Both of us needed a reset, a break from work, and wanted the perfect mix of sweat and relaxation.
When To Go:
We wanted to avoid the Coachella crowds and did not find out until after we booked our flights that we were going during the Stage Coach Festival weekend. Oops! Honestly we did not have any issues with the festival being the same weekend as our trip since we avoided the Coachella Valley. The city itself was probably a bit sleepier because most of the visitors were either at the festival grounds or at their Air BnB rentals. The airport is literally less 5 minutes from the main strip of restaurants and bars in the city and we were able to get around easily with our rental car!
Just a heads up that the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival takes place the middle two weekends of April and Stagecoach Festival wraps up the last weekend of April.
The best time of year to visit Palm Springs is between January and April. The temperature is perfect and for us PNWers it's a great time to escape the grey and rain. If you really LOVE THE HEAT then you can brave the weather in May through September, but expect the temp to creep into the 90s to 100s! We don't know about you all, but that makes it hard for us to lay out or hike. Alternatively, in the Fall, October to December, temps start to cool down. So you could also plan a getaway then as a good mental reset before the stress of the Holidays :)
Where We Stayed:
Everyone has different preferences when they travel. We both prefer to spend our money on activities and food (duh) rather than a fancy resort. Renal options were also limited given the Stagecoach Festival attendees. We did a lot of research on Palm Springs, Joshua Tree National Park, Desert Hot Springs, and Palm Dessert. We were definitely leaning toward glamping in Joshua Tree so that we could sleep under the stars, but decided for our first trip that we didn't want to just limit ourselves to the park. Palm Springs hotels tended to be a bit pricier so we picked middle ground and stayed in Desert Hot Springs. Desert Hot Springs is known for it's mineral spas and a spa treatment was a MUST DO for this wellness weekend.
The El Morocco Inn & Spa was a great, quirky oasis to relax for the weekend. This quaint, boutique inn has all the amenities. We stayed in a cute poolside room decked out in Moroccan-inspired tapestries. There was cold water and iced mint tea lemonade available throughout the day, as well as an assortment of dried fruits. The complimentary breakfast was a perfect way to start the day. There were hardboiled eggs, granola, fresh and dried fruits, avocados, veggies, and plenty of other light breaks goodies. Our favorite part of our stay was the onsite spa with various packages. We booked a combination of the Marrakesh Melting Massage with their Moroccan clay treatment. IT WAS DIVINE. Note to anyone that is trying to party, this isn't the place for you.
We may have gotten a few looks for too many belly laughs when we enjoyed a homemade marg before heading to dinner on Saturday night.
If you are looking for alternate places to stay, this article from The Everygirl gives a great breakdown on where to stay based on various budgets.
Where We Ate & Drank:
Your girls LOVE to eat and enjoy a good adult bevvie. We received so many great recommendations from friends are places to eat. I think we had about 15-20 suggestions and with less than 48 hours, there was only so much room in our bellies. Below is a quick breakdown of our meals, but here is a list with some noteworthy options!
Our flight landed around 10 PM and we decided to celebrate right away. We found ourselves at Bootlegger Tiki. The cocktails are so fun and the name of the bar describes the vibe and decor perfectly! The bartenders are a great resource if you find yourselves stuck choosing between drinks (menu anxiety is a real problem and we both have it). The tiki bar also shares a space with THE BEST coffee spot in the city. We literally drove back Saturday morning for cold brews before our Bikram pilates class.
After Pilates we went back to Palm Springs and hit up the ACE Hotel Pool Party. This pool was highly recommended by friends and it was so different than we expected. Most of the pool parties we have attended have been Vegas style. The ACE Hotel opens its pool to guests of the hotel and outsiders for a small fee. We mingled with bachelor/bachelorette parties, families, and faces from all over. It was actually a great chill vibe with a DJ spinning in the background. YOU MUST ORDER THE FROZEN WATERMELON MARGARITA. Game changer. (If anyone has a great recipe, please share.) Along with our cocktails we inhaled our favorite version of lunch. We preach balance and our food choices reflect it. The frites and season crudités were the perfect combo of savory, salty, greasy, crunchy, and fresh wrapped into one meal.
After day drinking we went back to our inn to relax and freshen up for dinner back in Palm Springs. If you can only make it to one place to eat in Palm Springs, then make it Birba. From the cute courtyard dining to the mouthwatering wood-fired pizza, this is the type of restaurant you want to keep going back to. We split the three kale salad and a pizza. Literally, the perfect dinner. After dinner we made our way to the Workshop Kitchen and Bar, but to be honest we were exhausted from a full day and ride-shared back for some much needed zzz's.
We bought snacks on Saturday to bring on our hike/road trip to Joshua Tree. Lunch ended up being a typical hiker's meal: hummus, fresh cantaloupe (we snagged from our break buffet), crackers, wasabi and soy roasted almonds, chocolate, and coconut H2O. Nothing fancy, but so satisfying. After our adventures, we went back for our luxurious spa day and decided to continue the simple, healthy treats with a vegan dinner pre-flight. Native Foods Cafe dishes up some amaze vegan cuisine. We opted to share the kimchi bulgogi jack fruit tacos and the BBQ chicken salad. If you are looking for great vegan, another spot that we wanted to check out was Natural Sister's Cafe by Joshua Tree.
Breakfast daily was enjoyed poolside at our inn. However, there are SO MANY PLACES we wanted to try.
Where We Sweat:
We wanted to a bit of everything while on this wellness getaway: a hike, a run, and a studio/group fitness class were on our to-do list. Desert Hot Springs has plenty of hikes and activities in the vicinity. We woke up early on Saturday and decided to explore our city with a road/trail run combo. This was a great way to get some mental clarity before venturing out for the day! After our sub 3 mile run, we freshened up and hit the road en route for that epic cold brew before our pilates class.
Inferno Pilates HIIT. It's as pleasant as it sounds. Leave it to Christy to find the hardest, hottest yoga and pilates studio on vacation ;). The class was at 11:15 which allowed us plenty of time to ease into the day and lasted an hour so we had the whole afternoon to enjoy poolside after. Since the studio is heated to 95 degrees and 40% humidity, the desert heat poolside didn't phase us one bit after the class. This is a great bodyweight, dynamic work out that leaves you in pools of sweat. Detox to retox anyone?
Sunday was our Joshua Tree exploring day. Initially, we had wanted to do a sunrise hike, but that was before tequila came into the picture and we realized sunrise was at 6 AM and we had an hour to commute! We woke up and drove the hour from our inn to the start of Ryan Mountain Trailhead. This 2.7 mile round trip hike boasts 1062 ft of elevation gain, but the summit views are worth the steep ascent. If you regularly hike in the PNW, this trail won't seem too bad. At the top we did a little content shooting with some HIIT workouts, but we also took time for ourselves. Mindfulness and reflection was a great way to enjoy the desert. There are so many other trails in the park, but due to our limited time, we stuck just to the one.
Why We Want To Go Back:
So obviously our list of restaurants and bars alone means we need to do another adventure to this gem in the desert. But there are a few other activities that we are dying to check off the list.
Our Palm Springs Bucket List:
Palm Springs Aerial Tramway + Hiking Mt. San Jacinto State Park
Joshua Tree Overnight (starry skies and desert hikes sounds pretty spectacular to us, Barker Dam is a trail we'd love to see)
Bike Tour of the Neighborhoods/Architecture
Living Desert Zoo and Gardens
Indian Canyons Trails
Azucar Bar for cocktails
Cheeky's or FARM for Brunch
Copley's or The Pantry for a fancier din din
If you have any recommendations or other activities that we might have overlooked please drop a comment below!