Top Therapeutic hot water awaits. Above left The front
gate to the Hacienda Inn. Above right Naturally growing lemonsand
they are supposed to look this way.
THE OVERWHELMED TV SERIES WRITER,
pressured by deadline; the Hollywood it-couple in search of privacy
and isolation far from the spotlights; the discombobulated travel
editor seeking to shut up, slow down and soak in therapeutic water.
Theyre all headed in the direction of Palm Springs, but stray
north of the interstate to a bizarre little community to chill out
at the Hacienda Inn & Spa.
Why bizarre? Because Desert Hot Springs sits directly
on top of the San Andreas fault line. Directly. On the actual line.
This volatile seam of earths fragile crust supports a string
of natural thermal mineral sources, where super-heated volcanic
water spews from the ground into a range of spa properties. Chi-chi
its not, not like those fancy resorts with the funny names
in nearby Rancho Mirage. More like a desolate little bedroom community
with a declining murder rate. But within the Hacienda compounds
secure walls, tranquillity reigns and the water flows down waterfalls
through trickling ponds, into pristine holding pools reminiscent
of the gardens of the Alhambra in Granada. Beyond the Haciendas
walls lie vistas of surrounding peaks, and to the southwest a panorama
of graceful white turbines swooping in the wind. And none of that
puffed up attitude you might get from monolithic properties which
charge pumped-up prices for all the extras.
small resort of six suites, Hacienda sleeps 12, with only one queen
or king bed per room, yet has most of the amenities of a four-star
at a reasonable price, $120$235 per night, depending on season.
The grounds contain private areas, secluded seating, a rustic fire
pit next to a horseshoe pitch, adjacent to fruit trees where you
can grab an exotic bumpy lemon off a branch (nothing wrong with
themtheyre delicious, and supposed to look that way).
You could stretch your legs out in the cozy lounge, with its fireplace
and big-screen DVD set up with eclectic
disc library. Or simply content yourself with an eccentric book,
found on shelves in every room. Youre sure to run into Socrates
the cat (above right), to whom the place really belongs:
he fearlessly wanders the grounds in search of photo ops.
Creature comforts aside, Haciendas water is seriously
beneficial to the respiratory system, muscles, and skin. A heady
all-natural 130°F cocktail rich in sulphate, sodium, bicarbonate
and calcium, it comes forth from every tap. The resort cools the
swimming pool to 94°F, and the hot tub to 104°F. Every room
looks out on the garden, and water features are never more than
a few steps away. You might want to request room 2, the owners
room, which is situated next to the hot tub; room 7 at the end of
the wing, has its own private patio and hammock.
Your day begins with a buffet-style breakfast at the
covered patio which faces the pool. Fresh squeezed juices, serious
coffee, cut fruit of the season and the Haciendas legendary
granola (recipe on their
website) complement local ranch eggs and signature wafﬂes
hot off the griddle. You could spend your day by poolside, or shopping
at the huge Cabazon outlet mall off to the west, perambulate in
downtown Palm Springs (about a 20-minute drive away), or take a
day expedition to the amazing Joshua Tree National Park monument
an easy hours ride to the north.
Guests usually stay an average of two to three nights,
but several times monthly the entire property gets booked in its
entirety for retreats, wedding receptions or reunions. Its
best to reserve well in advance, to be certain of availability.
Guests like the fact that the Hacienda is eco-friendly, with solar
collectors providing most of the electrical power needs. There are
also regular deals and promos, with special benefits offered to
Facebook friends. The casual style and well-manicured gardens lend
a sense of hospitality and relaxation, another of those islands
of tranquility which feel far far away from the hustle bustle. Yet
this property is less than two hours from Los Angeles.
While each room has a small efficiency kitchenette,
Desert Hot Springs isnt so totally isolated that you will
go hungry. Theres a Starbucks down Palm Drive in the same
shopping centre as the K-mart and Walgreens drugstore. You
can get excellent Mexican fare at the nearby South of the Border
restaurant. Thai Palms, also minutes away, features a tasty menu.
And if you want local colour with your mesquite-grilled steak, try
the Dillon Roadhouse for a culinary adventure.
You dont go to the desert for electric nightlife
and sensory overloadjust the opposite. But at the Hacienda
Hot Springs Inn you may not be able to avoid either kind of star-gazing,
or the temptation to stay another few minutes in the soothing hot
tub, as the stress eases away in wisps of aromatic, therapeutic
Hacienda Hot Springs Inn
12885 Eliseo Road
Desert Hot Springs, CA 92240
Telephone 1 760 251-2885
Stanley Moss is travel editor of Lucire.
Within the Hacienda compound’s secure walls, tranquillity
reigns and the water ﬂows down waterfalls through trickling ponds,
into pristine holding pools reminiscent of the gardens of the Alhambra