When is a little road trip to Palm Springs more than a little road trip to Palm Springs? When it’s your first trip away as a couple from five-month-old twins.
We’re just back from a couple of nights in the desert that felt entirely new, although we have been there so many dozens of times, and I’ve written about it here extensively. It was such a special and wonderful treat, so meaningful and important in so many ways, to have this first trip away as a couple from the babes.
Never mind the fact that I slipped on spitup in my Madewell flats and wiped out at my in-laws’ house just before we left the babies in their capable hands. (I kind of swore I’d never tell that unglamorous story, but there you go.) We felt like we stole something as we headed out of town on Sunday — such a streamlined feeling to hit the road without car seats or our Escalade-like double stroller! And plus no traffic on L.A. freeways during the holiday week, so we made it to In N Out in West Covina faster than it sometimes takes just to get as far east as downtown. (And my pager’s still blowing up.)
In no time flat, we made it out to the desert and checked in to the Del Marcos Hotel, a 1947 gem designed by William F. Cody, the architect behind the futuristic and iconic Encounter restaurant structure at LAX.
The 17 adults-only rooms include many original furnishings and accents from the midcentury modern period — and evidently it’s a well-known place among the design cognoscenti: Walking out to the car to grab a bag, I ran into an ex-boyfriend on an architecture tour, making a stop to gawk right in front! It’s truly a special property, and one I’d never known about. Note to self: Keep exploring in the desert. There’s always so much more to learn and see.
We had happy hour at Citron at the Viceroy, an excellent choice for $6 nibbles among Hollywood Regency-style decor in black, white, and yellow — the inspiration behind our wedding tabletops after we visited in the summer of 2010.
And I gave into major shopping temptation at Trina Turk — those patterns and colors intoxicate me.
We also spent an afternoon at the impeccable Colony Palms hotel, a property so pretty it literally makes my eyes bleed.* (*Not literally.) But it is that gorgeous — and built in 1936, the same year as our house was built, and with a similar Spanish flavor.
We lounged poolside in robes against the crisp wintertime sunshine, and got massages in the small spa, with its dreamy relaxation room. We had dinner at the Purple Palm restaurant there, a Moroccan-style room I would like to dismantle and reassemble in my house: luxe wallpaper, chocolate wood beams, ambient chandeliers, view of the pool and cabanas.
After dinner, on the Del Marcos’ recommendation, we made a stop at the nearby and almost-too-insane-to-describe Robolights house. It’s a spectacle from the artist Kenny Irwin, who transformed his family’s two-acre estate in the tony Movie Colony East neighborhood with a giant art installation filled with towering found-object robots and other wacko stuff — plus 3 million holiday lights. It’s sort of like Coachella meets Christmas meets acid trip meets Disneyland. And it’s not to be missed!
On our last day, we rode the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway to about 8,500-feet up Mount San Jacinto. It’s a ride we’ve done several times before — including a few years ago when we hiked from there to the very top, close to 11,000-feet elevation — but it truly doesn’t get old, and offers something different to see in each season and time of day.
The 10-minute-or-so trip covers more than two miles straight up in rotating tram cars, and is supposed to be something like driving from Mexico to Alaska in terms of climate change. At the top, we stomped around in the snow for a couple of easy miles on novice trails, feeling giddily on top of the world.
And then, obvioulsy, we hit the Cabazon outlets on the way home. Only savages would miss that opportunity.
We got home in the rare L.A. rain, and snuggled our sweet, sweet babies (we’d loved our trip, but missed them so) and our kitties by the fire, with restored energy and excitement for all that is to come in this new year — now a scant 12 hours away.
It’s going to be a good one, my friends. Can you feel it?