La Quinta is the gem of the desert tucked away around a mountain cove at the far eastern end of the Coachella Valley. La Quinta Resort and Spa gave the town worldwide recognition and still is the hub of activity to this day. Great restaurants and lots more golf have followed, but hotel options have not matched this growth due to strict zoning regulations. Legacy Villas in La Quinta is a new option and just a block away from the resort itself.
Experienced golfers will tell you right away why La Quinta is their favorite desert city. The wind, or, more correctly, the lack of it. You see, the town is tucked in behind a high section of the Santa Rosa Mountains so it misses most of the wind that follows in the direction of Interstate 10. Many days, the wind might be blowing 30mph at courses closer to the freeway and still be almost still in La Quinta.
High-end developers have taken advantage of this ideal spot and started very exclusive clubs like The Tradition, The Hideaway, The Quarry, Madison Club, The Palms, PGA West, Rancho La Quinta, and on. La Quinta has somehow managed to keep the feel of the old desert, and commercial development is miles away from these communities and mostly on Highway 111.
Guests at Legacy Villas will want to check out the Mountain and Dunes courses at La Quinta Resort & Club just five minutes away. The clubhouse itself is worth the trip, offering one of the best vistas in the desert if not the world. The floor-to-ceiling glass windows take in much of the Mountain Course and the town of La Quinta, with the Santa Rosas framing the view.
On this trip we played the Mountain Course, which gained a lot of notoriety hosting some of the original Skin’s Games with Palmer, Nicklaus, Trevino, and Watson. This unique Pete Dye golf layout is home to one of the most dramatic par three holes in golf. The 16th hole plays a lot shorter than its listed 170 yards, but it can be a real terror depending upon conditions. The tee is perched high up the mountain, offering views of the entire La Quinta area. The green is surrounded by rocks on three sides, and the one side that is open drops off significantly. Take a safe par here, and move on.
The conditions were excellent on our visit, and the club has a dramatic practice range shooting toward the high Santa Rosas. The ball seems to stay in the air forever with this mountain backdrop.
A little more space comes in handy on a desert excursion. Legacy Villas offers just that and in an environment resembling La Quinta Resort and Club. The architecture and landscaping are exactly the same, and you might even think the two properties are attached as they are so similar. Bougainvillea and palm trees grow everywhere you look. The big difference is at the Villas you have a small home instead of a small hotel room.
Our villa was a two-bedroom unit with kitchen and three TVs. The bathrooms and bedding were equal to what you would expect at the resort. Our location was directly across from the large pool/ fitness area and adorned with waterscapes and more large palms. Visit LegacyVillas.com for complete details.
For years I have wanted to go the Arnold Palmer’s Restaurant in La Quinta, and this time I got my wish. Set in old town La Quinta, this venue offers an elegant presentation of The King’s life along with excellent food. We dined in The Masters Room, which included one of Palmer’s Masters jackets enclosed in glass. Photos of the acclaimed golfer playing with just about every famous person adorned the wall, and many of them had been shot in the desert.
We started with the date-and-bacon skewers, and what a treat they were. My roasted Mexican grouper was expertly prepared, as was the herb-roasted salmon. Many guests will come here for the memorabilia, but locals know that this restaurant is at the top of the list for desert fine dining. If you are short on time, make sure to at least visit Arnie’s Pub where you can catch all the latest sports action on large screen TVs while taking in more Palmer nostalgia. To make reservations or look at the menu, go to ArnoldPalmersRestaurant.com.