It’s no Atlantis, but I’d say Splashtopia at Rancho Las Palmas is the closest thing we’ve got in Southern California. I’ve only stayed one night and just a few hours at the pool, but since it was my first visit to a “super pool,” we went all-out and got the cabana.
The water park has a lazy river; two waterslides (kids must be at least 42 inches); a sandy beach with lots of toys for castle-building; two Jacuzzis; and a water playground with all sorts of fountains and squirting featrues. There’s also a huge “regular” swimming pool.
What surprised me most were all the lifeguards. Even when the kids were on their own, they were being watched. I’ve encountered active lifeguards only occasionally at resorts and the fact that there were several here was nice. You really could kick back in your cabana with a magazine and pretend you were there all by yourself. In theory. Until they need to eat, drink or have their noses wiped. And of course with such elaborate play features, “Mommy, watch!” was a well-repeated refrain.
The Lazy River circles around the water slides so mostly my husband and I lazed happily while the kids tracked our progress. As we got close to the slide (or the fountain, or whatever they wanted us to see), they would time their landing or finale to their slow-floating audience.
This was our first cabana experience and it felt especially decadent. There was a mini-fridge, lounge chairs (inside in the shade, and in front of the cabana for tanning), food and beverage service, water, sunscreen and comfy seating. They run $125 midweek, but go up to $165 on weekends and $225 during holiday weeks.
The property itself is nice, with that Spanish tile roof / drippy bougenvilla thing going on. What I really like is the location, so close to Rancho Mirage’s “The River.” (Hellooo, it’s the desert, could the name be any less appropriate?) Something about being in the Palm Springs area always makes me crave P.F. Changs and Rancho Las Palmas is just a short (potentially hot) walk from one, along with a bunch of restaurants, bars, shops and a multiplex. We swam all day, then walked to dinner and a movie in the evening. A perfect family day.
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