Here I Stand

Here I Stand

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

36 hours in Palm Springs

So, Sunday night we decided to embark on a little 36 hour vacation. With Spring semester beginning, and new jobs and the like coming up very quickly, on top of the January heat wave here in California, we figured a quick trip to Palm Springs would be well worth it.

The drive from Newport Beach wasn't that bad. All the map sites had put the trip at right around 2 hours, but we shaved it down to a little over and hour and a half, with no toll roads, and some beautiful scenery through the rolling hills of southern California. The weather was gorgeous, and we watched the temperature climb as we moved more and more inland. By the time we were in Palm Springs, it was 88 degrees of sun drenched warmth.

The town itself is a bit of a cheese resort town and retirement community. Not much seemed to stand out as far as things to do or night life, but that also likely had to do with it being Monday night.
We had chosen the Spa Resort Casino before hand. It was the cheapest of the nicer looking hotels in the area, and had booked online. The casino portion looked nice enough, but the hotel had a bit of a rundown, retro appearance. This was a bit frustrating, but at $77 a night, it wasn't bad. The outside of the hotel was deceptive, as inside, and the rooms, were very nice. Make sure to request a balcony, and the view of the nearby mountains is spectacular.

The pool area was small, but there were two huge mineral spas that felt incredible. The feel to the whole area was very retro – it had a very “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” vibe going for it. The reasonably priced drinks at the pool cabana – some of the best margaritas I have ever had, and everyone around the pool smoking (a rarity in California) just augmented this... Hunter S Thompson would feel right at home, and the bright, overexposed, 70's-80's retro vibe felt like I was in the last half of Goodfellas. Not in a bad way, mind you, it was very Rat Pack.

We had dinner Monday night at Share, a tapas and wine restaurant in the Hyatt hotel just a few blocks away. The restaurant was spectacular, though completely deserted. The menu was excellent, and fairly priced, especially considering the surroundings. The bruschetta was outstanding, and I highly recommend it. The whole feel was more like a Vegas nightclub, or an upscale Manhattan restaurant, and they pulled it off very well. Service was lacking, but I got the idea that there was only the hostess there that evening.

The spa resort casino was my first foray into gambling in California, and let me tell you, it was an experience. I have gone to casinos all over the country, and even tried my luck in Puerto Rico and Monte Carlo, but California is the only place where they make everything a card game. When I first stepped up to the craps table, it blew my mind. The dealer was shuffling two sets of cards, A-6, and turning over one of each set to get the score on the dice. There were the same odds, the same number of results, the same bets, and the same payouts, just using cards instead of dice. The dealers were very friendly in explaining California state gaming laws to me, and quite sociable in general, but playing with cards instead of dice just didn't sit well with me. It seemed to slow the game down considerably (though the dealer said it actually made play faster) and it wasn't nearly as social and energetic as throwing the bones in other states. Drinks on the floor are not comped either – which was frustrating, as I found this out only after I order some cocktails. Again, this is a result of California law, and not a reflection of the casino. After playing for a few hours – Blackjack, Craps, and Roulette (which is something else when only using cards... think wheel of fortune) I walked away up about 30% and was happy with the performance.

Overall, the mini stay-cation was nice and relaxing. I have a nice tan to start classes with, and some great experiences to share. I want to try out a few more of the casinos in the area, but Spa Resort is a nice one that is worth a look, and I am looking forward to my next trip to Palm Springs.

1 comment:

  1. Ready to reconsider Kalifornia as a homestead yet?