Many people crave a vacation in which they land at a hotel and everything they want to do is easy. Such is the case at the JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort & Spa in Palm Desert. Great golf, restaurants, and boat rides; an exotic atrium lobby; and perhaps the best pool scene in the desert are waiting as soon as you check in.
This property is massive, and you get that feeling as soon as you drive in. The carport entry opens up to a lobby that was an original when first designed and has now been widely copied. The upper-level lobby features a huge glass atrium overlooking the lagoons and large pool area out back. It is so big, they even offer boat rides from inside the atrium to the far extremities of the pool scene. Exotic birds and sunken-level bar areas complete the indoors, which is a place to spend some idle time. Feels like Hawai‘i!
Due to the design of the hotel, most rooms look out to the pool and lagoons, with the Santa Rosa Mountains forming the backdrop. Two Ted Robinson–designed 18-hole championship golf courses line the property and are always in view. No need to leave the resort for dining as the array of restaurant choices is sure to fulfill every palate.
The JW Marriott designation ensures elegant touches in the rooms, including the finest and most comfortable bedding, state-of-the-art electronics, and oversized bathrooms. Floor-to-ceiling windows and large balconies complete the luxury experience.
Most guests will start each day at the Rockwood Grill on the lower level fronting the lagoons and pool area. Here they offer one of the best buffets I have had the chance to sample lately. Added touches include very fresh lox and your own juicer for a personal healthy request.
In the evening, Japanese fare — both hibachi and sushi — is available at Mikado Japanese Steakhouse. A festive atmosphere is always present here and starts outside, with an authentic Japanese garden and ponds as you approach. Hibachi diners will be treated to lagoon, golf, and mountain views as well as a very tasty offering.
Ted Robinson golf courses are very distinctive for their sharp featuring, and these two are no exception. Great amounts of earth were moved to create elevation changes and borders to each hole. This has the effect of focusing the golfers on the beauty of the holes in front of them. Many waterscapes and large fairway bunkers protect the holes, but there is ample room to err for the beginner. Fairways blend right into the water features almost like a beach. The course is expertly manicured to the point of perfection. It poses a fair test for all, depending upon the length you choose.
A large portion of the vacationers here will spend all day at the pool. One look and you will know why. Pool? Actually pools. There are three out back, surrounded by countless lagoons and golf course lakes. Umbrellas and palm trees give shade to those in need, and there are attendants everywhere to nourish the thirsty. If you are in search of sun, you came to the right place — it's there almost every day of the year and very bright.
Biggest Loser Resort
For those looking to make a big change in their life and enjoy a vacation, too, this property has an added feature.
JW Marriott Desert Springs is a designated Biggest Loser Resort, offering a high-quality health and wellness program. Attendees have a well-thought-out curriculum of nutrition, fitness, and mental health. Those who attend will spend hours getting the best advice on wellness and will surely leave the program in better health.
Journeying to the desert from the Central Coast means you must navigate through some Los Angeles traffic. My suggestion would be to leave in the late morning or early evening. You want to be passing through Pasadena before 3 p.m. or after 7 p.m. on the way out. The ride back is much easier and against traffic, unless you are talking about Sunday. If so, I would head back early or very late.