For drivers who appreciate the journey as much as the destination, take the winding Highway 74. The "Palms to Pines Scenic Byway" is full of twists, turns, otherworldly boulder fields, and views.
La Quinta Resort & Club was the first resort to debut in the Palm Springs area—the tiny town of La Quinta, named after the resort, is 19 miles southeast of the city. The property opened in 1926 as a 20-room hacienda-style oasis for the rich and famous. Today it’s part of the Waldorf Astoria brand and, following a multimillion-dollar restoration, offers upgraded casitas, starlight villas, and suites, all surrounding more than 40 private pools and spas. (This fall, look for upgraded spa villas.) On stunning grounds at the base of the Santa Rosa Mountains, there’s award-winning dining at Morgan’s in the Desert, five championship golf courses, and a spa with novel experiences such as the just-launched "pedi-pedi," where a pedi cab picks you up in a robe, Champagne in hand, and delivers you to the spa for a pedicure to beat all pedicures. Mother Nature rounds out the amenities with mind-cleansing desert air. Booking one of the resort’s starlight villas, complete with oversized patio and outdoor fireplace, offers a star-filled sky view only available far away from city lights.
Lake Arrowhead Resort & Spa
The only hotel that actually sits on the 14 miles of shoreline, Lake Arrowhead Resort & Spa recently underwent a $5.5 million renovation. The resort has been modernized with chic antler décor, Thursday night jazz music, and a full-service salon, spa, yoga studio, and gym with personal trainers. The resort is both pet-friendly and family-friendly. Corral the kiddos on the resort’s private beach, where s’mores and storytelling happen around a fire ring every weekend in season. During the day, opt for hiking, swimming, chartered boat cruises, fishing tours, or lessons at the country’s oldest water-skiing school, McKenzie Water Ski School. There’s also a wildlife refuge, where the hotel has adopted a screech owl. April 8 is the Lee Cozad Annual Mountain Movie Show, a once-a-year screening of a film shot in Arrowhead, in the resort’s ballroom. Hit the town before the peak summer season starts on Memorial Day.
Seven months after Hurricane Odile hit Baja California Sur, almost all tourist destinations are up and running again. Many Cabo hotels that had been mulling over a future remodel took the time to upgrade after the storm, according to the Asociación de Hoteles de Los Cabos. And it’s paying off. A report by the Grupo Aeroportuario del Pacifico says the Los Cabos International Airport just had its second-best January ever in terms of air traffic. Some recent hotel reopenings include The Resort at Pedregal, which unveiled an all-new cliffside Champagne Terrace for champers and cheese pairings. Hotel Marquis Los Cabos opened in February, joined by Sirena del Mar, a Welk resort, offering a "WELKcome Back Package" and brand-new Estrella restaurant. Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos reopens this month, and Hyatt Place Los Cabos in July. Me Cabo By Meliá is still TBD.
Several new hotels are also coming to Cabo, totaling 2,000 more rooms by 2017. That includes a next-level generation of modern luxury hotels, such as Thompson Los Cabos slated for this summer, a Park Hyatt in 2016, and later, VieVage Los Cabos and the stunning Mar Adentro.
Two new golf venues recently debuted, bringing the area’s course count to 14: the Jack Nicklaus-designed Quivira Golf Club and the Tiger Woods-designed Diamante’s El Cardonal.
Nearby La Paz fared better, and is delivering new programming. CostaBaja Resort & Spa has a Spring Break Stand-Up Paddleboard Yoga Retreat April 6–10. Stay tuned for more. Baja is back!