Warming Trends

Four Desert Spas You Can’t Miss

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  • Written by
    Darren Elms

Before golf courses and mid-century modern homes, the land occupied by the desert cities of the much-frequented Cochella Valley offered a simpler, even spiritual purpose. Two centuries ago, the native Cahuilla Indians uncovered the area’s mineral hot springs, a treasure that would provide generations a source of healing and vitality. While the landscape may have changed, the spirit of relaxation and rejuvenation lives on with the glorious spa culture of Palm Springs and surrounding cities.

From unrivaled ambiance to mind-blowing treatments, these havens of health offer something special for each lucky visitor’s mind, body and soul. We tested quite a few (tough job, I know) and narrowed down a list of four favorites we think you should consider for your next desert sojourn. Take a deep breath, and let’s begin …

Spa La Quinta

La Quinta Resort Spa and Club

Where: La Quinta Resort Spa and Club 49-499 Eisenhower Drive, La Quinta 800-598-3828, laquintaresort.com
Why: Hollywood royalty, baby. From Garbo to Gable to U.S. presidents, many have sought refuge in this elite resort since 1926. While the property and facilities have expanded over the years, none of the essential charm was lost in the process.
Top Treatment: The HydraFacial. Skin will emerge silky smooth, dewy and bright with this new breakthrough, multi-step skin rejuvenation system utilizing cutting-edge hydradermabrasion technology. Improves the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, acne, hyper-pigmentation, congested pores and uneven skin tone with no surgery, injections, discomfort or down time. (30 minutes/$250; 90 minutes/$375)
The “Aaaah” Factor: The tranquil gardens lined with bougainvillea and blossoms will lure you to sweet surrender.


PSYC Palm Springs Yacht Club

Parker Palm Springs

Where: The Parker, 4200 East Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs 760-770-5000, theparkerpalmsprings.com
Why: Formerly the Merv Griffin Resort Hotel, then the Givenchy Spa and now part of the Meridian group of luxury boutique hotels, this retro-hip, Jonathan Adler-designed haven for the happening hits all the right buttons.
Top Treatment: Guilty Pleasures—a 45-minute Sugar Scrub, followed by a 60-minute Tailor Made Massage and a 60-minute Spa Pedicure. ($285)
The “Aaaah” Factor: As stated in their manifesto, “We believe you are only young once … but you can be immature forever.”


The Well Spa

Miramonte Resort & Spa

Where: Miramonte Resort & Spa 45000 Indian Wells Lane, Indian Wells 760-341-2200, miramonteresort.com
Why: Rated the #1 resort spa by Condé Nast Traveler, it’s hard to argue with top-notch service, a Tuscan vibe and those breathtaking Santa Rosa Mountains.
Top Treatment: Desert Rain Massage. Essential oils like marjoram and wintergreen drop like rain along the spine to boost immunities, reduce mental fatigue and calm the central nervous system. A relaxing, full-body massage includes a warm compress to enhance the effects. Designed exclusively for The Well Spa by certified aromatherapist Lori Torquati.
The “Aaaah” Factor: Couples may enjoy a cozy, seated barrel soak for two overlooking the mountains before bedtime.


Spa Terre

Riviera Palm Springs

Where: Riviera Palm Springs 1600 North Indian Canyon Drive Palm Springs866-588-8311, psriviera.com
Why: Housed in a private theater built for Frank Sinatra, the 11,000-square-foot spa facility keeps the swinging 60s alive with an eclectic, exotic ambiance.
Top Treatment: Javanese Royal Treatment–an experience inspired by Indonesian prenuptial rituals (lulur), which includes a Balinese massage, herbal exfoliation and decadent soak in a tub strewn with rose petals. (110 minutes/$250)
The “Aaaah” Factor: The spa’s centerpiece, the Buddha Lounge, invites visitors to relax among glass mosaic tiles, towering replicas of tropical palms and the cascading waters of the rare Watsu pool, home to the tranquil Watsu massage.