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Palm Springs Getaway Guide

"Ready?" She asked, grabbing her luggage.

"All set, let's go. I can't wait to hit the pool!" He replied.

She rolled her eyes and placed her luggage in the trunk. He followed after her, throwing his overnight bag in, closing the trunk, and headed to the driver side.

"Palm Springs, here we come!" He said as he started the engine.

Known for relaxation and re-energizing, Palm Springs is a quick and favorited getaway for most LA and OC residents. With a short two hour drive to the desert, you'll find plenty of things to do and yes, you can bring your pets too! 

V HOTEL

PALM SPRINGS

Palm Springs is known for their renovated motels and while the V Hotel has a setup of one, it certainly does surprise you on the inside. 

Located just a few minutes away from the heart of downtown, the V Hotel welcomes you into their gorgeous lobby with its wide glass doors and modern chic decor. 

After check-in, stroll into your room and check out the poolside view. With the heat you'll most likely experience, you'll be jumping right into that pool after you unpack. 

We had a pretty spacious room and the cutest balcony swing (see below). OurA/C had broken down upon arrival, but it was quickly resolved by guest services.

Overall, this hotel is a great place to getaway from the main noise in downtown. Tucked away but still close enough to go where the party is. 

While many come to Palm Springs for the relaxation that's guaranteed, there are actually quite a few activities that I would recommend to do. 

Surprisingly, it was my first time doing most of these things despite visiting Palm Springs over the last few years. 

MOORTEN

BOTANICAL GARDEN & CACTARIUM

If you're staying at the V Hotel, you can simply walk on over to the Moorten Botanical Garden and Cacatrium and spend about an hour or so exploring. While the garden offers several noteworthy spots to pay attention to, especially those cute birds, I say the star of the show here is the cactarium. I loved the variety of plants showcased and it is the best place to hide from the sun, temporarily. 

Open daily from 10AM to 4PM, except Wednesdays. Children are free and adults are $5.

MIRAGE

DOUG AITKEN

While majority of the exhibits are now closed, the famous and most Instagrammable Mirage house is still open! I believe it is open until October, but it is worth the drive and if you're in Palm Springs already, why not visit?

There is a security guard on premises that likes to hassle photographers so be warned, but aside from that, it's worth the short walk up from the parking lot. I really wish I got better photos to share, but you can thank the security guard that day for banning me from using my DSLR.

I guess that means you just have to go see if for yourself :) Totally free!

Open Monday to Friday from 3:30PM to 7PM. Weekends from 9AM to 7PM.
Note: only 25 people can occupy the space at the same time.

For directions, please click here to view the maps.

AERIAL TRAMWAY

PALM SPRINGS

If it's too hot for you, take the tram up to the mountains where you'll be at least 30 degrees cooler. 

While I'm afraid of heights, I did enjoy the aerial tramway and think everyone should do it at least once. The view at the top is breathtaking and it's the perfect way to reset before heading back home. The fresh air, peace, and quietness will zen you out. 

Also, if you want to eat while enjoying the view, they have a mini food court available along with a snack bar. (Yes, my priority is always the food)

Regular Hours:
Monday – Friday – First Tram up 10:00am
Saturday, Sunday and Holidays – First Tram up 8:00am
Daily – Last Tram down at 9:45pm

For summer hours, click here.

Adults $25.95, Children $16.95 - click here for all pricing options

DOOR TOUR

CURATED BY PALM SPRINGS STYLES

In search for the pink door? Grab a bike and go on a self guided tour of the colorful doors! Well, we were guided by the very sweet creator of Palm Springs Style, so that we didn't get lost, hah.

We started at The Ace Hotel and went around the nearby neighborhoods, learning about the history and inspirations behind the gorgeous architecture we visited. Of course our hour tour ended with every blogger's favorite, the pink door. 

We returned to The Act Hotel after our 60 minutes were up and after turning a shade or two darker from being out in the sun. Certainly a fun thing to do with your girlfriends! 

SIGNATURE MASSAGE

PALM MOUNTAIN RESORT & SPA

Before jetting back into reality, make sure to book yourself a signature massage at Palm Mountain Resort and Spa

My favorite way to end any trip is to do treat myself to a 90-minute massage and at Palm Mountain Resort and Spa, they will certainly have you leaving the most relaxed you've ever been. Start off with a refreshing glass of water, a quick introduction and review over the areas you want taken care and then slip under the sheets for the treatment. You'll be snoozing away shortly because that's just how relaxing their massages are.

For prices, hours, and booking, click here.

KAISER GRILL

HAPPY HOUR

Looking for a good way to start off your night? Stop at Kaiser Grill. 

Located right in downtown, this bar has a great selection for happy hour and I highly suggest the Bloody Mary. We stopped by Kaiser Grill right before dinner and loaded up on a few light bites including an order of mussels and hummus to share. 

205 S Palm Canyon Drive
Sunday to Thursday 11:30am-9pm
Friday to Saturday to Sunday 10:00 am-10pm 

KING'S HIGHWAY

ACE HOTEL & SWIM CLUB

It was my very first time at King's Highway, located inside The Ace Hotel, but apparently it's a favorite amongst people.

This gorgeous diner is known for their date shake, yes you read that right and they also make it with almond milk for al those who are lactose intolerant like me! Worth a try and good for your digestive system.

Another noteworthy item to order is their avocado toast. I'll admit I'm not a big dan of avocados, but this item was done well with the mixture o flavors Would certainly order that again.

701 E PALM CANYON DR, PALM SPRINGS, CA 92264
Open everyday from 7am to 11pm

CAFE EUROPA

MEDITERRANEAN

A brunch spot that works with only locally sourced food and serves breakfast and lunch on 3 terraces. Cafe Europa prides themselves on fresh ingredients that they claim they do not even have a freezer. I didn't go check, but the food certainly was tasty.

The cafe is also dog friendly so bring along your furry friends and start your day off right. 

LULU

CALIFORNIA BISTRO

Come for the pretty cotton candy treat, but stay for the hip atmosphere. 

Lulu's is known for their vibe, service, and amazing courses for dinner. Upon entering, you'll immediately feel happier with the bright and colorful decor. While the choices range on the time of day, there's one thing that's always guaranteed and that is that you'll leave satisfied. 

P.S. Get the prime rib!

200 S Palm Canyon Dr Palm Springs, CA 92262

For hours, click here.

JOHANNES

CONTEMPORARY CONTINENTAL CUISINE

For a low-key night and something with romantic vibes, try Johannes

The mood is just right at Johannes and the food just as good as you can imagine. They're known for their Schnitzel so make sure to order that, but don't skip on the specials. I had the fish that night and it was amazing. 

Save room for the dessert because you'll want to order one of each, guaranteed. Be warned that the portions sizes are big so either starve yourself before you eat there or split with your boo.

196 S Indian Canyon Drive
Palm Springs, CA 92262-6604

Open 5PM for dinner. Closed Monday.

Huge thank you to Visit Palm Springs for arranging this itinerary and taking great care of us! Also thank you MJ for taking my photos and accompanying me on this trip.

3 Things You Must Do in Maui

"Please return to your seats and fasten your seat belts as we prepare for landing."

After a layover in San Francisco and five hours on the plane, without Internet and crying children, they were finally there.

"It's beautiful" she said, as she looked out the window of the plane and saw the beautiful island known as Maui.

"So what do you want to do first?" He asked her. 

She turned and replied back, "Everything."

1. Old Lahaina Luau

Type in luau in Yelp and you may find quite a few options, but if you want authenticity with an amazing view, good food, and memorable performances than may I suggest Old Lahaina Luau

From its humble beginnings in 1986, Old Lahaina Luau has quite the reputation and I can certainly see why. From the presentation to the performances, to the food, and the sunset view, this luau has set expectations for future ones. Yes, while this was my very first, it definitely has set the bar and did I mention that the coconut jelly dessert is to die for. I ate 5 of them and there were 6 served to our table - whoops.

My favorite thing about the Old Lahaina Luau was the storytelling. The performances went through the history of the island and the art of dancing. I also love how intimate the seating was, we had the perfect view and were placed with such lovely people that quickly became our friends for the remainder of the evening. 

I'm so glad we chose the Old Lahaina Luau and especially as my first luau. Be aware that they do sell out months in advance so get on it!

If you're up for a 6 hour (minimum) drive and really want to see the island, then I highly encourage you to rent a car and navigate yourself through the Road to Hana. It may sound scary to drive yourself through this but it is totally worth it.

We left at 7AM, filled up the gas tank, and bought a ton of snacks to keep us occupied until dinner time. We made several stops along the way, such as Twin Falls, Honomanu Bay, Upper Waikani Falls, Coconut Glen's, and the Pools of Ohe'o. While we were exhausted after the 10 hour trip (total with stops), we loved every moment of it. 

Make note that there's only one gas station on the road, half way through the drive and it is highly suggested that you fill up - regardless of how full your tank might be. Bring lots of water, bug spray, sunblock, and a change of shoes. Possibly clothes as well since I did slip and fall (nothing major), but I did get soaked after climbing down to get that epic shot near the waterfalls. Also, don't forget your camera!

KJS_7088.jpg

3. Snorkeling at Molokini Island and Turtle Town

Sleep? What's that? You're in Maui, so get up and get to the dock at 6AM for an experience of a lifetime. If swimming with turtles is on your bucket list, then make sure you book your trip with Boss Frogs and get your Maui snorkel on. 

From snorkeling gear, breakfast, and lunch, Boss Frogs provides it all in addition to the option of renting wetsuits (highly recommended) and underwater cameras. I really regret not renting the cameras as seeing the turtles was beyond breathtaking. Speaking of which, these beautiful creatures are truly majestic so make sure you book the package that takes you to Turtle Town too. 

5 Things to Do in Cabo San Lucas

2 hours and 23 minutes away from Los Angeles is the gorgeous getaway you need. Leave the kids at home, take your significant others and/or a group of your closest friends, and just go. Don't worry, I won't tell your boss that you're not really sick.

There's quite a few things to do once you're in Cabo, the weather is usually nice so the beach is always a good idea. However, if you are like me and are usually starving once you land, I highly suggest you drop your bags off at the hotel and head to Maria Corona

1. Get Tacos at Maria Corona .. and a magic show

We asked around for the best brunch spots and Maria Corona ended up being the popular vote during our poll. We happen to dine on a Sunday morning, also known as their brunch buffet day. The colorful decor, helpful staff, and freshly made tamales, tacos, and juices were a hit with our tummies. We may have woken up groggy from a night out but Maria took care of us and we felt much better after brunch.

We were also entertained by a street magician who did the practical card tricks and disappearing items act. While the magic itself was not impressive, his hustle was (haha). Do what you gotta do to make that money.

P.S. According to Francis, Maria's is on his list for top 5 carnitas tacos he's ever had. Francis is pretty snobby when it comes to food so for him to say that means you truly have to check it out.

2. Hit the Road: ATVing / UTVing

If you're looking for an adventure, G-Force is the way to go. I found G-Force Adventures online, prior to our trip, and booked our tour before we left. Their reviews were great and I couldn't resist the combo package of 1 hour of UTV-ing and 1 hour of horseback riding. This combo was the best option for us as we had 3 passengers and we all wanted to stick together. Of course, that meant we had a UTV versus an ATV but for a first timer (like me), I felt safer driving the UTV (hah).

The package does include a pick-up and drop-off service at your hotel by G-Force, as well as safety equipment and a tour guide. They also provide lockers to hold your things while you're on the tour, although I would highly suggest keeping your sunglasses on you (some where) for the horseback riding portion. 

We spent an hour navigating our way through the desert, hitting a few bumps, but luckily I didn't hit anyone else. Sharp turns, uphills, and steep slopes were met with my heavy foot on the petal and both my passengers holding onto their seats. But nobody died so you can't say I was a terrible a driver :)

After the hour, we were led to the beach where a group of gorgeous horses awaited on.

3. Romantic Horseback Riding on the Beach

So, here's a little fun fact about me. Last summer, my anthem/theme song/favorite song ever was "Needed Me" by Rihanna. In the chorus, she talks about a white horse. I became obsessed with the idea of taking a photo on a white horse and thanks to G-Force, my dreams came true. The funny part is, they had no idea I wanted a white horse and the entire ride there, all my friends heard were, "I hope there's a white horse." See, if you want it badly, it happens ;)

As soon as we got to the beach, I literally shouted, "I WANT THE WHITE HORSE!" and jumped out of my UTV to go pet him. Safe to say my friends were embarrassed about how happy I got over a horse, hah.

The 1-hour horseback riding was on the beach and while it wasn't sunset yet, it was close enough and watching the waves while we rode was one of the best moments in my life. I've always wanted to ride a horse on the beach, and I am so glad I was able to do so with my best friends. 

4. Lover's Beach, Not Just for Lovers

Speaking of beaches, probably one of the most popular places to get a tan is on Lover's Beach. Lover's Beach is just a short boat ride away, in most cases, a tour is included so you can see the arches and nearby sea life. 

We recommend that you dock off in the main area and not get fooled by sketched out (and extremely aggressive) boaters on the side docks. We were on a schedule and had to be back from the beach at a certain time, so we only trusted the main area boaters for this case and they were prompt in picking us back up from Lover's Beach as promised. I can't say how the others work, but we didn't appreciate how hard they were trying to hassle us. 

We spent an hour and half on the beach, exploring and swimming. Everyone (but me) had fun with some lizards. They just aren't my jam so I avoided them. Some guy was walking around with them in his backpack and he lets you play with them, but expect to tip him. Oh, and those guys helping you on and off your boat at Lover's Beach are also aggressive when it comes to tipping. Just be aware.

Jo had his drone with him so we tested it out. Thanks to Jennifer, we got this little clip of us on Lover's Beach.

5. #VIEWS from Sunset Monalisa

Thank you Jo and Jade for the birthday dinner! 

Thank you Jo and Jade for the birthday dinner! 

After all the activities, we were ready to eat and Jo and Jade surprised me with dinner at Sunset Monalisa, one of the top restaurants in Cabo with an amazing skyline view.

This restaurant has the best service and while it's considered expensive in Cabo, it certainly wasn't above the norm for us LA'ers. $70/person for the Chef's tasting menu is not bad at all. We, however, wanted to choose what we wanted to devour and ended up ordering over 10 dishes between the 5 of us - starting with 6 appetizers. 

Highly recommend the seafood (oysters and tuna were my favorite) and their pastas were definitely fulfilling. Dessert was OK, but the birthday surprise they had for me at the end was perfect. I'm always down for chocolate shots!

We capped off the night with coffee and staring at the skyline across the water. 


Bonus: Club Hopping in Downtown (aka The Party District)

Alright, let's get down to it. You really came to Cabo to party your ass off right? Lucky for you, Squid Roe is has about two blocks full of clubs and bars for you to dance the night away. 

There's no cover charge, most of them don't even check ID's, but expect mostly EDM and house music all night unless you go to Crush. They seemed to be the only place that played hip-hop, but they are pretty small and can get really crowded fast. Either way, drinks are cheap, you probably won't remember half the night anyways so just have fun. Oh and don't dress up like you're going to Vegas - you'll definitely stand out.

Note: Safer in groups and if you have male friends with you. You'll also be asked several times while you walk around if you want some blow or in Francis's case, if you want to see girls (LOL).

 

Thank you Cabo for an amazing 29th birthday trip. Can't wait to go back! 

Photography by Jennifer Wu