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May 04,2007
Travel and Adventure: Coachella Valley - Perfect pampering in a desert oasis
by Jim Farber

INDIAN WELLS, Calif. - There are so many reasons to choose the Coachella Valley as the destination for a perfect getaway vacation.

STAY FOR THE SPA - Miramonte Resort and Spa, a Tuscan-style oasis in California's Coachella Valley, offers a vast menu of pampering, from the traditional treatments to the exotics. Photo courtesy of Miramonte Resort and Spa. 
FIT FOR A CHAMP - Located next to a championship-caliber golf course, the Hyatt Grand Champions Resort and Spa has 480 rooms and several swimming pools. Photo courtesy of the Hyatt Grand Champions Resort and Spa. 
POOLSIDE PALMS - The Hyatt Grand Champions Resort and Spa has two large pools for families and children and an elegant adult-only pool, all surrounded by palm trees. Photo courtesy of the Hyatt Grand Champions Resort and Spa. 
You can tee off in a golfer's paradise, go all-in playing Texas hold 'em at a plethora of Indian casinos, shop outlet stores or high-end art galleries, escape to the mountains, or simply hold up at one the region's luxurious spas and pamper yourself.

If pampering appeals to you, an ideal choice might be the Miramonte Resort and Spa. Nestled against the slopes of the Santa Rosa Mountains in Indian Wells, this Mediterranean villa-style resort offers all the traditional amenities (restaurant, two swimming pools, cabanas, conference facilities, etc.) while maintaining a sense of intimacy. The grounds are impeccably landscaped with flowers and fruit trees, and restful hammocks are spotted strategically for an afternoon siesta.

But it is the Miramonte's 12,000-square-foot, Tuscan-style spa, The Well, that is the resort's jewel. Enter, and you are in a world apart.

After arriving and being greeted by director Jennifer Di Francesco, your first task is to select your stone. Each has been carved with a significant word: The stone you choose (from a sort of grab bag) indicates the goal of your treatment. Mine said, "Patience." Next you are given a special token, good for one wish in the spa's wishing well.

The vast menu of massages, wraps, scrubs, baths and facials The Well offers (for her, him or both) range from the traditional to the exotic, from New Age meditative to the downright playful practice of "pittura festa" - body painting with mud. Didn't we do that in kindergarten?

"With a palate of colorful muds and clays along with brushes," the spa's literature explains, "the therapist encourages guests to find their artistic side - not to mention their inner child - painting shades of red, green, yellow and black upon themselves and their partner."

In quest of "patience," I decided to pass on mud play in favor of a mud wrap, figuring that if I'm bound up tight from head to toe like a mummy, I'll have to be patient.

Here is how the brochure describes my treatment: "Our strongest blended mud containing oarweed algae. This treatment deeply stimulates circulation and the lymph system. Strong sensations of cold and progressive warmth occur as a state of balance is reached. The body is wrapped and attention is delivered through hands-on compression work followed by a milky massage oil. 60 minutes."

Followed by a nice, deep massage on the outdoor patio, a Polynesian-style flower petal and oil foot-washing ritual (accompanied by the ringing of Tibetan ting shaw bells), and a leisurely soak in The Well's glistening warm water pools, I had definitely achieved my goal for the day. And as I prepared to return to my room, the lovely Miss Di Francesco placed in my hand a small bottle - a mixture of essential oils and scents, she assured me, that have been specifically designed to promote the growth of my physical and psychic well-being.

If you wish to combine luxuriant spa facilities with an even more romantic setting, it's hard to imagine a more perfect hideaway than one of the 19 Garden Villas that are part of the Hyatt Grand Champions Resort and Spa, also in Indian Wells.

The Hyatt is one of the region's large-scale luxury resorts, adjacent to a golf course of championship status. Though not as big as its Las Vegas counterparts, the Hyatt is nonetheless of a grand size, with 480 rooms. The grounds abound with gently flowing streams and lakes. There are several swimming pools - two for families and children, one (the most elegant) for adults only - all surrounded by a veritable forest of palm trees.

But it is the Hyatt's 19 Garden Villas that set the resort apart. These single-story accommodations are an escape unto themselves. Sophisticated in their design and appointments, each villa features a large living room and dining area with plasma televisions and fireplaces. The bathrooms are also spacious with a deep, sunken tub set about with blooming orchids. But the real delight is the private, walled-in garden with lounge chairs and its own hot tub, ideal for soaking together under the sun or stars.

Oh, and did I mention, the villas come with their own butler, who can arrange to have your meals served in your room?

Your villa's room key also admits you to the hotel's Regency Club, where a lavish complimentary breakfast, mid-afternoon tea and wine tasting, and late-night desserts are served.

A short walk from your villa is the Hyatt's internationally acclaimed Aqua Serena Spa. With its cascading fountains, bubbling hot tubs, soft-water steam rooms and myriad treatments, it is one of the most beautiful to be found.

The atmosphere is totally relaxing, the architecture and appointments elegant. And, best of all, guests are welcome to make use of the spa and its facilities at any time.

Extravagant? Yes. But if the occasion calls for a totally sumptuous getaway, ideal for romance, the Garden Villas of the Hyatt Grand Champions are heavenly.


The Miramonte Resort & Spa is located at 45000 Indian Wells Lane, Indian Wells. Mediterranean style in a California setting, this quiet and quite intimate resort is low-key and noted for its many spa treatments at The Well, which are performed in an atmosphere of meditative relaxation. Room rates: $229-$529 with discounts available for midweek visits as well as special packages that combine spa treatments. For information: 800-237-2927 or www.miramonteresort.com.

Hyatt Grand Champions Resort and Spa is a large-scale resort with 480 rooms and 19 Garden Villas. Ideal for couples and families, the resort offers a wide variety of services and facilities, adjacent to a par 72 golf course. Room rates will vary depending on occupancy and the season. The standard room rate during high season (October-May) is $249-$409, low season $99-$299. The Garden Villas (one and two bedrooms) vary between $650 and $2,000. For information: 760-341-1000 or www.hyattgrandchampions.com. For spa reservations: 760-674-4100.

Jim Farber is a staff writer for the Daily Breeze in Torrance, Calif.

Copley News Service

1996 times read

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