When director and writer Frank Capra arrived to La Quinta Resort in the 1930s with his wife Lucille, he worked on his script “It Happened One Night.” The film went on to receive an Academy Award. The beauty and tranquility of the resort brought him inspiration and luck in his writing. He and his wife returned for many winters while he discovered new creative prose for “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington”, “You Can’t Take It With You”, “Mr Deeds Goes To Town” and “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Capra fondly called La Quinta the “Shangri-La of Screenwriting.”
I’ve been told that he found his creative inspiration staying in the San Anselmo casita. Since Capra and his wife Lucille spent many winters at La Quinta, the resort has honored the 450-square-foot cottage The Capra Suite. It offers the luxurious Waldorf Astoria bedding on a king-size bed, among authentic Spanish-style detailing, a wood-burning fireplace, cozy sitting room and over-size windows. Nearby is a special memorable bench with their names on it too.
Word spread about this desert playground and soon Gretta Garbo drove twenty miles beyond Palm Springs “to be alone.” Clark Gable as well as, Presidents Taft and Eisenhower and some of the weatlhiest families including the Crockers and the Vanderbilts vacationed at the resort built in 1926.
Many of the historic casitas, and newer suites, villas and vacation units are surrounded by green lawns, flower gardens or clustered around one of the 41 pools and hot tubs.
During Mother’s Day vacation we stayed in an elegant Starlight casita #246. Walking up a flight of stairs we approached a secured door. Opening it with our room key, we unlocked the door and were transported to a private lounge patio with a large conversation couch, cocktail table, dining table with four chairs and outdoor fireplace. It’s ideal for morning breakfast, napping in the afternoon, and sitting outside in the evening to stargaze while the fireplace is aglow with small flames.
Inside our casita offered a King-size bed with Waldorf Astoria sheets, a fireplace and sofa that can be converted into a bed. The double sink bathroom has a deep soaking tub and seperate shower. There is a small bar with a refrigerator and self coffee service. The Mexican accent tiles give the casita character and a custom design.
To elevate my Mother’s Day I had a 3:30 p.m. facial appointment at the 23,000 sq. ft. luxury La Quinta Spa. My aesnitician Joy pampered me for 80 minutes. Besides facials other treatments include Body Renewal, Sun Worshipper Rituals, Mommy-to-Be Offerings, a variety of massage experiences and skin care treatments.
The next morning we woke up and rented the resort’s bicycles for a four-mile paved bike path ride along the Santa Rosa Mountains. Rentals are available near the Tennis Pro shop. The resort has 23 hard and clay court tennis courts. There is also a large fitness center, bar and cafe by the main family pool.
Working up an appetite, we dined for brunch at Adobe upstairs at The Plaza across from the resort’s entrance. Fountains, flowers and a Mission Bell are in full view when dining al fresco. Guests were enjoying tableside guacamole and salsa and Adobe Grill’s famous margaritas. Executive Chef is Marco Aguilar makes a delicious chicken mole, Taco Salad, Sopes Benedictos and chile relleno. We finished with a delicious bread pudding dessert served with dried fruit and mole ice cream.
For those looking to get away and just chill, La Quinta Resort & Club is one of the best for mental and physical therapy.