As a top travel producer for my parent company, I had the privilege of attending the biannual conference of one of the world’s largest travel consortiums in Palm Desert, California this past weekend. I intended to learn a lot about my industry and some of the amazing vendors that service it (which I did), but I was not prepared for the fun and excitement I would have exploring new destinations in Southern California.
It started with the airport. Yes, the airport, you read that right. I’ve been to and through a lot of airports in my life but I can’t say that any have charmed me, that is until I stepped foot off the plane at the Palm Springs airport. It is a tiny airport with only two runways and about 15 gates, but what was most charming was the open-air concept with palm trees and other beautifully landscaped desert foliage lining the walkway as you travel from the gates to baggage claim. I have to admit, in the selfie-crazed society in which we live, I just couldn’t help but to snap a pic, which happened to be the best airport selfie pic of mine to date! The airport also had a playground where the little ones can play as their families await their flights. How cute is that?!
Before leaving the area, we had to visit the gorgeous La Quinta Resort, known for its quaint, home away from home feel and being the host of many world-famous golf tournaments. The brunch at their Twenty6 restaurant was amazing! I recommend the crab benedict for you crustacean lovers out there. When I return to the area, I’m definitely staying at this property and doing a thorough “site-inspection” of the spa. I could hear it calling my name when we left…if only there were more time! By the way, I could not write a blog about my experience without mentioning my very first California earthquake! My first night there, I was awakened at 1:00 AM (which was still 4:00 AM EST for me at this point) by a 5.1 magnitude earthquake! It only lasted for 30 seconds, 15 seconds of which I was still sleep and trying to figure out what was happening, but how’s that for a first impression of Palm Springs? I can’t say this made up the “pleasant” part of my experience but it’s certainly a good story to tell!
Overall, I was most awestruck by the natural beauty of this area. I’ve seen many different landscapes around the world but the contrast of palm trees and mountain views are up there in the most remarkable category. I must say, this was definitely a “sleeper” destination for me but now having visited, I definitely see myself not just returning but offering this destination as an alternative to my clients seeking getaways right here in the United States. I’m confident they will be just as pleasantly surprised as I was.
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