The lure of the desert to some may be the gorgeous sunrises and sunsets. It may be the desert terrain and landscape, especially in the Spring of the blooming wild flowers native to the desert region that attract many to visit. The above coupled with outstanding golf and accommodation is definitely a spot in the desert called Indian Wells, nestled in a pristine cove of the Coachella Valley, located in Southern California. This quaint oasis dates back to 1823, when Mexican explorer Captain Jose Romero deemed the area “Indian Wells,” as the Indian village formed around a hand-built well that was dug by women of the Cahuilla Tribe. By the 1950’s, Hollywood celebrities Desi Arnaz, Lucille Ball, Bob Hope, and others settled and built The Indian Wells Hotel. In 1960, Arnold Palmer won the first Bob Hope Desert Classic at the Indian Wells Country Club, which put Indian Wells on the map as a golf destination. By the late 1970’s, the Coachella Valley became a residential resort magnet and a prosperous spot of luxury and financial affluence. Presently, Indian Wells is considered a premier community that includes choice resort, the Renaissance Esmeralda, a quality Marriot property. The Esmeralda, a 5 Star Resort Hotel, is located at the base of the picturesque Santa Rosa Mountains and is just 17 miles from Palm Springs International Airport. Fantastic dining, spa, tennis, swimming pools, hiking and bike paths are all onsite at this fine resort. Local shopping and attractions are all within a 20 minute or less drive. The Indian Wells Golf Resort, a public course housing 2 magnificent 18 hole golf courses – The Celebrity Golf Course and the Players Golf Course, is conveniently located right next to the Renaissance Esmeralda, so it is just a cart ride from the hotel. The multi-million dollar golf resort was featured on the Big Break, Season 15 which aired May 2011. The best time to visit Indian Wells is during the Winter-Spring months, as the flora is in full bloom, the weather is spectacular, and the golf courses are at their peak in landscape and playability. Whether you vacation for a few days or a week, you will always have something to do on your holiday.
A stay at the Renaissance Esmeralda, award winning resort and spa by Golf Magazine’s Premier Golf Resort accolades, is more than a typical resort vacation. Upon entering, you will be welcomed by a stunning eight-story atrium lobby and a grand staircase leading down to a comfortable sitting area and the hopping Stir Lounge bar, with access to restaurants Cava and Glo Sushi, and fine Italian dining at Sirocco. A walk outside reveals outdoor seating by fire pits to lounge and enjoy a drink or two. Stroll through the property and encounter 3 swimming pools, a sandy beach with volleyball court, lighted fountains and lakes along lush foliage and palm tree-lined paths. Luxurious accommodations include 80 oversize corner rooms and 22 deluxe suites all with plush beds, views of pool or mountains, a soothing artistic décor, and upscale in-room amenities. Dine at the Zagat Top-Rated Sirocco for fine Italian gourmet food, where signature dishes are prepared with fresh locally grown ingredients, and Executive Chef Eric Theiss incorporates his flare to create superb cuisine that is utterly unforgettable! High on the recommendation list is the Raviolini D’Aragosta, which is a hand-made ravioli with lobster and Dungeness crab meat drizzled with a most uniquely flavored shrimp lobster brandy sauce. A meal at Sirocco will keep you coming back during your stay! And, for an after dinner treat, stroll down to the Gelato bar, conveniently located on the lobby floor.
A quick breakfast at the Cava bistro will set you up with the energy you will need for a round of golf on the Celebrity Golf Course at the Indian Wells Golf Resort. The City of Indian Wells-owned Indian Wells Golf Resort, managed by Troon Golf, is recognized by Golfweek’s top ten of the “Best Municipal Courses You Can Play” in the nation. Players and guests will be overwhelmed upon entering this spectacular upscale, multi-million dollar 53,000 square foot club house, as the fine craftsmanship is seen throughout in every aspect of the building. The Golf Pro shop also houses the Callaway Performance Center that is staffed by certified club specialists that will analyze your swing with hi-tech camera equipment, and then provide you with the custom club specifications to take with you. Grab your tee time pager and a bucket of balls to practice your swing at the driving range, and the club will “beep” you when you are up to tee off. Set your GPS on your golf cart as you drive over to the Celebrity Course.
The Celebrity Course, designed by Clive Clark in November 2006, is an 18-hole, par-72 golf course (total of 7,050 yards from back tee) featuring striking views of the Santa Rosa and San Bernadino Mountain Ranges and majestic Eisenhower Mountain that stands to the South, beautiful floral landscape with water throughout in the form of streams, brooks, waterfalls and split level lakes. Clark’s fine detail to the contour of the undulating fairways, strategic use of bunkers and pin placement on the greens earned host course for the 2007 and 2008 LG Skins Game, and the Big Break 2011 Season 15. Notable holes are 4, 14, and 18 due to the combination of placement of trouble spots along the fairway and green, and his attention to use of the natural terrain and landscape. Hole 4, Par 5, 501 yards from back to tee box to green, with tee boxes terraced among the trees. Aim to drive 194 yards to the left to keep clear of the large bunker and trees to the right, stay center as you drive about 175 yards that will set you before the water and hill to the green. A nice shot to the center of the green will keep you away from the bunkers on each side and to the back. Most greens on the course are a bit bowled, and this one declines toward the water, so a precise putt to pin is desirable. Hole 14 is considered to be the Celebrity Course Signature Hole by Joe Williams, Director of Golf. Joe says, “#14 is truly a risk/reward par 5 with beauty all around. It measures 519 yards in length, and has breathtaking views of Mr. Eisenhower, as well as the surrounding foothills. The hole is extremely well bunkered, but what give’s the hole it’s beauty are the many flower beds and the beautiful water features of two lakes, including one that fronts the green and is fed by a spectacular waterfall just right of the green. #14 also has a meandering stream that bisects the fairway, making the lay-up shot even more difficult!” Hole 18 is absolutely a gorgeous hole with water along the tee boxes to the left, dogleg fairway to the left with bunkers on the right, water on the left and in front of the green. This par 4 is 388 yards from back tee to pin, so drive to stay right on the fairway short of the bunkers will place you in a nice drive over water in front of the green with a pitch up center and short of the pin. An over pitch could place you in the bunkers lining the back of the green. Split level lake with water fall features make this hole grand! Stop off at the club house for a cool beverage or nice lunch in their club restaurant and bar where you can take in the course or watch sports on one of their many strategically place flat screen televisions.
Spend the afternoon relaxing by one of the Esmeralda’s pool, and take in a Spa treatment. The Spa Esmeralda is 13,300 square feet of 11 indoor treatment rooms, 8 outside treatment cabanas, one indoor couple’s suite, lush garden with seating area for relaxation, and his/her steam room and relaxation lounge. This Spa works with traditional Western concepts incorporating them with Eastern treatments to promote balance and positive energy flow. Signature treatments incorporate indigenous ingredients from the area to enhance the senses. One of the most rejuvenating and refreshing treatments is the Thaiyurveda Herbal Massage. This massage incorporates the Thai methods of balance of the mind, heart, body and energy by incorporating acupressure movements along the energy Zen lines, stretching techniques and herbal compresses massaged into muscles and joints to loosen and relax your whole body. The therapist will begin your treatment with a chime and you will be transformed as he/she works on every part of your body – legs, feet, arms, hands, back, upper chest, head, and even your torso and digestive area. The compresses are a combination of tea leaves, citrus, peppermint, and other natural herbs. And, after 190 blissful minutes, your session will end with a chime. Relaxation and mind/body rejuvenation to ready you for your next round of golf the next day!
Prepare for another day of an unparalleled golf experience, as you play the Player Golf Course at Indian Wells Golf Resort. Designer and leading golf architect John Fought created “a classic American design” with generous fairway width with sculpted bunkers in a style emulating a design created by Dr. Alister MacKenzie of Australia, which opened in November 2007. The 18-hole, par 72 at 7,376 yards incorporates the right balance of trees, bunkers and water with views of the mountains to create a sense of solitude for the player. Holes 5, 6, and fun and challenging Hole 17 are definitely worth note. Hole 5, par 4 @ 469 yards encompasses the natural desert terrain with a dog leg right trees to the left and bunkers and desert to the left. The tee boxes are set next to the desert landscape, so a drive to the left center will keep you out of the trees and the strategically placed bunker at 303 yards. The course is hilly with approach to the right to the generous green and bunkers are lining the right. The Signature Hole of the Players Course, according to Mr. Williams is Hole 6. Joe Williams explains, “This hole is a dogleg left with a large lake running down the left side of the fairway. The tee shot offers the golfer a risk of cutting the corner to provide an easier approach shot or they can play it safe and leave for a longer approach. Either way, the golfer will be pleased the tremendous view of the surrounding Santa Rosa Mountains.” Hole 17, a par 3 at 146 yards is stunning with floral detail, a lake to the left, large bunkers to the left and back of green, and trees lining the back of the green. An accurate drive to just short of the pin will allow you to sink your putt in 2! Another fine finish on 18, then you are off to the club house for refreshments or a lunch of the IW Restaurant’s delicious signature dish of fresh Mango Chicken Salad with Carrot Cake for dessert! To make a tee time or get more information on the Indian Wells Golf Resort, go to www.indianwellsgolfresort.com.
In addition to golf, there are a multitude of activities to indulge in, including hot air balloon rides at sunset, shopping at the Westfield mall, a day at the Morongo Indian Reservation Casino and shopping outlet mall in the community of Cabazon, the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway from the desert floor to the top of San Jacinto Mountain where you can dine at one of their restaurants, and the Living Desert Zoo and Botanical Gardens. For full information on all Indian Wells activities, go to www.indianwells.com. For information on booking your stay and spa with the Renaissance Esmeralda, go to www.renaissanceesmeralda.com.