When I told my mom, who lives in Palm Desert, California — a stone’s through from La Quinta Resort & Club — that I was getting a massage at the legendary resort’s spa, she said (something to the effect of), “Ooooh. Nice.” Though she hadn’t spent time at La Quinta, she certainly knew its reputation as a member of the Waldorf Astoria resort collection.
Built in 1926, La Quinta, the hacienda-style hotel, actually came before La Quinta the present-day city. This time of year it’s especially fitting to learn that frequent visitor Frank Capra is said to have penned “It’s A Wonderful Life” in his favorite casita. Back in the day, the resort welcomed film legends such as Clark Gable, Shirley Temple, Katherine Hepburn and Errol Flynn. When I popped onto the property to check out its spa, I saw no stars, but plenty of families on hand to celebrate Thanksgiving at the upscale resort, which has an incredible 41 pools for its 700+ guestrooms and villas.
Spa La Quinta Facility
The entrance to Spa La Quinta is inviting — with a tiled fountain and stepping stones that have words like, “light,” “peace,” “love” and “harmony” to set the tone. The spa isn’t that old: it was built in 1998; but the white stucco building, red clay roof and bell tower resemble the 1920′s Spanish, hacienda-style of the original property. The high-ceilinged reception area is light and airy, and features still more fountains.
The showpiece of the spa is the marvelous, peaceful outdoor sanctuary. Here, a big hammock, comfortable lounge chairs under umbrellas and a cozy fireplace (lit on cool evenings) welcome rest and repose before or after spa treatments amid mores pretty landscaping and colorful flowers. Guests can also soak outside in an outdoor hot tub.
Inside, the women’s locker room continues the Spanish Colonial look with decorative tile featuring blue, gold and rose flower designs (and a lot of white tile, too). The locker room is quite big, with a eucalyptus steam shower that was wonderfully steamy (there’s nothing worse than a not-hot-enough steam room). A cool feature is the cold rainshower right in the large steam room, just in case you do start to feel a little overheated. I waited for my massage therapist in the Sage Room.
Spa La Quinta Treatments
I sampled a 50-minute La Quinta Custom Massage ($150), which I enjoyed on a heated table. My therapist listened to my request for a firm touch, and she spent extra time on my neck, a chronic source of tension. I left Spa La Quinta feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.
Next time, I’d book a water therapy before my treatment: a garden aromatherapy bath in a totally private outdoor tub or a customized, open-air Celestial Shower with varying temperatures.
Other signature treatments here include Sacred Stone Therapy, with warmed basalt stones, and geranium and sage essential oils; a Grapefruit Glow, where organically grown grapefruit and Dead Sea salts are rubbed on the body to exfoliate, followed by a Vichy shower rinse and light moisturizer; and the California Essential wrap: body brushing and avocado lotion followed by a cocoon-like wrap and head, neck and foot massage.
Bottom Line: Sure, the rates at Spa La Quinta are hefty, but remember, this luxury property is one of the Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts. (And you can always ask about monthly specials, where certain services are about 25 percent off.) The grounds are gorgeous, and the service is quite good here. Just be sure to arrive for your spa treatment plenty early to fully enjoy the peaceful setting in the outdoor sanctuary.
Learn More: Spa La Quinta website; 760-777-4800.
As is common in the travel industry, I received a complimentary spa treatment.