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Desert Hot Springs - California

Soak Your Cares Away


Sitting in foothills above the floor of the Coachella Valley, the denizens of Desert Hot Springs look down on the busy life of the rich and famous in Palm Springs and say "who cares." This is a relaxed spa town, supplied with abundant streams of hot mineral water, which are piped to the surface to fill the pools and tubs of motels and spa resorts. And to add to the ambiance, the one of the most exclusive resort hideaways in California is found in Desert Hot Springs.

Since developers found the springs in the area -- long after the Agua Caliente Indians found them -- this small town has been a mecca for vacationers, who wanted to soak in what they believed to be curative waters. A townsite was laid out, hotels with pools were built, and the people came -- thousands of them every winter, many of them Canadians escaping their harsh climate.

Things to See & Do

Many of the town's hotels are located along Hacienda Avenue. Most of them have their own thermal wells. For hot spring fans, this is Xanadu!

Soaking is just one of the activities you could do in the area. Mission Lakes Country Club has an 18-hole golf course, located on Clubhouse Drive, at the northwest edge of town.

Cabot's Old Indian Pueblo, a striking adobe building, with 35 rooms, was built by one man -- Cabot Yerxa -- between 1939 and 1965. It's now a museum which is open daily except Tuesdays.

Reasonably priced—Desert Hot Springs makes a good base for visiting the nearby desert, particularly Joshua Tree National Park, which is just across the Little San Bernardino Range; it's a drive of under an hour to the entrances in Joshua Tree and Twentynine Palms.

Outdoor Attractions

With the large number of hotels and motels—many of them reasonably priced—Desert Hot Springs makes a good base for visiting the nearby desert, particularly Joshua Tree National Park, which is just across the Little San Bernardino Range; it's a drive of under an hour to the entrances in Joshua Tree and Twentynine Palms.

The Mission Lakes Country Club features an 18-hole golf course and is located on Clubhouse Drive, at the northwest end of town on the way to Joshua Tree National Park.

Spas

For hot springs fans, this town is Xanadu. Since developers found the springs in the area (long after the Agua Caliente Indians found them first), it has been a mecca for vacationers who want to soak in what they believe to be curative waters. Hotels with pools were built, a townsite was laid out, and the people came by the thousands every winter, many of them Canadians getting away from their cold climate.

Many of the resort's hotels are located along Hacienda Avenue. Desert Hot Springs Hotel and Spa has an impressive array of pools, its own hot water supply from underground, and a comfortable feeling in its 50 rooms and large but relaxing pool area. In fact, most of the hotels and motels have their own thermal wells, from the Royal Fox Inn with 115 units to the diminutive Hope Springs Resort.

Two Bunch Palms, at 67425 Two Bunch Palms Trail, is a resort so exclusive and private that for many years there was no sign telling you it was there, and it wasn’t listed in any of the town's tourist brochures until the last few years. However it’s now well-known and it does have two telephone numbers you can use for reservations (760-329-8791, Toll Free: 877-839-3609). Reputedly built by Al Capone as a secure hideaway in the 1930s, this resort complex is built around a palm oasis with a deluxe restaurant, two hot mineral pools, a spa program, and spectacularly beautiful grounds—including the old oasis palms. There are tennis courts, a swimming pool, and more.

The place has lost some of its ultimate glamour over the years but itetains its nostalgic charm, the grounds have lush gardens, and the restaurant offers very fine dining. Diners often encounter other spa guests entering the restaurant in their spa robes. Others often dress up for dinner. The resort was in receivership for two years (but still operating) and in February 2012 it was purchased by an investment group from Los Angeles. 3,000 square foot villas are planned to be added to the resort’s 52 rooms over the next two to three years ($$$).

Also mentioned above as an eating destination, the Desert Hot Springs Spa Hotel (10-805 Palm Drive, 760-329-6000 or 800-808-7727) features rooms set around a central courtyard that features eight pools and full spa services ($$$). Another option is the Aqua Soleil Hotel & Mineral Water Spa (14500 Palm Drive, 760-329-4481), with rooms and suites that include a Jacuzzi pool filled with spring water in the living area. There are spa services and a restaurant on the premises ($$ to $$$).

Where to Eat

Desert Hot Springs is not known as a place for fine dining unless you're guesting at Two Bunch Palms, although you can obtain a good meal at the Sunshine Café in the Desert Hot Springs Spa Hotel at 10-805 Palm Drive (800-808-7727) ($$ to $$$). Mission Lakes Country Club 8484 Clubhouse Blvd (760-676-4421) has a full-service dining room, plus a sports bar and lounge serving food in a scenic setting. The dining room is open for lunch Wednesday through Saturday, and for dinner Tuesday through Saturday from 5 to 9 p.m. The bar and lounge are open seven days ($$ to $$$). Where to Stay

Camping

Camping Choices include the Sands RV Resort at 16400 Bubbling Springs Road, 760-251-1030. Sites have full hookups and there are a library, game room, exercise room, laundry, barbecue and picnic areas. Another option is Sam’s Family Spa Hot Water Resort at 70-875 Dillon Road (760-329-6457). They welcome tents, trailers and RVs, and even have motel rooms if you don’t wish to camp.

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Tecopa Hot Springs, California


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