This landmark desert resort just keeps getting better with age.
Opened in 1926, this Spanish colonial-style gem is the longest continuously operating resort in the Palm Springs area. Nineteen miles east of Palm Springs and 120 miles east of Los Angeles, La Quinta Resort first became famous as a paparazzi-proof hideout for Greta Garbo, Clark Gable, Marlene Dietrich and Frank Capra. After writing most of his hit movies there (such as "It's A Wonderful Life"), Capra eventually made the property his home, and visitors can still rent his cottage, which he dubbed the "Shangri-La of Screenwriting". The resort is also the birthplace of Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas.” Berlin penned the famous holiday tune here on a balmy December day
State-of-the-art renovations have upped the luxury factor over the years, but La Quinta retains the nostalgic grace and charm of a Golden Age of Hollywood desert sanctuary. Tucked at the base of the Santa Rosa Mountains, the resort is situated in a grid of private casitas. These cottage-style suites and guest rooms are arranged around courtyards containing pools, furnished cabanas, hammock-draped palms and spacious recreation areas. Even the smallest of the casitas have the feel of an upscale private home with fireplaces and cool tile floors, while some of the lavish suites boast private enclosed yards with their own pools.
Water features scattered throughout the resort's 45 acres heighten the sense of tranquility, and guests tend to come here to relax and take advantage of one or more of the signature offerings: five public golf courses (in partnership with PGA West), 23 tennis courts and the 23,000-square-foot Spa La Quinta. This superlative wellness facility houses indoor and outdoor massage and treatment rooms with signature La Quinta Celestial Showers. Services combine modern techniques with ancient rituals of indigenous Mexican and Native American cultures. And humans aren't the only ones who can enjoy pampering at La Quinta. As a part of its extensive pet program, the resort introduced canine massage by a certified animal massage practitioner. In addition, kids love the 1,400-square-foot, two-level playground, featuring a spiraling slide, monkey bars, a slanted honeycomb climber, a fun zone and lots of crawl spaces.
Morgan's in the Desert, La Quinta signature restaurant spearheaded by celebrated chef and restaurateur Jimmy Schmidt, offers contemporary American cuisine inspired by the bounty of the Coachella Valley. An exciting list of vintage cocktails and handcrafted spirits, as well as California boutique wines and artisan beers, complements the farm-to-table menu. Other dining options include TWENTY6, a casual all-day dining venue offering modern American bistro fare. Bar TWENTY6 is a lively spot that serves small bites, classic cocktails, California wines and draft beer. The resort's Adobe Grill presents fine Mexican cuisine, and in a spacious setting full of antique copper cooking artifacts and handblown glassware from Guadalajara, not-to-miss dishes include lobster empanadas and fresh guacamole prepared tableside.
Out and about, this quiet desert area boasts a spectacular vista of mountains and landscapes ideal for jeep rides through the rocky terrain, hot air ballooning and horseback riding. The resort has even teamed up with Thermal Motorsports Track & Club, an invitation-only racing club, to provide guests with exclusive adventure experiences.