Oasis a Dream for Guests

By January 18, 2013

Chef Guiseppe Napoli of the Diamond Mills Hotel & Tavern brings his considerable skills to the HITS Desert Horse Park's Oasis Club. (Photo by Michael Nelson)

The Oasis Club at the HITS Desert Horse Park has always lived up to its name – an island of comfort and luxury for VIP patrons in the middle of the Coachella Valley desert.  Now a good thing is getting  even better with upgrades to the menu and building.

Five-star Chef Giuseppe Napoli of the Diamond Mills Hotel & Tavern in Saugerties, New York, will bring his exceptional talent to the Oasis Club in Thermal, CA, with a menu of fresh, contemporary American fare that will delight the most sophisticated palette. And to protect guests from desert gusts while they’re dining, the entire south wall of the Oasis Club has been encased in retractable glass that will fold away when the weather is nic.

“The emphasis for Thermal 2013 has been overall improvements for exhibitors,” HITS, Inc., President and CEO Tom Struzzieri said. “Dramatic enhancements to the VIP club experience were a natural fit.” Another change for 2013 is that the circuit’s three World Cup Qualifiers will take place on the grand prix field, just beyond the club’s panoramic expanse of windows, under the evening lights. “The structural improvements coupled with a completely redesigned menu and expanded hospitality staff are significant upgrades,” Struzzieri said. “Early table reservations are three times the norm, so these new features are already proving quite popular.”

The club is home-away-from-home to a number of circuit participants, on a day-to-day basis, as well as for special events.  This year, those include the AIG Thermal $1 Million Grand Prix, the $50,000 East West Hunter Challenge and three FEI World Cup Show Jumping qualifiers.

Gourmet burger and fries.

The Tavern Burger makes its way west. (Photo by Michael Nelson)

Napoli has sumptuous treats in store for club patrons. “In addition to fresh-baked goods prepared on the premises, we’ll start mornings with a specialty hot dish, fresh juices and a smoothie of the day,” said Napoli, who is consulting with Diamond Mills’ Master Baker and Pastry Chef Andrew Comey to create dessert menus and other delectables. As befitting an Oasis, even the water will be special. “Instead of always having bottled water we’re going to have spring water in spigot canisters with fresh fruit flavoring.”

A variety of choices will be available at all meals. For lunch, guests can choose from selections like buckwheat noodles with coconut curry broth, a healthy soup and fresh sandwich and a low-calorie option like poached chicken or seared sashimi. “I am constantly inspired by Asian ingredients and spices, so this will shine through in some of the dishes I prepare Napoli said. “Similar to my menu at Diamond Mills, I have fun with typically standard dishes, offering a unique spin and will continue to do so in Thermal with salmon burgers with hoisin sauce, or an avocado mango turkey burger. They’ve never really offered burgers in the Oasis Club, and at the concession stand there’s only beef and veggie.”

A multi-choice salad bar and an “action station” where fresh crepes are flipped and stir fry whipped-up heighten the presentation. “There will be many more options than exhibitors and spectators are used to. Tom told me ‘If you want to impress them, make it healthy,’ so I’m taking that approach and I intend to meet the challenge of food that tastes good and is healthy.”

Wall of glass at the Oasis Club.

The entire south wall of the Oasis Club has been encased in fold-away glass. (Photo by HITS Staff)

On a seven-week circuit that extends from January 22 to March 17 the HITS Desert Horse Park becomes a home away from home for owners, trainers and riders, and HITS’ goal is to make them feel pampered and appreciated, according to Struzzieri.

John Charlebois of Charlebois Farms has been attending the Desert Circuit since its earliest days in Indio, and now at Thermal. “Every year things seem to get better and better,” Charlebois said. “The HITS shows are very service oriented; they cater to the customers, and that’s a big thing in this day and age.” Charlebois noted that the Oasis Club is not only a tasty convenience, with “no waiting, unlike a restaurant,” but that he also appreciates it as “a nice environment to do business, to bring clients or customers who might be considering the purchase of a horse.”

Morley Abey of Joie Gatlin-Morley Abey Show Jumping is another long-time participant at the HITS Desert Circuit who appreciates the social aspect of the club as much as the food, location and atmosphere. “The Oasis Club is like Times Square – a place where you come not only to eat but to catch up on what’s going on in all corners of the show grounds,” Abey said. “With a barn that caters to hunters, jumpers and equitation we don’t really get the time to relax and have lunch, but when we do it’s certainly nice to know it’s freshly made and quick to get served. And the glass doors will make a big difference on chilly mornings as well as nights.”

Sleek folding glass doors greet guests at the Oasis Club.

Glass doors at the main entrance of the Oasis Club. (Photo by HITS Staff)

Complimentary high-speed wireless Internet service is a new addition throughout the club. Another comfort upgrade is the casual Sterling Club, hosted by Joe Norick and Marshall & Sterling Insurance, at the west end of the Oasis, with newly installed large screen TVs  that will display live action from the ring and cable business channels during down time.

The HITS Desert Circuit is the largest U.S. horse horse show on the West Coast, and a premiere hunter-jumper competition in the nation. It runs Jan. 22 through March 17. Those interested in becoming Oasis Club members can contact Chris Pace, 516-523-3418, Chris@AheadOfThePace.com.

Short URL: http://theequestriannews.com/?p=14405

Comments are closed

Photo Gallery

Copyright 2011 The Equestrian News