We Headed East to the Westin for C’s Milestone Birthday!

Happy 40th birthday to the older boy on the left!

We took a brief hiatus last weekend from the hometown Halloween hullabaloo as it was C’s big 10×4 birthday! I can’t bring myself to type it because I honestly can’t believe it myself. That and I am headed there eventually, too, and sooner than later or so it shall seem (!). Ah, who am I kidding. What’s in a number? Not much. Especially since it’s not as though we can let our age slow us down. We have a rowdy five-year-old to raise after all! And since T thinks I’m all of 32 – bless his heart – well, it really doesn’t matter to him how old we are either. Besides, if we believe all the hype, 40 is fabulous, right, RMT’ers?!

Just one of many beautiful views while on property at the Westin Mission Hills Resort and Spa in Rancho Mirage (CA).

Room 117 at the Westin Mission Hills Resort and Spa is a suite. This is a picture of the living room/ sitting area.

A view of the dining area in our suite at the Westin Mission Hills.

Our bedroom in our suite at the Westin Mission Hills. So I’m not so great at getting these photos before we mess up the room, eh? Well, at least I’m sticking with the namesake of my blog and keeping it real!

I’m T, and I approve of this room.

To celebrate C’s milestone birthday, our family headed east on I-10 to our favorite local getaway destination. Though we didn’t stay at our favorite resort out in La Quinta, we did discover a great new spot thanks to a free room offer we scored. Given that the room was the get-one from a previous buy-one when we stayed down in San Diego for a date night earlier this year, it’d have been hard to have found fault with too much really. But thankfully, the stay exceeded our expectations.

T picks up yet another family tradition on this weekend getaway: Ms. Pac-Man. The game room at the Westin Mission Hills had games of all kinds for all-ages. For a few more photos of the game room, please see my Facebook album.

A night heron joined us for lunch on the patio at Pinzimini at the Westin Mission Hills. As C just said as I typed this, “And it wasn’t even dinner time!” Yuk-yuk.

T and C head down a path toward the main lobby and pool areas at the Westin Mission Hills Resort and Spa.

The golf course at the Westin Mission Hills Resort and Spa.

Part of the SPG family of hotels, the Westin Mission Hills Resort and Spa in the Rancho Mirage area of Palm Desert mixes classic local flavors and decor with a more modern take on luxury and hospitality. The resort offers entertainment of all kinds, from a complimentary game room for the kids (see my Facebook page for a more complete photo album of our experience here), to a full 18-hole golf course and spa for the adults. A true family resort, the Westin Mission Hills really does have something for everyone in your traveling party.

The Las Brisas Pool at the Westin Mission Hills Resort and Spa.

C heads down the water slide at the Las Brisas Pool at the Westin Mission Hills Resort and Spa.

Just one of several trips down the water slide for T at the Las Brisas Pool at the Westin Mission Hills Resort and Spa.

Of course, no resort in this area of Southern California is complete without a fantastic poolside experience, and the Westin Mission Hills definitely delivers to this end with a huge splash! First, see the water slide. This slide is for anyone 42″ and taller (kids 42-47″ must wear a life vest, which is provided by the resort). And of course we all took a ride on the slide, or in T and C’s case, several dozen rides. I just went twice, so no picture of me… maybe next time!

A staff “witch” runs some games for the kids on the lawn just outside of the Las Brisas Pool at the Westin Mission Hills Resort and Spa.

T didn’t move back on the ring toss game as much as he probably should have. No matter, it was all just good gaming fun for the kids out at the Westin Mission Hills Resort and Spa.

The games for the kids were mostly all about the goodie bag, especially since it was Halloween time! Thanks to the Westin Mission Hills Resort and Spa for a fun family weekend all-around (and for the free goodies)!

The staff also were great about hosting games for the kids all weekend long. I don’t know if this is a usual practice or just something that they did because of it being the weekend before Halloween. Either way, T loved the games. He’s finally at an age where he wants to play them, and he actually now is able to listen to a short set of rules, which helps him with doing well at the games, too! He got a lot of liberties with the Witch Hat Toss, and everyone left that one with a small goodie bag for playing.

The kids wait along the pool’s edge for the dive-swim-grab game to begin out at the Westin Mission Hills Resort and Spa.

This guy won the diving portion of the dive-swim-grab pool game out at the Westin when we were there.

T just kind-of hung out at this one spot and all the floaties came to him! That’s one way to play (and win) the game!

As part of winning the game, T got to help run the next round by tossing rings into the pool.

However, the pool dive, swim, and grab game definitely was a game where he had to compete with the other kids for a chance at a prize. And guess what? T won his age group! Yay!

C’s birthday dessert of a lemon custard tart with pistachio gelato at Pinzimini at the Westin Mission Hills Resort and Spa.

I thought it was remarkable and noteworthy enough to mention that the kids here receive colored pencils at the restaurants on-property at the Westin Mission Hills. I can’t say I’ve seen colored pencils before with a kid’s meal, and neither had T, so these were a hit! The kids’ menu is shown in part here also (this was at Pinzimini for breakfast, but the menu lists breakfast, lunch, and dinner together).

A close-up of my chilaquiles breakfast dish at Pinzimini, the newest restaurant at the Westin Mission Hills Resort and Spa.

For the most part, we dined on property for the weekend. Lunch Saturday was at Pinzimini, the resort’s newest restaurant. We had a quick sandwich-pasta-pizza spread capped with a lovely birthday dessert of a lemon custard tart with pistachio gelato. It was the perfect pastry present for C since he doesn’t like chocolate much and he loves pistachio anything. Breakfast Sunday morning was at the same restaurant, and the menu offerings ran from local flavors to the more traditional. I had a very tasty chilaquiles dish, and C had a hearty Southwest breakfast omelet. They also offer a “super foods” menu for those more inclined to start the morning out slightly lighter and healthier than we did. We later enjoyed a late lunch bite poolside, one of the ways we treat ourselves when on vacation.

Our in-room dining surprise of chips, salsa, and beer that greeted us after our evening swim. The hotel sent this over especially for C’s 40th birthday, which was a very nice after-dinner treat for all (well, OK, T didn’t have any of the beer). Thanks again, Edgar!

And a special surprise came from in-room dining when we got back from a night swim to a wonderful birthday snack of chips, salsa, and beer. Again, while we might have hinted to the hotel that we had a special birthday, we never mentioned what sort of things were C’s favorites. Who knew that Edgar at the hotel’s front desk knew C so well (and T, too, with the chips and salsa)?

T caught the shrimp from the chef out at Hibachi Japanese Restaurant in Rancho Mirage (CA)!

We did leave the hotel property for an extra-special birthday dinner for C at – what else – a teppanyaki restaurant! “Cooking on the table” is something we started enjoying together while on vacation at another favorite family vacation spot, and what better occasion than a birthday to partake in a little restaurant entertainment. We’d learned about Hibachi Japanese Restaurant during another weekend earlier this year, but we never got over there on that trip. I am glad we made the time on this trip for Hibachi. For under $20 per person before 6:30 p.m., diners can enjoy a five-course meal of miso soup, salad, a hot shrimp appetizer (basically grilled shrimp on the teppan table), choice of entrée protein with mixed vegetables, and a scoop of ice cream for dessert. We thought we would get an amount of food commensurate with the lower price tag, but oh no-no, RMT’ers. Please do not foolishly order additional sushi appetizers like we did because the course dinner portions are generous. Generous meaning C’s steak was easily 12 ounces and the shrimp appetizer was about 2-3 jumbo grilled shrimp per person. I easily (and sadly) left two-thirds of my chicken teriyaki. Even T’s kid’s meal was enough for two kids his age.

C had a great birthday weekend, and T and I enjoyed sharing this special time in his life history with him. There won’t be another 40th birthday, so it was important for us to acknowledge this one in a remarkable way. C, I know I joked a lot on that day that you didn’t look “a day over 40,” and then the day after I said that you DID look a day over 40. But trust me when I say that, jokes aside, I really don’t care how old you are or what day it is or where we are together. Love you, babe, and here’s to 40+ more fantastic years!

T had a blast making new friends for the weekend at the Westin Mission Hills Resort and Spa.

Note: We got our buy-one-get-one-free room deal after C signed up online for the Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) rewards program. About six months after signing up, C received an e-mail offer to buy one night, get an awards certificate for future use at any category 1-6 property. After the Westin confirmed our booking, they offered us an additional opportunity (for a small fee) to upgrade to a suite for our stay. Just a healthy disclaimer that the “free room” mentioned herein was something we earned from our own purchase activity and was not a gift from Sheraton, Westin, or SPG directly.

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  1. Pingback: Got Some Shake to Go with That Date?: Shields Date Garden, Indio, CA | Real Mom Time (RMT)

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