Credit: Chris Simpson
My partner and I were looking to get away for a special Valentine’s Day celebration and Sensei Porcupine Creek delivered in spades. Nestled in Rancho Mirage and set against a spectacular backdrop of California’s Santa Rosa Mountains near Palm Springs, this new wellness resort was founded and is owned by physician Dr. David Agus and Silicon Valley giant Larry Ellison. The breathtaking 230-acre spread that the retreat now occupies was once the tech magnate’s personal estate.
From the moment you receive your introductory email from your Sensei Porcupine Creek pre-arrival specialist, you’ll know you are in for a world-class luxury stay. They’ll ask you key questions such as what types of activities you enjoy and what your food preferences are so they can be fully prepared to customize your experience.
Once you arrive at Sensei Porcupine Creek, you will be enveloped into a tranquil and intimate private estate. Entering through beautiful wooden gates, you will travel up a road dotted with Robert Indiana’s colorful artwork depicting numerical digits that stand an impressive six feet tall. Next, you’ll come upon a fanciful Yoshitomo Nara YOUR DOG sculpture. These incredible sculptures, just a portion of the world-class art collection displayed throughout the property, are only the beginning of your magical stay at Sensei Porcupine Creek.
The property’s perfect blend of serenity, wellness and beauty is enhanced by the incredible lighting design of Barbara Bouyea. Every room, every piece of artwork and landscaping is lit brilliantly by Bouyea, who, during her illustrious career, has been depicted as the “Rembrandt of Lighting.”
The intimate and inspiring setting is unsurpassed, and it truly exceeded our expectations. Our private casita was well appointed, and we luxuriated in our private heated spa each night under the stars and most especially after unwinding with our relaxing couple’s massage. Sensei offers an Innovative Thermal Body Mapping and Massage treatment where therapists employ exclusive Sensei-developed thermographic technology to create a visual map of the body to reveal areas that need attention. Then, using this map as a guide, they apply their skills to relieve any areas of tension and to improve circulation with amazing results.
Guests also have the option to engage the services of Sensei Guides, wellness experts who all have advanced degrees in their fields. They offer private sessions where they create a customized wellbeing journey that can be undertaken as an individual or together as a couple, assuring that your stay will meet your unique needs on your path to wellness. That is exactly what happened for us.
Here at Jetset, our discriminating readers set the bar quite high, and the Sensei Porcupine Creek and its staff surpassed even the most demanding expectations. It is simply a remarkable retreat at which to kindle or rekindle those feelings with your special someone. The staff works fastidiously to curate the brand and develop the Sensei Way of Nourish, Move and Rest, effortlessly signaling a sense of wellness and unsurpassed luxury. We could not have asked for a friendlier or more knowledgeable group of experts than those we had the privilege of getting to know at Sensei Porcupine Creek.
All of this occurs under the discerning eye of the resort’s General Manager, Julie Oliff. Julie leads with a friendly, confident and easy style. Her staff is well trained, personable, and professional—everything you would want in those devoted to your wellness and hospitality. The entire staff subscribe to the Sensei Way….
Dinner at the private Sensei by Nobu, an exclusive collaboration between world-renowned Japanese chef Nobu Matsuhisa and Sensei’s co-founder Dr. David Agus, makes for a romantic and elevated dining experience every night. The Yellowtail Jalapeño is quite possibly the best thing I’ve ever eaten, even though sushi is not normally my first choice on a menu.
Sensei Porcupine Creek is also renowned for its world-class tennis facilities, lagoon-style pool and Fitness Pavilion. Its Yoga Pavilion offers such exhilarating views that becoming one with nature here is effortless.
Sensei’s private golf course is easily the most perfectly manicured course that I have ever laid eyes on. My partner has golfed all over the world, and in his words, he has never had the pleasure to play such a pristine course. Sensei staff members pride themselves on the fact that players will not find a single divot on the entire course. And I would be remiss if I did not mention that the 19 (yes 19) hole golf course is set up so that it is completely private. You and your group will not see another golfer on the course. And when hunger strikes, you won’t even have to leave this golfer’s paradise. You can simply order lunch from the clubhouse from your GPS-enabled golf cart and your selections will be delivered to your exact location on the course.
One day, we asked for our car to be brought around so we could go out and explore the area. Of course, the staff was more than happy to accommodate our request, but they also offered us another option–use of the resort’s own Tesla. We thought that was such a unique touch and just one more example of the extraordinary service we received.
On our three-day stay, we had many heart-stopping moments.We enjoyed taking in the vast mountain views, marveling at the insulating calm, gazing at the beautiful, world-class artwork and simply enjoying the healing atmosphere surrounded by grounds that are as impeccable as they are spectacular.
We went for a self-guided hike up to the edge of the property, which backs up to the Peninsular Bighorn Sheep conservation area.The views are endless, and we even got a glimpse of a few head of sheep!
Sitting in silence or strolling on the beautiful grounds, we felt calmed by the beauty of the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains and were able to achieve a much-needed sense of tranquility and peace. There’s an instantly soothing, unexpected simplicity at Sensei Porcupine Creek. A luxurious wellness center with a healing touch, this idyllic haven serves as a refuge for people from around the world aspiring to experience the many benefits of the Sensei Way.
From signature wellness immersions and targeted therapies to a host of desert activities and world-class cuisine, Sensei Porcupine Creek has everything you need to nourish your mind, body, and soul. Best of all, you’ll leave feeling even better than you did when you arrived.