3-Day Getaway at La Quinta Resort & Club
By Michelle Ward
For a luxurious three-day weekend to escape LA’s infamous “June Gloom,” travel to La Quinta Resort & Club, a historic 45-acre retreat nestled in the rugged Santa Rosa Mountains. Located 19 miles southeast of Palm Springs in La Quinta, the longest-running desert-area resort has hosted Hollywood elite, family dynasties, and a sitting president since it was established in 1926.
Now, the place where Frank Capra wrote his Academy Award-winning film It Happened One Night, Greta Garbo sought solitude, Ginger Rogers got married, and President Eisenhower vacationed so often he inspired a namesake suite, has developed into a sprawling desert oasis. Although since renovated to include 796 guestrooms, 41 swimming pools, 53 hot spas, 23 tennis courts, and five premium golf courses, La Quinta Resort & Club still maintains its coveted essence of exclusivity and original hacienda-style architecture. With roots embedded deep in California history (besides Beverly Hills, La Quinta is the only US city to be named after a famous resort), the property should be a bucket-list weekend destination for every Angeleno. Here’s how we recommend making the most of your three days in the plush paradise. 49-499 Eisenhower Dr., La Quinta, 800-598-3828
Arrive: A long paved driveway lined with sky-high palm trees and vibrant flowerbeds greets you at the resort’s entrance, setting the scene for your luxury stay.
Relax: Settle into the Pueblo Suite where for $650 a night you’ll enjoy 1,385 square feet of indoor/outdoor space. Soak up the sun in the private yard with a pool and hot spa, or for a livelier scene, head to the adults-only pool for a freshly squeezed frozen cocktail and homemade chicken quesadillas.
Explore: What a view! The Santa Rosa Mountains provide a breathtaking backdrop for a leisurely stroll around the tranquil village of whitewashed Spanish-style casitas and spa villas, sparkling pools, colorful vegetation, and grapefruit trees.
Dine and Unwind: A deluxe dinner at Morgan’s in the desert sets the mood for elegance. Begin with a signature cocktail, like the French 75, a vintage recipe of cognac, Champagne, lemon juice, and simple syrup, before delving into James Beard award-winning chef Jimmy Schmidt’s farm-to-table fare. Pacific Oysters with a pinch of papaya and the farmer’s market soup make for good starters to the fresh selection of seafood, meat, and game bird entrees. Once you've had your fill, enjoy an after-dinner drink while unwinding on the outdoor terrace.
Sunrise: Tuck into a plate of huevos rancheros at Ernie’s Bar & Grill. Located in the on-site Tournament Clubhouse at PGA West, you’ll enjoy sweeping views of the courses while fueling up for an early round of golf.
Golf: Take to the green at the famed TPC Stadium Golf Course at PGA WEST. The Pete Dye-designed course offers majestic mountain views and challenging terrain.
Pamper: Detoxify with Spa La Quinta’s California Essentials body brushing and massage treatment. Check in early and grab a lounge chair in the outdoor courtyard, a tranquil spot featuring fragrant rose gardens, a fireplace, and Celestial Showers. Seventy-five minutes later, you’ll leave with baby-soft skin and a blissful calm.
Cheers: Toast the beautiful sunset with a glass of wine on the resort’s multi-level plaza courtyard before heading to dinner at Adobe Grill. Serving authentic Mexican cuisine, the casual restaurant/bar makes for a fun fiesta. Indulge in guacamole prepared tableside, an all-organic margarita, and award-winning tamales as you listen to a live mariachi band.
Recharge and Train: Grab a gourmet iced latte and homemade muffin at the plaza’s quaint Coffee Market prior to your tennis lesson. There, the tennis club’s director, legendary pro Tom Gorman, will work to improve your game on one of the five Har-Tru clay courts or 18 hard courts. Whether a beginner or expert, you’ll benefit from Gorman’s pleasant (and patient) expertise, which includes coaching the Davis Cup 1992 “Dream Team” of Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi, Jim Courier, and John McEnroe to victory.
Shop: Peruse the plaza’s upscale boutiques and load up on treats from vintage-style candy shop, Lollipops, for the trip home. On the drive back, stop by the El Paseo shopping district. Considered the Rodeo Drive of the Desert, you’ll find some perfect pieces to take back to LA.
Fashion shoot: December 2013 issue of Los Angeles Confidential magazine.