Some resorts offer a few amenities and then there are resorts so full of offerings that you'd never want to leave the property. Rancho Las Palmas, the Coachella Valley's most alluring destination, is just such a resort.
With its $35 million upgrade, Rancho Las Palmas is even more a magnetic oasis, brimming with options prime to impress discerning travelers. Here are my favorite finds on a recent visit:
Tennis is a favorite pastime of mine, especially when on vacation. Rancho Las Palmas is home to 25 impeccable courts and is lauded by Tennis Magazine as one of the Top 50 tennis court resorts in America.
Daily tennis clinics, ball machine rentals, night lit courts and a well stocked pro shop make tennis at this resort easy for all. Desire daiquiris or ice cold towels dipped in cucumbers after a match? The Tennis Concierge is ready to make every whim of William sister wannabes a reality.
Making a Splash
One of Rancho Las Palmas' standout attractions is its array of water wonders. Recently open, to the delight of kids of any age, is the impressive Splashtopia. This is a homage to H20 that few resorts can compete with.
A 425-foot lazy river encompasses sand-filled beaches and a playground of water slides, orange flower sprinklers, falls and more.
For a tamer time, the adult-only tranquilly pool is a sweet respite. I spent four pleasant hours camped on a teak lounge chair, while allowing my giant white umbrella and elegant skinny palm trees to shade me while I napped and read.
Ahh, what a spa
Rancho Las Palmas' spa incorporates the resort's natural environment into its service, further enhancing its allure as a true desert escape. The spa's menu revolves around the healing power of the desert's four elements of earth, water, sky and sun. My favorite menu pick is the Desert Cool Oasis, a robust package that pinches and rinses and rubs and scrubs any guest into desert dazzling status.
This package includes a custom body scrub, Body Wrap or a Mineral Bath with Arnica (desert sunflower), massage and California Arnica Facial. For a less intense experience, but equally enchanting, opt for the Spa under the Stars, a weekly happy hour featuring $99 services, live music and spa-fare hors d'oeuvres.
Another bragging point for Rancho Las Palmas is its newly debuted bluEmber restaurant. Designed by the smooth San Francisco team of the Puccinni Group, bluEmber is the centerpiece of the resort, luring locals and guest alike with its blue-fire pits, flickering fire-topped fountain and enormous al fresco dining area. Since January, heavyweight international chef, Sean O'Connell, leads the entire culinary effort at Rancho Las Palmas.
He hails from the Fontainebleau Resorts and Banyan Tree Resort (my personal favorite in the Maldives). With such an icon in the kitchen, the dishes deliver and with a cosmopolitan orientation. Miso Glazed Chilean Sea Bass and Chipotle-Braised Short Ribs are two of O'Connell's most buzzed about offerings, but I savored the Kalbi Barbeque Beef Tacos and Tuscan Diver Scallops.