Travel Destinations

Monday, August 12, 2013

The Perfect Girls’ Weekend Getaway in Palm Springs

Elvis Honeymoon Hideaway, Palm Springs, California
Hanging out in Elvis' living room during our girls' weekend in Palm Springs.
Do you know the ingredients for the perfect girls’ weekend getaway in Palm Springs, California? 
  • 2-3 nights at the perfect Palm Springs hotel (Viceroy Palm Springs)
  • A sprinkling of meals at delicious and fun restaurants (Copley’s, Trio, Palm Greens Café)
  • 2 parts Hollywood (Elvis Honeymoon Hideaway and Forever Marilyn)
  • A splash of fabulous at a gay bar with show tunes (SpurLine)

Three of us girls spent a long weekend in Palm Springs to celebrate our friend’s birthday.  My present to the birthday girl was to plan the entire weekend.  Or was that her present to me somehow?  I guess we’ll never know. 

Ingredient 1: The Hotel

The first step was to find the perfect Palm Springs hotel.  The Viceroy Palm Springs was the perfect hotel for a girls’ weekend getaway.  The Viceroy has a fun and funky vibe, with a black and white décor with yellow accents, and is located in the heart of downtown Palm Springs.  The hotel originated in the 1930s and retains its glamorous old Hollywood feel.  The hotel provides all the amenities a group of girls could desire: a restaurant, a bar, three pools with cabanas, and a full-service spa, but without that stale mega-hotel feel.  While we did not eat dinner at the restaurant, we did order from Citron’s menu while lying out by the pool, and the food, including the ceviche and Mediterranean plate, was delicious, as were the cocktails.  While two of us hiked San Jacinto Peak, the third member of our party enjoyed the day patronizing the Viceroy’s gym and spa.  The Viceroy even provides foam pool floats for those extra hot days.

Viceroy Palm Springs, California
Viceroy Palm Springs, with all the amenities of a resort,
but with the quaint feel of a boutique hotel.
Viceroy Palm Springs, California
Our room at the Viceroy.  This isn't even one of the fancy ones.
Not only is the Viceroy a beautiful hotel, it also has excellent staff.  Thomas Coor, hotelier extraordinaire, was always a joy to interact with.  Tom is busy as the Front Office Manager and Loss Prevention Manager, amongst other things, and was almost always at the front desk when we were passing through the lobby.  Unfortunately, while we were visiting on the hottest weekend of the year (a sweltering 120 degrees Fahrenheit), the hotel had some electrical issues, with the power going out two days in a row (the hotel’s generator kept the air conditioning units going, but at reduced functionality).  Tom, and another staff member who also was constantly available at the front desk, worked tirelessly to get the power turned back on and to make other accommodation arrangements for many hotel guests who wanted to leave immediately.  We stuck it out without complaining or demanding freebies.  After the first instance, we received a note on our door letting us know breakfast would be free the next morning, and when we checked out, the day after the second instance, Tom compensated us with a free night to thank us for our understanding, all of this without being asked.  That is what I call excellent customer service, and the reason why I will return and recommend the Viceroy to others.   We also loved the bartender and his wonderful cocktails.  The Viceroy frequently offers discounts on their website.  We took advantage of a 50% discount when booking.

Viceroy Palm Springs, California
One of the three pools at the Viceroy Palm Springs.
Viceroy Palm Springs, California
Looking at this view, I'm ready to go back.

Ingredient 2: The Restaurants

My favorite restaurant from our weekend was Copley’s on Palm Canyon.  Since this is the former Cary Grant estate, and Cary Grant is my absolutely favorite actor of all time ever, I might be slightly biased.  However, not only is the restaurant beautiful, with a very classy ambiance, it also serves delicious food.  We were all happy with our meals, but I’m pretty sure mine was the best.  I ordered the Duck Two Ways, which consisted of a prosciutto wrapped duck breast and a braised duck leg and goat cheese pancake.  The pancake was out of this world.

Copley's on Palm Canyon, Palm Springs, California
Copley's on Palm Canyon
Cary Grant used to live here!
Another fun restaurant was Trio.  Trio’s food wasn’t as refined as Copley’s, however the restaurant had a fun atmosphere, with an orange décor, fun and friendly staff, good food, and excellent cocktails.

We ate lunch one day at Palm Greens Café.  After all the poolside eats and drinks and rich dinners, we decided to pretend to be healthy and eat at this small café which serves high quality, sustainable, organic items.

Ingredient 3: Hollywood Glamour

One of the highlights of our weekend getaway was a visit to the Elvis Honeymoon Hideaway.  Did you know Palm Springs has an Elvis Presley home?  The mid-century modern Las Palmas estate was built by Robert Alexander for his family in the 1960s.  The estate was then leased to Elvis and Priscilla Presley.  They married while living in the home and spent their honeymoon there, which is how the house became known as the “Honeymoon House.”  Tours of the home are by appointment and are guided either by Darlene Perez, who dresses as Priscilla and curates the home, or by Anthony Alvarez, who dresses as Elvis and also anchors Palm Springs’ morning news.  Anthony shared some interesting stories he learned from Elvis’ surviving friends he has met at events at the home, and there are a number of original Elvis items to view.  The Elvis Honeymoon Hideaway hosts events throughout the year.

Elvis Honeymoon Hideaway, Palm Springs, California
Elvis Honeymoon Hideaway
Elvis Honeymoon Hideaway Living Room, Palm Springs, California
Living Room

Elvis Honeymoon Hideaway Master Suite, Palm Springs, California
Master Suite
We also visited the Forever Marilyn statue which is temporarily in Palm Springs until November 2013.  I was happy to be available for a couple of male foreign travelers who wished to have their picture taken while looking up Marilyn’s skirt.

Forever Marilyn, Palm Springs, California
Forever Marilyn
I guess you can't really blame him.

Ingredient 4: Fabulous Gay Bar

There are quite a few choices for spending an evening in Palm Springs, including dance clubs, dive bars, casinos, and of course, gay bars.  As we were in Palm Springs and feeling a bit too old for a dance club (two of us did hike 11 miles earlier in the day after all), we opted to try out SpurLine Video Lounge, which features show tunes on Friday, Saturday and Monday nights.  What I love about SpurLine is how friendly everyone is.  The gay men welcomed our little group of straight women and those who worked at the bar explained how we could join in for certain songs.  There were even props, such as napkins that were passed out to wave at Eva Perón during “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina.” 

SpurLine Video Lounge, Palm Springs, California
The bartenders donned gold top hats for A Chorus Line's One.
Did you know one of the girls in the chorus falls down?
See, a night at SpurLine is educational too!
All in all, even with the inconvenience of losing our electricity, causing us to have to get ready for our evenings out by applying our makeup by the light of an iPad and air drying our hair, we had a fantastic fun-filled weekend.

Have you had a girls’ (or guys’) weekend getaway in Palm Springs?  What were your favorite spots?

Travel the World: The perfect girls’ weekend in Palm Springs, California involves a gorgeous hotel, great restaurants, fun bars, and a visit with Elvis.

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Katherine Belarmino and Romeo Belarmino are the authors of Travel the World, a travel blog for the everyday working stiff. They work full-time in non-travel related jobs, but take every opportunity they can to travel the world during their limited vacation time.