Our weekend at Tahiti Village was going to be hard to top, but we attempted to do it with two different resorts the following weekend. Our first stop was the Lake Arrowhead Resort and Spa. Dan and I had stayed here for his birthday weekend in July, but as I am going to compare it to another resort, I am going to do another review in this post.
We loved it back in July and this was the reason that we thought that Dan's parents had to experience it. The Lake Arrowhead Resort and Spa is a beautiful property and ideally located just a five-minute walk from Arrowhead Village, that has a ton of shops, restaurants and activities.
What makes this resort special to me, is both times I have left feeling completely revitalized. It has gorgeous views and a laid back vibe. I love the pool. When we went in July, the resort was sold out and although the pool was full, it didn't feel over crowded. We easily found lounge chairs and a spot in the hot tub. On this trip, the pool area was very quiet, only a few other people were sunbathing. Since it was a slow day, the pool bar was closed (alcohol was a two-minute walk inside and the bar had plastic cups for the pool) and we had to walk into the spa to get our towels, but it wasn't a problem. It was so utterly relaxing and peaceful, that the lack of extra services didn't matter.
Here are a few pictures of the pool, taken from a balcony where we were having drinks. The area has two hot tubs, one set at a lower temperature for kids. This is a very family friendly resort.
A nice pool is even nicer when we have it to ourselves.
This time, we had rooms with a lake view. We didn't spend time on the balcony, but it would have been a great place to read a book or have a cocktail.
A room with a view.
Sunset on the lake.
The rooms are a little bigger than the average hotel room and have a sitting area. The bathrooms are big with a separate vanity that has a make-up mirror, which always scores bonus points with me. The only negative for the room is it didn't have a bathtub. That's a small negative, as the resort is overwhelmingly fantastic.
Here is one final picture, taken of the lobby during check out.
The next day, we drove to the Rancho Las Palmas Resort and Spa in Rancho Mirage for a two night stay. I was very excited about this hotel, because I had heard that it had an amazing pool. The pool even has a lazy river. I was all set for Tahiti Village part two.
We checked in around four on a Friday and it was a madhouse. Dan got out of the car to process the check in, while we waited...and waited...and waited... It took over half an hour. We found out that our rooms were in the very back of the property, overlooking the golf course. A great location.
Here is the pretty view from our room on the second floor. The property is set up motel style, with outdoor hallways.
A view of the golf course as we walked around the property.
The room was very nice and spacious. It had a decent sized bathtub and the all important vanity area with make-up mirror. The bed was plush and comfortable. The only issue with the room is that it needed a bit of an update. It seemed worn and the handle to flush the toilet snapped off when I touched it.
Here are a few pictures of the grounds. It was a pretty area, but a little too spread out for walking around during the hot summer. I liked that it is located across the street from a shopping/dining/movie complex. Great location. I also liked the outdoor courtyard with the rocking chairs.
Palms at sunset.
The courtyard at night.
As soon as we unpacked, we were ready to hit the pool. During the summer, a good pool is my #1 criteria for a hotel. The hype for this particular pool was only amplified by the wrist bands that we were given at check in.
The area of the pool that contains the lazy river and a kids water play area has been given the corny name of Splashtopia. This should have been our first clue to lower our expectations. The wrist bands are part of the resort fee, which, if I am remembering correctly, is twenty per person/per day. Steep, but again, this made us believe that the pool was going to be something special.
We headed straight to Splashtopia, which we sadly learned closed at five. They were already in the process of kicking everyone over to the main pool, that stays open until ten. We were allowed to walk through Splashtopia and got a good look at it. It was utterly depressing. Unlike the Lazy River in Tahiti Village, which is an island oasis with lots of foliage and waterfalls, Splashtopia is a concrete jungle. It's also a third of the size of the one at Tahiti Village. It looked so unappealing.
We made our way over to the small and overcrowded main pool. Ten minutes later, we had decided that we just couldn't stay at this resort. The pool area killed it for us. Part of the problem was the resort is under construction and the adult only pool is closed. It looks like they moved all of the lounge chairs from the adult area into the main pool, which created major overcrowded and ate up all of the sidewalk space. It made me think of a discount retailer, like TJ Max, where everything is crammed into the space and people are combing through the racks. This pool set up was a disaster and was the antithesis of relaxing. My nerves felt jangled.
Here are a few pictures, that unfortunately don't do justice to my above comments.
One of the worst hotel pools ever.
Pool at night.
The worst rooms on the property have to be those that are adjacent to the pool. If we had been placed in one of the pool rooms, we absolutely would have refused them. The noise would have been unbearable. I'm not just talking about kids in the pool. Nope. The noise from the kids would easily have been drowned out by the awful radio station, commercials and all, that they were blasting over multiple loudspeakers. It was horrendous! Lake Arrowhead did not play music by the pool, it was just peaceful mountain breezes rustling the leaves and birds chirping. Tahiti Village had soft rock muted as background noise. At Rancho Las Palmas, it's like being in a club, if DJ's stopped the dance music to play commercials.
We liked the rooms, so we decided to just stay one night and cut our trip short by a day. The staff was nice at check out, but we couldn't get a refund on the missed day. We left knowing that next time, we would find a better pool in Palm Springs. I mean, any pool is better than Splashtopia!