City of Indian Wells
Well Balanced On Solid Ground
Photographs by Chris Miller / Imagine Imagery
MAYOR: Dana Reed
MAYOR PRO TEM: Donna Griffith
COUNCIL MEMBERS: Greg Sanders, Richard Balocco, Robert Bernheimer
YEAR INCORPORATED: 1967
Officials in a city with the draw of the world’s second-largest outdoor tennis stadium, luxurious resorts, and a municipal golf center featuring top-rated courses and a 53,000-square-foot clubhouse embrace the value of a less-is-more approach where it counts: reducing electricity and water usage.
Amid an increasing urgency for countering climate change, Indian Wells launched its Energy Efficiency Program with the installation of solar panels over City Hall parking areas, followed by adding EV charging stations, energy-efficient airconditioning equipment, and solar panels at the city-owned golf resort. In addition to environmental benefits, officials estimate such measures will save $12 million over a 20- year life cycle. On the water front, Coachella Valley Water District recognized Indian Wells’ use of 100 percent non-potable water for purposes such as irrigation. Additionally, the city has been and continues relandscaping Highway 111 medians with water- and energyefficient alternatives.
For those who gauge progress by commerce, Indian Wells has been working with private developers on two projects of note. One involves vacant land along Highway 111 and Miles Avenue that would include a 110- room hotel, 60 rental duplexes, and some 30,000 square feet of retail space. And in spring of 2023, a Sprouts Farmers Market will open in The Village at Indian Wells (Highway 111 and Cook Street) in a space vacated by the Ralphs supermarket chain in 2016. This will be only the second Coachella Valley location for Sprouts, a specialty grocery company promoting healthy living by focusing on fresh produce and natural products.
As important as commercial development and sustainability are, public health and safety remain core values of responsible governance. Indian Wells dedicates 43 percent of its budget to life-saving services and quick emergency-response times. And while the city maintains a low crime rate, the council approved funding an additional evening deputy for 24/7 patrol.
Given the desert’s year-round sunny skies and dearth of cold weather, recreation is a dominant force in the Coachella Valley economy, and Indian Wells packs a playful punch in its 14.58 square miles.
Indian Wells Golf Resort’s 2021-2022 season marked its best financial success in more than a decade and received national recognition in numerous rankings. The Celebrity and Players courses won spots on the 2022 Golfers’ Choice Best Golf Courses in California by Golfweek Magazine, 2022 Golf Advisor’s Golfers’ Choice Top 30 Golf Courses in California, 2022 Golf Advisor’s Golfers’ Choice Top 50 Golf Courses in the United States, Golfweek’s 2022 Best 200 Resort Courses in the United States and Best Courses You Can Play State by State, and the 2022 Association of Golf Merchandisers Platinum Award. Beyond honors for its greens, the resort saw a significant growth in its dining arena, including the summer addition of Café 36, which offers sit-down and grab-and-go breakfast and lunch options. The resort’s VUE Grille & Bar, meanwhile, has a track record of garnering reviews that cumulatively rate above four stars.
Indian Wells’ resorts continually revamp and refreshen their properties. In 2020, Hyatt Regency Indian Wells Resort & Spa opened an on-site waterpark. This summer, the hotel partnered with Indian Wells Golf Resort to offer a package so guests could be whisked away in a golf cart from one property to the other. People could golf in the morning and then, in the heat of the day, stay cool by floating on the waterpark’s 450-foot lazy river. Those who wanted to continue honing their club skills could do so indoors at the golf resort, Studio at the Academy, perhaps even playing a virtual 18-hole round of golf with players around the world.
The pool at the adjacent Renaissance Resort & Spa features a sandy beach entry and island bar, and the Esmeralda Ballroom hosts the popular and prestigious Desert Town Hall — a speaker series bringing to the desert global icons in business, politics, journalism, and science since 1993.
The recently renovated Miramonte Indian Wells Resort & Spa puts a strong focus on wellbeing and attracts local diners with its farm-totable approach. The property’s herb garden and olive and citrus groves provide ingredients for the resort’s chefs and for infused oils used in spa treatments.
With a sui generis design by Martyn Lawrence Bullard, the boutique Sands Hotel & Spa (46 guest rooms) mixes midcentury modern aesthetics with a dose of Moroccan flair, which further finds its way onto the menu in the resort’s eye-popping restaurant called The Pink Cabana.
Indian Wells also is home to some of the Coachella Valley’s most established go-to spots for a night on the town. Dating back to 1965, The Nest embraces a dance party vibe. Kevin Henry (who owns the venue with his wife, Dodi) and his musician friends provide live music that keeps people coming back time and again. Another longtime and family-run establishment, Vicky’s of Santa Fe is known for its roster of live jazz and mix of classic rock, blues, and R&B. Meanwhile, the IW Live supper club offers swanky sophistication at the Indian Wells Resort Hotel founded by Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. For those in a margarita state of mind, Don Diego’s of Indian Wells is popular for its authentic Mexican fare.
Indian Wells Tennis Garden remains the city’s highest-profile attraction, with the BNP Paribas Open drawing the world’s top professional tennis players to its 29 courts (and 16,000-seat Stadium 1) each March. The venue, however, serves as a place for the public to learn, practice, and play tennis and compete in non- ATP tournaments (including wheelchair tennis). Crowds also flock to the mountain-backdropped grounds for annual events like the Dr. George Charity Car Show in February, Indian Wells Arts Festival in April, and Margaritaville USA Pickleball National Championships in November.
The city looks forward to the future with fresh events like IW Winterfest, as well as new developments. The Province is finishing the buildout of a gated community comprising 46 homes on the south side of Highway 111 east of Cook Street. New ownership of property on the northwest corner of Miles Avenue and Highway 111 promises to bring new energy to the city. Stay tuned for more additions to Indian Wells appreciable attributes.
Total Population – 4,828
Median Age – 66.4
Annual Growth Rate – .13%
Average Household Income – $188,192
Median Household Income – $121,106
High School Diploma – 13.19%
Bachelor’s Degree – 31.30%
Graduate / Professional Degree – 21.76%
Professional / Scientific / Tech – 13.94%
Healthcare / Social Assistance – 11.54%
Retail Trade – 10.91%
Accommodations / Food Service – 7.83%
Manufacturing – 7.15%
Real Estate / Rental / Leasing – 9.61%
Construction – 5.54%
Admin / Support / Waste Management Services – 4.13%
Education Services – 5.59%
Wholesale Trade – 2.72%
Trancportation / Warehousing – 2.92%
Real Estate / Rental / Leasing – 9.61%
SOURCE: Esri/Coachella Valley Economic Partnership