Casita Updates Debut at La Quinta Resort & Club

The storied desert property undergoes a big renovation.

THE SAME BUT SPIFFIED-UP: If ever there was a bard with a knack for spinning a tale dealing with the hearts of men and how we seek to transform our lives and stand taller in our shoes, it is Frank Capra. The screenwriter, the legend behind movies like "It Happened One Night" and "It's a Wonderful Life," favored themes of the upbeat and transformational sort, themes that very much suit the property with which the scribe is most associated: La Quinta Resort & Club. Mr. Capra typed out some of his most celebrated stories in a casita on the grounds of the landmark hotel, a property that's kept its 1920s-style cred while gently and stylishly updating its casitas, Starlight Villas, suites, and outdoor areas over the decades. That's no easy feat, as any hotelier can tell you -- keep the charm while freshening up the look, feel, fabrics, and furniture. But Mr. Capra's favorite writing hangout, and one of the desert resort region's oldest enclaves, has just complete a multi-million dollar room refurbishment, and just in time for the holidays, too, when many a "It's a Wonderful Life" fan makes for the flower-lined driveway for a little George Bailey-esque celebrating.

SO WHAT'S BEEN UPDATED? Smith & Firestone, a firm based in Los Angeles, "created a residential-style design featuring custom tilework and wrought iron elements, new furniture, floor coverings, and two-toned blocked drapery panels." Other touches include "oversized, nail-embellished headboards," "new fire features" on the Starlight Casita patios, upgraded lighting, fresh patio furniture, wingback chairs, leather bed benches, 42- to 47-inch flat-screen TVs, and Keurig coffemakers. Fancy stuff.

AS FOR THOSE LA QUINTA-SWEET GROUNDS? Look for more bougainvillea, the green most associated with the mountain-close expanse, more roses, and more citrus trees. Need a dose of all of that, plus some holiday spirit? The seasonal happenings are on during December. Look for nightly menorah lightings, cooking classes geared towards families, and holiday dining at Morgan's in the Desert.

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