Whenever we here at Prevue travel on business, we scope out the area golf courses and newest spas because both go a long way to help relieve stress and improve mental focus. They’re obviously good places to network too, where people can casually talk shop in a more relaxed, natural and convivial environment.
We haven’t come up with a business case for shopping, yet. But few planners would argue that attendees love to browse for something to bring back home, whether it’s a new Coach clutch or handmade artwork singular to the region’s culture.
PALM DESERT, CA
Tucked among the eight cities that make up the Palm Springs basin, Palm Desert is a serene 45,000-person community with sweeping views of the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto mountain ranges. What’s more, Palm Desert is a sunny self-contained utopia seamlessly meshing group infrastructure and leisure amenities.
“We’re living the dream in Palm Desert,” says Scott White, President/CEO of Palm Springs Desert Resorts CVA. “The community is so well maintained, it feels like a large country club.”
Planners with experienced golfers to please should check out the Desert Willow Golf Resort—a golf-only facility offering two courses for varying skill levels. The Firecliff layout is not for your once-a-month duffer. The hazards are mean and plentiful. The Mountain View course meanwhile is easier to play but no walk in the park either. Overhauled in 2009, it was redesigned as a transition between a pro circuit and a casual municipal course.
In January, Desert Willow wrapped a $4.8 million expansion to the clubhouse. The facility’s outdoor patio can now accommodate up to 300 for a seated dinner and up to 1,000 for standing reception. Indoor meeting rooms seat up to 250 pax.
“The clubhouse offers incredible views of the course and surrounding mountains and great facilities for indoor and outdoor dining,” says White. “It is the type of facility that you would expect at a private country club, not at a public course.”
The 833-room JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort & Spa is the city’s major large meetings destination. Walking into the 450 acre property, your eyes are immediately drawn to the soaring walls of windows overlooking a crystal clear lake with a golf course in the background. The hotel features 53,000 sf of meeting space and a 38,000-sf spa with 48 treatment rooms.
“The JW is a gorgeous property for large groups,” says White, adding that the property offers two 18-hole golf courses: Palm and Valley, flanked by hundreds of towering palm trees.
And then there’s El Paseo—Palm Desert’s Rodeo Drive.
“El Paseo recently opened a whole new block of shops, which meeting attendees love when they have down time,” says White. “Palm Desert is really one of the premier incentive meetings destinations in the world. It’s a very dramatic experience.”