In the past, to find a great resort you had to take a plane to a tropical place, set out for some snowy climes or head out to a major city that could support the number of people that it took to maintain a great resort —Not anymore. In a world where the so - called “secondary cities” are some of the most innovative in America: Dallas, Austin, Las Vegas, Nashville, San Diego, and Denver to name a few, great resorts are picking up just close enough to these cities for intrepid travelers to find a great adventure close to your new home. What follows below is one of my new favorites that is still a work in progress, but working hard on building it’s strutting feathers, Pechanga Casino and Resort.
I walked into the marble floored atrium and looked up to find what seems to be a 60 ft inverted fountain and I thought to myself, “I’ve been transported to one of the elegant, perfectionist, Las Vegas resorts”. The attention to detail is incredible: a shimmering wall of glass birds whisks you up an escalator towards the second floor, the decor highlights the beauty of the Native American heritage of the resort by displaying distinctive art for you to subtly admire, but never pushed in your face. The ceiling heights are massive and the open expanses of the newest tower make the entire place feel grand: an opulent palace designed for discerning clientele.
The rooms are even better. I had the privilege of staying in a junior suite and I could have mistaken the interior for a localized version of a room at the St Regis, one of my perennial favorites. Earthy tones are everywhere, with natural wood touches. The bedding is soft, the lighting is sultry, and the technology is there to help you get the job done. For a quick bite, I ate at the tower bar for a late lunch and the meal was just as good. Smoothly whipped cheese grits, spicy large shrimp in an onion/bell pepper sauce and soft toasted bread. Nearly perfect. I was on my best behavior because I was on database duty for the new Parlourboard App, but if I had a bit more time I’d love to check out the bar: I saw a cocktail or 3 that needed having, but maybe the next time.
In all, after just a short stay, I didn’t want to leave. There were so many things I’d love to do next: Play a short few rounds of poker to see if I’ve still got the math right, maybe a sunset back nine holes on the golf course or dance at the Eagle’s Nest with the beautiful people. Just thinking how this is still a work in progress, I can’t wait to see how the next project plays out: a massive swimming pool project, complete with water slide. Do yourself a favor: fly into sunny San Diego, rent a convertible and throw on some music to smooth things out, and drive out to Pechanga Resort and Casino. You just might fall in love with it as much as I have.