A Desert Getaway

Online Editor Monica Poling enjoys some downtime at the Hacienda Hot Springs

By: By Monica Poling

Hacienda Hot Springs // (c) 2010 Monica Poling

Hacienda Hot Springs // (c) 2010 Monica Poling

Although, in retrospect, I realize I was desperately in need of a relaxing getaway, the giant to-do list confronting me meant that my pending weekend trip to Palm Springs, Calif., was to become just another item that needed to be crossed off a list, rather than being an opportunity for some actual downtime.

On my drive to the dessert, my apparent addiction to to-do lists reared its ugly head, as I mentally created a new list of things to get done. Knowing that my destination, the Hacienda Hot Springs in Desert Hot Springs, was located just 20 minutes from Palm Springs, I mentally ticked off all the places I could visit over the weekend: shopping at the Cabazon Outlets; strolling in Palm Springs; catching up on some galleries in Palm Desert; and the list went on.

With big plans in my head, I pulled up to the resort, and was immediately welcomed by owner William Dailey. As he led me to my room, he encouraged me to take some time to enjoy the lovely mineral waters in the pool and Jacuzzi.

While the idea of a long soak sounded wonderful, my mind was still stapled to the list of things I wanted to accomplish in the dessert, so I mentally filed “relaxation” under the “something to do later” category.

Inside my room, Dailey pointed out its conveniences, including showing me my own compact kitchenette. Not much of a housekeeper, the tidy kitchen actually made me a little nervous. There was no way I was cooking in there, as I would be incapable of keeping up those standards.

Dailey encouraged me to stop by the local grocery store and pick up some snacks and food items, reiterating that while the resort laid out breakfast for its guests every morning — including a homemade granola that has gained the resort some notoriety — otherwise food services were not available on site.

Still pondering my evening’s activities, as I started unpacking my bags I came across the fully stocked bookshelf in my room. Books being one of my true addictions, I am mentally incapable of passing a shelf of books without perusing its contents. On the shelf there was a huge variety of books, ranging from a bodice-ripping romance, to a book of German art prints from the 1950s, to a stack of mid-century Arizona Byways magazines. I later learned that in his “real job” Dailey is a collector and dealer of rare books.

Before I even knew it, I had a stack of books on my bed and was madly reading as much as I could, in particular enjoying a story about Sky Harbor Airport in the late 50s.

After reading my way through most of the Arizona Byways magazines, I realized a dip in the mineral springs was exactly what I needed and enjoyed a long soak that left my skin softer than it has been in ages. The soak also helped contribute to one of the best nights of sleep I’ve had in longer than I can remember.

At breakfast, I met the other resort guests, as we enjoyed the truly as amazing granola, served alongside fruit and yogurt. The guests, a couple from Chicago, told me they had been coming there for years fueled in part by the resort’s tranquil setting and top-notch mineral pools.

The lazy breakfast, followed by a tour of the property ensured that I abandoned what small part of me still thought I might “accomplish” something while in the dessert. The decision to stay at the resort became even easier when Dailey mentioned that he had arranged a massage treatment for me after lunch.

Now in full relaxation mode, I spent my morning lingering in the courtyard, enjoying the views of the San Gorgonio and San Jacinto mountains, both of which still bore remnants of the heavy spring snowfall. Unfortunately, the resort’s free wireless also meant that I couldn’t fully abandon my computer but, still, a day working on a springtime patio with birds chirping away sure beat anything I had at home.

After lunch, I met Esther, my massage therapist for the afternoon. After talking briefly, Esther recommended a body treatment that combined a head and neck massage with a full-body treatment. Esther had a particular gift for finding knots I didn’t even know existed.

The treatment was so amazing, I pocketed Esther’s card with visions of returning to the desert regularly just to enjoy massages and the resort’s amazing mineral waters. Sadly, I found out Esther was moving to South America, but Dailey assured me that all the therapists working at the resort are equally gifted.

By the time I left the following morning, after staying long enough to sample more of the amazing granola, I was so relaxed, I only had one item on my to do list. Return to Hacienda Hot Springs as soon as possible.

The Details

The Spa
A 60-minute Swedish massage costs just $100 and non-hotel guests booking a massage are welcome to stay for the day and enjoy the Finnish-rock sauna with outdoor rain forest shower, as well as the hotel’s mineral pools. Massage therapists are not based on-site but can be called to the resort, so advance reservations are highly recommended.

The Hotel
During the winter (high) season, rates begin at $185. During summer, rates run from $120. The resort is adults-only with a maximum of two adults per room. The six-room property is ideal for group travel and girlfriend getaways.

Agents should call the resort directly for information on commissions.

Hacienda Hot Springs


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