Palm Springs in December--need advice

Old Oct 30th, 2006, 06:30 PM
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Palm Springs in December--need advice

I am an avid Fodors fan and have used posters advice for locations all over the world. However, my post now deals with a place I know well, but I am looking for another side to this location.

We have been going to Palm Springs for about 25 years every Memorial Day weekend. Most of the time the trip consists of swimming, relaxing, shopping at Cabazon, maybe the water park for kids, and eating at the same old restaurants that arenít very good but somehow we go there due to tradition (i.e. Kobe, Las Cansualas).

This year we will be going with a group of about 12 people (babies to adults) in December for two days. The things we are interested in doing and thus need advice on is:

1. Day spas and best treatments
2. golf
3. aerial tram
4. NEW restaurants (we like everything from sushi to Mediterranean)
5. hikes

Does anyone have any good advice on any of these items or other great gems to add?

Thanks!
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Old Oct 30th, 2006, 09:05 PM
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December is a great month to see the holiday decorations in the desert. We're going for a week at Thanksgiving. We go to the La Quinta Resort in La Quinta for dinner at their Mexican Restaurant, El Adobe. (make reservations if it is a weekend) Sit outdoors (heaters)and listen to the live music every evening and take in the fantastic display of lights and decorations for the holidays at this resort. They are very children friendly here.

Where are you staying and I can give you some information on hotel day spa's.
Hot stone massage is great.
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Old Nov 1st, 2006, 12:25 PM
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MBnancy-

Thanks for the post MBnancy. I have heard good things about El Adobe. Being kid firendly is very important seeing that we have 4 kids under six going with us.

We are staying at out timeshare in Palm Springs right off Hwy 111 and Gene Autry Trail. So, there are no spa options at the hotel. However, we would go elsewhere for the treatments. Any good recomendations?
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Old Nov 1st, 2006, 02:46 PM
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Indian Canyons golf course is near your hotel. Our friends who live nearby in Andreas Canyon play it regularly, and our golf club enjoys it (all abilities).

Check the website for specials, e.g. 3 play for the price of 4.

http://www.indiancanyonsgolf.com

A good moderate hike is the "Bump and Grind" trail. If you don't mind paying the entry fee, go to the Indian Canyons. If you don't mind driving, Coachella Valley Preserve (free) or Joshua Tree. The trails at the top of the tram all involve a steep hike back up to the tram terminal and may be a bit chilly in December.

There is a Cheesecake Factory in the Rancho Mirage "River" complex, always popular with families, as well as some other chains.

Also, The Living Desert would be a nice outing if you have never been there.
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Old Nov 1st, 2006, 04:34 PM
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Even though you are staying closer to PS than La Quinta, I would still take everyone to El Adobe, it's worth the drive. My granddaughter loves it. Try their Chicken Mole.

For a spa, the closest to you that I frequent when we stay in condos is the one at Rancho Las Palmas Hotel across from The River on Hwy 111. They provide, robe, slippers, locker room, private pool and jacuzzi. We have our treatments, and lunch around the spa pool.

http://spalaspalmas.com/spa_service/spa_service.cfm

I've also been to the ones at the Grand Champion and Esmeralda hotels, they are all about the same and all expensive. ; )
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Old Nov 2nd, 2006, 08:44 AM
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We live here and the Rivers area (corner of Bob Hope and 111) is great fun for kids....Cheesecake factory and Yard House are 2 good ones. For Mexican you can't beat Las Casuelas. There is an IMAX near the Mary Pickford.
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Old Nov 3rd, 2006, 08:36 PM
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Hi travelmom.

I DO NOT recommend Las Casuelas. Here is a quote from another recent post I made:

"I would avoid the Las Casuelas restaurants like the plague. Go have a margarita and some nachos at the PS Terraza location for the ambiance if you must, but the food and service have historically stunk for the last 15 years."

It's a shame, because the ambiance is charming, a little "Disneylandish", but fun and the Del Gados are an old family in the desert and nice people. But they package a high-volume, marginal quality product oriented to the tourist trade. Just my opinion.

Now, relative to the rest of your list.

1. Day spas abound. Depends a lot on how much you want to spend. You could do day packages at Two Bunchy Palms---great history, ambiance and treatments---but really pricey. Then you could do the large resorts like Renaissance, la Quinta, Hyatt, etc. I really like the spas at Hyatt and La Quinta Resort. Finally, there are the smaller local places that offer a very good quality of service at lower prices, but the surroundings are not so Chi-Chi.

2. Golf---again, a matter of budget. In terms of resort (public golf), you have Tres lagos (formerly known as Landmark Golf Club) where the Skins Game was played several years ago. Good quality, but a little stark out there. Then there is the City of Palm Desert's Desert Willow. Nice setting, harder to play with native areas that gobble up errant shots easily and turn what should be a nice 4-hour resort round into 5-1/2 hours as players search for their balls. The City of La Quinta has their facility at SilverRock. I wish I could recommend it, but I just don't think it is a very good course.

I might suggest that you look at Indian Wells Golf Resort. A recent remodel was completed by Clive Clark and it looks great.

If you are looking for a better bargain and willing to drive a little, look into Oak Valley Golf Club and the PGA courses in Beaumont, about 45 min. from PS.

3. The tram is awesome. Breathtaking ride up and views, many choices in hikes at the top, from moderate lopp trails to the San Jacinto peak ascent and beyond. Don't eat up there. Go to Trader Joe's, Henry's market, Jensen's Market etc and pack a nice picnic lunch instead. It WILL be chilly up there. Get ready for a typically 30-40 degree difference in temperature between the valley floor and the mountain station.

4. New Restaurants---Desert Sage is open in La Quinta again. The River---many choices from the Yard House to Cheesecake Factory, to Babe's ( abbq place) to casual, like Baja Fresh. You might try Spencer's in Palm Springs. Avoid St. James at the Vineyard in PS---big trouble there this year in getting staff and chef stable. You might try Castelli's for Italian in Palm Desert, or Cosmos for the same. I probably could think of several more.

5. Hikes---this is one of my passions, hiking in the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mtns. For an offbeat, fun hike kids will love, check out Ladder Canyon. Other faves of mine are Murray Canyon, the Maynard's Mine Trail accessed from Andreas Canyon, the Lykken Trail. The Boo Hoff trail from Lake Cahuilla...I could also think of much more.

December is fun here. Go to the Marriott Desert Springs and look at the decorations and see the carolers.

I hope you have a festive time.

PSL
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Old Nov 4th, 2006, 09:59 AM
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Commenting on PSL's golf rec's

Landmark (or whatever they call it now) is virtually treeless, but is playable for all abilities. It is quite a trek from Palm Springs though. If you want to play a fairly easy cheapie with no trees, try Cimarron, which is closer to PS. My first rec. in PS is still Indian Canyons, though.

Desert Willow is beautiful, but if you can't carry water or waste area, you won't enjoy it. Haven't been to the redone Indian Wells, but it never seemed that special and I really hate those ponds with the railroad ties. I hope they're gone. A better course out toward "down valley" is Desert Falls. Wide fairways and perfect greens , although there are some nasty bunkers.
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