elcome to the oasis of Palm Springs and its neighboring communities. Located in the Mojave Desert, a transition area between the hot Sonoran Desert and the cooler and higher Great Basin, it is about midway between Los Angeles and San Diego, California and to the east of both cities.
The dictionary describes an oasis this way:
n. pl. o·a·ses (-sz)
- A fertile or green spot in a desert or wasteland, made so by the presence of water.
- A situation or place preserved from surrounding unpleasantness; a refuge: an oasis of serenity amid chaos.
Both definitions are especially apropos for this famed region of Southern California, and have been so for a very long time.
Palm Springs was originally founded by the ancestors of the Agua Caliente tribe of Cahuilla Indians over 2,000 years ago, who recognized the therapeutic effects of the area’s sunny, dry climate and hot mineral springs. Today, many hotels still tap into this natural resource and the Agua Caliente are still a strong presence in the area as well.
The city first made its name in the 1950’s as the home of Hollywood’s ‘cocktail culture’. Stars escaped the gaze of the studios — two hours away in Los Angeles — enjoying the privacy with Martinis, cigars, loud shirts and a lounge lizard lifestyle. What used to be the Rat Pack’s favourite retreat still attracts the stars but today celebrity visitors range from Johnny Depp, Jennifer Anniston and Barbara Streisand to Gucci head, Tom Ford.More importantly, the Palm Springs image also attracts the public, who along with the stars go to simply enjoy the sun, pure air and desert surroundings in an atmosphere of vintage modernism and unabashed kitsch. In fact, the city has now become one of the hottest destinations in America, one of the best resort destinations in the country to rent a vacation home, according to TripAdvisor.
The former homes of Frank Sinatra, Lucille Ball, Dinah Shore and Marilyn Monroe are all vacation rentals in Palm Springs. But it’s more than just Hollywood names that make this desert oasis the vacation rental capital of the West. For a city of nearly 50,000 inhabitants, the variety of affordable vacation rentals is dizzying. It’s estimated that Palm Springs has over 1,500 types of vacation rentals in all sizes and styles.
The beautiful near-perfect desert climate offers year-round pleasure. There are only 15-20 days of rain per year, dry air and low humidity so residents and guests alike can enjoy sun by day and balmy evenings. November through April the average temperatures are in the 70s during the day and 40s at night. The rest of the year it averages 95 degrees during the days and 68 evenings, but because of the dry air, it still feels comfortable. Because of the weather, dress is California Casual, which means shorts and sandals to designer sportswear by day and almost every fashion statement by night.
The breathtaking scenery of this popular resort area is both unique and dramatic. Visitors can choose to lose themselves in the dramatic scenery, or shop until their heart’s content. From the stark beauty of the historic Indian Canyons, to the glamour and prestige of El Paseo and Palm Canyon Drive shopping, in Palm Desert, there is something for everyone.
From wild animals to wild flights to rock climbing and much more – the desert is a year round adventure. You can check out the Living Desert, which is open year round with misted and shaded areas. Explore the Joshua Tree National Park, Indian Canyons, Palm Springs Air Museum, and some of the best shopping anywhere.
The Palm Springs resort area of the Coachella Valley is home to several small communities that hug the San Jacinto, San Gorgonio and Santa Rosa Mountains. Each is distinctively different in flavor. Palm Springs is the largest of the towns and features a faster pace of life than its neighbors. Nearby Palm Desert has a more peaceful and restful quality. It is home to the Desert Springs Marriott Resort & Spa. There is plenty to do there with golf, museums and more shopping but the pace is slower and there are more family activities.
If you like to shop-till-you-drop, this area is the place for you. Fine department stores, designer boutiques and specialty shops abound to provide the ultimate paradise. Check out Palm Canyon Drive with the Desert Fashion Plaza, The Gardens of El Paseo, and Westfield Shoppingtown. Art lovers will also find heaven with museums and galleries offering extensive collections of some of the finest artist and works anywhere.
But nothing is so precious as water in the desert, and at the incredible Interval International Premier-rated Marriott’s Desert Springs Villas (both Phase I and II) you will find a lot of that precious commodity. With freshwater lakes, crystalline pools, fountains and waterfalls, the rejuvenating presence of water dominates the landscape. You can even catch a boat and ride it to the atrium lobby of this magnificent resort property, passing swans and other water birds along the way.
Says the resort’s Website:
“Located on beautifully manicured grounds in the brilliant light of Palm Desert, Marriott’s Desert Springs Villas II enjoys a place of distinction as an unrivaled vacation destination. Sun-drenched tile roofs reflect in a shimmering pool, hinting at all the graciousness shared with Marriott’s Desert Springs Resort and Spa. Flowered walkways, mountainous expanse, and unsurpassed vistas tell only half the tale. World-renowned golf and tennis, grassy lawns for badminton or volleyball are at your disposal.
…Adjacent to 36 holes of championship golf and 19 tennis courts, it places you in easy reach of the best the valley has to offer— from hot-air ballooning to jeep rides across the desert. Add a European spa where you can allow yourself to be pampered and you have an incredible paradise!”
All true, and that doesn’t even begin to cover it.
This is a place and a resort you have to experience yourself to really understand how special they are. Don’t delay. You will be very impressed!
*Note: Some of the material included above courtesy of Palm Springs Bureau of Tourism (http://www.palm-springs.org) Resort photos courtesy of Marriott’s Desert Springs Villas.
Some Web sites you may want to visit for more information:
- http://www.marriottvacationclub.com/csd/featured-des/cali/palm-desert.shtml –The resort’s website
- http://www.palm-springs.org/ –The official tourist guide
- http://www.thedesertsun.com –The local newspaper and everything else
- http://palmsprings.com/ –A complete guide
- http://palmsprings.com/palmcyn.html” –Historic Palm Canyon Drive
- http://palmsprings.com/attractions/index.html –The Top 20 Attractions
“On the Road”” is a compilation of destination ideas, resort reviews, timely travel deals and events, videos and more gathered from a variety of sources that includes our readers.
The purpose of this section is to showcase some of the magnificent places in the world to visit, to give you an idea for someplace to go that you might previously not have thought of or known about. In most cases, but not all, we have provided a brief overview of a timeshare resort in the spotlighted area. Most of those resorts are either RCI Gold Crown or I.I. Premier quality. However, these resorts are not usually the only timeshare resorts in the area; be sure to check in your exchange catalog for a complete listing of available resorts. Check it out– enjoy yourself, go somewhere new this year!