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Backcountry hidden pleasures:   Our guide to unique lodging adventures in San Diego’s beautiful backcountry

By Bobbi Zane

Photos courtesy of La Casa del Zorro and Miriam Raftery

May 27, 2018 (Borrego Springs) -- Luxury starts the minute you step into the lobby of La Casa del Zorro Desert Resort and Spa, where you’ll hear a cheerful “May I help you?” to begin your stay at this sumptuous resort, located in the heart of the beautiful and historic Anza Borrego Desert in San Diego County.

Luxury comes first.

Choose from glamorous, family-size private casitas each with a private swimming pool or spa outside, or stay in a posh hotel room with vaulted ceiling, marble bathtub, balcony and wood-burning fireplace. Rates can be pricey (they vary seasonally) but the accommodations are worth the investment for a truly get-away-from-it-all experience.

 Peace and tranquility abound.

Enjoy quiet strolls through gorgeous grounds with lush landscapiing and beautiful water features meandering through the resort's 42 acres.

In wet years, the surrounding desert is transformed, especially in the late winter and spring when the sun is low and the sand verbena spreads its lovely pink and lavender hues across the valley floor.

Savor dining options 

Award-winning chefs are known for their gracious and delicious meals served in the newly opened Fox Bistro or on the Rose Garden Patio, or poolside with entertainment in the evenings. Locals drop by for cocktails for a bit of gossip here.

Find fun and fitness

You can play tennis night or day, swim in the big pools, spend a day of pampering in the Spa at La Casa, or get a work out in the fitness center and yoga studio. You can also play horseshoes, ride bicycles, take four-wheeled desert excursions, and see celestial sights in a stargazing theater.  

How it began and the resort's revival

The Casa has a rich history dating back 80 years, when Borrego appealed to just a few people. Noel Crickmer, a hotel manager in San Diego, discovered the desert in 1936 and found himself among friends who shared his love for vistas drenched in sunshine, starry black skies, sandstone canyons, and palm trees. He built small lodge and opened the doors to travelers. San Diego movers and shakers spent many weekends enjoying the secluded desert retreat.

Publishing magnate James Copley bought the Desert Lodge and changed it to La Casa del Zorro, attracting the Hollywood set, who held parties and weddings the for more than 40 years. The resort fell into bad times briefly between 2007 and 2013, until new owners came to the rescue. They welcomed back the staff and have worked tirelessly to restore this pristine oasis in the sun with its luxurious accommodations, water fountains, and award-winning dining.

Important information:

La Casa Del Zorro Desert Resort & Spa

3845 Yaqui Pass Road

Borrego Springs, CA 92004

(855)402-2272 or (760)767-0100

East County Magazine gratefully acknowledges the County of San Diego for providing a Community Enhancement Grant to support our “Backcountry Hidden Pleasures” weekend getaways coverage.

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