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Family Getaway: Rancho Las Palmas

Sitting about halfway between Palm Springs and Palm Desert, Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa is a year-round destination with something for everyone. The resort recently joined the KSL resort family and along with it received a $35 million makeover.

The family scene centers around Splashtopia, an on-site water park that includes two 100 ft. water slides, a meandering lazy river, water play zone, a sandy beach section and a "cliff side" jacuzzi. Adjacent is the family swimming pool and Splash Grill. Seasonal fun includes night time "dive-in" movies where guests relax in the pool watching movies on a big screen.

Accommodations are spacious and each room has French doors leading to a balcony or patio. The resort itself gives the feeling of being in an elegant Spanish Colonial era hacienda. As you make your way from Splashtopia along a wide pathway towards the main building, you pass one of the 27 holes of the Rancho Las Palmas Golf Course. Golfers will love that the course is actually made up of three distinct nine hole layouts. Further along the pathway is the Adults Only swimming pool. As you get to the main building, Blu Ember, the resort restaurant, welcomes you on the main plaza. There are outdoor tables as well as comfortable chairs surrounding fire pits where live music is presented five nights per week. Across the plaza is Palms Café for Starbucks coffee and light fare.

Inside the main building you find Spa Las Palmas. This 20,000 sq. ft. facility is literally an oasis in the desert with the Sanctuary Pool as its crown jewel in the private courtyard. From here you can relax taking in the stunning views of The San Jacinto Mountains. The spa offers yoga classes, body treatments, skin care therapies and a hair & make up salon. The spa even offers an "Experience Coordinator" as a resource for all guests.

Everyone staying at Rancho Las Palmas seems to take advantage of The River, the shopping, dining and entertainment center across the street featuring a movie theater, stores, Starbucks, ice cream and several restaurants.

A visit to the resort website is a must before planning your trip. There are many activities and events offered throughout the year. A perennial favorite are the "drive-in movies" on the golf course where you can park on the fairway in complimentary golf carts. Epicureans will want to take advantage of such events as the Eat.Drink.Savor weekend happening this March 2-4. Finally, check out the Specials & Packages page for offers as varied as "Family Traditions" and "Girlfriend's Great Escape."

In between day dreams of floating along the lazy river on an inner tube, Elizabeth Peterson can be found on Facebook and her blog Traded My BMW for a Minivan.

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