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Ringo Boitano: La Quinta
the La Quinta Resort & Spa with the Santa Rosa Mountains in the background
The La Quinta Resort & Spa is a legendary hideaway located
at the foot of the Santa Rosa Mountains.
Credit: Courtesy of La Quinta Resort & Spa

A Trek to La Quinta -
Gem of the Desert

by Ringo Boitano

y brother Ed in Seattle likes to tease me by saying that Southern California has just two seasons-the smog season and the fire season. Sure, it's worth a chuckle. But those of us that do live here know that SoCal does have seasons; it's just that they are very subtle. The early days of autumn can be hot, but soon the faintest of fall colors appear and the landscape cools down into almost a perfect 'sweater weather.' We're fortunate in SoCal-there's much to see and do in our own backyard. Even a short car drive can feel like a trek into an unknown place and new emotional landscape.

PALM SPRINGS DESERT RESORTS
With over 129 18-hole golf course, 600 tennis courts and more than 40,000 swimming pools, the Palm Springs Desert Resorts has long marketed itself as a recreational oasis in the middle of the Coachella Valley desert. Spread over eight cities-Cathedral City, Desert Hot Springs, Indian Wells, Indio, La Quinta, Palm Desert, Palm Springs, Rancho Mirage-it became a perfect getaway for Hollywood stars back in the contract system days with the "Two-Hour Rule," where actors had to be available within two-hours of the studio. With its secluded bungalows and tranquil atmosphere, it also provided the ideal location where celebrities could blend into the desert landscape, away from the jarring glare of adoring fans. Palm Springs soon became just as famous for its celebrity patrons with single digit names-Elvis, Frank, Bob, Liberace-as its enchanting beauty.

a young Shirley Temple visiting the La Quinta Resort
Even Shirley Temple was a visitor to The La Quinta Resort & Spa.
Credit: Courtesy of La Quinta Resort & Spa

LA QUINTA-GEM OF THE DESERT
Some celebrities opted for the extra 20 mile drive to the La Quinta Hotel, a legendary hideaway with the reputation for being the most secretive of all the resorts. Garbo-perhaps the most reclusive of all Hollywood stars-slept here. So did Frank Capra. He also wrote on the premise 'It's A Wonderful Life,' 'It Happened One Night' and 'Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.' Later he called La Quinta home.

Today the Spanish hacienda-style hotel is spread over 45 manicured acres at the foot of the magical Santa Rosa Mountains. It is quite literally a city within a city, complete with 796 suites and casitas, 41 swimming pools, four restaurants, 90 holes of golf, and the worldclass Spa La Quinta, which features PGA WEST Golf Massage, open-air Celestial Showers, Sacred Stone Massage and more. ('more' would include my first mud bath).

the main swimming pool at La Quinta Resort & Spa
The main swimming pool at La Quinta Resort & Spa
Credit: Courtesy of La Quinta Resort & Spa

The city of La Quinta-incorporated in 1984 and named after the resort-has done much to maintain its exclusivity and heritage, while still making it tourist---friendly with an infrastructure for room to grow. Water marks on the Santa Rosa Mountains-La Quinta was once under the waters of ancient Lake Cahuilla-can still be seen, with the city planners making sure that no views are obstructed. They have even designated over 600 acres of the mountain for the Coachella's Valley's first archeological park.

For a celebrity fix there is dining at Arnold Palmer's Restaurant-also a part-time city resident-which is a virtual museum of golf, with photos and mementos from his career. There's a putting green just off the courtyard patio, with views of the Santa Rosa Mountains. The menu features Arnie's own favorite comfort foods like steaks and meatloaf.

Just down the road there is also the Arnold Palmer Classic Golf Course at SilverRock Resort, home to the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic.

Clint-another one digit celebrity-can occasionally be spotted in Old Town La Quinta, the home of his second Hog's Breath Inn. Dubbed by locals as the 'Desert Hog,' it is like the original in Carmel, decorated with posters from his career. In the spirit of the Eastwood legacy, I opted for the "Dirty Harry Chopped Steak Dinner," only to read later that Clint is now a vegan. No wonder he looks so good at 78.

GiveintotheDesert.com

LaQuintaResort.com

La-Quinta.org

Feedback for Ringo

I love Ringo's piece on historic hotels. I once stayed at the Laurentian in Montreal - is it still around, is it historic? And then there was the Heups in Bismark.

It is interesting that two of your entries are in CANADA.

Brent, Seattle, WA

It's no mystery that you are great at what you do.

Sandee, Seattle, WA

* * * *

The Mystery on the Oasis pics are very funny!

Ramon, Kansas City, MO

* * * *

Ha ha ha ha ha...love your "schtick" Ringo!!

Dolly, Las Vegas, NV

Hello the travelling Boitano's hope you enjoy. Best wishes.

Elsa Magdalena Berno-Boitano, Laussane, Switzerland

My Irish roots understand terrible beauty. So do my human roots. The concept has such a ring of truth to it, doesn't it? Great article, Ringo. I hope to get to Ireland eventually, and thanks for blazing the trail!

Sandeee Bleu, Seattle, WA

* * * *

No wonder I've been hearing all these wonderful stories about Ireland. I used to think that it was just for Irish Americans seeking their ancestral roots but your article seems to call out to the non-Irish like me. Fascinating and intriguing.

Peter Paul, Pasadena, CA

Thanks for this great post wow... it's very wonderful.

Key Logger, New York

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Lets not forget that the Marriot Harbor Beach is within walking distance to the world famous Elbo Room - Fort Lauderdale's oldest bar.

Jeff, Fort Lauderdale, FL

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Jeff–

Thanks for taking the time for the message and reminder. Indeed, I had a quick drink at the Elbo Room. My trip to Ft. Lauderdale would not have been complete without a visit to this historic institution.I have been reading about it for years, and was not disappointed. It felt like a real local's hangout.

- Ringo

Ringo,

I thoroughly enjoyed your article about Dick and Liz. I remember seeing that article back in the heyday of Life Magazine.

To remember the "behind-the-scenes" stories like that makes you genuine fan of the 60's. The famous couple's turbulent relationship was just a precursor of today's headline-grabbing media stars like Britney Spears and her colleagues. Life was simpler then. The paparazzis still had some sense of decency. You "coulda" been a good paparazzi. I say "coulda" because you kept this to yourself all these many years.

Looking forward to other media trivia you can remember.

Peter Paul, South Pasadena, CA

Hey, Ringo –

Enjoyed your article on Antarctica --- cool photos, too. One thing, you mentioned that Ushuaia in Argentina is considered the most southern city in the world. I read that Chile lays claim to that distinction, with Punta Arenas, the southernmost city in the world.

Mick, Greenbay, WI

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Mick –

Now that football season is over --- I’ve often wondered what you Packer fans did in the off season ---- it’s great that you took the time to visit TravelingBoy. Great question, unlike my older brother, I adore all lamb products, and Patagonian Lamb --- cooked in a restricted area at the restaurant in an opened wood-fueled fire pit --- is amazing. The chef actually uses an ax to carve it. Frankly, I found it superior to Norwegian fjord lamb, Irish Burren lamb and even those much esteemed creatures down in New Zealand. The crab in Ushuaia is the other thing to eat. Wait a sec, you asked about Punta Arenas vs. Ushuaia as the furthermost city in the world. Well, they both have little disclaimers re populations --- you know, what’s a city, which one is a town, ect – so better let Chile and Argentina brass it out. They seem to be able to argue about any subject.

- Ringo



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Ed Boitano's travel blog/review
Eugene Chaplin Introduces Chaplin's World Museum in Vevey, Switzerland

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Leviticus 20:13
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