Body and Sol: Pampered at Palm Springs Spas
by Karen Misuraca

On a secluded beach behind Land's Peering through my office window at a chill, foggy sky, I tried to imagine the feel of sun on my face. Warmth, I craved warmth, and comfort on this bleakest of winter days. My friends in Palm Springs no longer lived there, so golf at their club and a free stay at their house was out. I decided to head for the desert on my own, figuring the sun and the palm trees would be waiting there for me.

If not golf, why not a relaxing weekend at a spa? Since before the turn of the century, sun- and health-seekers have flocked to the Palm Springs area to the natural thermal mineral springs. Bubbling up out of the ground at hundreds of sites in the Coachella Valley, at a temperature of more than a hundred degrees, the pure, mineral-rich waters of the desert are legendary for their restorative and healing powers. Perhaps a few days of "taking the waters" would cure my winter blahs.

A week later, I stepped onto my private patio at La Quinta Resort and Club and into a hot Jacuzzi, and looked up in the silent night at an umbrella of stars over the jagged ridges of the Santa Rosa Mountains. The view is the same as in the winter of 1926, when La Quinta opened their first scattering of adobe casitas and garden courtyards, which fast became the hideaways of Hollywood stars, such as Ginger Rogers, Errol Flynn and William Holden.

The original twenty Spanish mission-style casitas are now 640 luxurious rooms and suites in lush tropical gardens. The first nine holes of golf in the valley were built here. Today, there are 72 holes of championship golf, including two of the most challenging and famous courses in the world, the fearsome Jack Nicklaus Tournament Course at PGA West, and the TPC Stadium course.

A stroll around the sprawling grounds turns up an astounding twenty-five swimming pools and thirty-eight whirlpool spas. Oceans of magenta-colored bougainvillea cascade over the walls and you can pick oranges and lemons every month of the year.

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©Karen Misuraca; all rights reserved.