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In November 2017, I had the chance to head out to colorful Palm Springs for a couple of nights and present at a conference held at the JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort. Most of the time when I’m asked to present at a conference, it is a conference held in a Holiday Inn Express or Sheraton type of place, usually on the outskirts of town near an airport. Not to knock those places as they serve a great function, but it isn’t every day that I am presenting at a conference comes along with an awesome location. The conference picked up the tab for the two hotel nights, but otherwise, this was a totally normal stay in a totally normal room at a really fun resort that I want to be sure you know a thing or two about.
The JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort has its own free boats
Okay yes, there are two golf courses, five pools, a spa, and probably everything else you would want from a desert oasis at the JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort, but I was most blown away by the boats. My girls weren’t there on this trip, but if they were, they would have never wanted off these boats that come into the lobby and take guests on free rides in the evenings from 5PM – 9PM. You can just cruise around in a circle taking in the sights or it can drop you off at a number of docks around the property so that you can head to dinner.
This was a very unique amenity that instantly won me over!
Play included miniature golf
Sadly like most resorts, there is indeed a resort fee at this property, but here it includes more than your standard water, wifi, gym access, and local telephone calls. At this hotel, it also includes miniature golf at an amazing replica of their big golf course!
We didn’t get to play on this trip, but if I return with my kiddos, there’s no doubt that this is on the agenda. Or, at least I could sit by the fire pit while they played golf!
The most epic sunsets
I love a good desert sunset, but this one that you can enjoy out by the heated pools was truly spectacular. It looked like a decent enough sunset that was starting to fade into the night, but then what looked like red fire just shot out across the sky for a grand finale.
I assume the mountains came into play in making the sunset appear almost over, and then reignite, but it was absolutely breathtaking both nights I was there.
Flamingos, flamingos, flamingos
The JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort is actually a bird sanctuary of sorts and they have tons of different birds from all over including black swans, cockatoos, ducks, and more. Many of these birds can be seen up close on the free boat rides around the lake. One type of bird that they have plenty of are adorable pink Chilean flamingos.
The pink flamingos matched the pink California sunset, and again, if my girls were on this trip they would have flipped out over hanging out with flamingos and other birds.
Outdoor dining, sushi, and more
One of my favorite aspects of travel is enjoying meals, and this trip was no exception. Aside from the last morning in Palm Springs when we enjoyed the famous and colorful must visit LuLu’s Bistro shown below, the rest of the meals were at the hotel and at the conference.
Luckily, the JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort has a very solid sushi offering right in the lobby, so you can enjoy a nice meal without having to load up in the car.
I also enjoyed the outdoor dining at Rockwood Grill, also at the hotel, as any chance to get ahi poke while overlooking mountains is a good meal in my book.
The pools are the perfect temperature
The outdoor pools at the JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort were pretty empty during my November weekday visit and are heated to a perfect temperature.
If you come to this resort, be sure to pack a swimsuit so you can enjoy the sunset from the heated pools or hot tub.
Reasonable rates or use Marriott points
Rates obviously vary based on seasonality, but most dates were in the $150 – $300 range per night for a standard room in my searches plus the $35 per night resort fee. If rates are higher than you want for your preferred nights or you just prefer using points, you can book a room at the JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort with 40,000 Marriott Rewards points per night. My room was larger than average, but otherwise wasn’t anything overly exciting and is probably due for a refresh at some point. Still, it was clean and comfortable for a good night’s sleep before starting an exciting day in the desert.
There are also Marriott Vacation Club villas adjacent to this property, so you could book a one or two bedroom villa instead of a standard hotel room if that meets your needs better, though there is a note on that website that you may not have access to all amenities at the hotel if you stay in the Desert Springs Villas, so I’d look into that deeper if you are considering a stay. Right now the villas property starts at just 35,000 Marriott points per night via a PointsSaver offering.
Until this trip, I’d never before been to Palm Springs, but really fell in love with the area. I don’t know that I would recommend building a whole family vacation around only Palm Springs, but I could certainly see including a couple nights there as part of a larger trip to the area that includes time at Joshua Tree, the Aerial Tramway, The Coachella Valley, or even relatively nearby San Diego and/or Los Angeles.
If you do go to Palm Springs, I’d give the JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort a consideration as the boats, pools, birds, miniature golf, warm service, and more were pretty unique and quite enjoyable. I hope to return with my kids as part of a longer trip to California.
Editorial Note: The opinions expressed here are mine and not provided, reviewed, by any bank, card issuer, or other company unless otherwise stated.