The Esmeralda Renaissance Resort & Spa was listed in Conde’ Nast as one world’s best places to stay, so the quality of the property and the service should not be a surprise. The surprise is just how low a price a savvy shopper can get to experience such world class hotel. Choosing off nights, using services like Priceline.com or Hotels.com and checking out rates specific for military and government employees may land you in the lap of luxury for as little as $90 a night.
Located in the exclusive community of Indian Wells just outside of Palm Springs, CA, The Esmeralda Renaissance is positions at the highest end of the product offerings from the Marriott Corporation. The grounds co-mingle with the Indian Wells Golf Resort as seen on the Golf Channels “The Big Break”. The location has beautiful views of the course and surrounding mountains, and truly feels like a vacation oasis. Entering the drive that the resort shares with the Golf Resort and the Hyatt gives the visitor the same feeling that some areas of the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida only with a decidedly more “adult” flare.
The lobby, lower lobby and pool area of the resort are sleek, elegant and modern, with plenty to explore. A grand staircase connects upper and lower lobby with rooms surrounding the towering atrium above. Branching from the lobbies are a full service spa, a quasi-Starbucks, a dance club, convention space and other meeting spaces that are stylish and unique to the property. The lower level features a full bar, but on occasions it is closed, alternating time with the poolside bar.
The resort does feature a restaurant, and food available at poolside. The biggest downside to the area is that outside food is a bit of a drive away and the hours of most restaurants (even fast food) are not friendly to late arrivals. Room service has a very limited menu after 10 pm and cuts off at midnight during the week. Anyone driving in from the LA area should make sure to stop along the main highway for dinner before heading into the Indian Wells/La Quinta area or they may be in for a long hungry night.
The pool area is simply stunning, featuring three pools, plenty of lounge chairs, a great bar and a beautiful waterfall. There is a mini-beach play area for kids. The downside is that for some reason every area of the pool is very shallow.
Most parts are as shallow as 3 feet, and some areas are even miss-marked to say 4 feet when they may be as much as 5. This seems very odd but it is still a good place to float around, cool off, have a cocktail and relax. Many guests seem to gravitate to the side of the pool next to the bar to have a drink, which seems like a missed opportunity for the resort to notice this and modify the pool to have a swim up bar like some Sandals resorts do. The hotel does have a moderate “resort fee” but it includes access to equipment such as bicycles, the workout room and includes parking.
The rooms are of a good size, not too large not cramped. They are impeccably furnished and in amazing condition (i.e. carpets look brand new, nothing out of place in terms of paint, tile etc.). They feature a mini-bar, large LCD TV, great selection of programming. Depending on your choice of room views vary from pool, to golf course to mountain view. Most views will be relaxing and luxurious and the windows do open to a very small railed balcony in many cases: Not enough to stand on but something to enjoy the desert air and the view.
The greatest thing about this resort is its proximity to the LA area yet how remote it feels. Within a short drive from anywhere in southern California and a reasonable drive from northern California, the resort provides the full-on vacation feeling that usually requires a five hour flight and a few thousand dollars. Be a Savvy traveler, pick the dates correctly and live in luxury for the price of a Holiday Inn Express.
Esmeralda Renaissance Resort & Spa
44-400 Indian Wells Lane
Indian Wells CA 92210-8708
Spa Phone: 760-836-1265