It’s summer, and if you haven’t already taken a break to let loose (and even if you have), it’s time to do that! I just got back from discovering a desert hotspot in the heart of California’s Coachella Valley—the JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort & Spa—for JohnnyJet.com. The property is located on 450 acres of beautiful grounds and lagoons and known to be one of the largest resort and convention complexes in the southwestern United States.
Each day during my stay, I uncovered another reason it’s a great spot to let loose this summer. From top entertainment and selfies at the pool, a completely remodeled club, yummy cocktails, and food to a relaxing spa and golf, here are the highlights as I saw them:
1. Day entertainment
Every weekend, leading female DJs like DJ Mika, DJ GRLSKOUT and DJ Miss Kittie give a new meaning to high energy at the JW Marriott pool. In fact, I’d even say the scene here is great alternative to Vegas. You’ll find lots of space for fun, good drinks, unpretentious people, and easy access to chairs to stretch out.
I’d recommend renting one of the VIP cabanas or a daybed. They all offer bottle service and a wait staff. I did the cabana and it was nice to have the shade and the drinks flowing quickly!
To get a sense of what it’s like at the pool, here’s a fun video the resort put together featuring an underwater photobooth where guests get shots of themselves with colorful props underwater! And, if that’s not enough fun, the resort gives out Bluetooth selfie sticks (yay, easy selfies!) to any guest purchasing an “Indulge Your Selfie” hotel stay package. I think it’s a really creative hotel campaign because it shows off the fun personality of the resort. More details are below.
Tip: Selfie stick or not, you can take advantage of one of the JW Marriott’s “Indulge Your Selfie” spots around the resort and snap a selfie at the best photo spots around the resort—which they’ve labeled, as above!
2. Yummy food and cocktails
I had some great food delivered to the cabana from a culinary pop-up station called the Fire Pit. Not only did we munch on some great BBQ, made-to-order burgers and fresh carnitas tacos, but I also indulged in the seasonal cocktail menu from the poolside Oasis Bar.
Before and after pool time, the resort’s dining options are top-notch, too, with Chef Horner looking over all of the restaurants on property: Mikado Japanese Steakhouse, L Bar (located in the center of the lobby with a beautiful glass mosaic water and a nice view of the water), Fisherman’s Landing, and Rockwood Grill & Blue Star Lounge.
I got to meet Chef Horner, and after meeting him, I could tell why his food is so good. He’s passionate about his dishes and pushes the boundaries in the dishes he makes. The resort is really lucky to have such a creative chef!
The Bottomless Bloody Mary Brunch at Rockwood Grill was a highlight because of its great selection of fresh seafood, meats, cheeses, croissants, breakfast favorites, and gourmet little desserts (loved the panna cotta!). They even have great healthy options.
The bottomless Bloody Marys topped everything off perfectly. You can make your own by adding as many peppers, olives and spices you want—or use their pre-made mix, which is pretty good too!
Costa’s Lounge is the on-property nightclub and after being majorly renovated, it’s now a chic club experience. They even got Black Crystal Wolf Kids to play a gig! It was so much fun jamming out to probably the best indie rock tribute band around. They played everything from Hozier to Phoenix as well as indie’s past stuff like Pavement and the Pixies. And band frontman Jeff Miller is just awesome and hilarious! (If you haven’t seen these guys, you have to check them out.) By the looks of the packed club, locals also seem to frequent the place, so you know it has to be good!
Tip: La Quinta Brewery is a great local brewery near the resort to check out. The tasting room is open everyday 3-8 pm. I loved the Koffi Porter and the Poolside Blonde.
4. Rooms with gorgeous views
The rooms at JW Marriott are classy and spacious. Try to get a room looking out onto the desert, mountains and resort lagoon. I was blown away by our view (above) and loved the balcony view so much that on one day, I enjoyed the pool scene from the balcony for an hour before going downstairs.
The 884 recently updated rooms (including 51 suites) range from 900-square-foot suites to the 3,150-square-foot Chairman’s suites for the ultimate experience. The bathrooms are made of elegant granite and marble, with a separate tub and shower. And the rooms each feature a bed with gorgeous dark teakwood headboards, 37-inch HDTV and balcony.
5. The lavish spa suite experience
The Spa at Desert Springs was quite possibly the best spa experience I’ve ever had and a complete surprise during this summer getaway. It’s the largest spa in southern California and a favorite of Hollywood elites and top business executives.
At the spa, you can rent out a 600-square-foot private suite with a personal butler, champagne, healthy and fresh hors d’oeuvres, changing room, vanity, shower, fireplace, TV, and hydrotherapy tub. I could just tell as soon as I walked in that it was going to be an over-the-top, high-end experience. There’s a private outdoor courtyard with a plunge pool and cabanas with shade. Bachelorette parties, groups, business retreats, and others rent out this suite. I relaxed in the suite for several hours while each member of the group went out for a separate spa treatments. I had a massage, but heard their facials are also awesome. There’s a massive selection of treatments, which you can check out here.
While you’re there, you can also visit the separate men’s and women’s Turkish hammam (steam chamber infused with essential oils, set at 105ºF and designed for a longer relaxation period than a traditional steam room is) and other relaxation areas like the steam chambers, whirlpools and saunas, which overlook the resort’s golf course.
After our treatments, we ate healthy food from the Spa Bistro. Yay for some detox with organic foods and healthy smoothies!
6. Resort activities
Beyond the pools, restaurants and lounges, there’s the Ted Robinson-designed 18-hole championship golf course, as well as basketball courts, lawn croquet and even mini golf at the W Marriott Desert Springs! If you’re a tennis player, you can check out the 20 tennis courts on hard, clay and grass surfaces.
Even if you aren’t a tennis pro, you can take a lesson with guys at PBI Tennis Club, who have the #2 ranked tennis instructors in the world. I had a lesson—and if they could teach me, they can teach anyone! My teacher, Pat Donnehy, was awesome. He’s been playing for 25 years and was able to critique my serves and how to fix them immediately. I followed his advice and it was insane to see how much I improved from the beginning to end of the lesson.
Tip: My group took a fun trip to the San Andreas fault on the Jeep San Andreas Fault Jeep Tour with Desert Adventures. You get picked up at the hotel and the guide will put the top down on the Jeep, if you want. You’ll hear stories of the plants, animals and history of the California desert and of course see the canyons of the fault area!
JW Marriott Desert Springs has some awesome hotel package deals through September. My personal favorite (because I now love selfie sticks) is the “Indulge Your Selfie” package, with which you get a personal Bluetooth selfie stick and resort credit for weekday rates starting at $165. Check out yourdesertplayground.com or call 760-341-2211 for more.
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Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.