Splashtopia makes a "splashy" debut

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If the Griswold family (Chevy Chase, Vacation) had known about Splashtopia, they wouldn’t have needed Walley World. A literal mountain of aquatic fun, Splashtopia is the exciting new water complex at Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa in Rancho Mirage, Calif. Its debut has made a big splash in the California desert resort scene and is the crowning touch to a $35-million renovation that has completely transformed this classic desert property.

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Ringed by a 425-foot lazy river, Splashtopia encompasses almost two acres of family-friendly features, including two 100-foot water slides, a cliffside Jacuzzi, expansive swimming pool, and, for the youngest tykes, a sandy beach and water-play zone. Splashtopia rounds out the pool experience at the resort, which encompasses the adjacent family pool and two other pool areas designed for more relaxing pursuits including the adults-only tranquility pool and the spa pool.

“Splashtopia is really cool,” exclaimed a 9-year old guest who was one of the first to experience this new fun zone. “You could hang out here all day and never get bored!”

A utopia for kids (and their parents), the area is supervised by a team of trained lifeguards who playfully interact with guests while maintaining a watchful eye. Throughout the day, kids and lifeguards engage in good-natured splashing, trying to get each other unexpectedly wet.

The highlights of Splashtopia include:

– Rio Rancho: A 425-foot lazy river wends its way around Splashtopia, delivering guests from one point to the next (thanks to entry and exit points along the way). Children and adults equally enjoy lying back and floating the full meandering route – a relaxing journey of two and a half minutes. It’s not unusual to find families or groups of friends tube-linked together along the way. River riders find that a perfectly-timed exit makes for a gentle swoosh into the calm lagoon, with a zero entry landing on the sandy beach.

– Marble Beach: More than 80 tons of crushed white marble compose the “sand” for Splashtopia’s very own beach, where youngsters can test their castle-building skills or simply dig their toes into the soft coolness.

– Water Slides: From the coiling Rattler to the curvy Sidewinder, Splashtopia’s dual water slides deliver 100 feet of twists and turns that send guests (48 inches and taller) down a 35-foot man-made mountain and into the cool waters of the shallow pool below. Colorful wristbands designate the slide riders each day and become a sort of status symbol among younger guests who proudly display multiple bands throughout their stay. Follow a kid with an armful of wristbands and you are likely to pick up tips on slide technique from these “seasoned” pros.

– Hot Springs: High up the side of Splashtopia Mountain, the Jacuzzi bubbles over with fun for as many as a dozen guests at a time. A waterfall cascades down the mountain directly behind, creating a dramatic backdrop to a leisurely soak.

– Great Geyser: Spritzers, sprayers and buckets of water abound in this fun splash zone designed for small tots, whose squeals of joy as they jump, play and stomp attest to its great appeal. Among the favorite highlights are the buckets of water that fill up and gently dump out to drench anyone standing below.

– Splash Grill: After working up an appetite at Splashtopia, guests can refuel at the newly remodeled Splash Grill, just steps away, where juicy burgers and cool tropical drinks share the menu with refreshing salads and other tempting fare.

Splashtopia Getaway Package

One of the best ways to experience the aquatic thrills of this new water playground is through the Splashtopia Package. This getaway package includes overnight accommodations in the newly renovated “riverside” guest rooms and two personalized Lazy River inner tubes to keep. The package is available through September 2008. Prices start at $269 January through April, $199 in May, $169 in June, and $149 July through September.

Fresh on the heels of a $35-million makeover, the 444-room Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa is classic Rancho Mirage re-imagined for the 21st century traveler, especially those with families. In addition to Splashtopia, its new offerings include the signature bluEmber restaurant, the stylish R Bar lounge, Splash Grill, Palms Cafe. The resort also features a 20,000-square-foot spa and Yamaguchi Salon, a 27-hole Ted Robinson-designed golf course, a 25-court Peter Burwash International tennis center and 41,000 square feet of flexible meeting and event space.

Rancho Las Palmas is ideally located in the heart of Rancho Mirage, California, on 240 acres dotted with palm trees, tranquil lakes, gardens and fountains. It is directly across the street from The River, a dynamic entertainment, dining and retail area.

Founded in 1992, KSL Resorts manages six time-honored resorts with outstanding recreational amenities, including spa, golf, tennis and ski. Each is refined yet unpretentious, rich in legacy, and genuine in service. The KSL Resorts are: Hotel del Coronado (San Diego, CA)- La Costa Resort and Spa (Carlsbad, CA)- Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa (Rancho Mirage, CA)- Vail Mountain Lodge & Spa (Vail, CO)- Barton Creek Resort & Spa (Austin, TX)- The Homestead (Hot Springs, VA)

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