La Quinta Resort & Club
Old School, Family-Friendly, Spanish Revival
49-499 Eisenhower Drive La Quinta, CA laquintaresort.com
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At a Glance
A legendary property where director Frank Capra conceived his immortal Christmas movie It’s a Wonderful Life, the resort’s 617 rooms—comprising barrel-tile roofed Spanish colonial bungalows and poolside suites—make La Quinta conducive for both relaxation and active families with plenty to do from pickle ball to yoga. Look for updates as new owners begin refurbishments to both grounds and rooms.
- That Old School vibe your grandparents would want (and you will, too)
- The locally-sourced organic produce served at Morgan’s in the Desert
- The eight violet-colored professional pickle ball courts
La Quinta Resort & Club Review
Travelers searching for a luxurious desert getaway near Los Angeles without the Palm Springs glam should consider La Quinta Resort & Club. Nuzzling the Santa Rosa Mountains, the 45-acre Hilton Curio Collection property eschews the region’s usual Mid-Cen-Mo trappings in favor of Spanish revival architecture – the rage in 1926, when the resort first opened with 20 bungalows in the middle of a palm tree farm. Its remote location, 22 miles southeast of Palm Springs, made it a favorite escape for movie stars like Clark Gable, Bette Davis and Greta Garbo, as well as President Dwight Eisenhower, who visited so often in the 1950s the road to the resort now bears his name.
Today, La Quinta contains 617 hotel rooms and suites, along with 98 whitewashed villas which are clustered around 41 swimming pools. Interiors feature Spanish-inspired furnishings and Mexican tilework. There’s a trade-off for all the tradition, however: La Quinta’s well-appointed suites aren’t new, though the furniture does its job until new owners, Henderson Park, finish their refurbishment scheduled before 2026, the resort’s centennial.
There’s no shortage of activities, from the 21 tennis courts (La Quinta hosts the annual BNP Paribas Open) to the 24-hour fitness club with exercise classes like flow yoga and Pilates free to guests. If you’re a film buff seeking some old school Hollywood magic, request a room numbered in the 100s—the original bungalows clustered around a burbling waterfall behind the lobby, including the one-bedroom suite where legendary film director Frank Capra wrote the script for It’s a Wonderful Life. (It’s a popular choice in December) The typewriter he used is still there, adding both history and charm. Bear in mind these rooms vary in layout and can be smaller than the property’s more modern additions, but they’re conveniently located near La Quinta’s signature restaurant, Morgan’s in the Desert, one of the resort’s three restaurants. Other rooms to book include the two-bedroom Dorothy Azner Suite, paying homage to one of Hollywood’s early female directors. Or consider requesting the Hacienda Grande, one of five presidential suites complete with a landscaped courtyard, private pool and spa.
To unwind, head to the 23,000-square-foot Spa La Quinta for massage, facial and wet treatment rooms, seven private whirlpool baths as well as steam and inhalation rooms. The spa’s bougainvillea-bedecked Sanctuary Courtyard provides a tranquil hideaway before or after treatments. Guests without appointments can loll around with a $65 day pass. A recommended treat.
Who Should Stay
Families with children, intergenerational groups, those who savor an old school resort’s tempo with a lot of organized activities on offer.