Travel: Little Desert Getaways

Hotel Miramonte

As a California native, Palm Desert is a common vacation destination for my family and myself.  Taking little trips throughout the year is vital for many reasons.  Hitting the road and spending time away from the day to day grind can refresh your mind and prep you for a whole new week.

Miramonte Villas

I tend to stay at the same hotels when I vacation, but this last trip I decided to shop around.  I found a great offer on Expedia for the hotel Miramonte in Palm Desert, California.  I checked out the customer reviews and photos, and was impressed enough to give the hotel a try.  I had some vacation time saved up, and so did my best friend Marta.  Before we knew it the trip was here, and we were headed for a couple of days in the sun.

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While many travel sites may photoshop images to help sell you on an experience, the hotel Miramonte was actually much more impressive in person.  We exited the car excitedly and headed towards the large wooden gate doors.  As we walked through the big heavy doors we could see the gardens peaking through.  The grounds of the hotel are very lush, and vibrant.  Many of the plants and flowers are the same types found in Tuscany.

051The architecture of the hotel is unique.  The buildings were designed to replicate Tuscan Villas.  Each “villa” is named after a town in Italia.  The lobby of the hotel had high ceilings, chandeliers, and stone worked flooring.  The customer service at the front desk was excellent.  In addition to the beauty of the hotel, the space boasts convenience due in part to the boutique size of the resort.  We were able to walk to our room in under 3 minutes.  We requested a room on the bottom floor, so that we could walk straight out from our patio area to the pool area.

The hotel was vacant on a Wednesday afternoon, which was fine by us.  We had the pool area to ourselves, and a friendly waitress who checked in on us often.  I had yet to open up my birthday bottle of champagne, so we popped that open and started in on our mimosas. The pool is a good size, and the jacuzzi was large.  The pool temperature was great, because it was 106 degrees outside that day.  The lobby shop at pool mats, and the waitress offered to have them blown up for us.  We enjoyed a day of laying out pool side.

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If you are looking for pure relaxation you must make a reservation at the Well Spa, the hotel spa.  Often times, hotels will hike up the cost of spa services charging around $150 to $200 for a massage.  I was pleasantly surprised by the prices and services offered at the Well Spa.  There are three massages priced at under $150, and the purify facial is just $99.  To view the full list of spa services visit here.

Also located at the Hotel Miramonte is a fine dining restaurant and full service bar.  The Grove Artisan Kitchen serves “farm to table” fresh foods.  The website boasts, “The menu features organic produce, fresh herbs, local ranch raised meats and poultry, fresh Pacific seafood, house-made pastas, prime dry-aged meats and innovative vegetarian dishes.”  To view the menu or make reservations visit here.  Unfortunately my bff and I were too sun bathed and relaxed to get dressed up for dinner, but fortunately for us the hotel does provide in service dining.  Marta ordered the Greek salad, and I ordered a turkey club.  We shared vanilla bean ice cream and fresh berries for desert.

We had an amazing stay at the hotel Miramonte.  The views of the desert landscape and dark mountain ranges simply adds to the architectural and arboricultural beauty of this resort.  I would definitely recommend it.

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Weekend Getaway: Palm Desert

pool view

Every now and then it’s good to get away, and take a mini vacation.  This weekend my boyfriend and I decided to pack our bags and take a last minute vacation to Palm Dessert.  The drive is two hours or less, and we knew that a pool and a tan were awaiting us.

Twenty years ago my mother booked a vacation in Palm Desert.  We always took little trips growing up, but when I walked through the lobby doors I realized where I was.  I was staying at the Saved by the Bell hotel!! Let me explain, I was a huge Saved by the Bell fan growing up.  I watched every episode more than once, so I recognized the beautiful hotel at first sight.  In the episode where Jessie’s father gets married, the cast traveled to Palm Desert for the wedding.  They stayed at the JW Marriott and highlighted it’s romantic appeal.

As a child I had a lot of fun at the hotel, but I knew some day when I grew up I would have a boyfriend and we would ride the boats and have a romantic dinner.  Fast forward twenty years later and my boyfriend and I escape to the hotel whenever we need a quick escape.

The JW Marriott is appealing to singles and younger couples, with attractions like a lively pool and nightclub located in the resort.  The hotel has changed over the years, and now features a more modern look.  The lobby bar is also a great place to mix and mingle.  For couples or families the Marriott Desert Springs Villas offer a more relaxing setting.  The villa rooms are larger, and include either a full or half kitchen.  Rooms also offer balconies with views overlooking the beautifully landscaped golf course.  Each cluster of villas has it’s own pool and hot tub, but there are two main pools as well.  To view pictures or get more information on the villas visit here.  The Water’s Edge pool plays music, and offers activities for children.  The pool bar serves drinks and lunch.

My boyfriend and I enjoyed our little getaway, and I hope you take some time to getaway and relax soon.

Travel: Viva Las Vegas

As I prepare to leave for Vegas this week, I am inspired to post about my love for the real city that never sleeps.  My love affair with Las Vegas began when I was 7, and my extended family took a trip to Las Vegas.  I’ve celebrated many a milestone in Vegas.  I was at the club at midnight for my 21st, drove straight there after graduating college, and spent every birthday there ever since.  Now it’s my boyfriend’s little sister’s turn.  She turns 21 this week, and we’re taking her to sin city to celebrate right.

Las Vegas is a shape shifter a cameleon.  It can be the city you want it to be.  Most people know Las Vegas as sin city, but there’s more than just sin going on in this lively city.  With critically acclaimed restaurants featuring world famous chefs, top rated spas, live stage performances, and shopping locations Vegas can fulfill your every desire.

When I visit Vegas there are a few things I have to do.  Here is a list of my top Vegas destinations:

meeshme.comSurrender: Nightclub Encore Hotel

Attempting to get me to go to a Hollywood club these days is a dangerous mission.  I did the Hollywood scene early on in my 20s and enjoyed it, but now it’s just tired.  However, mention going out in Vegas and I’m always game.  There’s something different about the atmosphere, the people, the music that makes it more enjoyable.  My biggest issue with staying out past midnight these days is that my heels become unbearable.  Unless you’re up for buying a table, or get invited to one, standing around all night becomes painful.  Which is why I love Surrender.  Partially indoors, partially outdoors, this club has something for everyone.  The inside is beautifully decorated, but the outside is amazing.  With LED lights, water fountains, and a pool reflecting light, the scenery at Surrender is worth the price of admission.  There’s always a hot DJ performing, and the crowd is well mixed.  Palm trees and bright lights make you feel like you’re in Miami.  The best part of the outdoor area is that there are places where you can sit and rest your feet, even if you don’t have a table.  Drinks don’t come cheap at around $18 a cocktail, but then again you are in Vegas.  The indoor dance floor is small, but that’s because party goers can dance anywhere they like in the massive outdoor area.  To buy a ticket or book a table reservation visit here.

chateau2-500x300Chateau: Nightclub Paris Casino

Located at the top of the Paris Casino Chateau is as romantic as a Vegas club gets.  The Paris Casino itself is a wonder to behold.  The replica of the Eiffel Tower is a wonder, and the Arc de Triomphe truly makes you feel as though you are driving around the streets of Paris.  To enter Chateau you walk up a beautiful stairway located inside the casino.  When you first enter Chateau it looks like any other Vegas club.  The black walls, DJ stand, and dance floor are nothing out of the ordinary.  Then you take a trip to the balcony where the magic happens.  Located beside the Eiffel Tower replica, the balcony provides a view of the entire Vegas strip.  Big bulbs light the Chateau sign above the bar.  The light from the bulbs reflected on the white furniture turns the entire balcony gold.  You can’t leave Vegas without experiencing this view.  To book your table visit here.

encore spaThe Spa: Encore Casino

I literally couldn’t believe what I was seeing when I first walked into the spa at the Encore spa.  I was there to workout, but was distracted by the amazing furniture and attention to detail.  The couches, the lighting, it’s reminiscent of a Moroccan palace.  One of the best ways to enjoy Las Vegas is to purchase a spa service.  Practically every casino features a spa where you can enjoy massages, facials, and spa amenities like hot tubs, saunas, and steam rooms.  When you’re in need of relaxation the spa at the Encore is just what you need.  Feel like a princess for the day at this lavish indoor spa facility.  Prices for massages range between $150 and $250 on weekends, facials are priced at similar rates.  The spa offers waxing services as well.  If you’d like to stay in shape while on vacation, the gym at the Encore is located within the spa.  The facility is smaller than other casino gyms, but features brand new top of the line equipment.  You can also request a personal trainer.  To view the whole Encore spa service menu visit here.

margaritavilleMargaritaville: Restaurant Flamingo Casino

Enough with the pricey destinations right?  Margaritaville is not the destination when you’re looking for class and eligance.  Margaritaville is the place to go when you need something hearty to soak up all the alcohol you drank the night before, or when you want to continue drinking throughout the afternoon.  The giant volcano located next to the bar erupts throughout the day as they play the Margartiville theme song.  Don’t sit too close to the giant glass next to the volcano.  A dancer takes a slide down into the glass filled with water, swishing a way and getting you wet.  The best nachos I’ve ever had are found at Margaritville, along with a pretty amazing margarita.  These nachos come piled as a high as a mini mountain.  Definitely for sharing, this cheesy dish comes with your choice of steak or chicken.  Order these nachos and you won’t be disappointed.  To view the full menu visit here.

serendipitySerendipity: Restaurant Caesar’s Casino

I first obsessed over a frozen hot chocolate from Serendipity in New York.  I was on a family vacation, and was miserable.  I had become deathly ill during the trip, and had an icicle fall from a building and hit me over the head (don’t ask). Nothing was going my way.  I couldn’t eat anything, nothing tasted good, and my brother insisted on going to Serendipity because it was in one of his favorite films.  The New York location is tiny, but charming.  I ordered my frozen hot chocolate, because I had seen it in one of my favorite films One Fine Day.  It was amazing.  Fast forward a few years later, and a larger Serendipity location was built in Las Vegas in front of Caesar’s Palace Casino.  The restaurant isn’t as charming as the New York location, but serves all the same treats that make the original so famous.  Still nothing beats my frozen hot chocolate.  If you’re in a hurry, the window located at the back of the restaurant serves quick items to go.  To see a full menu visit the website here.

wynn buffetWynn Buffet: Wynn Hotel & Casino

You can’t leave Vegas without eating at a buffet, it’s a staple.  Practically every casino has one.  I’ve heard people swear by the Bellagio buffet, the Mirage buffet, the Paris buffet, but they are all wrong.  The buffet at the Wynn hotel is by far the best.  The buffet at the Paris Casino is charming.  I was excited to dine there, because the inside reminded me of Fantasy Land inside the Disneyland park.  cobbled floors, lamp posts, and charming homes make up the inside of the restaurant.  It’s such a shame that the food doesn’t hold up to the decor.  The Bellagio buffet was boring, and the interior was nothing special.  The Mirage buffet is great for seafood, but again nothing to die for.  Then there is the Wynn buffet with it’s huge flower bouquets, vibrant colors, and amazing food choices.  There are many more choices for the health conscious eater as well.  Buffet prices vary depending on time of day, but it’s typically around $30 per person.

Fashion-Show-Mall-Las-VegasFashion Show Mall

Located next to Treasure Island, and across from the Venetian hotel, the Fashion Show Mall has everything you need.  There are plenty of malls and store locations on the strip, but the Fashion Show Mall has it all in one place.  No matter how much I travel I always find that I’ve left something behind.  Whether you need a party dress for going out, flats to walk around the strip in, or a swimsuit to hit the hot tub, the Fashion Show Mall has what you need.  If you’re looking for a good deal check out the outlets on your way into the strip.

I hope you get a chance to visit the strip soon, and check out these incredible destinations.