The Hacienda At Warm Sands -
iN Los Angeles
iN Los Angeles
The In Frequent Traveler
By David Stein
IN's finally getting out, visiting sundry inns, resorts, hotels, and restaurants across California. So stay on your toes. You never know when we'll be coming your way!
One of the potential hazards, if you can call it that, of travel writing is landing in a place so close to paradise that any description of it automatically makes you sound like a fawning publicist hacking out an overwrought puff piece.
The idyllic Hacienda at Warm Sands in Palm Spring poses just such a dilemma. At the peak sun hours, the contented guests lounge around under mist-sprayed palm trees, gazing up at a horizon of terra cotta-colored mountains. Lunch is promptly served poolside.
If you want privacy, it's a mere snap of the thick wood blinds, and you're transported into the privacy of your spacious suite, which includes plump, overstuffed couches that fold out to beds for the occasional last-minute guest. The room décor is old world teak. A romantic-looking copper fireplace is tucked into a corner of the dining room for heating up those rare cool nights.
Each suite is equipped with a kitchen, and all the amenities of home (if your home happens to be a high-class resort).
The gleaming white bathroom features unique "two-man showers," with thick, wide showerheads blasting you from both sides.
For restful sleep, a pillow menu offers a choice of seven pillows to fit your nighttime cushion needs.
My second day, I shook things up and bopped over to the town's famous deli, Sherman's, which is mandatory for anyone trying to break a diet in a big way. The buttery turkey Reuben and sugary pink lemonade, capped by some chocolate-chip rugala, won't let you down.
For evening dining elegance, I checked out the Chop House. The smart interior features a striking mobile of bone-like sculptures from the domed ceiling. The service is impeccable. My stylish server doted on me as if she were the Grace Kelly of food service. The highlight of the meal was the Kansas City steak on the bone, where the meat is always sweetest.
By my last stay, still unable to find a thing wrong with the Hacienda, I consoled myself with a light supper at the modestly priced Blame it on Midnight. The delightfully chaotic ornamentation is a mix of gaudy chandeliers, frivolous balloons and strewn costume jewelry. The cuisine is a mixed and varied bag too, unlike the clientele, which is 100% male.
The next morning at the Hacienda's lavish continental breakfast, I mingled with a few guests from cities as diverse as Rochester, N.Y., Minneapolis, and Seattle.
Sipping on fresh orange juice, I overheard a guest grumbling at the buffet table. "This toaster takes forever," he said. My eyes lit up. A glitch. At last.
The guest was unsuccessfully toasting a bagel. We all gathered around the toaster in mild shock. Until someone stumbled on the "bagel" button, and all was restored to perfection.
Capping off my trip, I stopped in at the newest addition to the Palm Springs' bar scene, Toucans Tiki Lounge, named for the colorful, tropical bird of paradise. The Polynesian Gilligan's Island motif seems lifted right out of a Lovey Howell wet dream. I'm no rabid fan of cabaret performers, but after two Mai Tais, the night's chanteuse, Rebecca Clark, slyly seduced me with her repertoire that included a few Jackie DeShannon chestnuts.
"Lord we don't need another mountain. We have mountains and hillsides enough to climb," she warbled.
And Lord knows, "what the world needs now" is more quickie vacations like this one. "It's the only thing that there's just too little of."
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