We hadn’t planned to stay at the JW Marriott Palm Springs. In fact we hadn’t really planned where to stay. On the night we got Desert Trip tickets we knew a hotel had to be booked immediately. Having never been to Palm Springs we didn’t have a strong opinion so reviewed a collection of suggested hotels and picked this, the JW Marriott Desert Springs.
6 months later…
As we rolled up to the hotel, our Tesloop driver said we’d picked the best hotel in the area. Did we? That was lucky!
Arriving at the hotel, we came up this drive surrounded on both sides with lush golf courses and flamingo filled, lakes topped with Palm Trees. We’d left an unseasonably cool LA and stepped out into the wonderful dry heat of Palm Springs.
Walking into the Lobby, we realised this was huge. The reception area alone is big enough to hold a Starbucks, A Sushi bar and a landing stage for their lake (with boats docking inside the hotel!) This isn’t Las Vegas huge and impersonal, but big and welcoming.
Our Rooms at the Marriott
We had opted for a pair of rooms in the main hotel complex instead of the Villas that were dotted around the grounds.
Both rooms were very big, but defined as ‘normal’ by hotel standards. We had two double beds in each space for a small seating area (sofa, table & chairs) a suitable writing desk and small balcony overlooking the pool & the mountains.) A large bathroom and huge walk in closet meant we could have share one room between three if we’d known.
Decent wifi and a large TV with Netflix could keep us entertained if we ever got bored, which we didn’t but it went down well with the teenager!
The thick walls and distance from the door meant our rooms were super quiet and comfy beds meant we could shake off the jetlag in comfort.
Watching the light hit the mountains in the morning and come across the property was mesmerising. If you have ever been to the South of France, you’ll know the light there is something different and this was the same. The sunshine was bright and the sunrises and sunsets ranged from brown to purple bathing the distant mountains in wonderful shades.
Restaurants at the Marriott
There are 8 different restaurants at the Marriott for you to try.
In the lobby was a Starbucks and the Lobby Bar. The Starbucks served coffee and a light breakfast. If it wasn’t open 24/7 then it was certainly open super early for your caffeine fix.
The Lobby Bar was an open area with a bar (and obligatory TV showing sports) which also served light snacks.
The Pool Bar did a great line in curly fries and fresh salads. You could either sit up to a table or have food by the pool. The beer cups were a nice touch!
The Rockwood Grill offered ‘upscale American dining’ which meant posh burgers, steaks and fresh fish. Located next to the lagoon this was a great place for a hearty meal. You could enjoy lunch or dinner here dining outside. Later in the evening, a number of fire baskets are lit for you to sit around and nurse yet another glass of wine.
We thought the Mikado was a sushi restaurant but in fact it was much more than that. As you enter the restaurant you walk across a small bridge through a charming Japanese garden and into the bar (with another TV playing sports.) You are handed a menu and left for a little while. Once collected you are taken your table where you are offered a few simple choices, like meat, fish or veg. Your Chef then arrives and cooks up the most wonderful Teppanyaki style dinner. Our particular chef clearly had a sideline in comedy as spent the night laughing and eating.
The Fisherman’s Landing offers fresh fish but we didn’t get a chance to eat there.
To reach the restaurants you can either walk ten minutes through the property or take the lagoon boat. (Remember those boats in the first picture?) Every night for about 4 hours, you can hitch a ride in these electric boats. They take you a gentle tour of the lagoon pointing out fish and wild birds before dropping you at the chosen restaurant. Just another little difference that made this hotel such fun to stay.
The Pool & Other Amenities
The grounds are beautifully manicured and green – not what I was expecting from the desert! The property has its own aquifer which fills the beautiful lakes and waters the grass. We tried to walk around the property but found few opportunities to stretch our legs which was a shame.
There was plenty of wildlife to see, again not something I’d expected in the Desert. On the back lakes are swans, geese and ducks plus huge catfish you can see from your balcony! We saw hummingbirds at breakfast, which was a real treat.
The pool area was one of the coolest I’ve ever been to for one main reason. It wasn’t the space (plenty of loungers!) or the food service but the sound system blasting out music. For the Desert Trip weekend, the poolside rocked to Classic tracks – Rolling Stones, The Who, Led Zeppelin and more! As the sun set, the music changed to a slower pace. This song from Meghan Trainer and John Legend is now etched into my memory of watching the sun set as we sat by the pool. (Don’t be put off by the cover, this is a wonderful song!)
The JW Marriott Palm Springs is located off Country Club Drive, Palm Desert. It is about a 20 minute drive to the airport or 10 minutes into downtown El Paseo shopping district. 20 minutes in the other direction will get you to the Empire Polo Grounds, Indio – home to the Coachella Festival, Stagecoach and Desert Trip festivals.
You But You can get about with Desert City Cabs parked out front. You can also hail an Uber or rent a motorbike and other vehicles with help from the concierge.
Ideal for Desert Trip, Coachella or StageCoach Festivals
On the day of the concerts, all the staff from the manager to the bellhops wore band t-shirts from the performers at Desert Trip.
The shuttle buses came right to the hotel door so you just hopped on and went to the concert. The return was equally easy. The trip between JW and Indio (for Desert Trip, Coachella and other festivals) took around 45 minutes mainly due to traffic.
When you returned at 1am, there was a fully staffed table waiting for you. Here you could buy chips, drinks, chocolate or freshly cooked hot pizza. I heard some people grumbling about the premium but I thought it was an excellent touch after a long night.
There were many concert themed events over the weekend from the brunch to special cocktails and late night snacks. You really felt they were here to help you enjoy the weekend.
Things to Note
You pay a resort fee which is on top of the quoted price per night. It is clear when you book but just remember it could add another $30 a night. For this you will get access to lockers and a few gold amenities and free wifi. As we don’t play golf, it only covered free wifi. You can’t opt out of this fee.
You will need to book restaurants for dinner as they can get busy with outside guests coming to dine.
The grounds were beautiful but we couldn’t find anywhere to really go for a walk. All the golf courses were roped off and there weren’t many paths just to enjoy the grounds.
The Desert Trip Concert was billed as a ‘once in a lifetime’ event. We had such a great time at the Marriott Palm Springs that we plan to return for a longer break and explore much more of the surrounding area.