Summer Fun at La Quinta Resort & Club

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.”

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Frank Capra Casita

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.

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The view and pool from Starlight Casita #246

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.

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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.IMG_3444

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.IMG_3519

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. IMG_3551

For those looking to get away and just chill, La Quinta Resort & Club is one of the best  for mental and physical therapy.

My review of La Quinta Resort & Club was featured in JustLuxe – Celebrities flock to Luxury La Quinta Resort & Club

10 Holiday Events in Palm Springs

Even though the temperature in December is in the 70s during the day, it can get chilly during the evening, inspiring at holiday climate. Here are 10 Festive Things to See and Do During The Holidays in the greater Palm Springs area –

(Photo by Jill Weinlein)
(Photo by Jill Weinlein)
  1. It’s A Wonderful Life at La Quinta Resort –Legendary director and screenwriter Frank Capra used to come to La Quinta Resort to get away from hectic Hollywood. He loved staying in the San Anselmo casita and sitting by the pool for inspiration to write his Academy Award winning scripts. I love the Starlight Casitas with its big patio, outdoor fireplace, conversational couch, coffee table, another table and four chairs. The views of the nearby majestic mountains and one of the 41 pools inspired me to write too. The holiday tree is now up and shining bright. The prix fixe menu by three-time James Beard award-winning chef and pioneer of the farm-to-table movement, Jimmy Schmidt at Morgan’s in The Desert is elegant. The new Sommelier Lisa Tussing pairs each course beautifully. Be sure to rent bicycles and ride the 7-mile route from La Quinta to La Quinta Cove and Old La Quinta before pedaling back to the resort. http://www.laquintaresort.com

2. Holiday Villagefest

Every Thursday in December: Holiday Villagefest downtown Palm Springs is a festive shopping event among dazzling lit palm trees lining Palm Canyon Drive. Gifts available during this holiday shopping night range from fashion apparel to home furnishings in downtown and the uptown design district. Hours are from 6 to 10 p.m. http://www.villagefest.org/

(Photo by Jill Weinlein)
(Photo by Jill Weinlein)

3. Visit the Living Desert Museum

Where else in California can you ride a camel? Visit The Living Desert – In the evening, come see over 750,000 twinkling lights illuminate The Living Desert. This year wild lights featuring new light displays, holiday entertainment and wildlife wonder shows. Festivities are every Friday and Saturday evenings with special days added for Christmas. http://www.livingdesert.org/

(Photo Courtesy of the Living Desert Museum)
(Photo Courtesy of the Living Desert Museum)

4. City of Palm Springs Annual Tree Lighting

On December 3, the City of Palm Springs and Santa Claus will be at Frances Stevens Park for the annual lighting of the City’s 22-foot “green” holiday tree. There will be free cookies and hot cocoa, plus some surprises. Bring one canned food item to feed the hungry during the holidays. The lighting is at 5 to 7 p.m. on the corner of Alejo and Palm Canyon Drive near Palm Canyon Theater. www.ci.palm-springs.ca.us. The tree will be up for all to admire after December 3 until after the holidays.

5. Festival of Lights Parade

Celebrity Tony Hawk will be the 2015 Celebrity Grand Marshal for the City of Palm Springs’ signature parade is the Festival of Lights featuring floats adorned in colorful holiday lights, marching bands, performing groups and Santa and Mrs. Claus. This year’s parade is on December 5 at around 5:45 pm. It starts at Ramon Road and Palm Canyon Drive. http://www.psfestivaloflights.com/

(Photo Courtesy of Palm Springs Aerial Tram)
(Photo Courtesy of Palm Springs Aerial Tram)

6. Ride the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway

On December 6, singer Jack Jones will be the Celebrity Tree Lighter at the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway’s Annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony. The tree is full of 6,000 Led lights. Festivities begin at the Mountain Station at 5:30 p.m. with the Palm Springs High School Choir singing a selection of holiday songs. Event is free with tram admission price. Both the Valley Station and Mountain Station will be festively decorated by Ultimate Events Inc. Take a ride up the tram during the holiday season. Hopefully there will be a little bit of snow. If not, the views are amazing and the aroma of the pine needles enhance the holiday spirit up at the top of the tram. Go to www.pstramway.com.

(Walk of the Inns at Korakia Photo credit David A. Lee)
(Walk of the Inns at Korakia Photo credit David A. Lee)

7. Walking Tour of the Inns

The 20th annual, free self-guided walking tour of Palm Springs’ unique collection of boutique hotels and historic inns, and holiday toy drive for well in the desert. The city’s historic and mid- century modern gems open their doors on December 10 for public tours as part of its annual ‘Walking Touring of the Inns.” Visit 100-year old adobe inns to Mediterranean inspired villas, that include Casa Cody, Old Ranch Inn, Orbit In, Korakia Pensione, and Calla Lilly Inn. The tour begins at 4 p.m. and and runs until 7:00pm. The evening self-guided tour begins at any of the participating hotels or at Palm Springs Art Museum at 101 Museum Way. The museum will provide free maps and flashlights for the walk. Maps can be picked up at the Palm Springs Art Museum. www.walkingtouroftheinns.com

8. Santa Fly-In at Palm Springs Air Museum

On December 13 at 1 p.m., Santa flies into Palm Springs early with a bag full of goodies for all children, under the wing of a vintage warbird. Children under 12 years old admitted free with a paying adult. www.palmspringsairmuseum.org

(Photo courtesy of the Gay Mens Choir)
(Photo courtesy of the Gay Mens Choir)

9. Holiday Music and Song

The Palm Springs gay men chorus presents Brassy, Sassy and Classy songs from the mid-century era on December 13 at 8 p.m. and December 14 at 3 p.m, at the Jewish Community Center Palm Springs. Some of the holiday hits they will sing include – “I’ll be home for Christmas” and “Santa bring my baby back”. This entertaining holiday program includes Hanukkah favorites, and will also introduce new small ensembles. http://www.psgmc.com/home/

(Photo courtesy of the Desert Sun)
(Photo courtesy of the Desert Sun)

10. Robolights

Now through January 3, 2016 come see a one-of-a-kind holiday tradition Robots and tons of lights. These are painted and recycled sculptures are draped in lights by Kenny Irwin’s, the creator of Robolights. “This year will be fifty times better than the past. Nearly three tons of lights will be flipped and the public will be mesmerized to one of the holiday’s most unique experience,” said Irwin. Be sure to check out the peppermint climbing tower of robots. Daily from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Irwin Family Estate 1077 E Granvia Valmonte, Palm Springs, CA 92262.

To learn more about Holiday events in greater Palm Springs area, go to www.visitgreaterpalmsprings.com