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April 1st, 2009 by Temple City Tribune
Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa in Rancho Mirage is a magical place in the middle of the desert, but is no optical illusion. It is 240 lush acres of lakes, pools, palm trees, flowers, fountains, golfing greens, beautiful Spanish Colonial Architecture and much more.
I recently escaped to the resort for a weekend of relaxation and culinary delight.
My getaway began when a friend and I checked into an elegant suite, overlooking the resort’s lake and 27-hole Ted Robinson-designed golf course. Spacious and quiet, the room featured a large flat screen TV, two queen beds, mini-bar, coffee-maker, bathroom with vanity area, and free wireless Internet.
The amenities were plush, but the suite’s best feature was its lake-front patio. Here we sipped coffee in the morning and wine at night, while enjoying warm desert wind and watching golfers on the green and ducks and swans in the water.
Beyond the patio, the Rancho Las Palmas spreads out like a Hawaiian village with Spanish Architecture. The resort’s desert palette is a soothing mixture of beige, sand and ivory colored structures. Around every corner are archways, French doors, swirling staircases, trickling fountains and healthy gardens. And between every opening there are swaying palm trees, whispering in the wind.
One of my favorite resort locations was the relaxing adults-only Tranquility Pool. For those who like peaceful pool settings, this is a great place to unwind.
And for those who bring their kids there is Splashtopia, a two-acre water adventure, with a 425-foot lazy river; two, 100-ft.-long water slides; a waterfall; a sandy beach; a café and bar; and a huge swimming pool, with fountains and sprinklers. When I visited in late March, Splashtopia was packed with happy kids and their families.
The kids may have Splashtopia, but when it comes to classy and creative food, the resort offers the bluEmber Restaurant for grownups.
Exuding a desert hip atmosphere, bluEmber invites guests to dine inside in style or outside by a crackling fireplace. We ate inside at a carved wooden table next to large windows looking over the resort.
Our meal began with seared Ahi tuna lollipops, an incredible appetizer creation, featuring tuna cubes on wooden lollipop sticks bathing in a spicy Asian BBQ sauce. Created by bluEmber chef Shannon Olvera, this dish is worth a return trip. We followed this with a beet & goat cheese salad and a bluEmber BLT wedge salad.
For the main course I choose Cajun swordfish with a spicy corn relish, mashed potatoes and fresh carrots and squash. My friend enjoyed surf and turf with petite filet mignon and Australian lobster tail.
After dinner we relaxed by the fire pit and listened to live acoustic music. In the morning I hit the fitness room, where I worked out with actor Mario Lopez, who was also staying at the resort.
By Greg Aragon
Rancho Las Palmas Resort and Spa is located at 41-000 Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage, 92270. For more info, current specials, spa and golf packages, call (866) 423-1195 or (760) 568-2727 or visit: www.rancholaspalmas.com.