Credit: City of Indian Wells

How to Spend an Idyllic Weekend in Indian Wells, CA

Here’s Everything to Experience in This Enclave of the Desert

Snugly nestled between Palm Desert and Indio on Highway 111 lies Indian Wells—a desert escape made famous by the stars of Hollywood’s Golden Age, tennis tournaments and golf pros. While still known for its luxurious hotels, lush golf courses and the BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament, this desert city has become a beautiful destination for couples, friends and families to get away and experience total rest and relaxation.

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Anyone heading into the Greater Palm Springs area and skipping over this desert gem is absolutely missing out. Here is our complete itinerary for the ideal weekend getaway in Indian Wells, including the best places to stay, the most exciting restaurants to grab a bite at and, of course, some can’t-miss activities that’ll make your trip one to remember.

 

STAY

Tommy Bahama Miramonte Resort & Spa

Formerly known as the Miramonte Indian Wells Resort & Spa, this hotel opened its doors as the Tommy Bahama Miramonte Resort & Spa in November 2023. With this partnership came completely revamped spaces featuring the signature Tommy Bahama design aesthetic, along with a reimagined spa and new event venues and dining concepts. Guests of this resort can now enjoy a taste of the island life on the olive grove patio of Grapefruit Basil—the new signature restaurant. This elevated and airy concept features plush green booths, a mix of marble and wood furnishings and lantern lights. Floor-to-ceiling glass doors bring the outdoors in, setting the perfect scene to indulge in a refreshing Aperol spritz and tasty brunch bites like the burrata bruschetta, lobster frittata and buttermilk ricotta pancakes. In the balmy evenings, guests can play a game of bocce ball before cozying up around one of the fire pits surrounded by olive trees.

Indian Wells Summer Itinerary
Credit: Tommy Bahama Miramonte

In terms of relaxation (because that’s what a desert vacation is all about), Tommy Bahama Miramonte’s new Spa Rosa offers a menu of luxury treatments inspired by the healing powers of the surrounding desert landscape. Guests can take a dip in one of the outdoor soaking pools before indulging in a Santa Rosa Mountain Mud Body Mask or Precious Rose Quartz Facial. 

 

Hyatt Regency Indian Wells Resort & Spa

Indian Wells Summer Itinerary
Credit: City of Indian Wells

If you’re looking for a weekend getaway that has family fun written all over it, we recommend booking a stay at the Hyatt Regency Indian Wells. The newly refreshed property offers something for everyone, including nine temperature-controlled pools, the HyTides Plunge Waterpark, a luxurious destination spa and delicious dining options. The Hyatt Regency Indian Wells will be transformed into the Grand Hyatt in Summer 2024, meaning that the property will be getting several exciting upgrades. One of the most significant will be a refresh of the property’s Agave Sunset bar and lounge.

 

Renaissance Esmeralda Resort & Spa

Indian Wells Summer Itinerary
Credit: City of Indian Wells

Since 1989, this hotel has been a must-visit destination for guests of all ages—and it’s easy to see why. With activities for the whole family, frequent deals and stunning accommodations, Renaissance Esmeralda has become an Indian Wells resort that caters to every type of traveler. While the sandy beach pool and serene spa are well-known fixtures of the hotel, the Desert Glow Entertainment Zone is a true stand-out feature, inviting kids to enjoy classic and virtual reality arcade games, a boutique bowling alley and an exciting escape room. You can also book one of the Renaissance Esmeralda’s specialty experiences, such as a red jeep tour or a sushi and sake tasting.

 

Indian Wells Resort Hotel

Steeped in Hollywood history and old-school glamor, Indian Wells Resort Hotel was founded in 1957 by celebrities Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. This boutique desert property is an ode to Palm Springs’ Golden Age but wins over travelers with affordable rates. It features 155 guest rooms, each with its own private patio and amenities like outdoor tennis courts, an outdoor pool and a hot therapy pool. In terms of dining, IW Live, the on-site restaurant and lobby lounge, boasts a retro vibe reminiscent of the swanky 60s era. You won’t want to miss one of their dinner shows! The property is also home to 36 holes of championship golf, so teeing off is definitely in the cards when you stay at this Indian Wells hotel!

 

DINE

The Pink Cabana

Pink Cabana
Credit: The Pink Cabana

Inside the Sands Hotel and Spa resides The Pink Cabana—yes, it’s as cute as it sounds. With pink and emerald accents and a midcentury racquet club vibe, The Pink Cabana features whimsical pops of color and beautiful design elements that encapsulate the spirit of Indian Wells. Not only is this restaurant a treat for the eyes, but the Mediterranean-Moroccan menu will have your mouth watering. While dinners here are ultra-romantic, we also love heading over for brunch. The brioche French toast with amlou, roasted apples and chantilly cream is what dreams are made of, and the bar program consists of drinks that you won’t find anywhere else.

 

Don Diego’s

If you’re in Indian Wells and craving Mexican food, locals will point you in one direction: Don Diego’s. Since 1981, Don Diego’s has been serving the Indian Wells area with excellent service, authentic flavors and famously delicious margaritas. Don’t miss out on the house or Cadillac margarita, and make sure to order Don Diego’s guacamole, the mouthwatering fajitas, the vegetarian enchiladas and fried ice cream. Fill up with a tasty lunch or dinner, or stop by for Fiesta Hour, Sunday-Thursday, from 3-5 p.m. Don Diego’s also has a dog-friendly patio, so feel free to bring your furry friends along!

 

Vicky’s of Santa Fe 

An Indian Wells staple in nightlife, live music and delectable dining since 1989, Vicky’s of Santa Fe is the perfect place for an upbeat and entertaining night out. Find a seat in the Lounge, where you’ll enjoy fantastic musical performances that range from jazz to folk-country. For food, we recommend the bacon-wrapped dates, the rack of lamb and the lobster ravioli. Vicky’s of Santa Fe is open from mid-September through the end of June, and if you’re in town for the weekend, keep in mind that Vicky’s of Santa Fe is closed every Sunday and Monday.

 

Nobu at The Indian Wells Tennis Garden

Now open to the public year-round, Nobu Indian Wells, located inside Stadium Two of the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, offers a truly inspiring experience—no matter if you’re there to watch a match or enjoy an impeccable meal. Prior to February 2023, Nobu’s doors were only open during annual tournament dates, so last year’s transition to year-round dining was exciting for both visitors and locals. Known for exceptional Japanese cuisine with a South American twist, Nobu features a menu of expertly prepared dishes that include the yellowtail jalapeño, tiradito and black cod with miso.

 

Cava at Renaissance Esmeralda

Credit: Renaissance Esmeralda Resort & Spa, Indian Wells

With its farm-to-table American fare and immaculate views of the Santa Rosa Mountains, Cava is the perfect place to rest and rejuvenate after a day playing in the desert sunshine. Set poolside on the beautiful grounds of the Renaissance Esmeralda, Cava offers menus for breakfast, lunch and dinner, but you absolutely can’t miss the daily happy hour from 4:30-6 p.m. We recommend ordering poke nachos, calamari and sweet chili wings to share. Then, dig into mains like the herb-roasted chicken or NY strip steak. A meal here is best paired with a house cocktail—the desert sunset and good company are free!

 

DO

HyTides Plunge Waterpark at Hyatt Regency Indian Wells

Credit: Hyatt Regency Indian Wells Resort & Spa

Ready to make a splash at Greater Palm Springs’ largest and most impressive water feature? Head over to the HyTides Plunge Waterpark, a fun and exciting aqua adventure located at the center of the Hyatt Regency Indian Wells (soon to be a Grand Hyatt hotel!). It features a kid-friendly splash pad, two dueling 30-foot water slides and a 450-foot lazy river. The property also features other places to take a dip, including whirlpools, wading pools and an adults-only pool, along with poolside food and beverage service. Open year-round, HyTides makes for the perfect addition to a day full of pickleball or tennis matches.

Local Insight: Daypasses for the HyTides Plunge Waterpark are also available!

 

Golf at the Indian Wells Golf Resort

Perfect for golf fanatics and hobbyists alike, Indian Wells Golf Resort is the ideal place to spend a day on the green. Since the 1980s, this destination has attracted famous and familiar names, and it’s easy to see why. The resort offers two beautiful courses to choose from: the Celebrity Course, which re-opened in 2006, and its sister green, the Players Course, which re-opened in 2007. The par-72 Celebrity Course features rolling fairways and majestic water features. Meanwhile, the Players Course boasts unparalleled views of the surrounding mountains and a classic American design. Indian Wells Golf Resort will also be debuting a new restaurant concept that will replace VUE Grille & Bar. VUE’s last day of operation will be June 9. Visitors can look forward to the opening of the new dining venue this fall!

Local Insight: Looking to perfect your game? Indian Wells Golf Resort has its own golf academy, where you can take lessons from experienced instructors.

 

Hot-Air Balloon Ride With Fantasy Balloon Flights 

If you thought taking in the sights along Highway 111 was good, just wait until you get a bird’s-eye view from above. With Fantasy Balloon Flights, all you need to do is dress comfortably, show up at your designated location and partake in some bubbly and amazing views as you lift off with your experienced pilot. Whether you’re crossing a hot-air balloon ride off your bucket list, celebrating a momentous occasion or simply want to see Indian Wells from a different point of view, Fantasy Balloon Flights is sure to make your air-bound adventure one you’ll never forget.

 

Play Tennis at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden

Credit: BNP Paribas Open

Indian Wells Tennis Garden may be one of the best-known tennis centers in the country thanks to its annual hosting of the BNP Paribas Open. Now’s your chance to practice serves and strokes like a pro during the Masters tournament! Since opening in 2000, the Indian Wells Tennis Garden has offered a plethora of memberships for singles, couples, families and seasonal players, as well as different programs, lessons, clinics and packages to fit each of its members’ goals.

 

Spa Treatment at Spa Rosa

For a little R&R during your Indian Wells vacation, head to Tommy Bahama Miramonte’s Spa Rosa. Inspired by the Indian Wells landscape and the Santa Rosa Mountains, Spa Rosa uses its serene and tranquil environment to take guests on a physical, mental and spiritual journey. The spa menu includes skincare, massage and body treatments, along with enhancements to customize each. Special packages include the Perfect Escape and the Enjoy the Moment. These are perfect for anyone who wants to go all-in on a spa day experience.

Writer | Website | + posts

Born and raised near the Pacific Coast, Jordan Nishkian is a California girl through and through. She graduated from Cal State Long Beach with a BA in Creative Writing and a BA in Anthropology, and her favorite place to be is curled up in a comfy chair with a book in her hand and a pen in her hair.

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