Gensler-designed Thunderbird Resort and Spa in Rancho Mirage, California gets the go-ahead

by Helen Andrews | 10 Mar 2015

A proposed US$100m-plus (€93m, £66m) resort and spa in Rancho Mirage, California, has received approval from the city’s Architectural Review Board – following amendments made to the project’s design by Derek Sola from architecture firm Gensler.

The 24-acre (10-hectare) Thunderbird Resort and Spa plans will be sent to the city’s planning commission for approval. The ‘six-star’ resort – which will be tucked into the landscape with the mountains serving as its backdrop – will offer 125 guestrooms, 48 condominiums, three swimming pools, walking and cycling paths, a restaurant, fitness centre and a spa.

The resort will be surrounded by 160 acres (65 hectares) of open space and a berm – a raised barrier created through landscaping and walls – will ensure guests won't be able to see or hear the traffic along Highway 111 once they are within the retreat.

The property will be co-managed by Malibu-based developer Richard Weintraub – who told local media that the resort is modeled on properties one might find in Europe, catering to overall physical and mental wellbeing.

“We have, within a two-and-a-half-hour drive of the Coachella Valley, 20 million people and yet not a single six-star luxury resort that can offer the type of amenities for overall health and wellness,” Weintraub told The Desert Sun. The developer, who is also owner of the local Indio Fiesta Mall that he developed, said the resort will target corporate executives and “the wealthiest segment of the travel industry.” Guests will be invited to relax at the resort for stays as short as two days or as long as two weeks, according to Weintraub.

Weintraub hopes to break ground on the resort in about nine months, provided the planning commission – and then the city council – approves the project.

Rancho Mirage councillor Ted Weill dubbed the "magnificent" development a "luxurious decompression chamber". Weill, whose background is in real estate development and financing, said the amendments made to the original designs for the project involved adding more space and height to a couple of the buildings. Weintraub confirmed, however, that although the resort is set to include two-storey condominiums, the view of the mountains will not be obstructed.

Weintraub also owns the Palm Springs Community Church in Coachella Valley, a significant portion of which was destroyed in a fire in 2013. He has restored a number of historical buildings throughout Southern California.

Nearby resorts offering similar retreat packages include Cal-a-Vie Health Spa in Vista and Canyon Ranch Resort & Spa in Tucson, Arizona.

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A proposed US$100m-plus (€93m, £66m) resort and spa in Rancho Mirage, California, has received approval from the city’s Architectural Review Board – following amendments made to the project’s design by Derek Sola from architecture firm Gensler. The 24-acre (10-hectare) Thunderbird Resort and Spa plans will be sent to the city’s planning commission for approval. The ‘six-star’ resort – which will be tucked into the landscape with the mountains serving as
The US$100m-plus (€93m, £66m) Thunderbird Resort and Spa will be located on this nice bit of green space / Shutterstock / CHRISTIAN DE ARAUJO
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