Where The Girls Are
Spend a weekend catching up and bonding in a desert hot spot that’s just a hop, shop and jump from LA.
For quality time with your BFFs, sure you could go to Vegas. But why not try something different that’s just as close and purposefully crafted to ooze with femme appeal? Here’s a weekend jaunt to the desert with plenty of pampering and pool time—as well as some strategic shopping mixed in.
The desert could possibly be the hottest getaway destination within a two-hour stretch of the Valley. Since the arrival of Coachella and Stagecoach, the vacation destination is certifiably happening again and shows no signs of slowing down.
We suggest two must-hit spots. Once a region for the wealthy and connected, Palm Springs is now a hub of all things mid-century modern with a gentrification (that kicked off about 10 years ago) still well underway. The town is filled with cool vintage shops, eclectic galleries and hip eateries, and attracts more than 2 million visitors a year.
Often overlooked in favor of Palm Springs, La Quinta is our second favorite desert town, mostly because of the 45-acre La Quinta Resort and Club. With rooms, villas and casitas, the resort is incredibly picturesque and home to great golfing, an abundance of tennis courts and fine dining. Outside the resort, there is also charming Old Town La Quinta where the spirit and architecture of old California is brought to life along Main Street, which is filled with quaint shops and eateries.
Leave LA at noon. In two hours (assuming you avoid traffic), you’ll reach the Desert Hills Premium Outlets in Cabazon. We’re not talking Jockey and J.Crew here, people. This is a fashionista’s dream with stores including YSL, Gucci, Bruno Cuccinelli, Rag & Bone and Marni, just to name a few. Allow three hours (minimum) to browse and try on the goods at the 133 stores. Jump back on the I-10, just past the picturesque windmills backed by ethereal mountains, and you’ll reach Palm Springs in less than a half hour.
If you are staying beyond (east of) Palm Springs, make a pit stop for a killer margarita and the best guacamole this side of the border (get some to go!) at Armando’s Bar & Grill in Palm Desert. (Keep this place in mind throughout the weekend for excellent, casual Mexican cuisine.)
If it is First Friday—the one night of the month stores on North Palm Canyon Drive stay open late—(and you didn’t bust the bank at the outlets) head to Palm Springs to continue shopping.
After your workout of choice, hit the spa with your besties at La Quinta Resort & Club and settle down for the rest of the day. Order lunch to be brought in.
Since decadence tends to be on the menu for a girls weekend, why not go for an indulgent dinner? Hit Maestro’s in Palm Desert or the recently revised Mr. Lyons just down East Palm Canyon Drive in Palm Springs for steaks. Feeling up for some nightlife? You can’t beat the pool scene at the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs.
Sleep in, and then head to Norma’s at the Parker in Palm Springs for brunch. Get the fast-food-style dried orange slices, and for those with a sweet tooth, the caramelized chocolate banana waffles napoleon. Hit the 111 Antique Mall (2500 North Palm Canyon Drive) before heading back to the hotel to pack up.
The Chateau at Lake La Quinta
Energetic and vibrant, with an intoxicating mix of attentive service and desert solitude, The Chateau at Lake La Quinta welcomes indulgence on many levels. Fresh from a $3.5 million renovation that added 13 spectacular lake-view guest suites and a new gourmet lakeside restaurant. thechateaulakelaquinta.com
The food is only part of the charm.