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Southlake Style

Spend a Weekend in Sunny SoCal

Jan 06, 2017 02:20PM ● By Ashley Pape

winter retreat to Palm Springs, California, is a vacation of pleasant contradictions. Located in the southern region of the state, Palm Springs boasts cool mornings (44 degrees) that give way to warmer afternoons (70 degrees on average) in the winter months. Snow-capped mountains can be seen on the immediate horizon while driving down palm tree-lined streets under sunny skies on mildly warm days. When it comes to planning your itinerary for a trip to the Sonoran Desert, the possibilities are just as varied. 

Shopping, Spas and Scenery 

If you prefer higher altitudes, a visit to the snow-capped San Jacinto Mountains is in order, and the best way to get there is the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. The tram, which travels more than 2.5 miles along the Chino Canyon cliffs, transports nature lovers to an elevation of 8,516 feet, where they can explore the wilderness of Mt. San Jacinto State Park. Sightseers can expect snow and temperatures averaging 30-40 degrees cooler than the Coachella Valley down below. Discover two restaurants, observation decks, a museum and more than 50 miles of hiking trails at the top. 

Prefer the slower-paced items on a Palm Springs to-do list? Two Bunch Palms is the oldest hot mineral springs resort in the country, dating back to the 1940s. Celebrities and historical figures have paid visits to the spa over the years, but that doesn’t mean someone must be famous to enjoy the bohemian laid-back style of treatments available at Two Bunch. Choose from an outdoor gazebo or river rock alcove for a facial or immersion body therapy. 

A Palm Springs bucket list isn’t complete without mentioning the more than 100 golf courses located both in the city limits and neighboring communities. Epitomizing all that is new and modern within the desert community of Palm Springs, The Escena Golf Club features a public 18-hole championship course fit for all skill levels. The 7,233-yard, par-72 course encompasses 172 acres of heavily landscaped native areas with multiple water features. With Nicklaus Design behind the creation and architecture of Escena, it is easy to see why it was named one of the top 10 public courses in California by 

All-Inclusive or Laid Back 

It may be hard to imagine a resort in the middle of a desert, but The Ritz-Carlton, Rancho Mirage combines the landscape and culture of the region with the amenities expected from a luxury hotel. Designed with its surroundings in mind, the atmosphere of Rancho Mirage is casual. Elements of the arid region (think majestic cacti) adorn the hotel, and the theme is carried throughout the hotel’s interior. Most accommodations feature private balconies that offer spectacular views of Palm Springs and the Coachella Valley down below. Or, if a lower level room or suite at the mountaintop resort is preferred, private patios provide the perfect place on which to relax by a fire. It’s a great way to take the chill out of the evening mountain air. Three dining options at the resort, including the dinner-only restaurant, The Edge Steakhouse, allow you to take in the cliff-side view high above Palm Springs. Other Rancho Mirage amenities include a spa and fitness center. 

For a completely different experience during a stay in Palm Springs, the rustic yet modern Sparrows Lodge is located within the valley far below the mountains. The exposed beam ceilings and concrete floors take guests back to a time when hotels and motels were simply meant to be a place for resting your head at night. Although lodgers will be giving up closets, televisions and spa-like showers, each room has the basic essentials such as air conditioning and heat. And when you get hungry, pull up a chair at the Barn Kitchen, which serves a simple breakfast, sandwiches and the like for lunch, as well as family-style dinners. Sparrows Lodge is indeed laidback, but reservations are required for dinner. 

Get a Taste of California 

Exploring the restaurant scene in Palm Springs requires venturing off premise from whichever hotel or lodge you book. Cheeky’s Palm Springs is a local favorite known for its pastries and beverages. All pastries, such as their famous cinnamon rolls, are made from scratch, as are the tempting array of beverages. If a cocktail calls for fruit, it is squeezed, pressed or pureed in-house. Open Thursday through Monday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. (breakfast is served all day), Cheeky’s menu changes weekly, and you are likely to find a favorite on Thursday that you’ll return for on Saturday. Other eateries worth checking out are Copleys On Palm Canyon, which serves seafood dishes, or Matchbox Palm Springs, which serves Italian