Every year come tourist season, we locals know exactly where to find the masses of visiting globe trotters. From the array of oceanfront resorts in La Jolla and Coronado to skyline-centric views at high-rise hotels in the Gaslamp Quarter, San Diego’s diverse and picturesque seaside landscape rewards visitors with a platter of oceanic portraits to admire during their vacation.
But for us locals who get a daily dose of the sand and the sea, sometimes a carefree retreat in the sun-kissed Southern California desert is just what the doctor ordered. From Renaissance Esmeralda Resort & Spa and Miramonte Resort & Spa, to Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa and Borrego Springs Resort & Spa, San Diego has many nearby desert oases that offer the perfect weekend getaway.
Discover the best desert resorts in San Diego.
Borrego Springs Resort & Spa in Borrego Springs
Nestled between the Anza-Borrego Desert and the foothills of the Santa Rosa Mountains, Borrego Springs Resort & Spa boasts a variety of recreational amenities, fine dining and comfortable accommodations all within ninety minutes of Palm Springs and San Diego. Each of the beautifully appointed one hundred guest rooms and suites feature private balconies offering views of the Santa Rosa Mountains or refreshing pool. At Borrego Springs opulent Spa Serenity, health and harmony come together in peaceful balance. Soothe and energize your mind, body and spirit with an array of treatments including massage, facials, wraps and scrubs, and manicures & pedicures all presented within the peaceful quarters of Spa Serenity. If you’re hungry after your long day at the spa, head to the Arches Restaurant that offers patrons an expansive view of the golf course, Santa Rose Mountains and lake and a menu featuring American fare coupled with Southwestern dishes. The Fireside Lounge, located at the opposite end of the Clubhouse, offers an intimate atmosphere for guests to enjoy appetizers, sipping cocktails or warming by the roaring fire. For all you avid golfers out there, Borrego is home to three 9-hole courses:, The Palms, Desert Willow and Mesquite, all of which offer guests of all playing ability the challenges of undulating fairways, vast bunkers and five lakes. For more information, please visit Borrego Springs Resort in Borrego Springs.
Riviera Oaks Resort in Ramona
Nestled deep inside the tranquil San Vicente Valley, the Riviera Oaks Resort in Ramona offers a complete escape from the chaos of city life. Transporting guests to a revitalizing rural environment, Riviera Oaks Resort offers spacious 1- and 2-bedroom villas with all the comforts of home, including a fireplace in each and well-equipped kitchens. This family-friendly resort features 16 tennis courts with private and group lessons, paddle tennis, hiking trails, horseback riding and a nearby country club with golf. If relaxation is your sport of choice, the Riviera Oaks Resort has two large swimming pools, two Jacuzzi's and a fabulous Day Spa for the ultimate in pampered relaxation. The Day Spa offers a wide variety of treatments where you can melt away all your stresses. Try the 70-minute Mineral Mud Wrap treatment that softens the skin while nourishing and promoting cellular repair; the Eye Revitalization treatment used to reduce puffiness and diminish dark circles; or a 90-minute Hot Stone Massage. For more information, please visit Riviera Oaks Resort in Ramona.
Renaissance Esmeralda Resort & Spa
Nestled at the base of the majestic Santa Rosa Mountains, the Renaissance Esmeralda Resort & Spa invites you to indulge your every whim. Designed to complement distinction with comfort and convenience, each of the inviting guestrooms and suites features a private balcony and stylish, plush furnishing. If you’re looking for great golf, Esmeralda offers 36-Holes of Championship golf set on a lush and vibrant landscape and an all-new extraordinary 53,000-square-foot clubhouse.At the valley's top Zagat-rated multi-award winning restaurant, Sirocco, guests are tantalized by the sophisticated Italian menu and the Sushi Bar at Glo offers weekly rituals such as sushi and sake pairing, as well as an all-you-can-eat sushi special. Aside from food, Esmeralda also has a lush spa to indulge at.Boasting 19 treatment rooms and 13,300-square-feet of relxation, Spa Esmeralda greets guests with marble floors, glass corridors and the soothing sounds of a trickling stone fountain. Treatments are designed to leave guests pampered and rejuvenated, specially noted the signature East Meets West Massage incorporating traditional Western concepts with Eastern treatments promoting balance and a positive energy flow, and the Vitamin C Wellness Facial that hydrates and nourishes the skin using papaya and Vitamin C extracts. For more information, please visit renaissanceesmeralda.com. (pictured above + main)
Palm Canyon Resort & Spa in Palm Springs
The Palm Canyon Resort and Spa is a luxurious retreat in the heart of Palm Springs. Palm Canyon promises an escape like no other, with spacious, fully furnished villasoffering private bedrooms, well-equipped kitchens, living/dining areas and everything you need for total relaxation. Surrounded by tropical landscaping and a serene atmosphere, the resort features a dramatic rock formation with cascading waterfalls around a 1.5-acre swimming pool and sun deck complete with lush grottos, an in-cave whirlpool spa, and spectacular water slides for adults and children alike. The resort’s luxury Canyon spa is open 7 days a week and offers an array of leading skincare treatments and massages. From Canyon Hot Stone Massages and Noni & Kukui Coconut Wraps, to Vanilla L’Orange Body Scrubs and Micro-Derm Crystal Exfoliation Facials, the team of experienced, highly-trained professionals can provide you will all your relaxation needs. For more information, please visit palmcanyonresort.com.
Miramonte Resort & Spa in Indian Wells
Located in the heart of beautiful Indian Wells, the resort boasts luxurious hotel accommodations in a unique, Mediterranean village inspired setting. Guests will be swept away by the romantic architecture, Italian fountains, fine-crafted stonework, tranquil piazzas, and an exceptional luxury spa. Nestled at the base of the Santa Rosa Mountains, the richly appointed 215 guestrooms, suites and villas are woven into 11 expansive acres of olive trees, fragrant citrus groves, rose, herb and flower gardens. The signature WELL Spafeatures a full range of health and wellness facilities that incorporate techniques inspired by Tuscan living including therapeutic muds, wine extracts, pure essential oils, and refreshing waters. From Table Yoga Therapy, Microdermabrasion, and Organic Veggie Wraps, to Antioxidant Polishes, Detox Mud Wraps, and even “Painting Parties”, guests are guaranteed to find total relaxation at the WELL spa. Aside from the tranquil spa amenities, Miramonte also houses three championship courses ranked in the Top 20 “Best Courses You Can Play” in California by Golfweek Magazine. Spend a day on the green and let all your stress melt away. For more information, please visit miramonteresort.com.
Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa in Rancho Mirage
Fresh on the heels of an incredible $35 million makeover, the new Rancho Las Palmas is classic Rancho Mirage re-imagined for the 21st century traveler. With Splashtopia as the epicenter of its renovation, an incredible two-acre water feature with its own lazy river, slides, pool and beach, Rancho Las Palmas is quite literally the epitome of entertainment. A bustling, central outdoor plaza connects guests to a world of activity including sophisticated fine dining at the bluEmber Restaurant, the 20,000-square-foot Spa Las Palmas, 27 holes of classic desert golf, a 25-court tennis center, and four glistening pools. When you want a retreat from all the action, the spacious Spanish Colonial-inspired guestrooms and suites provide timeless comfort and French doors open to a private patio or balcony where you can enjoy the desert air and splendid views from the comfort of a chaise lounge. For more information, please visit rancholaspalmas.com. (pictured above)
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