Westin Mission Hills

A few years ago, to celebrate a significant birthday-no, I’m not going to divulge which one-friends took me for a surprise sunrise hot air balloon over the Temecula Wine Country. It was simply unforgettable.

On the early morning of February 13th, you can make romantic memories of your own when Rancho Mirage’s Westin Mission Hills Golf Resort & Spa partners with the 2016 Cathedral City Hot Air Balloon Festival to bring 12 of these inflatable wonders to the 18th Fairway of the property’s Pete Dye golf course. FAA and weather permitting, the sunrise fill and launch of these dozen majestic “floaters” is open to both the public and to resort guests without charge. For those who want to lift their love higher, tethered rides (pricing yet to be determined at press time) will also be available until 8:30 a.m.

That evening, at 6:30 p.m., tables will be set on the outdoor Master’s Plaza for the Westin’s Glow Dinner. The same 12 balloons (grounded this time) will create romantic backdrop. This buffet-replete with live musical entertainment and one complimentary bottle of wine or champagne-is available for $89 per adult, $39 per child 6-12, and free for those five and under. Tax and tip are not included.

For any couple or family who wants to take the adventure that much farther (and higher!), the resort’s Lover’s Retreat over Valentine’s Day weekend includes overnight accommodations in a presidential suite, a bottle of champagne, a hot air balloon flight over the Coachella Valley, and breakfast at the Westin’s signature restaurant, Pinzimini. But Jack be nimble, Jane be quick: There is limited availability for this package, which starts at $492.

From Friday, February 12 to Sunday, February 14, Pinzimini will also make available to resort guests and members of the community its four-course candlelit Couple’s Dinner menu, which boasts such items as a Chilled White Asparagus Soup with strawberry panna cotta; a Lamb Duet of braised mini lamb shank and roasted rack of lamb with ratatouille vegetables and a rosemary garlic jus; Brown Butter Poached Cod with lobster mashed potatoes, sweet peas, and truffle emulsion; Butternut Squash Risotto, and more. Finish off your meal with either Vanilla New York Cheesecake with a berry sauce, or a Flourless Chocolate Cake with Kahlua ganache and a passion fruit sauce. The cost is $65 per person, with wine pairing available for an additional $25 per person.

For more information, or to make a reservation, please call 760-328-5955 or visit www.westinmissionhills.com/ValentinesMonth. And here’s to flying high at this heart-shaped holiday!