Why Indian Wells Golf Resort is the perfect family-friendly getaway

From great golf to an awesome waterpark, the Hyatt Regency Indian Wells Resort & Spa has it all.

Courtesy Hyatt Regency

When you have a young family, balancing the desire for a golf vacation with the admittedly more pressing need for a child-friendly vacation can be a difficult dilemma. Often, you have to sacrifice the quality of one for the other.

Unless of course you choose a destination like the Indian Wells Golf Resort in Indian Wells, Calif. — approximately two hours east of Los Angeles, and home of two excellent resort-style golf courses and one of the most incredible resort pool complexes I’ve ever encountered. At the Hyatt Regency Indian Wells, you don’t have to choose: it shines in both categories.

The Indian Wells Golf Resort is a sprawling complex that encompasses four resort hotels around two courses, the Clive Clark-designed Celebrity course and the John Fought-designed Players course. I stayed in a two-bedroom villa at the Hyatt Regency Resort & Spa, and, given that I had my two young kids in tow, the extra space was much appreciated. The villa was tastefully appointed with two identical master suites (each with full bathrooms), a large living room with a sink and refrigerator, a cozy fireplace and even a private plunge-style heated pool in the gated back patio.


An exterior shot of the Hyatt’s villas.

Hyatt Regency Indian Wells Resort & Spa


A view of the spacious and beautifully appointed interior.

Hyatt Regency Indian Wells Resort & Spa


The back patio includes a private heated plunge pool.

Hyatt Regency Indian Wells Resort & Spa

A quick note on something I appreciated: The villa’s sliding doors are equipped with a safety-lock that is out of reach for young children like mine, who are 2 and 6, so that gave me extra peace of mind, since we aren’t used to having immediate sliding-door access to a pool like that. But it was a big hit with them for sure!

The Hyatt’s villas are situated on a few of the Celebrity course’s closing holes and on the perimeter of the resort’s recently-renovated pool area. More than $8 million was invested into the resort’s HyTides Plunge Waterpark and Desert Twist Lazy River, which first opened in September 2020, and features dual 30-foot water slides in addition to the aforementioned lazy river.

Indian Wells Golf Resort

Where I played: Indian Wells Golf Resort boasts stunning vistas and an abundance of fun


Jessica Marksbury

There’s also a handful of other pools (including one for adults only), and a separate area for younger kids, featuring a shallow kids’ pool, splash pad, and a smaller-scale waterslide, which I estimate my daughter rode approximately 85 times during our visit.

Another fun feature is the resort’s game lawn, which includes corn hole, giant Jenga, giant Connect4, ping pong and foosball. It was never busy during our stay and provided an entertaining stop on the way to or from the pool, breakfast or dinner.

We were lucky to enjoy a weekend without any crowds. Our shuttle driver said he estimated the 530-room hotel to be at about 50 percent capacity. At times, it felt like we owned the place. (Word to the wise: shoulder-season travel in the desert — think April/May and September/October — is a sneaky good time to plan a visit with great weather, off-peak prices and fewer people.)

We never stood in line for a drink and enjoyed reasonable prices on all poolside food and beverages (think $12 for a cocktail, $12 for chicken tenders with generous fries, $10 for a platter of chips, salsa and guacamole, etc.).

There is one sit-down restaurant open for dinner on property: Agave, which is gloriously unpretentious and has lovely outdoor seating. We walked over from the villa for two straight nights and were seated immediately.

This quaint reading nook is a big draw for kids.

Jessica Marksbury

For breakfast and snacks, the Citrus Marketplace and Cafe in the Hyatt’s lobby has a great selection of items. And they even included an adorable reading nook, complete with books and stuffed animals, which my kids adored.

One of my favorite parts about staying at the Hyatt was the homey feel. You never have to leave the property, or even get in your car. Everything, from the resort spa to the two golf courses, is walkable onsite. And the walks couldn’t be more lovely: beautifully paved paths, gorgeous landscaping and water features make stunning vistas at every turn. And if you’d rather have a ride, a prompt shuttle is only a phone call away.

I played a thoroughly enjoyable round at one of the onsite courses, the Celebrity course, which I wrote about at length here. But aside from the great golf experience, it was particularly refreshing to experience a place that was truly enjoyable for each member of the family.

In the two months since we’ve returned from our visit, my daughter has asked me no fewer than three times to go back. It was such a remarkably relaxing weekend — and less than four hours by car from our home in Phoenix! — that I didn’t hesitate when I replied to her.


For more information about the resort or to book your own stay, click here.

jessica marksbury

Golf.com Photographer

As a four-year member of Columbia’s inaugural class of female varsity golfers, Jessica can out-birdie everyone on the masthead. She can out-hustle them in the office, too, where she’s primarily responsible for producing both print and online features, and overseeing major special projects, such as GOLF’s inaugural Style Is­sue, which debuted in February 2018. Her origi­nal interview series, “A Round With,” debuted in November of 2015, and appeared in both in the magazine and in video form on GOLF.com.