If you are seeking an all around classic Palm Springs vacation the Omni Rancho Las Palmas in the heart of Rancho Mirage would be an excellent choice. With 27 holes of golf, a newly remodeled spa, good dining options, an adult pool as well as a children’s oriented waterpark, a large tennis center, and very nice rooms... this place has you covered.
Rancho Las Palmas Country Club features 27 holes of golf designed by architect Ted Robinson. While not a long course by today’s standards it is a challenging layout none the less. The course is laid out on gentle rolling terrain and plays in and around six lakes, a desert wash and 1,500 palm trees that line the fairways. While many of the holes are reasonably wide and forgiving, many more are quite narrow off the tee putting a premium on accuracy not distance. This makes it a very fun course for players of all skill levels.
The course was in very good condition with winter overseeding keeping nearly the entire layout looking very green and very playable. The greens themselves were very nice and many were quite undulating serving up another way that this classic course uses to defend par. The toughest holes for me were the shortest and the tightest. These were often lined on both sides by homes as the holes wound through portions of the property. This made the ability to shape your shot off the tee more important than distance when trying to keep it in the fairway. For settling bets after golf or just a place to reminisce there is a very nice clubhouse with excellent food and drink and a wonderful view of the challenging finishing holes.
The Omni Rancho Las Palmas is set on 240 acres and it has wonderfully landscaped grounds, soaring palm trees and glistening lakes. There are 444 guestrooms and 22 suites clustered in small buildings around the property. The rooms are very generous in size and each has either a patio or balcony. They feature large flat screen TV’s, free WiFi, nice bathrooms and a sense of privacy as they are not in one large building. I liked being in Building 3 as it was close to the main complex which houses the spa. bar, restaurants and adult pool.
For relaxation there is a newly remodeled (2013) 20,000 square foot spa with 26 treatment rooms. It features body treatments, facials and its own amenities including a peaceful courtyard and private pool. In addition, there is the adult Azure pool just off the main plaza and overlooking two of the golf courses signature holes. For families and the more active among you there are many ways to get your exercise in. For kids and the young at heart there is Splastopia. This water wonderland land features two 100 foot slides, a lazy river and a sand beach. In addition, there is a fabulous 25 court tennis complex as well as walking paths throughout the resort grounds.
There are many dining options on site to suit all your needs. The signature restaurant is bluEmber. This lovely spot is right on the main plaza, serves three meals a day and offers both indoor and outside dining as well as live music a few days a week. Other choices include Palms Café for coffee, pizzas and light fare, R Bar for for drinks and the poolside Splash Grill. If you feel the need to dine off site, directly across the street is The River. This is a beautiful upscale area well known throughout the valley and features a wide array of shops, restaurants and entertainment.
All in all the Omni Rancho Las Palmas will provide you with a classic desert vacation experience. With its prime location, abundance of activities and pleasant customer service it is hard to go wrong.
It is not often that amazing service, great location, quality golf, outstanding food and abundant amenities come together in one place. Yet that is exactly what you will find at The Grand Del Mar in the hills north of San Diego.
This upscale resort is at once large yet intimate and offers something for everyone. From golfers to spa goers, tennis players to equestrians and hikers to fitness gurus The Grand Del Mar has you covered. Its location is just a short drive by car (or complimentary shuttle) to the shores of the Pacific and the famous beaches and shops of Torrey Pines, La Jolla and all the other wonderful sites of this southern California vacation wonderland.
The Grand Golf Club features a dramatic Tom Fazio design that stretches from hilltops to ravines and all the terrain in between. Measuring over 7100 yards from the back tees, this Par 72 layout demands play from the correct tees to fully enjoy your round. With a starting yardage of 4824 yards, the course is playable for all levels of golfers but the demanding greens, dramatic bunkering and devilish elevation changes are sure to test every shot and club in your arsenal. Be sure to bring them all as I can guarantee you will need them some time during your round.
Perhaps the most appealing aspect of this Fazio design is the constantly changing variety of holes. You will find short ones and long ones, straight ones and doglegs, uphill and downhill, and holes that play on windswept hilltops to tree lined canyons and everything in between. A number of holes offer dramatic elevation changes with soaring tees playing to small ribbons of fairways off in the distance.
Adding to the great service found throughout the property is the Forecaddie that accompanies each resort foursome. Your Forecaddie will help navigate the course, read greens, find stray balls and assist with club selection for everyone in your group. If you have never played with a Forecaddie it is a wonderful experience and well worth the recommended gratuity.
The resort features a number of fine dining and casual eating options including Southern California’s only Five Star, Five Diamond rated restaurant named Addison. It is located on a hilltop above the main resort and is adjacent to the golf clubhouse. This beautiful setting offers views of the surroundings equal to the great food from the kitchen. While I did not have the privilege of eating at Addison this time around its impressive menu, credentials and consistent reviews make me look forward to my next stay.
I did dine at the resorts other fine dining option…Amaya. It is a beautiful room with its own lovely bar in the lower level of the main resort building. Amaya serves breakfast, lunch and dinner in a warm and inviting atmosphere with a well rounded menu. Dinner at Amaya features a full array of tasty appetizers and entrees ranging from Scottish Salmon to Colorado lamb to free range chicken. A Three Course Chef’s Tasting menu is also available. No matter your choice you will not be disappointed with the options or the quality of the excellent food and service at Amaya.
Besides fine dining there are a number of casual eating options including poolside service, a wonderful coffee shop that offers sandwiches (and much more) as well as Club M which is also located in the beautiful golf clubhouse complex. In addition, room service is never a bad option.
The Grand Del Mar is a luxury resort with amazing pool areas, spa, tennis, an equestrian center, extensive grounds and amazing common areas including a luxurious lobby, library room, lobby bar, patio and boutique shops. What sets these types of properties apart is the attention to detail, quality and service. Grand Del Mar offers everything from complimentary shuttle rides within a generous radius of the property to underwater music in the pool to rooms equipped with doorbells when turn down service arrives at night.
What impressed me the most at The Grand Del Mar were the outstanding rooms, great customer service (from the Valet to the front desk and from housekeeping to the golf shop) and the overall relaxing feel of the entire property. Rooms and common areas deserve special mention as they exude the well appointed feel found throughout the entire resort. Guest rooms are very spacious with comfortable beds, a sitting couch, large flat screen TV’s, free WiFi and spacious marble bathrooms with separate showers, soaking tubs, dressing area and double vanities.
I encourage you to visit their website and plan a stay at this amazing place. In my work as a travel planner, personal concierge and private tour guide I get to visit a lot of great resorts. Let me assure you that Grand Del Mar (thegranddelmar.com) is on par with all of them. Its location and feel reminded me of another top notch southern California resort...Pelican Hill. Its service brought to mind that of the venerable Broadmoor in Colorado Springs. And the grounds were reminiscent of the beautiful Phoenician in Scottsdale. Not bad company if you ask me.