This is an unpaid review of the Aqua Soleil Hotel and Mineral Spa in Desert Hot Springs, California. We were not compensated in any way for this review.
The desert southwest is a great place to visit – even in the heat of the summer. My wife and I decided to travel to the “wild west” on our recent honeymoon, visting a number of cities in Southern California and Arizona. During our travels, we made our way to the Aqua Soleil Hotel and Mineral Water Spa. In this piece, we’ll review our stay, including our thoughts on hotel location, features, service and more.
Aqua Soleil Location – Desert Hot Springs, California
It just so happened that we were traveling in the region during an unusually hot period. In fact, temperatures were averaging 15 to 20 degrees above normal (Fahrenheit). The average high on the days we were in Palm Springs and Desert Hot Springs was around 110°F or 43°C for those of you outside the USA.
Needless to say, it was hot!
The Aqua Soleil Hotel is located not far off Interstate 10 between Palm Desert (west) and Palm Springs (east). We arrived in the area coming from the east and as we came into the valley, we were a bit caught off-guard by all the wind and the giant wind turbines used to generate power for the surrounding region (and beyond).
Aqua Soleil Location Information14500 Palm Drive
Desert Hot Springs, CA 92240
The hotel was easy to find on Palm Drive, not more than a few miles north of I-10. The area is somewhat barren (it is the desert), but there’s a shopping complex just beyond the hotel that has shops, a few fast food restaurants, a grocery store and a bank.
We stayed in the area for five days and always found something to do. We spent most of our time in Palm Springs, California, which was just a short drive south from the hotel.
Aqua Soleil Features
At first glance, I have to be honest – I wasn’t terribly impressed with the property. It didn’t look bad from a curbside appeal perspective, but Trip Advisor ratings named it a 4-star resort, based on guest reviews. I guess I expected more than what I saw at first glance. Certainly, there are some extremely posh resorts in the area and I guess that’s where my head was before we arrived.
The Hotel Entrance
After getting over my initial reaction, we walked into the hotel lobby to check in. Again, the front entrance could hardly be considered “grand”. The hotel is reminiscent of an older Holiday Inn or something similar. There’s no automatic doors that greet you upon entrance. If you’ve got luggage in tow, you’ll have to fend for yourself.
The hotel lobby has a small sitting area that looked comfortable and was nicely decorated with modern, colorful furniture. The windows are tinted in an attempt to keep some of the heat out, but the hotel is a bit old and there were more than a few drafty areas that let that 100° heat inside.
Normally I wouldn’t take the time to point out the hotel’s elevator, but in this case I have to make an exception. As I mentioned, the hotel feels like it was originally a motel in the 1970’s. I’m pretty sure the elevator is original from that era. It functions, but it’s not cooled, it’s extremely slow and there’s only one of them. Unless you have your luggage with you I recommend using the stairs for your trips up and down. I’d had fears of getting stuck every time I entered the elevator.
The Pool & Courtyard
The center pool and courtyard area really are Aqua Soleil’s saving grace. The hotel is square shaped, with the center of the containing a fairly large, rectangular pool and two hot tubs – one covered and one uncovered. The hotel boasts that all three (the pool and both hot tubs) are mineral springs fed, although, they do still have to chlorinate the water due to state regulations. I found all three extremely enjoyable. The pool was the perfect temperature; I expected it to be too warm, but I suspect they may cool it at night. The covered hot tub is kept at 102°F while the uncovered hot tub is at 104°F. Their courtyard and water features were a welcome oasis on our desert stay.
The Guest Rooms
Again, I found myself pleasantly surprised after my initial let-down of the exterior of the hotel. The guest rooms are almost all recently renovated with fresh paint, white sheets and comforters, modern furniture, newly-remodeled bathrooms and their own air conditioners (this is not to be taken for granted). I appreciated their attention to detail in the rooms and really thought they did a good job in making them look and feel like a top-notch resort should.
During my stay, I was provided a tour of the property and was shown the other guest rooms, including the suites. They have nine (9) guest suites, all that have their own 6′ x 10′ mineral water jetted pool. The layout of the suites is fantastic, with a large entrance, living room, decent sized (although not large) bathroom and a separate room that steps down into the private mineral water pool. For the area, the suites are a great deal and I’d recommend trying one out if you’re looking to stay in a suite without having to pay Palm Springs prices.
Aqua Soleil Hotel Service
The service at Aqua Soleil was also somewhat surprising. Typically, in more budget-friendly establishments, the employees aren’t always the happiest campers. That just wasn’t the case here. Everyone we dealt with (with one exception) was cheerful, helpful and seemed genuinely concerned with making sure their guests’ stay was a priority. The only exception was the “security” – an older gentleman that paced around the property and grumbles at guests he feels are doing something wrong. I didn’t complain about him while we were there because I’m pretty sure his “day job” is also as a cook in the Kafe Bar as well. I really didn’t feel like finding anything “extra” on my cheeseburger.
Unfortunately, we really didn’t get a chance to experience the full spa services at Aqua. We did a few sessions in what they call the “Migun Beds“, which were okay, but actually left me a bit bruised and rather sore. My wife loved them, though, and they were comparatively inexpensive to their other treatments.
Their other spa treatments seemed pretty over-priced to me, even considering the area. Clearly, they’re not a top-tier luxury resort, but their massage prices were about 20 – 30% more than I expected. A full list of their spa services can be found here.
Summary & Rating
Overall, the Aqua Soleil Hotel & Spa isn’t perfect and if you’re expecting perfection then I recommend you not stay here. However, if you’re able to get over the lack of curb appeal, the common areas are very nice, the pool is fantastic and the rooms offer every comfort a hotel twice the price likely charges. If given the opportunity, we’d definitely stay here again on my way through the Palm Springs area.
Aqua Soleil Photo Gallery
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