Miramonte Resort Rocks Tuscany Theme near Palm Springs, California

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Entrance to Miramonte. Photo courtesy of Miramonte Resort & Spa
Entrance to Miramonte. Photo courtesy of Miramonte Resort & Spa

Italy in the desert. That’s my first impression as we enter Miramonte Resort & Spa, one of Hilton’s Curio Collection hotels in Indian Wells, just down the road from Palm Desert in California’s Coachella Valley. With bright pink Bougainvillea climbing up yellow stucco walls and the sun glistening off red tile roofs, it transports me to Tuscany and I can almost hear mandolins playing. I’m right at home and can’t wait to explore the lovely gardens lined with heritage citrus groves and olive orchards amid palm trees. There’s even a bocce ball court!

Gorgeous gardens around the 11-acre property. Photo by Claudia Carbone
Gorgeous gardens around the 11-acre property. Photo by Claudia Carbone

Pathways meander throughout the gorgeous 11-acre property hugged by the Santa Rosa Mountains. Miramonte is Spanish for “place with a mountain view.” Yes, you do pronounce the “t.”

Photo by Claudia Carbone
Photo by Claudia Carbone

History of Miramonte Resort & Spa

Miramonte actually was built with a Thai motif in 1963 before Indian Wells was even incorporated as California’s 400th city.  It morphed into a Tuscan theme in the early 2000s with subtle and not so subtle throwbacks. Hilton acquired it in 2013 and poured $8 million into renovating it.

Bougainvillea plants crawl up walls of guest room buildings. Photo by Claudia Carbone
Bougainvillea plants crawl up walls of guest room buildings. Photo by Claudia Carbone

The place oozes with romance, especially in the evening when lights illuminate the gardens and the firepits are glowing. During the day, the flowers and citrus scents are simply breathtaking.

Fire pit gathering spot. Photo courtesy of Miramonte Resort & Spa
Fire pit gathering spot. Photo courtesy of Miramonte Resort & Spa

Inside the Miramonte Resort & Spa

The resort abandons the traditional Italian theme inside in favor of California contemporary decor. The result is crisp, clean lines in warm and spacious surroundings. You might call it “Modern Mediterranean.”

Contemporary lobby. Photo by Claudia Carbone
Contemporary lobby. Photo by Claudia Carbone
Entrance to Citrus and Palm Restaurant. Photo courtesy of Miremonte Resort
Entrance to Citrus and Palm Restaurant. Photo courtesy of Miremonte Resort

Rooms at Miramonte Resort & Spa

Twelve different two-story buildings house 215 guest rooms that include 23 suites, four villas, five accessible rooms. This entrance is one of my favorites. Can you hear the mandolins yet?

Entrance to guest rooms. Photo courtesy of Miramonte Resort & Spa.
Entrance to guest rooms. Photo courtesy of Miramonte Resort & Spa.

Our king room is spacious with a nice little patio on the first level. It’s complete with TV on a large credenza that holds a safe, fridge and coffee service. In the corner sits a comfy chair and ottoman next to a reading table and lamp. Charging station and plugs are on bedside lamps. Wifi is included in the resort fee of $35 per night.

King patio room. Photo by Claudia Carbone
King patio room. Photo by Claudia Carbone

The bathroom is great for two people as it has a separate little nook for the second sink. A tub/shower combo is in the separate room.

Bathroom in king patio room. Photo by Claudia Carbone
Bathroom in king patio room. Photo by Claudia Carbone

Amenities at Miramonte Resort & Spa

No desert resort is complete without a pool. Miramonte has three. The one below is for families with private cabanas and food and drink service. A smaller one is reserved just for adults, and a saltwater pool within the courtyard of the spa is for spa guests only.

One of three pools at Miramonte Resort. Photo by Claudia Carbone
One of three pools at Miramonte Resort. Photo by Claudia Carbone

The Well Spa offers a full-service spa menu for singles and couples. However, if you just want to have lunch and enjoy the pools, eucalyptus steam room, and other facilities, you can buy a day pass. There’s a 24-hour fitness center and yoga studio, as well as fitness programs and bikes available for exploring the area. A concierge can book golf and tennis times at nearby clubs.

The Well Spa at Miramonte Resort. Photo courtesy of Miramonte Resort.
The Well Spa at Miramonte Resort. Photo courtesy of Miramonte Resort.

Plenty of meeting space, both indoors and outside on the grounds, is available for meetings and events. How about a wedding in an olive grove?

Dining at Miramonte Resort & Spa

Executive chef Paul Hancock oversees the farm-to-fork cuisine in Citrus and Palm Restaurant and the Tavern. Sourcing from the resort’s own gardens and groves, he prepares meals with ingredients he picks on the same day. The menus feature fresh herbs and lots of citrus fruits. My chicken dish rested on fresh braised spinach and soft polenta and was covered with a lemon-honey glaze.

Half chicken on spinach and polenta. Photo by Claudia Carbone
Half chicken on spinach and polenta. Photo by Claudia Carbone

Breakfast was date bread French toast encrusted with pumpkin seeds topped with fresh strawberries. Oh, soooo good!

Pumpkin seed encrusted French toast. Photo by Claudia Carbone
Pumpkin seed encrusted French toast. Photo by Claudia Carbone

What To Do Near Miramonte Resort & Spa

Besides enjoying the outdoors via hiking, biking and golfing, there’s plenty to see and do throughout the Greater Palm Springs Area.

Aerial Tramway Travel from the desert floor to the alpine wilderness at 8,516 feet in a tram car that rotates for 360-degree views. At the top, there are trails for hiking.

Architecture Tours Visit mid-century modern homes and buildings.

Celebrity Tours Visit neighborhoods of the Golden Era.

Desert Adventures Tour Don’t miss touring the San Andreas Fault. You’ll learn everything about the region’s geology as you bump along inside the fault and climb into a slot canyon!

Palm Springs Air Museum Vintage aircraft, tons of photos and memorabilia from WWII, Korean and Vietnam wars in two ginormous hangers. You can even take a 20-minute ride in one of the warbirds for $150.

Palm Springs Art Museum Exhibits by international artists in painting, sculpture, photography and new media. There’s a smaller satellite in Palm Desert. Next to it, the Farmers Market is held every Wednesday.

Shops on El Paseo This mile-long shopping district in Palm Desert is known as Rodeo Drive of the Desert. Galleries, boutiques, consignment shops, high-end chains, public art, and restaurants make up this village-like street that hosts art walks, entertainment, and festivals throughout the year.

The Living Desert This zoo and desert garden houses animals like cheetahs, giraffes, and wolves in natural outdoor habitats of the desert.

VillageFest Every Thursday night all year long local artists and craftspeople sell their wares along Palm Canyon Drive in a fun, festive atmosphere with food and entertainment.

For more on events and activities in the area, click here.

Miramonte Indian Wells Resort & Spa, 45000 Indian Wells Lane, Indian Wells, CA 92210; 760 341 2200; www.miramonteresort.com

Claudia Carbone is an award-winning travel writer based in Denver. Read about other hotels she’s visited in Sleepin’ Around.