Andy, of Fox World Travel, recently surprised his girlfriend, Cassie, with a vacation package to remember to Palm Springs, CA.
The Westin Mission Hills Golf Resort and Spa is set on 360 acres within the Rancho Mirage Community, where one can engage in a recreational game of golf, enjoy three extravagant pools with a 60-foot water slide and relax in the expansive desert resort spa.
We arrived in LA and traffic was crowded to excess. However, this did allow for plenty of time to see the vast amount of scenery that lined the sides of the highway from lavish casinos and restaurants to scenic mountains and hundreds of giant windmills. As I was snapping a myriad amount of photos, I realized how aesthetically pleasing the surroundings were. If you can’t make it out to LA, I would recommend giving GTA V a go—it’s the next best thing! Grand Theft Auto V (a new video game that is based in CA) has done an amazingly nice job in capturing the intricate, glamorous beauty of that area in California. It made me feel like I was revisiting that stunning, imaginary world all over again. That is, until the blast of heat that made its presence known as soon as we reached the arid desert. With the heat reaching 115 degrees my contacts dried out! But we had finally made it to the resort located on Dinah Shore Dr.
Subsequent to checking in at the front desk and being greeted by exceedingly well-mannered employees, we arrived at our room. It was composed of one large bathroom, a nice 30’’ television, a little fridge with beverages and snacks enclosed within (each item having its own separate price), a king sized bed that was extremely comfortable and a patio view of the luscious green golf course. When we had finished unpacking we decided that our first priority was to hit the pool that happened to be about 500 feet from where we were staying. We made sure that we wore sandals or shoes everywhere we went because the cement was incredibly hot from the scorching sun. The pool excursions were nothing less than fantastic and wonderfully refreshing. The areas surrounding the pool were filled with comfortably padded lawn chairs, canopies, umbrellas and of course, refreshment booths.
The main Las Brisas free-form pool has a 60-foot water slide, two spas and cabanas. The Las Hadas and La Paloma pools each have a spa. The water slide depth is 3 ½ feet so guests must be 48’’ or taller to ride the Las Brisas water slide.
Ice cold refreshments were a must considering how warm the weather was. The options consisted of either beer or a fruit-based cocktail. 16oz cans of beer were about $7.00 and the chilling cocktails were $14.00. The bar also had the option of turning your mixed drink into a pitcher for $30.00, which is what we decided to do. We ordered a Summer Strawberry Refresher that included succulent strawberries, vodka, crushed ice, mint and a splash of Patron tequila. After swimming we thought it would be a good idea to grab something to eat.
Cassie and I decided that we wanted to conserve some money, so we found the nearest grocery store—which happened to be a Wal-Mart. We purchased about $60.00 worth of food (fruits, vegetables and peanut butter & jelly sandwiches) and then headed to a small local market down the road to buy some drinks that we could keep in the fridge back at our room. We thought that we would save Saturday night for dining out, so we went for a walk around the resort at dusk and snapped some pictures. We passed the unstinted tennis courts only to come across spouting water fountains and waterfalls that change color to palm trees wrapped in radiating rope lights. We were offered rides around the resort by workers on golf carts (for free) and genuinely greeted by other vacationers throughout our evening voyage. Returning to the room, we got ready for bed because we had a big day at the spa the next morning!
We had an appointment at The Palm Springs Spa at 10:00AM for a deeply stimulating lava shell massage. Before the massage took place, we were shown our respective bathrooms. They included three giant sinks that had all the pampering essentials such as mouthwash, q tips, manual razors along with shave gel & lotion and combs. A steam room & five single showers resided in the back half and in the front there were lockers that contained our robes & sandals. On the corner of the sink was a large water cooler with sliced up lemons inside for an invigorating burst of flavor. Having indulged ourselves in the bathroom favors, we ventured out into the main lobby and waited for our names to be called.
With the lights dimmed, the therapist began with an inhalation technique that involved three deep breaths of fresh eucalyptus oil to ease the mind and create a feeling of tranquility. After that, she began the massage by using hot seashells that created a synergy of warmth and relaxation as they glided over the body. The session lasted approximately 50 minutes ending with some hot towel therapy for our feet. Immediately afterward, I felt a calm, controlled sensation throughout my body—not to mention a revitalizing feeling as well. My therapist greeted me outside of the room with an ice cold cup of lemon water, as massages tend to dehydrate the body. When it came down to it, we only paid $5.00 for a supplementary heating oil (either Lavender or Clementine) and tip as the actual massage ($140.00 for 50 minutes) was included in our resort package. I would highly recommend getting the hot oil as it adds to the sensation of the seashells.
The expansive spa menu offers a full salon, body wraps, manicures & pedicures along with polishes and various massages from Chakra Balancing to Reflexology.
As the day went on, we jumped in the pool a few more times and did some sun bathing before we got ready to go out to dinner. Cassie decided to pick a nice little Mexican restaurant called Casa Blanca located on Date Palm Dr.—about 10 minutes from the resort. I ordered a Corona with a lime and Fajitas and Cassie ordered a giant margarita and a combo that included an few different Mexican dishes including enchilidas and fried tacos. The food here was delicious!
After supper we headed back to the resort and decided to take another walk around. We traveled up and down the streets taking pictures of palm trees and the mountains. 95 degrees at 9PM and we were heading towards the “electric forest” where the pyramidal waterfall changes color. There is about a 70 yard stretch of beautiful, soft grass lined by palm trees wrapped in lights that leads up to the waterfall. When we first got to the resort on Friday, I thought “this is the place.” As we walked up to the waterfall I knew that there wasn’t a better time and place. Stopping at the edge of the little pond that separated us from the glistening waterfall, I reached into my pocket, dropped down to one knee and asked Cassie if she would spend the rest of her life with me. She said yes, so we went back to the room, cracked a bottle of champagne and toasted while we sat on our quaint little patio listening to the crickets.
On Sunday, another vibrantly sunny day, Cassie and I had an idea to check out the desert right across the road. On the way out, some shimmering blue crystal glass caught our eye. It was mixed in the rocks that they had in front of their welcome sign. We grabbed a few pieces for souvenirs and headed to the desert. We thought it was interesting because the inside of the resort is quite opulent, but everything outside of the walls has a very dry and desolate appearance. Aloe plants, flowers and cactuses lined the wall of the resort. In the desert, just across the way, there was only sand with some rocks and dried out bushes that looked like twigs sprouting up from the ground. Both of us wanted to see some exotic wildlife such as a rattle snake or a scorpion, but we only happened to find a clan of ducks and a very small lizard. As we made our way further into the desert we found a comfy little spot to relax as stress was nonexistent. We sat down and talked until the sun began to set over the mountains.
Monday morning rolled around a lot faster than I had realized. We woke up at 7:30AM to stop for breakfast before our flight out of LA at 5:50PM. Since the drive to the resort took about three and a half hours, we wanted to make sure that there was more than enough time to get to the airport. Checking out was fast and easy. The lady at the desk was very polite and courteous. The four days that we were there, we only paid $195.00. That was for the additional night that we wanted because we figured as long as we are out on vacation, one more day wouldn’t hurt—who doesn’t want to stay on vacation a little longer?
I had the idea to stop at Denny’s on Palm Canyon Drive about 15 minutes from our resort. For refreshments, Cassie and I both ordered ice water with lemons and black coffee—coffee for the long traveling ahead of us. Cassie decided to have the biscuits and gravy (not one, but two orders). And I had three buttermilk pancakes with butter and syrup accompanied with a cheese quesadilla topped with salsa and sour cream. The best part about our breakfast, other than it tasting great, was the low price. They had select meals that were between $2.00 and $8.00. Our bill total came out to $13.49 and it filled us up. Following breakfast, we were ready to hit the road and let our long journey back to the Midwest commence.
Our excursion back to the car rental garage wasn’t nearly as hectic as getting from LA to Palm Springs the Friday before. We made it back in about two hours or so. After our luggage was emptied, we waited for the shuttle to pick us up and take us to the airport. The nice thing about the shuttles (at least the ones that we were on) the drivers take your bags & suitcases and organize them in the vehicle so you don’t have to. I would definitely suggest using National’s Car Rental service—easy, fast and cheap. We had approximately three hours before our plane arrived, so we grabbed some salads from California Pizza Kitchen.
The plane ride back to Wisconsin was quite relaxing. We had two excellent male flight attendants who came by often and offered snacks and beverages such as pretzels, soda, water, tea, coffee and alcohol (the only thing you had to purchase). After about 3.5 hours, we reached Milwaukee around 12:50AM. It was nice when we got into the airport because it was pretty much vacant, so we could avoid the large crowds of people. We were greeted by Cassie’s sister who was nice enough to pick us up at such a late hour. She drove us to our car and from there we headed back to Oshkosh, arriving around 2:00AM.
The entire vacation was incredible and I will never forget the experience that I had out there. I would highly recommend The Westin Mission Hills Golf Resort and Spa to anyone and everyone. It is a wonderful getaway with astonishing scenery and some of the most cordial people I’ve ever met. The vacation package that we received through Fox World Travel helped us save a lot of money and made the trip even that more enjoyable. I definitely hope I get the chance to make it back out there again sometime in the near future.
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