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La Quinta Resort and Club

Many Hollywood endings have been written inside this Palm Springs resort's casitas, as well as on its fairways

By: John Reger

Appeared in January/February 2005 LINKS

The La Quinta Resort and Club is located in the Coachella Valley, 140 miles southeast of Hollywood. In the early days of Tinseltown, it was the proximity that made this desert oasis so appealing to writers, actors and directors.

Owned by Walter H. Morgan, the resort opened on February 4, 1927, and soon caught the attention of Hollywood’s elite. Of course, it helped that Morgan frequently paid the stars personal visits to talk up the resort and its Spanish-style casitas. Bette Davis, for one, was sold. While filming Jezebel, she would breeze by reporters at the end of the week, exclaiming, “I’m off to La Quinta.”

It was at La Quinta where Frank Capra put the finishing touches on the script of It Happened One Night, which won the 1934 Oscar for best picture. Capra returned to La Quinta to work on numerous other projects, including You Can’t Take it With Youand Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.

Palm Springs’ first golf course opened along with the resort. Today, resort guests can play two on-site venues, Dunes and Mountain, both designed by Pete Dye but each with a distinctly different feel. Mountain is a resort-friendly layout that spreads out against the base of the Santa Rosa Mountains; Dunes has more water and is considered more of a “player’s course.”

Resort guests also have access to PGA West, located just five miles away and home to the infamous TPC Stadium course. PGA West also offers two other 18s: the Jack Nicklaus Tournament course and the Greg Norman course.

The resort itself has grown significantly and now sports 800 guest rooms, 41 swimming pools and 23 tennis courts. There’s also a 23,000-square-foot spa, which features more than 40 treatment rooms, a full-service beauty salon and 12 different types of massages. Azur by Le Bernardin is the resort’s finest restaurant, featuring the same French-style cuisine as the famous Le Bernardin in New York City.

Celebrity sightings may be less frequent these days, but La Quinta’s reputation as a “must visit” remains.

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