To say that Nahid and I “needed” to get away this weekend doesn’t fully explain the extent of the break for which we so desperately ached…pined…yearned. We were at the breaking point. We haven’t traveled, except to visit family for more than a year. Our trip to Thailand, Laos and Cambodia was placed on hold as the move and renovation of Nahid’s house, our new home, became our number one project. Yet, the reason why we work our butts off is in order to have a great life, and part of our uniquely great life is travel.
So we marked the calendar (May 5-7), reserved a room at Hope Springs in Desert Hot Springs and waited. And let me tell you it was worth the wait.
Hope Springs has all its mid-century charm that I remembered, and as Nahid described it “very Palm Springs 1960″.
As well as an awesome view of the mountains that loom over Palm Springs. Still snowcapped even though the thermometer read 94.
The allure of Hope Springs in particular, and Desert Hot Springs in general is the hot mineral water. I’m not a huge water lover, but there’s something about the warmth of these pools that rejuvenates my soul. I was hoping it would do the same for Nahid’s.
We were given the keys to our room. The room is stark– a low platform bed, Eames rocking chair, hooks on the wall in order to hang clothes, a shelf with three novels. Nothing else. No television. An outdated CD player perched on a small table. No big bureau for clothing. There are pool towels and bathrobes that actually get a lot of use. The bathroom wash sink, shower and loo are in another room.
It’s hard for me to put on a bathing suit and go poolside. Nahid has much more confidence, and she should. My body is fish belly white. Nahid’s a beautiful tawny olive. Yet the three pools are beckoning so I suck in my gut and hope that no one notices my illuminating thighs. No one does. Our fellow residences are in too relaxed a state to throw a judgmental glance. They too have stripped their city armor and lay exposed poolside. They have bathed in the warm waters and simply want to be, albeit with I-Pad in hand, and chill, none the less. We submerged our bodies in the waters and a new state of serenity envelopes us. Ah, life is good.
We opt to sample a local restaurant our first night. South of the Border.
We both order a shrimp dish and a margarita. Both good and reasonable. As always, I crave something sweet so we order the deep fried, cornflake encrusted fried ice cream. Will we ever encounter this item on a menu again? We think not, so we indulge.
We return to Hope Springs and have an incredibly restful, deep sleep. Nahid is taken with the whiteness of the room, its simplicity.
Hope Springs has an incredible breakfast, make that an incredibly healthy breakfast from 8-10. Great yogurt, whole grain bread for toasting, cereal, fruit, and as a tea drinker, pure (read: not coffee flavored) water for tea. The special offering was a healthier looking quiche which we passed on.
I head off to have a much needed tennis lesson in Palm Springs while the ever diligent Nahid works on her internet exams, this time on our deck overlooking the main pool.
The Plaza Racket Club is a great place and made even better by the instructor Denny. After all these years of tennis he corrected my backhand in twenty minutes. I recommend that you request him if you’re in town. (He’s available September thru May)
When I return to Hope Springs the place is vacant. The noon check out has arrived and many of the guests have departed. Although, Nahid overheard one of the guests saying, “I’d go back in a second.” While another stated, “I could get addicted to this place.” I already think Nahid and I are.
Fortunately the pool invites us in and we graciously accept.
At this point, Nahid and I and another couple are the only people at Hot Springs. This is an IDEAL situation: All the serene environs to ourselves.
After swimming in all of the pools–regular, warm and hot, food is on the agenda.
To be frank, Desert Hot Springs has many wonderful attributes; the weather and waters being two that come to mind. Yet fine or healthy dining isn’t one of them. If you like food chains, fast or otherwise, you will be right at home. If you don’t indulge, much like Nahid and I, I suggest cooking. Yes, what’s wonderful is that Hope Springs has a gas grill and enough kitchen equipment to make a wonderful meal. Another attribute, Stater Brothers is less than a mile from Hope Springs on Hacienda and Palm Drive. (In fairness we passed a Vons on the way in) So, off we go to the market to by some already marinaded thinly sliced short ribs, corn, onions and apples (for dessert).
We place the aforementioned ingredients on the grill.
And in moments…
And I have to say the grilled apples with honey were great as well.
Run don’t walk if you want a serene, relaxing and relatively cheap weekend getaway.