WELCOME TO GREATER PALM SPRINGS
We are thrilled to be hosting the Destinations International CEO Summit at the JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort & Spa December 14 - 16.
The resort has just completed a multimillion-dollar floor-to-ceiling renovation, thoughtfully re-crafting every detail of its common areas, guest rooms, suites and meeting spaces. From the moment you walk into the resort’s grand atrium you’ll notice a seamless integration of indoors and out—including colors and patterns inspired by the area’s natural beauty—which continues throughout the property creating a welcoming desert paradise.
While Destinations International will keep us busy during the summit, we are hoping you can arrive a few days beforehand to enjoy all that our Southern California oasis has to offer—from our local restaurants and vibrant arts-and-culture scene to plentiful opportunities for getting outdoors. If building a recharge into your trip is something you’re considering, we suggest planning to arrive before the summit. The Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival begins the weekend afterward, and like the festival itself, rooms tend to sell out.
Take It Outside
In any case, we highly recommend you bring your hiking shoes! Our valley and surrounding mountains are filled with scenic trails of all levels, and our weather in April is close to perfect. For a full-day excursion, there’s nearby Joshua Tree National Park or hiking amidst pines after a 10-minute, 8,516-foot journey to the top of Mount San Jacinto via the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. Or meander through the Indian Canyons, which feature year-round waterfalls and streams and the largest naturally occurring group of Washingtonia filifera (California fan palm)—the only palm trees indigenous to California. You can find more hiking options, such as local favorites Bump & Grind, and The Cross trails, at HikingInGPS.com.
And if you have them…also bring your driving gloves. The BMW Performance Center West at the Thermal Club (one of only two in the nation) allows you to tap into your inner race car driver and put the pedal to the metal. For a taste of the fun that awaits, here’s a video.
Eat, Drink and Be Chill
If you’re bringing the family, the Living Desert Zoo & Gardens—named one of the 10 best zoos in the U.S. by Condé Nast Traveler—makes a great day out. You’ll find private and behind-the-scenes tours, giraffe feedings, a discovery center, nature and hiking trails, and much more.
Sometimes, doing nothing is everything. And if you’re going to do “nothing,” you might as well do it soaking in our hot springs. Consistently ranked among the best in the world, Desert Hot Springs’ mineral waters are nutrient-rich, with a high content of sulfate, calcium, iron and magnesium (the magic that makes knots in the muscles melt) as well as trace elements like iodine, manganese and selenium. Because several of the hot springs spa hotels offer day passes, you can even make it just a half-day if that’s all the time you have. Here’s a roundup of the options.
To give you a few insider tips on our local culinary scene, Chief Creative Officer Jeff Miraglia suggests Eureka!, Jillian’s and Tommy Bahama Restaurant & Bar at the Gardens—all in Palm Desert. Chief Sales & Marketing Officer Colleen Pace recommends El Mexicali in Indio (noting that the shrimp-stuffed peppers are especially incredible).
For Italian, consider Ristorante Mamma Gina (iconic), La Spiga (garden-to-table), Trattoria Tiramisu (casual and smaller) and Castelli's (live piano/vocals nightly). French-inspired standouts include Le Vallauris (ask for a table on the romantic, tree-lined patio), Cuistot (upscale, great patio) and Pomme Frite (casual and cozy in downtown Palm Springs) while Fresh Agave Mexican Bar & Grill (tableside guacamole) and Tac/Quila (craft tequila and mescal cocktails) feature authentic Mexican and Jalisco-style fare.
If fresh seafood is what you’re in the mood for, book a table at Pacifica (second-story patio, daily happy hour) or Eddie V’s (upscale, live jazz). Looking for a fine steak dinner? The Edge Steakhouse at The Ritz-Carlton offers stunning views of our valley, but you also can't go wrong at Mastro's, Mr. Lyon's or The Steakhouse—where afterward you can pop into Pívat Cigar Lounge and then hit the casino floor at Agua Caliente Resort Casino Spa Rancho Mirage.
More local favorites you won’t want to miss include Copley’s on Palm Canyon (former 1940s guesthouse of Cary Grant with great outdoor seating), Spencer’s Restaurant (perfect for lunch), the Pink Cabana at Sands Hotel & Spa (colorful décor, specialty cocktails) and the Nest (comfort food, piano bar and dancing). If you want to catch a game while you’re here, check out some of our more off-the-beaten-path spots such as 360 Sports (1,200 square feet of live sports action) and O’Caine’s Irish Pub (cozy “Old World” charm). Those with a preference for plant-based will find delicious dishes at Wildest Restaurant + Bar or any of these vegan and vegetarian options. You can search all our restaurants by neighborhood, type of cuisine and more on dineGPS.com.
Tip: When it comes to dining out, take the phrase literally and book the patio if you have the option to do so. We love to dine outside in Greater Palm Springs, since there are no bugs or humidity. Here’s our list of where to dine al fresco.
Ready for some nightlife? We’ve got you covered in our guide to casinos and entertainment in Greater Palm Springs.
Lastly, we encourage you to fly into Palm Springs International Airport (PSP), voted one of the nation's top stress-free airports. You’ll land to inspiring mountain views, then stroll through open-air walkways to baggage claim in minutes—and be anywhere within our valley under half an hour. But we're also an easy drive from anywhere in Southern California and within a few hours' drive from four other major airports. You can find out more here.
I look forward to seeing you at the summit. Again—welcome to our oasis!
President & CEO
Greater Palm Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau