The Renaissance Esmeralda Resort & Spa has what every family is seeking when choosing a weekend getaway to the California desert. Rated AAA Four-Diamond and just thirteen miles east of Palm Springs, or two hours drive east of Los Angeles, the luxurious Renaissance Esmeralda is a reasonable driving distance from the L.A. area, even with a carload of kids. Nestled against the beautiful Santa Rosa Mountains, the resort boasts spectacular views and quiet seclusion. But don’t expect “quiet seclusion” during summer vacation time. The hotel has partnered with Nickelodeon and is doing a fabulous job with this specialty kids program. So, if you have ever borrowed W. C. Fields line “I like children……properly cooked,” you do NOT want to book this resort when the program is in full swing. The resort transforms back into a saner version of itself when school starts in the fall.
My husband and I, little ones in tow, arrived on a Friday at this amazing paradise. As we entered the breathtaking eight-story atrium lobby, walking, talking, huggable Nickelodeon characters, Sponge Bob Square Pants and Dora the Explorer, greeted us. While my children were excitedly preoccupied with these popular figures, the friendly and efficient staff whisked us through check-in with warm smiles and stellar service. To my children’s sweet surprise, the hotel provided them each with a special gift: a Nickelodeon character pillowcase and backpack. They were ecstatic!
The grounds of the resort include everything to make the experience a true getaway. There are on-site restaurants, Sirocco and CAVA, Café Biscotti, Glo, a full-service spa, a state-of-the-art fitness center, tennis courts and two 18-hole championship golf courses. The resort recently renovated the bar and nightclub, Stir Lounge.
A good family getaway requires that everyone has activities to choose from and this resort had has options aplenty. The recently introduced Nickelodeon Getaway Program, is well supervised by resort staff to keep the little ones busy and happily entertained. Parental involvement recommended. The only fully supervised children’s activities are those that take place in the Camp Oasis Kid’s Club, where parents can literally drop their kids off and play golf, go to the spa or relax without the kids. Camp Oasis Kids Club also leads activities such as painting on palm leaves and other desert themed arts and crafts, meeting a real, live desert tortoise; children find these activities particularly enjoyable. This allows the adults ample time and space to enjoy a true escape.
Saturday morning we indulged in the Nickelodeon Family Breakfast that included delicious fresh fruits and all the tasty choices one would expect at a fine resort. Of course, Sponge Bob and Dora were special guests at breakfast. Later in the day, the Slime Fest at the pool was wildly entertaining. The children lined up to get slimed with super gross green goo. They were then lead in hilarious games that suited all ages — bridging the generations and getting kids to play with parents and grandparents alike.
Another age group that is catered to at The Renaissance Esmeralda Resort & Spa is the “tweens” (ages 11 – 17). Wii video games, computer access, and unlimited snacks as well as activities targeting their interests have been successful in keeping them entertained.
My favorite part of the afternoon was the pool time. Inflatable pool rafts are available for purchase. As busy parents, we absolutely loved the relaxation while our children were continuously engrossed in the summertime activities. With the 110 degree temperature, frozen tropical drink in hand, hot sun above, cool misters, swaying palms and pool floats, we were in a parents’ paradise!! We floated on the water for hours, frolicking like teenagers. This vacation get-away was a memory maker for our family. And we will return.
The Renaissance Esmeralda Resort & Spa
44-400 Indian Wells Lane
Indian Wells CA 92210-8708