It's difficult to imagine a warm oasis with a lush outcropping of palm trees, cascading pools, and bountiful blooming flora, without thinking of Southern California. If you’re from here or familiar with the region, it’s easy to picture Palm Springs as that desert retreat. Palm Springs spans 45 verdant acres and its diamond hotel is La Quinta Resort & Club.
I recently visited the resort after its impressive multi-million dollar rollout of renovations that commenced last fall, updating its 620 casitas, 98 villas and 53 hot spas. La Quinta boasts 23 tennis courts, 90 holes of golf, three restaurants and a stunning 23,000-square-foot spa. Frank Capra, the Academy Award-winning filmmaker, was said to have penned several of his hit screenplays including It Happened One Night and It's a Wonderful Life from the resort's casitas. Other contemporaries of Capra such as Shirley Temple, Greta Garbo and Katherine Hepburn were fellow fans. (Their photos taken on property adorn the lobby as nostalgic proof.) Today, sharp young couples, stylish families, and esteemed international travelers are La Quinta's frequent guests.
The recent renovations are impressive. The first upgrades I noticed (this was my second time to the hotel) were within the casitas. Smith & Firestone, the Los Angeles-based design mavens, infused a warm palette of ivory, terracotta and chocolate hues to convey a cozy, desert-inspired dwelling. Bright mosaic tile design work, as well as rich leather accents further add to the subtle Spanish-style appeal. I particularly loved the updated, huge al fresco fireplace and lounge chairs ideal for watching the sun slip behind the jagged Santa Rosa Mountains in the evening. The casitas were also upgraded with tech touches such as 47-inch flatscreen TVs and Keurig coffee makers. Just outside my room was one of the resort’s 41 showcase pools, which have all been enhanced with an updated pool decking, temperature controls and cheery umbrellas.
Although lounging at my nearly-private pool, I spent quite a few hours at the spa. Similar to the resort itself, Spa La Quinta is a prodigious attraction. With 38 treatment rooms, six private garden baths, and serene his and her steam and hot spa areas, the spa is its own oasis within the haven of the resort. Recently added is the Pedi-Pedis treatment. Nothing deflates an elegant spa day faster than those deposable plastic sandals one must don to avoid tampering with a perfect pedicure. Spa La Quinta has just the solution: blue canopy-topped pedi-cabs that whisk spa-goers back to their casitas. Although a short ride, the experience is a surprisingly fun frolic.
Also, the new Blending Bar Mani-Pedi is a 110-minute service featuring salt-of-the-earth luxury ingredients. Most spa-goers are accustomed to facial masques, but this duo includes a micro algae masque and soothing salts from the Great Salt Lake.
La Quinta’s grounds has a comprehensive restaurant collection including the Adobe Grill, a regional Mexican restaurant known for its 100 plus tequila collection. Just below that is Twenty6, a round-the-clock American grill with stunning al fresco dining. The resort’s signature restaurant, Morgan’s in the Desert, attracts bevies of locals and is certainly my favorite on-property dining choice. Triple James Beard recipient Jimmy Schmidt and Chef du Cuisine Brian Recor keep the culinary interests of diners peaked season-after-season with festivals and harvest celebrations such as July’s Sweet & Tart Cheery Festival and Stinky Rose Garlic feast.
Due to consistent upgrades and investments, the property has maintained its reputation in the desert as the premier hot spot for discerning travelers and glam Hollywood types since 1926. Like an alluring oasis, La Quinta Resort & Club is a lush sanctuary you’ll never want to leave.