Desert ideals and activities abound at Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa near Palm Springs

By Katie Denbo, Contributor

RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. -- It has long been favored as one of the Coachella Valley's go-to getaway spots for both golf and relaxing, and now fresh off a $35 million renovation to both its resort and golf courses, Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa is revitalized and better than ever.

Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa
Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa has long been one of the Coachella Valley's go-to getaway spots.
Rancho Las Palmas Resort & SpaRancho Las Palmas Country Club - South CourseRancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa - patioRancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa - rooms
If you go

Nestled at the base of the San Jacinto mountain range, Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa is often sought after for sun, recreation and desert tranquility, especially for the golf aficionado. But it wasn't long ago that its golf courses weathered the storm of major southern California rainfall that resulted in acres upon acres of standing mud through its fairways. In the end, however, the property turned mud into yardage, so to speak, thanks to creative landscaping and thoughtful additions to its 27-hole Ted Robinson design.

There's more than just golf at this desert oasis. Rancho Las Palmas' location provides an extended list of fun things to do on and off property.

Just across the street, guests can wander over to The River, a dining and shopping hub surrounded by cooling waters features and an abundance of entertainment options. Mix popular dining; 240 acres of lakes, fountains and gardens scattered throughout; and both a family atmosphere and tranquil getaway; and the Rancho Mirage property is the ideal location for visitors to relax and escape.

Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa: The lodging

There are 444 rooms and 22 luxury suites at the Spanish Colonial-style Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa, with accommodations offering a variety of dynamic views.

Situated in Lakeview, Poolside, Plaza and Vista buildings that weave their way through the golf course, rooms are decorated with luxury bedding and appointments in soft beiges and whites reflective of the surrounding desert terrain, while French doors open to guests' own private balconies or patios. All rooms come equipped with amenities for the modern traveler, including satellite television and high-speed Internet.

Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa: The golf

The 27-hole Ted Robinson-designed Rancho Las Palmas Country Club anchors the resort with enjoyable resort-style golf.

In December 2010, however, powerful southern California rainstorms pounded the area, resulting in the course's wash -- along with the holes running through it -- quickly filling and then receding to reveal 25 acres of mud at up to 6 feet deep. Most notably after a half-million dollar renovation that was completed in early 2011, five new tee boxes were added to the North Course, adding 300 yards to the North/South's now 6,400-yard course. The result is a refreshed and renewed South, West and North courses that are distinctively different but equally fun. Wide and iconic palm tree-flanked fairways offer well manicured and playable lies so long the layouts' six lakes are avoided, and vistas of the towering Mount Jacinto range are abundant throughout the layouts.

Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa: The dining

Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa is known by locals and guests alike for its diverse and quality dining opportunities.

The resort's new signature restaurant, bluEmber, is a particular favorite, illuminating visitors with blue-fire pits alfresco on the resort's plaza or indoors atop hand-carved wood tables for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Under the direction of Executive Chef Sean O'Connell and alongside live music five days a week, appetites are satiated with Euro-Asian influence such as seared ahi tuna lollipops, wok-fired sesame udon noodles and all-natural Diamond Sheep Ranch lamb chops.

After a round of golf, relax in the retro-hip R Bar, grab a burger at the poolside Splash Grill, or grab a latte and snack at Palms Cafe, Rancho Las Palmas' Internet cafe.

Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa: The recreation

The ultimate way to chill out is at one of the resort's bustling pool areas. Splashtopia was part of the resort's multimillion-dollar renovation and reopened as a family oriented pool complete with a lazy river, sand beach and two 100-foot water slides. The new tranquility and spa pools offer a more relaxed and quiet way to cool off, located just off the plaza.

A trip to the Spa Las Palmas, however, promises a better-feeling body and mind. The 20,000-foot facility went through a complete facelift that uncovered 26 treatment rooms; soft blue and green appointments; holistic desert botanicals such as lavender, verbena, cactus and sage; and treatments that include desert earth detoxifying mud wraps and massages inspired by popular desert ideals.

If being active is more up your alley, there are 25 tennis courts -- the desert's largest tennis facility. Regroup with a yoga class or session on the high-end equipment in Rancho Las Palmas' fitness center, or find some shopping therapy by browsing through the resorts boutiques.

Katie DenboKatie Denbo, Contributor

Katie Denbo is the past editor and publisher of FORE Magazine, a regional golf publication based in southern California. A blogger and golf photographer by hobby, she is a member of the Golf Writers Association of America and the California Golf Writers and Broadcasters Association, and has written about and traveled to golf resorts and properties all over the western United States and Canada. Visit Katieshack, Katie's golf blog, at katieshack.com, and follow her on Twitter at @kdenbo.


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