Monday, May 17, 2010

Thank you Mister Parker for pulling a rabbit out of your hat

Some last minute changes led to a shift in venues for my girl’s weekend in Palm Springs this past weekend. Instead of the Viceroy we found ourselves shacking up in Desert Hot Springs at Miracle Manor (more on that in a future post). And, instead of checking out Estrella Spa at the Viceroy, I finally had an opportunity to visit the Palm Springs Yacht Club at The Parker. Thank you Mister Parker. You did not disappoint. Click "Read more..." below for the full scoop.

Over coffee and yogurt Saturday morning we made an eleventh-hour decision to head on over to The Parker. With six lovely ladies in our party, I thought it might be tricky to land appointments the same day. But being a crew of fabulously resourceful ladies armed with five iPhones, a laptop, and free wifi, it turned out booking a last minute full-day spa retreat for six was no challenge at all.  

After learning that The Parker doesn’t offer day passes to the spa on the weekend–kind of a drag but I get why they do it—we all decided to book treatments. Our lovely spa reservationist (I think her name was Vanessa) was extraordinarily patient as I read through our list of requests: 
  • Jeanette – The Guilty Pleasures Package (including a 45-min sugar scrub, 60-min tailor made massage, and a 60-min spa pedicure)
  • Fern – A Motley Mix (including a 30-min Swedish massage, 30-min pore cleansing facial, 30-min spa manicure) and a 60-min spa pedicure
  • Joycie – 60-min pore cleansing facial and a 60-min spa pedicure
  • Sophia – 60-min Thai-style massage
  • Stephanie – 45-min Sugar Scrub
  • Carrie – 60-min spa pedicure
Seriously, if someone called me with this list and wanted same day appointments, I’d probably consider quitting on the spot. But, Vanessa didn’t. Instead she took down my phone number, went to work on her computer and within 15-minutes, she called me back with an impressive full-afternoon spa itinerary. Bravo! She certainly pulled a rabbit out of a hat. 

Arrival & Check-in
We arrived at The Parker about 12:00pm. After quickly going through the spa check-in process we had a quick tour including an introduction the indoor pool, two Jacuzzis, the dark relaxation room (which doubles as check-in location for your treatment), and a swing by the ladies locker room. The fabulous Jonathan Adler-designed spa didn't disappoint. After making a quick change into our swimsuits, we found ourselves lounging by the co-ed pool by 12:15pm (first appointments commenced promptly at 12:45pm). During our tour we were also introduced to the treatment playlist. Yes! For the first time ever a spa actually asked me what I wanted to listen to during my treatment. Goodbye Enya, hello mellow hip hop.

My Treatments
I signed up for the Guilty Pleasures package (a 2 hour and 45 minute spa experience). My afternoon kicked off with a 45-min sugar scrub. I hadn't had a scrub for awhile so I didn't know what to expect. And, I wasn't aware of the protocol at The Parker. Should I strip down like I would for a massage, or should I wear my bathing suit? I asked. You're draped throughout the treatment so your preference is up to you. After a thorough application of the sugar scrub, the spa attendant stepped out of the room so I could hop into the shower and rinse off the scrub. Then it's back to the heated massage table for lotion application. I left the room thoroughly exfoliated and ready for step 2, a 60-minute tailor made massage. With just 15 minutes between treatments I chose to spend my down time resting in the dark relaxation room. At 1:45pm on the dot, my female massage therapist came to escort me to my massage treatment room. The tailor made massage is, well, tailor made. After sharing my problem areas with my therapist and explaining I'd prefer a firmer touch, she left the room so I could undress. It was a great massage, although I would have preferred a room a little further away from the women's locker room entrance. I was abruptly pulled out of my zen-like state a couple of times by the voices of other spa goers. After my massage I was pretty much jello and I still had a 60-min spa pedicure lined up. With 15-minutes between treatments I spent this break ordering an Ahi Cobb Salad off the room service menu for delivery following my pedicure. Like most spas, manis and pedis are done in the salon. The salon was bustling with locals on Saturday afternoon and was a nice change of pace from the main spa. The spa pedicure chairs were more comfortable than those at typical nail salons which I enjoyed considering I was barely able to stand upright after my massage. The pedicure "mask" (applied with a 2-inch wide paint brush and later removed with a warm damp towel) was my favorite part. My color of choice: OPI A Good Mandarin is Hard to Find. At $285 (before 20% gratuity), I found the 2 hour and 45 minute package was a stunning value.

For lunch we all ordered the Ahi Cobb Salad off the room service menu and had our lunches delivered to the indoor pool deck. Our server Frankie was adorable. Seriously, we all wished we could pack him up and take him home with us. For good measure, I followed up my salad with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc.

It was hard to leave the Palm Springs Yacht Club. But, with a dinner reservation at 8:30pm, we headed to the locker room to prep for dinner around 6:00pm. The full-service locker room was nice but personally I'd have appreciated some more counter space for primping. Also, they need to label the doors. I opened the shower door twice looking for the toilet.

To sum it up, I thoroughly enjoyed Saturday at The Parker. If you can't afford to stay the night there the next time you're in Palm Springs I highly recommend booking a treatment and spending a day at the spa. After Saturday I don't know if I'll be able to resist next time I'm in the desert. Have you been to The Palm Springs Yacht Club yet?

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