There’s something about the desert that inspires and intrigues. Maybe it’s how our dramatic mountains punctuate clear blue skies. Or maybe it’s that our seductive sunsets seem to linger a little longer.
One thing that’s definite is how rewarding you’ll find it to plan a meeting that generates buzz from people who are eager to attend. With beautiful weather, convenient access, spirited diversions and the Visit GPS team focused on making you a hero, the planning process becomes a pleasure.
Once you’ve arrived at our sunny sanctuary, you can travel from northwestern Desert Hot Springs to easternmost Coachella in less than 45 minutes. Seemingly boundless possibilities are at your “doorstep” no matter where your group stays.
Whether flying or driving, Greater Palm Springs is all about easy access. By land, we’re an average two-hour drive to all Southern California coastal cities, including Los Angeles and San Diego. And both Phoenix and Las Vegas are a four-hour drive away.
Even air travel has its perks. Listed among the top 10 stress-free U.S. airports by SmartTraveler.com, Palm Springs International Airport (PSP) is serviced by 10 carriers connecting to 500 cities across the globe. For alternative airlines, four additional major airports are located within a two-hour drive.
weather & ambience
Greater Palm Springs is one of those rare places where you never hear anyone say, “If you don’t like the weather, just wait five minutes.” Planners can count on more than 300 days of sunshine that make itineraries typically void of a “Plan B.”
Low humidity helps make even warmer temperatures more comfortable. Winter highs reach the 70s, while spring and fall temperatures rise to the 80s. With our year-round vacation vibe, it’s no wonder attendees are so enthusiastic about this massive desert playground.
Always refreshing and improving, Greater Palm Springs lets planners tap into more than $2 billion in new and revitalized hospitality amenities. An eclectic crop of eateries has popped up throughout the valley, from Workshop Kitchen + Bar in Palm Springs’ emerging Uptown to the unique cuisine and hand crafted cocktails at Figue Mediterranean in La Quinta.
Joining the area’s stellar lodgings are such newbies as Palm Springs’ Skylark Hotel, Saguro and Colony 29, plus Hotel Lautner in Desert Hot Springs. Indian Wells is also in the spotlight with the rebranding and multi-million renovation of Hyatt Regency Indian Wells Resort & Spa (formerly Hyatt Grand Champions Resort, Villas & Spa) and meeting space upgrades at Renaissance Esmeralda Resort & Spa.
A few miles away, new owner Larry Ellison is pumping even more energy into Indian Wells Tennis Garden with a new 8,000-seat Stadium 2 court, 19,000-sq.ft. shade structure and two restaurants all slated to debut at the BNP Paribas Open in March 2014.
abundance of golf
Describing Greater Palm Springs as a golf mecca is a bit of an understatement. Known as the ”Golf Capital of the World,” the Coachella Valley is home to more than 115 world-class courses enhanced with dramatic desert backdrops. Our IW Club is home to one of only nine Callaway Golf Performance Centers in the nation. So it’s no surprise that we were lauded “2012’s Top North American Golf Destination” by the International Association of Golf Tour Operators (IAGTO).
Adding to the appeal is that many of our 18-hole beauties were designed by some of the sport’s top golf architects/artists. Do the names Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Ted Robinson, Greg Norman and Pete Dye ring a bell?
Our abundant sunshine has also wooed the PGA and LPGA to host their respective Humana Challenge and Kraft Nabisco Championship tournaments each January and late March. There’s also the Frank Sinatra Starkey Hearing Foundation Celebrity Invitational that draws an exciting field of entertainers and pro athletes.
Whether your attendees are geared toward soft or extreme adventure, our beautiful mountains and canyons deliver a wealth of diversions. Hiking is the name of the game, with trails for all abilities - from the dramatic slotted Painted Canyons to The Araby Trail that travels past the former home of Bob Hope.
Eco-action also thrives with treks by Jeep or on foot to the edge of the San Andreas Fault, where adventure lovers stop to look up at the sky and down at the desert floor. Team building is a natural as well, from geocaching to rock climbing at Joshua Tree National Park.
For a loftier perspective, Palm Springs Aerial Tramway’s rotating tramcar ascends along sheer cliffs to the 10,834-foot summit of Mt. San Jacinto. After summer hiking or winter snowshoeing along 54 miles of trails, attendees can refuel at Peak’s restaurant with its breathtaking view of the Coachella Valley.
dining & nightlife
Of course planners gravitate to Greater Palm Springs for the sunshine. But after it slips behind the San Jacinto Mountains, things really heat up. It’s time to drink in a lively restaurant and bar scene that runs the culinary and libation gamut.
Our selection of elegant eateries, trendy bistros, exotic ethnic restaurants and bustling sidewalk cafés make for creative soirees that are far from the same old thing. The best part? Groups can go casual or chic. From progressive dinners and wine pairing affairs to tequila tastings with tapas, dining becomes an event rather than simply a meal.
Nightlife adds its own sizzle as desert dessert thanks to hot gaming action, nightclubs and live music venues. A steady flow of concerts adds to the mix, with top-tier entertainers hitting the stage at Agua Caliente, Spotlight 29 and Fantasy Springs casinos. For die-hard music buffs, the funky, historic Pappy & Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace has hosted everyone from up-and-coming talent to music legends like Leon Russell, Robert Plant and Eric Burdon.
Just say “ahhhhh.” Spa enthusiasts are pampered at a higher level in our oasis, thanks to restorative powers of the region’s plants and natural mineral springs. Attendees can splurge with desert-inspired treatments at a slew of exclusive celebrity hideaways, plush resorts, day-use facilities or facial studios.
For an ultra-exclusive experience, let your group decompress and rejuvenate in the healing mineral waters at one of more than 20 boutique Desert Hot Springs spa hotels. Each February, the annual SpaTours offers groups experiential evenings throughout “The Healing Mineral Springs Capital of California.”
From consignment shops and chic boutiques to street fairs and outlet specialty stores, Greater Palm Springs is a retail haven where attendees can spend more than free time.
Considered the Holy Grail, Palm Desert’s El Paseo is “The Rodeo Drive of the Desert” that buzzes with a mile of upscale temptations. Some surprisingly affordable gems are tucked between these exclusive boutiques to add a little balance. Groups can downshift from shopping mode to refuel with culinary tours and progressive dinners at its trendy eateries.
Thanks to celebrities, fashionistas and high-profile designers who frequent our oasis, Greater Palm Springs is also plush with second-hand retail therapies. With consignment shops reaping a mother lode of amazing cast-offs, resale rummaging is akin to a recreational sport. North Palm Canyon Drive adds its spin with mid-century modern furniture and clothing that attract retro-loving collectors. How about a team building twist with a retail treasure hunt?
culture & arts
The Coachella Valley’s rich culture runs deep, with its roots in the Cahuilla Indians dwelling here centuries ago. Today, the tribe’s Agua Caliente descendants preserve the customs and ceremonies of that intriguing heritage. Groups can explore these traditions with tours, Native American art lessons and storytelling sessions at Agua Caliente Cultural Museum.
On the contemporary front, our creative arts scene thrives with everything from emerging talent in offbeat boutiques to swanky galleries carrying marquee masters. Attendees can mingle among area up-and-comers along art walks in Palm Canyon’s Backstreet Art District (first Wednesday of the month) and Palm Desert’s The Art Palace (first Friday of the month). Planners can infuse private receptions with gallery tours at the impressive Palm Springs Art Museum duo.
Performance arts also add to the mix, with a flurry of plays, musicals and live music performances at McCallum, Annenberg, Palm Canyon and Arthur Newman theaters. For exclusive events, consider staging a function at Indian Wells Theater, Coyote Stageworks at Annenberg Theater, Indio Performing Arts Center and The Desert Rose Playhouse.
Even if you eliminate golf, spas and shopping from the equation, Greater Palm Springs still shines thanks to a robust roster of events. Aside from signatures like the Palm Springs International Film Festival, Indian Wells Arts Festival and Palm Springs Modernism Week, groups can get into a festival groove that lauds everything from wildflowers to tamales.
Planners can also pump up agendas with such ongoing events as Palm Springs Village Fest (Thursday evenings), College of the Desert Street Fair (weekends) and Palm Desert Public Art Tour (second Saturday of each month between September - June). It’s a great way to immerse attendees deeper into our rich Coachella Valley culture.