Winter Getaway Guide to Palm Springs

Quick hits:

  • STAY: Westin Mission Inn Gold Resort and Spa
  • DO: Thousand Palms Oasis Reserve
  • EAT: Bubba’s Bones and Brews

Traveling for the holidays can be total bliss, or a total nightmare. You hear about the flights that were delayed from Cancun, where passengers are stranded on the plane, in what seems like a weird “Lord of the Flies” scenario. It has been a few years since we traveled far for the holidays, and not the traditional road trip down to Portland. We were not planning on it up until a month out, but then a Black Friday seat sale to Palm Springs popped up, and we jumped on the deal.

Palm Springs had been on our radar, as we had heard great stories about how dog friendly the resorts are, how great the food is, and how laid back the lifestyle is. We were finally coaxed to check it out. Now, the trick to booking flights when flying with two doggos is to call ahead to make sure that there is room on the flights for the dogs. We have never had issues with this in the past, but we made sure to play it safe. Well, it was a good thing that we did, as it was harder to get dog flights to Palm Springs than human flights. Ultimately, we had to shuffle around our dates a little bit, but it ended up extending our stay a bit longer. Oh well, worse inconveniences could happen.

Louie and Mia checking out PSP

Going into this trip, we didn’t read too much about what to do, and decided to research what to do when we arrived in Palm Springs. When we first arrived, we were taken aback by the airport, as it is not your standard arrivals hall. Similar to Hawaii and other tropical destinations, the airport is open air. To the left, Louie and Mia enjoyed the dog amenities at the airport. After flying for the day in their in-cabin carriers and one layover, they enjoyed the inviting dog culture as soon as they land.

Westin Mission Hills

When it comes to accommodation, several hotels in the valley are dog friendly. We chose the Westin Mission Hills as it offers expansive grounds in a resort-style setting. Further, as loyal Marriott-SPG members, we usually stick to their properties for their excellent treatment of their rewards members. This stay was no exception. Upon check-in, we were treated to a golf-course view room. Note: the hotel does charge a $35/day resort fee. Unless you are golfing, this fee gives you nothing of value other than a free drink. Internet is included, but it is free if you are a Bonvoy member (formerly Marriott Rewards). Using the Marriott App, we were able to message guest services and have this fee removed. Another big plus is that parking is free on property, and there is no additional pet fee! Make sure to check out my separate post that highlights the unique features of this property.

Our view for six days

Thousand Palms Oasis Preserve

During our six days in Palm Springs, we enjoyed a mix of relaxation, shopping, exploration, and great eating. One of our favourite places that we visited was the Thousand Palms Oasis Preserve. The preserve was about 30 minutes away from the hotel, and is a beautiful, sandy hike. It is relatively flat, and boasts a gorgeous landscape of the Coachella Valley. Be advised that this is not a place to take large groups. Parking is limited, so arrive early. The doggies got to enjoy the hotel while we went on this little trek, as no dogs are allowed on the trails. The round-trip hike/walk takes about 45 minutes, and has a little bit of covering, so make sure to bring your sunscreen.

Where To Eat

When it comes to food, Palm Springs does not disappoint. We were impressed by the variety of food offerings, as well as the impeccable customer service. We were too busy eating to take any photos, so we will do our best to get you up to speed! Some of the places we hit up were:

  • LG’s Prime Steakhouse
  • Bill’s Pizza
  • Las Casuelas Nuevas
  • La Quinta Cliffhouse
  • Bubba’s Bones and Brews

We visited LG’s Prime Steakhouse in Palm Springs (there is a location in La Quinta as well) for a family dinner two days before new year’s. The wine menu was extensive, but reasonably priced considering the atmosphere. Come hungry, as the portions are very generous.

Bill’s Pizza is a great place to pop into for a quick bite while in downtown Palm Springs. Seating is available both inside and outside. We opted to sit outside so that Mia and Louie could join us too. The large pizza’s live up to their name– they are large. Our party of 5 could have done with one large pizza and a salad, but we had to try some of the different types! Two of the pizza’s that stood out to us were the “The Charlie Sheen” and “Christine’s Rocker Pizza”.

Las Casuelas Nuevas was so good we had to eat there twice. With a unique outdoor dining room, Las Casuelas Nuevas had a particular charm to it. Serving traditional Californian Mexican food, we were treated to staples such as carne asada burritos, and carne asada platters. The margarita’s are top notch (we recommend the Maestro Dobel Silver smokey). Tip: make a reservation ahead of time as the place was packed each time we went. We also recommend sitting outside versus inside. There are tons of patio heaters, so it is warm all year round.

The La Quinta Cliffhouse is literally built into the side of a hill, giving you a unique atmosphere on their patio. However, it was freezing that day, so we decided to sit inside. The La Quinta Cliffhouse is a large restaurant that features a great happy hour, and a sunset dinner menu. We heard that the sunset dinner menu was the way to go, and we arrived early to do so. The sunset dinner menu is only offered between 4-5pm, but you get two courses for $22.75. We both did the caesar salad with the flat-iron steak, paired with the happy hour red wine (Pacifica Merlot). Outside of the sunset menu, the prices jump considerably.

Finally, we checked out a local favourite, Bubba’s Bones and Brews. On a week night, this place was packed, and rightfully so. With an extensive beer and bourbon menu, as well as great food features, go to Bubba’s if you are hungry. Our party did the street tacos (3 for $5 on Tuesday and Thursday), as well as 4 meats. During our travels through the States, we always try to hit up barbecue joints as the ones in Canada are average, and very place usually has chicken, but it is dry. Not at Bubba’s. This is probably the best barbecue chicken you can get without going to Texas.

Next time we hit up Palm Springs, we have some longer hikes on our radar, but are looking forward to hitting up some of the same spots, and hoping to find some new favourites.

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