The iconic Clubhouse underwent a $25 million remodel in 2015, and can host the entire membership at a single event.
PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY THE VINTAGE CLUB
The Vintage Club in Indian Wells
What does it really mean to be vintage? It’s to be representative of the best — of enduring importance, quality and character. Anything unique. Unparalleled. Rare.
In that regard, The Vintage Club lives up to its name. This ultra-private community is ranked No. 1 in California and No. 3 in the United States by Platinum Clubs of America. Nestled at the base of the Santa Rosa Mountains in Indian Wells, the Club recently celebrated its 40th anniversary; and throughout decades of change and modernization, it has never lost its superior caliber and singular appeal or its penchant for making an unforgettable first impression.
Driving through the front entry, bathed in a bright canopy of bougainvillea and leading to a stately palm tree–lined lane, one can’t help but feel miles away from the rest of the world, yet the convenience of the city lies just outside the gates. As the road continues, curving ever so slightly (by design), Mt. Eisenhower finally appears in full frame, its peak reflecting off the surface of a sparkling lake. In the distance, pyramid-shaped roofs protrude from a cluster of trees, like miniature mountaintops mirroring the natural backdrop beyond.
It’s a scene at once timeless and current — carefully preserved yet vibrant and alive, with an 85,000-square-foot clubhouse at the epicenter.
Designed to serve an active membership that wants to enjoy the outside and each other “as much as possible,” according to General Manager and CEO Steve Cenicola, the modernist building evokes an easy elegance made all the more inviting by the natural elements found therein: abstract water features and fountains, flowers in full bloom, floating palm trees, flickering fire pits. It’s hard to tell where the outdoors end and the indoors begin.
Pass from the LakeView Grille to the Pointe, the restaurant’s extended outdoor seating area, and you will find a dining space unlike any other.
At the LakeView Grille, aptly named for its expansive patio (the “Pointe”) that extends out into the middle of a serene little lake, you may even spy the occasional snowy white egret tiptoeing across the glass railing as you’re enjoying an authentic Japanese wagyu steak, artfully crafted sushi or fresh dover sole.
“We have quite a varied campus when it comes to what we offer our membership,” says Cenicola, adding that almost every clubhouse amenity has been renovated in the last five years, from the Pointe itself, whose heated patio floors offer a cozy al fresco dining spot even during chilly desert nights, to the men’s and ladies’ locker rooms, where members like to gather for card games and casual conversation, to the multi-tiered Crystal Ballroom, which can accommodate the grandest of events.
An adjacent golf pro shop and staging area is the jumping off point for the club’s two nationally ranked 18-hole Tom Fazio-designed courses: The Mountain and The Desert. The former, voted “2015 Best New Re-Design” by Golf Digest and known for its bent grass greens and lush, picturesque fairways, beautifully contrasts the latter, where cacti, palo verde trees and Tifdwarf Bermuda grass blanket the greens. And thanks to a full caddie program (overseen by The Vintage Club’s Director of Golf, David Woods), two driving ranges and a golf training center, the club offers a golf experience second to none, with ample opportunities for players to enhance their game.
The Mountain Course is one of the two 18-hole courses designed by Tom Fazio.
If members desire other recreational pursuits, they need only follow a manicured walkway leading from the main clubhouse to the club’s other sport facilities located right next door, where The Palm Court, which offers a more casual dining experience with a full bar and focus on comfort food, overlooks the tennis complex and a resort-style pool on either side. And as is expected, floor-to-ceiling glass windows open up to create an inviting indoor-outdoor space — all the more beautiful at night when the pool is lit a glowing, turquoise blue.
By day, the area buzzes with activity, with members rallying on one of the club’s nine tennis courts and eight pickleball courts, ordering take-out from the restaurant, or stopping by the nearby Vintage Market, which vends everything from Starbucks coffee, organic smoothies, and fresh-baked pastries to grocery essentials, bottles of wine and floral arrangements.
For a more serene escape, members can disappear inside the 17,000-square-foot spa and wellness center that lies just around the corner, featuring the latest cardio and strength-training equipment; massage, yoga and stretch rooms; and even a full-service hair and nail salon. “We offer about 30 different fitness classes a week,” says Jessica Herrick, The Vintage Club’s Spa & Wellness Director. “We also have one of the only Gyrotonics studios in the Coachella Valley,” not to mention estheticians and on-site fitness trainers to help members personalize their wellness needs.
Whether you’re wanting to play a round of golf, fish in one of the lakes, dine out with the family, or treat yourself to a quick session in the spa’s hydromassage bed, no reservations, appointments or tee times are required anywhere on campus, and the club’s finite number of memberships allows them to keep it that way. “The whole key to the success of the club is that it’s lifestyle driven,” Cenicola explains. “We only have 500 members, and membership is by invitation only, so there’s plenty of space for them to use whatever amenities they want, whenever they want, and how they want.”
It also allows the club to focus on experiences and offerings that truly enrich members’ lives and inspire them to pursue their passions and make lifelong connections. Organized group excursions ranging from hot air balloon rides and horseback riding to Jeep tours and rock climbing do just that. Even younger members can enjoy a full slate of kid-friendly activities, such as junior golf and tennis clinics and dive-in movie nights. Plus, the club’s central location in the heart of the Coachella Valley provides convenient access to everything that lies beyond the front gates, whether it’s upscale shopping and dining on El Paseo or the world-class healthcare facilities of Eisenhower Health.
The Real Estate
Once someone falls in love with what life at The Vintage Club looks like (which is as easy as it sounds), purchasing real estate is next, as homeownership and membership go hand in hand. “The club is constantly reimagining itself and so is the real estate,” says Vintage Club Sales Executive Carmen Wolfe, who has been showing and selling properties at the club for over 30 years.
Their product lines, which vary from detached homes to resort-style residences, offer something for everyone. Some buyers are instantly drawn to the charming Spanish hacienda-style Cottages, located within walking distance of the clubhouse and designed with six attached units clustered around a central courtyard. “A lot of people really like this option because you have an HOA that takes care of the landscaping and common areas,” Wolfe says.
Others can’t resist the carefree style of living (or the west-facing views) at the Terraces, one-level units situated within a pair of three-story buildings at the base of the mountains. They’re the only property type that offers an on-site concierge to assist with everything from delivering mail and packages to charging your car or golf cart.
The Patio Homes are a great fit for families who prefer spacious, detached dwellings with low-maintenance amenities, with an HOA overseeing lakes and landscaping upkeep, while the Desert Homes, which occupy almost half an acre, are designed to maximize outdoor entertaining; each home features patio seating, a private pool and spa, and landscaped views that practically define desert living.
Within this picturesque landscape lies a diverse selection of residential options available through Vintage Club Sales.
Though upgrades and expansions are available, to some degree, on almost all product lines, Custom Homes appeal to those looking for the utmost privacy and personalization. On any given street, you’ll see architecture ranging from country French to contemporary to Moroccan to Mediterranean. A modernist masterpiece with sleek, linear designs and minimalist landscaping next to an Italian-inspired villa overflowing with colorful florals and lush vines.
Such diversity in real estate is due in large part to the club’s members, who have the resources and means to realize homes that suit their individual preferences. “You’ll have Cottages on one side of the golf course and custom homes on the other, and they all blend together beautifully,” Wolfe says.
Plus, with every property’s alarm system automatically connected to the club’s on-site Command Center, members have the same sense of security within their home as they do the moment they drive through the front gates.
The lifestyle and living spaces alone are enough to enthrall even the most private and discerning of members. Yet throughout the tour, Cenicola saves most of his praise for members and staff — the people.
“That’s what The Vintage Club is really all about,” he says. “Our members here are warm, genuine, and down to earth, and most of our staff are long-term employees, with the average tenure of our management team being 15 years.”
Because of such high employee retention, Cenicola’s team is able to personalize each member’s experience, studying their habits and preferences so staff can anticipate exactly what they want — or will want — without them ever having to ask. They go out of their way to make every occasion special, be it a guided hike to the top of Mt. Eisenhower (via the club’s private trail access) or a Sunday afternoon at the pool (In ’N Out food truck included).
Executive Chef Manfred Bräuer reigns supreme over the food and beverage selections offered at The Club’s dining venues.
Indoor outdoor activities abound at The Club.
There’s an art to this level of service — the ease with which Cenicola greets every passing member by name being a perfect case in point. But what’s just as impressive, and refreshing, is how many of those members wave and smile back. No one, it appears, is above simple camaraderie and kindness, something built into the tight-knit community’s very DNA.
“They just enjoy each other’s company,” Cenicola says with a smile, “and that speaks to the warmth that I’ve found, and hope others find, at this club.”
It’s not so much something you find here, though, as it is something you feel. And like anything worthy of being deemed “vintage,” the club’s distinction, merit and character will only continue to deepen over time.
Vintage Club Sales
75005 Vintage Drive West
Indian Wells, CA 92210