5 Things I Like about the JW Marriott Desert Springs in Palm Desert, California

Unless there are cute little windmills to hit your ball through, I’m not much for golf. So what did I find to like about a golf resort in upscale Palm Desert, California? Plenty.

JW Marriott Desert SpringsThere are boats in the lobby. Sure, it’s a short walk to the bar. But wouldn’t you rather go on a mini-cruise?

gym at JW Marriott Desert Springs

No reason not to work out during your Palm Desert visit.

Full-sized Gym.

We’re not talking about a few cardio machines that look, sound and feel like they were ordered from a late-night infomercial. Really, I’ve met perfectly respectable hotels that are hiding seriously sordid gyms. But not the JW Marriott Desert Springs. Tons of cardio machines, free weights, weight machines and small equipment like med balls. They even had a few machines I hadn’t seen. And they offer one class every day, including power walking and yoga. This is a real home away from home for the dedicated gym-goer.

Spa Bistro at JW Marriott Desert Springs

Grilled naan with three dips

Spa Bistro JW Marriott Desert Springs

Fresh greens in the desert! Probably local, as the area grows winter lettuce.

granola at JW Marriott Desert Springs

Excellent house-made granola




Spa Bistro

The JW Marriott Desert Springs isn’t out to starve vegans. I ate at both the Rockwood Grill and the Spa Bistro. Delicious items I consumed include a large salad with spectacular greens, grilled naan with three different dips (white bean, red pepper hummus and grilled eggplant), house-made granola, and a date shake made with almond milk instead of dairy.


Hmm, do I want to go in the steam room infused with lavender and eucalyptus, or is it a eucalyptus-only day? The Marriott’s spa gives you a choice. There’s also a Jacuzzi, sauna, private spa pool, lounging areas and lots of spa services. Ask for Cindy for a very pleasant Swedish massage. She’s worked at the Marriott 28 years, loves her job, and loves the desert. I asked her if she’s here for life. “Where else would I go?” she said.

JW Desert Springs flamingoes

Immigrants from Chile


Is that a pink mirage? No, it’s a flock of flamingos. I know, it’s not really natural, flamingos living in the desert. But they seem happy, as far as I can tell. Word is, they’re breeding, which flamingos don’t always do in captivity. The Marriott employs a bird whisperer, Linda Whittington, who cares for the flamingos, the rescued macaws who live in the lobby, and even the odd hawk injured on the golf course.

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