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By Michael Hepworth

Part of the joy of spending some time at Borrego Ranch Resort in the high desert in California is the drive there either from Los Angeles or San Diego . Located south west of Indio , Borrego Springs seems to be an area right off the beaten track, but in the Hollywood heyday the private airstrip saw multitudes of movie stars staying here. Those included Marilyn Monroe, Lon Chaney and Andy Devine and the privacy factor saw them staying at a desert hideaway called Hoberg Resort, which has been restored now as the Palms at Indian Head.

Another reason that Borrego Ranch Resort is such a romantic getaway is that kids under eighteen are not allowed, so you get a feeling of peace and quiet hard to be matched, and they only have sixty-three rooms, villas or casitas available. One of the stunning parts of the property has to be the landscaping, with every desert plant and cactus you could imagine.  It is also a pretty expansive property and takes a while to know your away around, and at night in particular if you are going to the dining room ask them to send a driver as it is very easy to get lost. Prices per night during the season (November-June) start at around $450 per night, but if you can handle the summer heat (and it does get really hot here), bargains are to be had in abundance.

We stayed in a section called Wisteria, a deluxe room that overlooked one of the numerous swimming pools on site, and the very spacious room was equipped with everything you would really need. A special word about the bed here, probably one of the most comfortable I have tried in a long time, so good that the owners have the same bed in their homes.  Golfers will love the resortís Montesoro golf course located about a mile away from the main buildings. It is a typical Fazio course with lots of lakes and bunkers, and where the greens are like playing on glass. It is also a very undulating course, and at 7,100 yards presents a real challenge to even the experienced golfer. At least the mountain views are a stunning backdrop to what will be a memorable round of golf, and PGA Golf pro David Hunter is the man in charge. He is overseeing on site the Callaway Learning Center . He is also very anxious to introduce more women to the game, and has introduced specialist training.

The spa at Borrego Ranch is pretty high end, and a plethora of treatments are available ranging from an expansive selection of massages right up to the Facial Rejuvenation Acupuncture, an 80 minute extravaganza costing $250. The rather more standard massage we tried was perfect for the serene environment you find at Borrego Ranch, and while the man is away playing golf, the wife or girlfriend will feel really special in this place.  Dining of course is a big factor at Borrego Ranch, and since the audience is relatively captive, the dining room has to be able to offer something special on a consistent basis. The five course tasting dinner menu at $78 with wine pairings fits the bill perfectly and the chef Jo Ann Plympton is doing a good job in the kitchens. Not only did she have the perfect lunch of tomato soup that I needed after a grueling session on the golf course, but she also came up with some dishes that I was actually looking for that night.

They included the incredibly delicious Washington State Oysters from Bellingham with a tangerine vinegar sauce that was accompanied by a Rose from New Mexico . Another winner was the chilled Gazpacho soup with green onions and cucumber complemented by A&Z Pinot Gris from Dundee , Oregon .  The pre-main course of Swordfish Steak had been line caught that day in San Diego , and went well with the Monterey County Pinot Noir. For the main course the chef came up with Farm bred Venison with a port wine risotto. Venison is a rarely used dish in California , but when it is done right with the correct accompaniment, it is always a winning combination.

There are all kinds of activities here to get involved with including the Naturalist Excursion with the resident naturalist, and a nighttime trip to the desert to see the incredible star foundations. There is an outside movie theatre, tennis courts, bowling green and a huge outdoor chess board, along with shuffleboard and a croquet lawn. There is also a brand new fitness center and yoga studio, artist studio, climbing rock and a ropes and challenge course. They even have a butterfly and hummingbird garden, and of course we must not forget the archery range.

Fact Sheet

Address:         3845 Yaqui Pass Rd ,

Borrego Springs.

Reservations: 800-824-1884

Website:         www.borregoranch.com




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