I’d been to Borrego Springs before. I’d taken a poorly-timed girls’ getaway in the middle of the broiling summer where we’d lounged by the pool all weekend (it was cool, locals said, the thermometer reading 98!). And I’d camped several times with friends, bringing a shovel and toilet paper as part of the rustic adventure.
What I hadn’t done in Borrego yet was have a romantic getaway.
When a PR rep for Casa del Zorro, a well-known resort in Borrego Springs, offered me the chance to review the property for a weekend, I grabbed my beau and we were off. The website alone had excited me, with gorgeous photos of the property, the spa, and the many sparkling pools. Reality did not disappoint.
Getting to Borrego Springs
Borrego Springs is just under two hours northeast of San Diego. The landscape changes are remarkable; just half an hour out, you start seeing smooth rocks built into mountains, like some giant’s playthings. Then come the winding roads and forests (an uncommon experience in Southern California, as there are relatively few trees) of the Cleveland National Forest and quaint mountain town Julian. After that, the land stretches out for miles, with vast peaks in the distance. You’ve arrived in the desert, and at this tiny town of Borrego Springs, population 3,429 (plus a few dragons, dinosaurs, and prehistoric creatures…but we’ll get to them).
Don’t blink, or you’ll miss it.
An Oasis in the Desert
Honestly, there’s not much to do in Borrego Springs besides hike (despite my best efforts to do so, it didn’t happen this trip) and look at some cool art I’ll tell you about in a minute. So when we arrived at Casa del Zorro, we didn’t have much in the way of plans to leave.
The resort has a way of making you want to stay.
With 42 acres of beauty, opportunities to relax, and fun activities (not to mention uber comfy and luxuriously appointed rooms), why would you leave? The resort started out as a house on a ranch in 1933, and grew as it attracted visitors from around the world. It’s been renovated over the years, but retains its old-school Spanish-style charm.
The details, however, were what impressed me the most. Arriving in our deluxe poolside room (which averages about $229 a night), a stuffed fox, the mascot for the resort, greeted us on the bed. He could, of course, be purchased, but I resisted.
After sunset, my boyfriend and I wandered around the property. We were delighted to find colored lights projected into the trees, creating a fairyland to wander around in.
Even the built-in nightlight under the bathroom cabinet impressed me. When a hotel goes to such lengths to provide an accommodating and inviting experience for the guests, I fall in love a little.
Over the weekend, we dined in the Fox Den Bar & Cantina on-site and had satisfying yogurt and granola for breakfast, as well as really tasty Kona coffee. For dinner, we drooled over the Deconstructed Potato, which included potato skins with all sorts of goodness on top. We also shared the Prime Rib, which was tender and perfect.
Feeling too lethargic to be too active, we visited the croquet field and giant chess board, and meandered around the labyrinth, contemplating life. I managed a few lackadaisical laps around the pool, settling in to read afterward while he napped.
Getting Out into Borrego Springs
Being a naturally antsy person, I couldn’t stay on property the entire weekend! I wanted to show my man the amazing serpent statue designed by sculptor Ricardo Breceda. I’d forgotten that there were other rusty metal masterpieces peppered throughout the land outside of town…130 of them, to be precise!
For me, this is the coolest thing about Borrego Springs. You simply see a statue in the sand off the highway and go offroad to get a closer look. We didn’t even see a fraction of them all, but did get shots of dinosaurs, sloths, tortoises, camels, and grape pickers. But the serpent is my favorite, and probably the biggest draw.
After that, we’d worked up an appetite, so grabbed Mexican food in town. Honestly, Borrego Springs isn’t known for its cuisine, so I won’t make recommendations for dining…because I have none. All restaurants are serviceable. None remarkable so far.
My guy was getting sleepy and ready for Nap #3 of the day when I spotted the Bargain Barn. Now, if you know me, you know I can’t resist a thrift store. I wasn’t let down. The great thing about thrift stores in the country is that everything is so much cheaper than at thrift stores in the city! I spent $2 and got several books and a vintage champagne glass. Go me.
Romance in Borrego Springs
Another draw to Borrego Springs is how close it is to the stars. I jest. But with darker skies than we have in San Diego, you feel like you could reach out and touch them.
Casa del Zorro has a “stargazing theater,” but upon visiting, it turned out to be an old shooting range with…wait for it…two folding chairs for guests to look up at the celestial ceiling. Funny.
The rooms all come equipped with fireplaces, which add to the romantic ambience, though it wasn’t quite cold enough to warrant a fire this trip. Still, with little to do besides enjoy each other’s company, Borrego Springs and Casa del Zorro made for a wonderful getaway for two.
Casa del Zorro provided me with a complimentary stay and meals, but my opinions are my own.