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BIRTHDAY PART 2: ARRIVE PALM SPRINGS
As soon as I decided to go back to California for my birthday, I started planning a return to Palm Springs. Last time I was there, six months ago, I spent an afternoon eating and lazing at the beautiful Arrive Palm Springs, and decided that I wanted to stay there next time I visited.
The arrival and check-in process was really seamless and very impressive: I had given my phone number during booking and was pretty impressed when I received text messages to remind me of my reservation and notify me when my room was ready. The messages also prompted me to reply with any questions or requests. After driving the two hours from LA to Palm Springs and taking my bags to the entrance, I was greeted and taken straight to my suite by one of the staff, where my bags had already arrived. I was also really touched to find a welcome pack on the bed: swimwear, drinks, a guide to Palm Springs and a load of snacks.
Waiting for my friends to arrive, I took a look around the hotel. The hotel really has everything necessary for a relaxing and leisurely stay: most notably, a swimming pool, cabanas with fire pits, a bocce court, ping-pong tables, a hot tub, a bar-restaurant, a cafe and - saving the best until last - an icecream shop with a kitsch gift store inside it!
On the first night we went to Sandfish Sushi & Whiskey by chef Engin Onural. Walking straight across the road from ARRIVE and into the restaurant, which had a pretty unassuming exterior, I was surprised by the cool decor and buzzing crowd. We were started on warm sake, then our server offered to choose our meals for us, in consultation with the chef - an offer that we eagerly accepted. Once the food started to flow, it basically didn't stop until we were stuffed. We had an roasted brussel sprouts dish, a glazed tempura prawn dish, tonnes of sushi rolls with components such as mango, truffle shavings and avocado, and a trio of desserts. Sorry I can't give you more details, the sake was delicious and it was a bit of w whirlwind! The chef, Engin Onural, came out to say hello after the meal, which was so so cool! Such a great experience.
Day 2 we had brunch at Reservoir Palm Springs, the hotel restaurant. It was actually pretty chilly and windy that day, but we wanted to sit outside overlooking the pool, so the staff gave us super cosy blankets, which were so nice and cosy. We started with grapefruit juice and coffee, then two of us had avocado on toast and the other had a gigantic shakshuka dish that was probably designed to be shared between about four people! Needless to say, we all tried it - so delicious! I was pretty delighted to find that there was a sweetness and acidity to the tomato base - such a rich flavour.
That afternoon we went for a little bike ride through the heart of Palm Springs on the cruiser bikes provided by the hotel.
Day 3 - Wednesday - we took the bikes out again, this time cycling to the southern end of Palm Springs to check out the older residential architecture. On the way across town we stopped for breakfast at The Broken Yolk, just because it was closest to where we parked the bikes. It was a nice dining experience - old-school kitsch interior with classic a classic diner menu. After breakfast, we continued south to check out houses and take a look at Ace Hotel & Swim Club. After the slow ride back back to Arrive, we grabbed ice-cream at the Ice Cream & Shop(pe), which is such a cute addition to the hotel. I had the Mexican Chocolate, which was richer and spicier than the regular chocolate, with cinnamon added. Highly recommended.
Later that afternoon, we went to Le Parker Meridien Palm Springs for a cocktail and wander around the massive grounds. We left the Parker just in time to get back to The Draughtsman for dinner. Wednesdays at The Draughtsman was recommended to us because it's live music night. The vibe was really great and the menu was pretty a pretty classic high-end bar menu. We had cauliflower nuggets, poutine, steak frites, honey-mustard salmon, veggie burger and a salad. We also had a lot of cocktails... which is why I can't quite remember whether we had dessert.
Final morning, the rest of the party left early so I just sat by the pool, at Reservoir Palm Springs, doing some work and drinking bucket-loads of coffee. I also had yoghurt with granola and berries which was pretty delicious.
I'd like to thank Arrive Palm Springs for hosting us so well. Even though I already had a high opinion of the place, the team managed to meet and surpass my expectations.