Last Updated on April 19, 2023
Sometimes on very rare occasions you come across a resort hotel almost too spectacular to believe. One that blends luxury, recreation, relaxation, history, variety, and far more in a way that dazzles the senses. One such marvel is the La Quinta Resort & Club Curio Collection by Hilton located in the lush Coachella Valley of Southern California.
Sprawling over more than 1,400 acres including its golf courses, this historic Waldorf Astoria resort is almost a community within itself, consisting of 796 casitas, suites and villas, 41 swimming pools, 53 whirlpools, meeting facilities and a massive spa. Its grounds and facilities also include 23 tennis courts, 11 retail outlets, seven restaurants, and 90 holes of golf, both on-property and at nearby PGA WEST.
This expansive La Quinta Resort & Club Curio Collection by Hilton, sitting in the shadow of the Santa Rosa Mountains, exudes an almost timeless Old Western charm setting it apart from all mega-resorts. Nearly 100 years old, it has played host to movie stars, presidents and celebrities throughout the years.
La Quinta Resort & Club Curio Collection
Walter H. Morgan opened the La Quinta Hotel in late 1926 with 20 guest casitas, an open-air glassed dining room and three courtyards. He even brought the golf industry to the Coachella Valley with his addition of the area’s first nine-hole course.
The hotel immediately became a favorite luxury escape for Hollywood stars such as Greta Garbo, Clark Gable and Shirley Temple.
Ownership changed in 1931 with Morgan’s death, but the legacy of La Quinta continued to grow with the addition of six tennis courts and a pro shop.
The resort was closed during World War II, resuming operations in 1946 much to the delight of the Hollywood crowd.
In the ensuing years, the La Quinta Resort & Club has changed ownership several times, never losing its commitment to first-class luxury. Over time, several more top-quality golf courses were added, including ones designed by golfing legends.
In the 1900s, spa service and villas were built, bringing the total number of guest rooms to nearly 800.
Our Casita Bungalow at La Quinta Resort & Club Curio
My wife and I had our first stay at La Quinta on a trip to the Palm Springs area where we wanted to contrast and compare the luxury accommodations and services of a Waldorf-Astoria property against another top-end resort. We followed up our two-night stay at La Quinta with a couple of nights at the Ritz-Carlton in nearby Rancho Mirage.
As we checked in, I revealed that my wife was a travel writer when the clerk asked what brought us to the resort. She explained that a special accommodation might be waiting for us. She left, returning momentarily with a smile on her face, exclaiming proudly “I have just the casita for you. It is the very place where movie director, producer, and writer Frank Capra used to stay as he worked on his movie scripts. I know you will love it.”
Love it we did.
Our private little bungalow sat in a sprawling courtyard of casitas linked by meandering walkways often lined with lovely trees, colorful gardens and lush landscaping. The structure, inside and out, was of a classic Southwestern mission ranch style complete with a drawing room, fireplace, well-appointed bath, and a huge queen-sized bed.
It felt like a small cottage home.
As a totally unexpected delight, the small office area held a dated typewriter with a placard identifying it as the typewriter Capra used when working on the script for his 1946 film “It’s A Wonderful Life.”
My inquisitive wife examined the typewriter noting the dried round ribbon dispenser. Fiddling with it, she rotated it nearly a dozen times, finding a part that still had usable ink. Then she proudly typed “I am typing on Frank Capra’s typewriter.
The “a” sticks and the ribbon is worn, but this is amazing…”
And then she shared it with her writer friends. It was an unforgettably magical moment.
We found our little hideaway so much to our liking we hated leaving to explore the massive resort grounds. The casita was a classy throwback to its earlier vintage with its furnishings, textured walls and small artistic touches.
Our bed was impressively comfortable. Sheets and bedding were of the highest quality and the bathroom was fully equipped with all the necessary accruements including high end luxury bath products. All in all, we felt decadently pampered.
Waldorf La Quinta Accommodations
Casita options at the Waldorf La Quinta, besides our 400-square-foot King Vintage Casita, are the 430-square-foot Resort Casita, the 460-square foot Pool Side Casita, and the 430 square-foot Deluxe Casita with Private Patio. All come with a king or two queen bed options.
King Vintage Casitas are Spanish California-style bungalows that most reliably reflect the original 1920s building design. Many, like ours, include fireplaces. All king and queen casitas have fireplaces and many are also situated near pools.
Pool Side King Casitas also feature fireplaces and like the Pool Side queen option, are located alongside one of the 41 pools onsite. Each includes a deluxe bathroom with dual vanity and Talavera tiles. The king or queen Deluxe Casita also sports a private walled patio.
For those who really want to pamper themselves, the King Whirlpool Casita comes with a private yard and hot tub and the 500-square-foot King Starlight Casita features a large private patio with outdoor fireplace. Virtually all room options provide accommodations with safety and accessibility features for the mobility or hearing impaired.
With 45 acres of grounds to roam, dogs are welcome at La Quinta Resort & Club. Dog-friendly casitas are available with a $150 dog fee per stay.
Hotel in Coachella Valley
While we preferred the privacy and coziness of the casitas’ lodging options, there are similarly sized Spa-Villa king and queen studios located near Spa La Quinta with spa pool access. A 900-square-foot residential-style King Spa-Villa Suite also includes a queen sofa bed and kitchen.
La Quinta Resort & Club Curio Collection by Hilton also offers a myriad of suites that sleep from four to six, many of which come with all the comforts of home. These suites range from 850- to 2000-square-feet with varied options including multiple fireplaces, separate living spaces, private yards, pools and hot tubs with resort and mountain views.
Lastly, 81 full vacation home rentals are available through La Quinta Resort & Club, many along the fairways of the five stunning beautiful La Quinta and PGA WEST golf courses.
All rooms are furnished with high quality 1920s inspired décor leaving guests with a feeling that they have stepped through a time portal to a century earlier. That is until the other standard features are discovered such as Free Wi-Fi, refrigerator, air conditioning, modern flat-screen TV, and more.
Guests of La Quinta Resort & Club have a variety of recreation facilities available to them, including five championship golf courses, tennis courts, a state-of-the-art fitness center, and over 60,000-square-feet of conference space.
The impressive 23,000-square-foot Spa La Quinta offers a wide variety of health and relaxation massages, facials and beautification treatments.
Golf at La Quinta
La Quinta Resort & Club is responsible for bringing golf to the Palm Springs area. Today, La Quinta has five championship golf courses providing 90 holes of golf, both on-property and at nearby PGA WEST.
These courses, designed by Pete Dye, Jack Nicklaus and Greg Norman regularly host the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic charity golf tournament.
Spas La Quinta
Spa La Quinta’s motto is ‘Rejuvenate & Recharge.’ This massive luxury spa provides the most impressive and effective technologies and treatments in their massage and beautification offerings in a soothing environment where peace and comfort abound.
Thirty-seven treatment rooms support various massage therapies such as Body Renewal, Agave Nectar, Citrus Escape, Stone Crop Contouring, Zen Ritual and more. After enjoying the huge spa pool and its amenities, guaranteed you’ll leave rejuvenated, recharged, and pampered.
La Quinta Resort & Club Dining
La Quinta Resort & Club dining venues range from fine dining at Morgan’s in the Desert to authentic Mexican cuisine at their Adobe Grill.
We loved Adobe Grill with its colorful Mexican tile and festive atmosphere.
Ernie’s Sports Bar and Twenty6 also have full bar menus.
Parking is free at the resort. The La Quinta Museum is a four-minute drive from the property. Shopping is available on site or in nearby Old Town La Quinta.
La Quinta Resort & Club Curio Collection by Hilton was the first resort in America to have a town named for it. That is because the resort itself predates the surrounding town of La Quinta that grew up around the sprawling resort well after its founding.
It is a mere two miles from downtown La Quinta and 20 miles from Palm Springs International Airport. Today, the Resort is a Waldorf-Astoria managed property and is a member of the Curio Collection by Hilton.
It remains one of our favorite places to stay.