A Historic Hotel—Plus, Stargazing, Desert Art and Pickleball—Await in Borrego Springs
For a chilled out and charming desert stay just over 90 minutes from downtown San Diego, La Casa Del Zorro Resort & Spa is a true hidden-gem travel destination in San Diego County. The original resort dates back to 1937 when military and high-society types, including jewelry purveyors the Jessop Family and aviation pioneer Major Reuben Fleet, all hung out there. Purchased by newspaper magnate James Copley in the ‘60s and renamed La Casa Del Zorro Resort & Spa (“The House of the Fox”), famous guests of the resort’s second owner include US Presidents Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan. Today, its ranch-style stucco hacienda buildings, including the lovely lobby and reception area, luxe guest rooms and more contemporary casitas are dotted across the resort’s 42-acre grounds, which are beautifully landscaped with native plants and desert shrubs.
A Dreamy SoCal Desert Weekend
Because the perfect getaway means not having to spend ages in the car, La Casa Del Zorro Resort & Spa is a less than two hour drive from the city limits. Sitting on the far eastern edge of San Diego County, there are a handful of routes to choose from to get to the resort–two of which pass through Julian, a historic mountain town and apple pie mecca. Tack on another hour from Orange County and Los Angeles, although some offbeat roadside attractions worth stopping for en route to Anza-Borrego include the Rancheti Yeti statue in Ranchita and camel sightings outside Ramona. During the super bloom season, Yaqui Pass Road (aka Highway 79) rewards travelers with hillside views of blooming flowers.
Star Light, Star Bright
A designated International Dark Sky Community since 2009—and the only one in the state—professional and amateur stargazers regularly descend on Borrego Springs to gaze up at the moon, Milky Way and distant planets over the Southern California desert. La Casa Del Zorro often lands on “Best Hotels for Stargazing” lists thanks to its restricted up-lighting and dedicated stargazing amphitheater. Open to guests 24/7, an excellent time to see the stars is during the monthly new moon when the sky is darker, meaning more stars are visible to the naked eye. August is a top time for seeing and photographing the Milky Way and “wonder of the universe,” the Perseid Meteor shower.
Anza-Borrego Desert State Park on Your Doorstep
Fun fact: Borrego Springs is the only town in California surrounded by a state park, which makes La Casa Del Zorro an excellent base for exploring some of the hiking trails, palm groves and Native American rock art sites within its more than 600,000 acres. Home to big-horn sheep, coyotes and foxes named after a Spanish explorer who navigated the region in 1774 (stop by the Visitor Center on Palm Canyon Dr for maps and more information about the park’s history), you can also take in wildflowers and large-scale metal sculptures of dragons, horses and dinosaurs by Ricardo Breceda. Art in other forms, from photography to pottery and painting, are also celebrated at The Borrego Art Institute.
Stay Poolside or Get Cozy in a Casita
If grand four-poster beds, oversized marble bathrooms with soaking tubs and proximity to one of the resort’s sparkling swimming pools top your priority list, the deluxe balcony rooms are lovely and centrally located too, so it’s a short walk to reception (where the restaurants are located) plus amenities like the tennis courts, communal fire pits and stargazing amphitheater. Featuring private patios, spas and plunge pools, families and small groups should consider a casita, which is available in a variety of configurations. Being slightly more secluded, the two-bedroom Desert Willow is one of the most requested, while the largest, the Agave, can sleep up to eight. Each of the four garden rooms feature a king bed and contemporary decor.
Daily Yoga, Desert Bike Rides and Pickleball!
From the tennis program–six championship courts and a stadium center court–and yoga classes to the five heated swimming pools, gym and on-demand personal trainers, La Casa Del Zorro caters to wellness-minded travelers. Additional activities include lawn games like croquet and bocce ball, on-trend pickleball and a self-guided meditation session in the rock labyrinth. Guests can tee off at the nearby Rams Hill Golf Club (included in the Stay and Play Package); there are also bicycles to rent and a one-mile walking trail with views of the Santa Rosa and San Ysidro Mountains. For a soothing treatment, try the canna-bliss massage or lemongrass mimosa body scrub at The Spa at La Casa Del Zorro.
Happy Hour in the Fox Den
While there are three dining concepts at La Casa Del Zorro, the coolest but coziest spot is the Fox Den Bar—a petite social hub where guests and locals alike come for cocktails, shared plates and good conversation. The Fox Bistro is where you’ll find the breakfast buffet in the mornings, which is complimentary Monday through Friday, and you can grab lunch on weekends (11 a.m. to 2 p.m.) or get dressed up for a sit-down to dinner after 5 p.m. When it’s warm out (but not scorching), the Rose Garden Terrace is lovely—order from The Fox Bistro menu or, depending on the day, try one of the Sunset Dinners for seasonal specials and other favorites.
La Casa Del Zorro Resort & Spa
3845 Yaqui Pass Rd
Borrego Springs, CA 92004