Late last year I made my first visit to Pechanga Resort Casino -- a hard-hat tour -- and recently returned to explore the property's expanded amenities. This growing tribal casino in Temecula, Calif., offers a rural getaway rough halfway between San Diego and Los Angeles where vineyard abound and hot-air balloons dot the Southern California sky. And while it wasn't long ago that the inner shell of The Summit was still just bare concrete, now it's shined up and, on the day I visited, was hosting Pitbull, along with several thousand fans.
Meeting planners take note: The 40,000-square foot Summit can also be divided up into ballroom and meeting space, serviced by around-the-clock catering and banquet services. The Summit has two levels and includes dressing rooms, an indoor pre-function area and VIP meeting rooms with panoramic views of the action on the ground floor.
Since construction hard hats are no longer required headwear, and visitors can now try out Pechanga's newest amenities: a 25,000-square-foot day spa (inspired by native botanicals) and the amazing 4.5-acre pool complex.
The front door on the ground floor of the two-level spa opens to a serene lobby and reveals a state-of-the-art fitness studio. The gym includes two Peloton stationary bikes, letting attendee take spin class led by a video-viewed instructor.
Then the bliss: Spa Pechanga has 17 nurturing treatment rooms. I float into one and accept the recommendation to bee brave while submitting to the Healing Honey Massage. The treatment coats you with natural honey and includes a beeswax thermal pad on your back and the application of a hydrating milk-and-honey facial mask. How was it? Honey, it was sweet.
How does one follow up a rigorous day at the spa? With a wind-down in one of 27 pristine cabanas at a gorgeous new swimming pool complex. The Cove, which covers the size of four football fields, is made up of four pools -- the largest a 7,500 square feet zero-edge beauty with a swim-up bar and 18 bar stools. There's also an extensive tanning ledge for chaise lounges and half a dozen water-skimming day beds.
You might teeter between the relaxation of sunning outside a cabana and the thrill of taking a ride down one of two waterslides. Either way, take advantage of the Coola sun-care kit (sunscreen, lip balm, after-sun lotion) that comes gratis with a cabana.
With more event organizers looking to create experiences outside the walls of a meeting room, spas and pool complexes certainly fit the bill. Pechanga offers boot camps, morning yoga and spin classes (in the fitness room or on an adjacent lawn for large groups). Who knows -- maybe a Pitbull song or two will make the playlist at your group's spin class.