HOW MANY MILES FROM WEST COVINA? 107 miles
HYATT GRAND CHAMPIONS RESORT, VILLAS AND SPA
44600 Indian Wells Lane
Weekday prices (from the resort’s Web site) range from about $210 per night for a standard room to $800 per night for a one-bedroom villa. Our bargain rate was $55 per night, plus taxes and surcharges, from priceline.com for a standard room.
By Rebecca Flenniken
Lured by a bargain-basement online rate on a resort hotel room, my husband and I decided to spend a few days celebrating our anniversary in the desert oasis of Indian Wells. It is only an hour and a half drive from our home in Rancho Cucamonga.
Indian Wells is a close neighbor to the famed celebrity hideaway of Palm Springs. The area is known for its world-class tennis and golf facilities, as well as many resorts and fine dining spots.
The straight-shot drive down the 10 Freeway was an easy one, and we arrived in mid-afternoon on a Sunday at the Hyatt Grand Champions Resort, Villas and Spa. Our spacious room featured a step-down sitting area, a flat-screen TV and stone tile in the bathroom.
After enjoying a late lunch at a local seafood restaurant, we returned to explore the expansive grounds of the hotel. The grounds, rich with palm trees, include seven pools, several restaurants, a 36-hole golf course and tennis courts.
That evening we took in a movie at The River at Rancho Mirage shopping center, a short six-mile drive from our hotel. The shopping center’s outdoor ambiance was reminiscent of Pasadena’s Paseo Colorado, highlighted by a large man-made waterfront with fountains. Live music filled the air as we strolled.
The next day, our anniversary, we went out for breakfast at a nearby IHOP. We decided not to go to any of the resort’s restaurants during our stay, as we concluded the price would not be worth the convenience.
After breakfast, I headed to the resort’s spa, the Agua Serena, for a few hours of pampering. I started with a facial, followed by a massage and a manicure. The staff was knowledgeable and extremely friendly, and the environment was peaceful and serene.
After my treatments I met my husband at one of the pools, the Oasis Pool, which is reserved for guests 18 and older. (We had left our two small children in the capable hands of my in-laws for our getaway … families traveling with children have their pick of several other pools in the complex, including one with a waterslide).
One unique feature of the Oasis was the opportunity to rent (for a fee) a private poolside cabana, which we did for a half-day (four hours). The cozy, covered nooks included plush lounge chairs, a ceiling fan and cool-water mister, a small fridge stocked with bottled water and fresh fruit, and a television. Staff came to the cabana periodically to take orders for, and deliver, (pricey) cocktails and food. We ended up getting our money’s worth, lazily using the cabana for the full four-hour time slot.
Our anniversary dinner was spent at LG’s Prime Steakhouse in the neighboring town of La Quinta. The food, ambience and service were good, not great, and the price tag was steep.
That night we headed back to The River shopping center for ice cream and another stroll along the “waterfront.”
The next morning we headed for home, stopping first about 20 miles west of Indian Wells for a little shopping at the outlet mall in Cabazon.
We returned home with our batteries recharged and we’d like to visit the area again. Next time we’ll plan on being a little more active, maybe with a hike at Joshua Tree National Park and a trip up the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway.