I was surprised to find out that our convention this year was in Palm Springs. I had never been there before, but I heard it was nice. I didn’t think I’d get to see it much while I was there, either, as I’d be buried in work. I was stunned when I found out at an early breakfast, though, that my work was finished and that I’d have 24 hours to myself. I already had a rental car so I was taken care of in that regard. The only potential problem was that I would have to find my own lodging, and that can be a problem. Finding a hotel anywhere at the last minute can be stressful, time-consuming and ultimately expensive. I grabbed my phone to see what I could find.
I opened the HotelTonight app that my friend has suggested. There were several choices that were easy to navigate, and within a couple of minutes I had picked out my place and booked it. I was shocked at how easy it was to get my ideal hotel on such short notice. Now all I had to do was grab my things, jump in my car and head over to my new hotel. When I got there, I asked the staff what I should see if I wanted to understand life in Palm Springs as a local. They gave me some really good information and I was off into my interesting day in the desert.
Most people think of Palm Springs as a retirement community. While a lot of retired people live here, it’s anything but that in terms of atmosphere. Downtown Palm Springs is a happening place. There are seniors here but there are also a lot of young people. There is a wide range of restaurants and plenty of options for nightlife. Since it was still morning I decided on window shopping, and I saw a lot of things that I thought of returning later to grab some gifts for my family and friends.
I started my non-Palm Springs portion of the day in Cathedral City, and it was clear right away that this was not a touristy part of town. That was a good thing as far as I was concerned. A lot of families lived here and in nice homes as well. I walked through an art gallery, which was lovely, and decided to keep walking outside for a bit. I found a hiking trail that kept taking me up, up and up some more. Before I knew it, I was looking at the entire Coachella Valley from above. It was quite a sight and I snapped a few photos and came down to sea level.
Who knew that Palm Desert would present me with even more options for doing things outside? I didn’t, but was glad to check some of these things out. I started at a place called the Living Desert & Zoo, and before I knew it I was on a camel. I moved on to the Palms to Pines Byway, and all of a sudden I was driving through mountains high above the city. I came back down once again and decided that all of that activity meant it was time for lunch. I went for Mexican food, based on a suggestion from the hotel staff. It was the real deal – delicious, hot and satisfying. I was full, happy and ready to keep rolling through my day.
Rancho Mirage is another place where there is a nice mix of retirees and younger families. After that enormous lunch, I decided to walk around a bit and perhaps find some gifts along the lines of what I had seen earlier. I found a beautiful mall that had everything I needed, so I filled a bag or two and put them in my car. I kept walking through a very nice park and took in the scene of many of those families spending time together outside. This was a nice part of town to say the least.
La Quinta is on the eastern end of the Coachella Valley, and this seemed to be one of those bedroom communities until I looked a little closer. There was more great hiking, but I had walked enough today. Instead, I found a little spot known as Old Town, and this was a place that looked the part with its beautiful buildings and overall feel. It was nearing dinnertime and I was somehow hungry again. I took the advice of a person I spoke to earlier and went to a local steakhouse. People like their steaks in this part of the world. I enjoyed a beautiful cut of meat and all of the appropriate side dishes. I was truly in heaven.
As I drove back to my hotel in Palm Springs, I realized that it had been quite a memorable day. I was all set to fly home the next morning, but not before a restful night of sleep in my very nice hotel. Thanks to HotelTonight, I was able to find a room with only a few clicks on my phone. That was an important part of this day, as spending hours searching for Palm Springs hotels is not my idea of fun. I will make sure to work with HotelTonight on my future travel.