Over the last several years, an explosion of destination resorts across the hospitality industry has fueled a growing trend toward first class experiences. When suffused in a destination environment, the guest experience becomes an extraordinary, indelible memory. Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa, managed by La Quinta, Calif.-based KSL, Resorts, strives to do exactly that.

The resort is located in Palm Springs, Calif., at the foot of majestic Mount Jacinto and directly across the street from The River, an entertainment, dining and retail complex. Resort operators wanted to enhance the Rancho Las Palmas experience by updating the existing family pool. The renovation was part of an overall $35 million dollar makeover.

Several challenges arose in creating Splashtopia. Management’s No. 1 concern was maintaining resort hotel operations during construction. Completing the project in a window of time between the closing and renovation of the adjacent accommodation and scheduled conference bookings allowed only a five-month time frame to complete the job. Finding space for additional pumps, circulation and heating equipment created another challenge. Being an aquatic addition in an existing developed site, the contractor and design team were required to work closely to deal with the challenges that arose on a daily basis.

The result was Splashtopia, a two-acre waterfeature including a lazy river and sandy beach with dual slides cascading down a rocky mountain into a splash pool. An elevated mountain spa and water splash pad with water cannons and tipping bells complete the experience.

Opened in 2007, Splashtopia was designed and created taking a queue from the owner’s vision of a majestic mountain surrounded by water in the middle of this California desert resort. Designed to complement the resort’s overall theme and blend with its desert appeal, breathtaking mountain views, and colorful gardens, Splashtopia incorporates rockscaping, palm trees and the warmth of early California architecture.

Set in a narrow area of under-utilized space between two existing accommodation wings, Splashtopia includes almost two acres of aquatic fun and relaxation for both youngsters and adults. Guests can drift away on the 425-foot lazy river with zero-beach entry and expansive sandy beach; slide down a rocky mountain on one of two 100-foot long waterslides amidst boulders and waterfalls; or zip around unique water-play zones with fountains and sprinklers.

Additionally, a large leisure pool refreshes while an all-tile mountainside spa soothes guests after enjoying sight seeing adventures, golf, shopping, conventions, nightlife, and all that the destination has to offer.

In addition to Splashtopia, the 240-acre resort provides a myriad of experiences, including 27 holes of golf, the largest tennis center in the desert, pampering at the Spa Las Palmas and Yamaguchi Salon and casual or fine dining options, all on property.