Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Desert Oasis of Palm Springs

"Think warm and sunny thoughts" is what I kept telling myself as I sat in the Calgary airport.  I was awaiting a connecting flight back to Winnipeg where reports from earlier in the week had snowflakes swirling around back on the prairies. I was returning from a 5 day travel conference in sunny Palm Springs. 

This was not my first visit to Palm Springs but it was great to see how some things had changed and some had remained very much the same over the years!  P.S. is a desert oasis and really took off back in the era of the “Rat Pack”.  In the 50’s it was the playground of the rich and famous.  Today, it’s golf courses, excellent restaurants, incredible shopping, luxury resorts and even the second home to many Canadian Snowbirds.
From the airport I hopped a shuttle to take me to the Hyatt Regency Indian Wells where my conference would overtake the resort as well as the neighboring Renaissance Esmeralda.  The transfer, about 25 minutes long, allowed me to be able to sit back, relax and enjoy the views out the window.  One view in particular was of El Paseo which is affectionately referred to as the Rodeo Drive of Palm Springs.  The street is lined with high end stores and designer brand names plus plenty of restaurants to encourage taking a rest from shopping.
Palm Springs is fairly spread out and although the driving is generally quite easy, you don’t realize as you leave one city and enter another.  There are 7 cities that make up the area.  On the most western side is Palm Springs where the airport is located and the original mecca centre in the 1950s. As you move east you find Cathedral City which was booming in the 80s with new condo builds at the time, then Rancho Mirage came along in the 90s with their country club atmosphere, Palm Desert, a golfer’s paradise, La Quinta, Indio and finally Indian Wells. 

Although this trip did not allow any free time to shop  <insert disappointment here>, I highly recommend going just a bit further west of the airport to the premium outlet mall of Cabazon.  Here you will find a mid to high end range of stores with every brand you can imagine!  It’s a shopper’s dream for sure! 

The summers are extremely hot...it is after all a desert area!  As winter approaches the day time temperatures become much more mild and moderate.  Throughout my time spent in Palm Springs this October, each day was 29 to 32 degrees and evenings only dipped enough to maybe require a light sweater.  It was the perfect recipe for a morning of golf, afternoon by the pool and a fantastic dinner out in the evening. 

Palms Springs is also a great place to use a launching point to visit other places like Los Angeles (2 hour drive), San Diego (2.5 hour drive), Joshua Tree National Park (30 minute drive) or even to take in some skiing or snowboarding in the near by Summit and Bear mountains (1.5 hour drive). 

It had been many years since I had visited the Palm Springs area but it certainly will not be my last!  Until then....