With summer temperatures soaring well above 100, Palm Springs might not be the first place you think of for a summer getaway. You’d be wrong! Endless sunshine, sparkling pools, and low seasonal rates make summer a great time to visit California’s desert paradise. And with its amazing water features including two water slides and a lazy river, the Omni Rancho Las Palmas is the perfect spot to take your family for some summer fun.
Rancho Las Palmas: The Coolest Place in the Desert
Nestled against a stunning backdrop of mountains and towering palm trees, the Omni Rancho Las Palmas in Palm Springs is truly an oasis in the heart of the California desert. Located on 240 lush acres, the resort has been recently renovated and updated, including the addition of Splashtopia, an extensive water playground for both kids and adults.
What Works for Families
• Splashtopia water playground
• Three pools
• Large, comfortable rooms with 42-inch plasma televisions
• Free internet access
• Kids Club and activities throughout the day
• Free family movies in the evening
• Lots of dining options, including a $6 kids buffet at the resort’s signature restaurant, bluEmber
• Live music at the Plaza five nights a week
• Super attentive and friendly service
• Free parking
What Doesn’t Work for Families
• Sprawling property can make for a long walk if your room is not situated by the pool area
• Kids Club not always open as scheduled
• Craving some ice cream by the pool? A serving of Dipping Dots will run you $6.50 (Did I mention the kids buffet at the restaurant including yummy desserts is only $6?)
• Hot summer weather (this is the desert after all!)
What is today the Omni Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa began life in the 1950s at the Desert Air Hotel & Resort. Back then, Hollywood stars, political figures and tourists alike began frequenting the Palm Springs area. Resort guests swam in a single pool and played polo on a nearby field. In the evening, the hotel’s Compass Room restaurant and bar was the place to see and be seen.
In the late 1970s, Desert Air made way for today’s Omni Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa. Cary Grant, Roy Rogers, Dale Evans and Bob Hope all appeared at the resort’s 1977 ground breaking. Rancho Las Palmas opened in February 1979.
But don’t think Rancho Las Palmas sports a ’70s vibe or strives to hang on to that 1950s Rat Pack era feel. This resort has been thoroughly updated and re-imagined for the 21st century, and making it family-friendly is at the top of that list.
Waterpark & Amenities
The resort’s biggest draw for families is Splashtopia, an exhilarating water playground complete with two 100-foot water slides, a 425-foot lazy river, water-play zone and a sandy beach. It is the only resort in the Palm Springs area to offer this kind of amenity! The water-play zone is especially great for younger kids, with fountains, squirt cannons and sprinklers they can splash around in.
– You are welcome to bring your own water toys, beach balls, noodles and floats to the pool, but note the resort charges $10 if you’d like them to blow them up for you. So bring them pre-blown or be prepared to do it yourself! If you buy anything at their pool store, they will blow it up for free.
Resort guests have access to golf and tennis at the adjacent Rancho Las Palmas Country Club. The Club features a 27-hole Ted Robinson-designed golf course, putting greens, a Pro Shop, snack bar, and 25 tennis courts, including eight lit for night play. Although the Club can be reached on foot, the valet will shuttle you over in golf carts – which is really helpful on hot days! We did this on our second morning there and it was super convenient. Plus, what kid doesn’t like buzzing around in a golf cart?
The best part? Through September 30, resort guests can enjoy golf and tennis for free! Tennis promotion includes unlimited court time and use of rentals rackets.
The resort also offers full concierge service, meeting space, fitness center, several retail shops and a beautiful spa. An adults-only pool rounds out its many offerings.
Other activities are just a short drive away, including downtown Palm Springs, The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens and the Palm Springs Aerial Tram, and other cool family-friendly desert adventures.
Rancho Las Palmas features 444 guest rooms and 22 suits, all housed in Spanish-style, 2-story buildings clustered around gardens, the golf course, a lake and the pool. All rooms feature French doors that open up to private patios and balconies.
We stayed in a Lakeview Room, with had a nice view of the water and fairways. The beds were very comfortable, and the bathroom was luxurious and well-appointed. All rooms are 450 square feet, which we found very spacious. For families looking to spread out a little more, suites are also available.
Whether you are looking for fine dining or a quick bite, Rancho Las Palmas has it all!
The resort’s signature restaurant, bluEmber, has a sophisticated atmosphere yet still manages to remain kid-friendly. In fact, at dinner time they boast a fairly expansive $6 buffet just for kids that make those pricier adult meals easier to enjoy. The restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and offers lovely outdoor seating as well. This is an especially fine option on evenings when live music is being performed in the adjacent courtyard.
During the day, enjoy a burger, salad or other tasty lunch while you are enjoying Splashtopia. Servers will deliver food and drinks directly to your lounge chair so you don’t even have to don your flip flops to have a good meal! You can also meander over to Splash Grill, which is right next to the pool.
Palms Café is a quick bite spot right in the Plaza. Great for your morning coffee fix or for grabbing a quick sandwich to go.
Finally, for the grown-ups, R Bar serves up great burgers and munchies along with craft-style beers and cocktails during the evening hours.
Healthy Tip for This Destination
Just outside the French doors of your hotel room, walking paths meander through the resort’s 240 acres, treating you to tranquil views of the golf course, lake and desert setting. Enjoy an evening walk or early morning jog before it gets too hot outside.