Los Angeles Weekend Trip Idea: Pechanga Resort Casino
One of the best things about living in Los Angeles, is that there are so many places my husband and I can drive to when we’re SICK of Los Angeles! It’s nice to be able to take a quick weekend vacation to somewhere completely different. Recently we were invited to Pechanga Resort Casino in Temecula (about 2 hours or so outside of LA) for a relaxing spa weekend, and it was heavenly! We had been to the casino and one of the restaurants there before, but never stayed overnight or experienced the spa or the pools (yes plural!).
We went down to Pechanga on a Friday afternoon (note to Los Angelenos – leave in the morning – don’t wait until Friday afternoon to go ANYWHERE – traffic will always be worse than you think). We were greeted by our Deluxe King Room (with upgraded patio feature): a spacious king size bed, large bathroom, and a large, semi-private patio. The first thing I always do in a hotel (other than taking photos of it before I mess it up with all my junk) is lie on the bed, arms spread out above my head and go AHHHHHHH! A sigh of relief, and so much potential for a fun weekend!
After checking in, we went down to the Lobby Bar & Grill, a bistro-style, farm to table restaurant. We were blown away by how amazing the food was. The chef was also very accommodating to our diets and food restrictions, which can often be an issue when traveling. Insider tip: you can also ask for the “wellness menu” to stay healthy during your mini-vacation.
The next morning, we went to Journey’s End near the golf course for some breakfast before heading out to the spa. If you stay at Pechanga, definitely make sure to venture outside of the main building to eat here. Otherwise you’ll miss the amazing views of the golf course and hills of Temecula Valley!
Next stop was Spa Pechanga (next door to Journeys End). I wasn’t expecting it to be so huge – it’s 25,000 square feet of pure bliss! There’s a fitness center, outdoor hot tub, private pool with cabanas, an upstairs relaxing area (with snacks, tea and spa water), and a deck with views of the valley. The men’s and women’s locker rooms also have a dry sauna, wet sauna and large indoor hot tub. There are luxe amenities like towels, shampoo, conditioner, moisturizer and hair products, as well as hair dryers and everything else you’d need to get ready for “the real world” after your spa day.
My first spa experience involved making my own essential oil perfume blend in the lobby area. There is an iPad with guided questions to help you create your own blend for perfume (rollerball) or body cream. I’m pretty essential oil savvy, so I skipped ahead and asked for a blend of bergamot, sweet orange and lemon. Citrus blends always make me happy, and this one was no exception. They mixed the essential oils into a rollerball with a carrier oil, and even added in some crystals of my choosing. A very nice keepsake!
After that, my husband, Gregg, and I hung out by the private spa pool for a bit. We hung out in a cabana and soaked up some sun (with SPF of course – you know me!). We tried the outdoor hot tub and Gregg got in the pool. We ordered lunch at the front desk, and ate our salads and iced teas out on the relaxation deck overlooking the hills.
After that it was time for my first spa treatment of the day! The Great Oak Purification is one of Spa Pechanga’s signature body treatments. It lasts 110 minutes, and it’s truly heavenly. After inhaling some essential oils, I was dry brushed and exfoliated – top to bottom (they let you keep the brush and I’ve been using it ever since!). After the exfoliation, I was painted with a warm sage and lavender-infused clay body mask. Then I was wrapped up like a burrito to keep the heat in while my scalp was massaged with chia seeds and jojoba oil. (Pro tip – let them know if you’re claustrophobic and you can skip the wrap or keep your arms out – whatever makes you more comfortable – they will do it!) After the wrap and (AMAZING) scalp massage, I was given some time to clean my hair and rinse off the body mud. I got back into the comfy, heated bed, and then I had a full body massage with Himalayan salt stones. The oil was infused with native white sage, and the overall vibe of the treatment was renewal and detoxification. I also got an arnica oil add-on to ensure extra muscle relaxation. It was just pure heaven you guys. I felt SO relaxed and pampered. At the end I was given some rosehip tea, and it wasn’t long before my next treatment!
The next spa treatment was a facial. I am ALWAYS up for a facial! My aesthetician was very careful to make sure she didn’t use any products that I was allergic to. She gave me the full facial experience – including exfoliation, mask, massage and extractions. Oh and the hot towels – is there anything better than a hot towel on your face? I mean, maybe your wedding, your kid’s graduation, buying your first house, getting a new puppy – nah – hot towels are still the best! Afterward, my skin was glowing!
I didn’t have much time to relax though, because we had dinner plans in an hour at Umi Sushi & Oyster Bar. I got dressed, collected my husband, and we headed down to the Japanese restaurant right outside the casino. I can tell you that I was not prepared for how amazing the food was. It was NEXT LEVEL – fresh and delicious. We got to meet the chef, Kiyokuni Ikeda, who came out to greet us several times to make sure we were happy. He has been making sushi since he was ten years old, so you know he’s good! They were also super accommodating with our weird diet issues, and even made me sushi without rice (which I didn’t even miss)! Seriously – this place is worth visiting if you’re in the area – even if you don’t have time to go to the casino or the spa – just come for the sushi!
After dinner, we played a few slot machines, and then headed to a concert. 80s and 90s kids – you will never believe who we saw – TLC! Yep that’s right – TBoz and Chilli still got it! They put on a great show, and of course played all the hits. They said they could never replace Lisa LeftEye Lopes, and we all know that is the truth.
The next day, we stashed our luggage with the hotel concierge and went straight to the pool to hang out in our private cabana. There is nothing like having your own cabana to feel like a baller. The cabanas come with a TV, fridge with waters, lounge furniture, a safe for your wallet/valuables and a ceiling fan. You get your own server to bring you food and drinks, or you can go to the outdoor grill or bar. The cabana rental also came with a sampling of COOLA sunscreen products, which was a nice surprise. We were not planning on staying too long, so we just sunbathed and didn’t actually get IN the pool(s) (or the water slide!!), but I definitely want to go back to do that. The pools were part of an expansion they added on about a year ago and they are GORGEOUS and HUGE. There’s even a swim-up area of the bar. If I was still a drinker, I’d be all over that.
Overall, we had a blast. The spa was amazing, and is perfect for a solo traveler or couple. You can chill or you can party, depending on your mood. A trip to Pechanga would be really fun for a girls’ trip, bachelor/bachelorette weekend, or a multi-couple vacay. It’s kind of like Vegas, but less crowded and crazy. If you’re visiting California, or an LA local who wants a weekend trip that is fun, but slightly more low-key than Vegas, I highly recommend it. I already want to go back!