Temecula Creek Inn resort: Hidden southern California gem provides area-favorite food and golf

By Katie Denbo, Contributor

TEMECULA, Calif. -- Save a glimpse of the golf course from Interstate 15, Temecula Creek Inn is really one of the area's tucked-away gems -- one that loyalists want to keep secret while new visitors want to share.

Temecula Creek Inn - Oaks golf course
Temecula Creek Inn is one of the area's hidden gems.
Temecula Creek Inn - Oaks golf courseTemecula Creek Inn grillTemecula Creek Inn - Stonehouse G.C.  - 9th holeTemecula Creek Inn - Stonehouse - 6th hole
If you go

It's an oak-studded oasis, really, just an hour from San Diego and 90 minutes from Los Angeles. With its full-service hotel, Ted Robinson Sr. golf course and dining that rivals the area's finest local California cuisine, Temecula Creek Inn is popular on the wedding circuit. Also, wine lovers flock for its proximity to the vineyards, and golf enthusiasts eagerly tee it up. Simply put, it appeals to the masses for its simplicity yet high-end comfort.

There are few finer places than Temecula Creek Inn to kick your feet up on the patio rail, sip on a local Chardonnay and take in the sights of the San Jacinto Mountains, hot air balloons above and fairways of golf beckoning players of all skill levels. Once you check in, you may not want to check out.

Temecula Creek Inn: The lodging

Temecula Creek Inn is comprised of 130 rooms, all spacious and recently redone in soft color palates and a design reminiscent of the wine country surroundings. Large patios overlook the golf course or natural areas just a chip shot away, appointed with plasma televisions, premium plush bedding, large desk area and mini fridge to chill wine and libations.

Those looking for the next level in high-end accommodations can opt for the Creekside guest house, a three-bedroom, two-bath retreat with living room, fireplace, satellite television, game room and even a washer and dryer so guests can move in and stay a while.

Enjoy the rooms a (literal) touch more by arranging for an in-room massage or facial. While Temecula Creek Inn does not have an on-site spa, it does contract with the area's finest massage therapists who in a moment's time turn the room into a relaxation oasis, complete with soothing music, low lighting and scents such as lavender and citrus.

Temecula Creek Inn: The golf

There are 27 holes of golf at Temecula Creek Inn, divided into the aptly named Oaks Course, Creek Course and Stonehouse Course.

The Stonehouse -- complete with an actual 150-year-old stone house on property that was built by quarrymen -- offers dramatic elevation changes and sloping fairways as seen on the 402-yard, par-4 third hole. The fairway slopes from left to right and will penalize the golfer if not landed just right as to not run off.

Precision is a requirement on the Oaks, both to avoid trees and set up for tricky doglegs and water shots. The 405-yard, par-4 ninth hole, for instance, requires accuracy to avoid water hazards along both the fairway and the green.

The Creek Course opened in 1969 as one of Robinson's classic layouts, and it still impresses with its most open and playable holes of the three courses. Straightforward holes allow golfers to score low -- or make up shots from Stonehouse or Oaks -- while providing the views and nature for which the property is known.

Temecula Creek Inn: The dining

Temet Grill is the flagship restaurant of Temecula Creek Inn, capturing a casual resort atmosphere while serving high-end cuisine reminiscent of an elegant dining establishment.

Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, Temet Grill's cozy fireplace beckons to patrons to sit back, relax and enjoy a glass of local wine, while the California cuisine menu developed by Chef David Fuñe feeds guests with highlighted items including Jidori chicken and smoked California striped bass. Make sure to save room for the TCI Croissant Bread Pudding for dessert -- its sweet heartiness with mixed berries and crème Chantilly is oh so worth the indulgence.

Not hungry? Stop by the Temet Bar and Lounge to quench your thirst instead. Sunday brunch at Temet is an area favorite, and make sure to stop in on a Friday to enjoy the prime rib special and the waived corkage fee for that favorite bottle of vino selected from one of the nearby wineries.

Temecula Creek Inn: Recreation and the surrounding area

Temecula offers a robust portfolio of activities that are different from the everyday routine and memorable for its uniqueness.

A 10-minute drive from Temecula Creek Inn brings visitors to Old Town Front Street, a blast-from-the-past stretch of bars, restaurants and retail fronted by wood-plank sidewalks. Country-themed buildings house antique stores, steak houses, boutique clothing shops, breweries and more, while depending on the day of the week, patrons may be greeted with old-town sheriffs and cowboys dressed in costume, bringing to life the history of the Rancho California area.

If wineries are part of the itinerary, there are more than 30 different places to try. Rancho California Road features an abundance of vineyards and tasting rooms, including the renowned South Coast Winery and Maurice Car'rie Vineyard & Winery.

See Temecula from an entirely different perspective -- high in the air -- on a voyage in a hot air balloon. Southern California residents drive from near and far to the area to experience a sky full of balloons, which offer panoramas of wine country and east county. It's a magical experience to float in the quiet of the sky while watching the world speed by below.

And if all of that isn't enough, test your luck at Pechanga Casino & Resort, the largest casino in California and only a five-minute drive from the Inn. Dining, entertainment, and lots and lots of slots and tables are all to be had at Pechanga, before turning in for a quiet and restful night back at Temecula Creek Inn.

Katie DenboKatie Denbo, Contributor

A past editor and publisher of FORE Magazine, Katie Denbo is PR and Marketing Manager for the Pebble Beach Company. She is a member of the Golf Writers Association of America and the California Golf Writers and Broadcasters Association, and has traveled to golf resorts and properties all over the western U.S and Canada. Follow her on Twitter at @kdenbo.

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