For a quick long weekend getaway with family, I decided to visit the Palm Springs area. Given that it is June, I was a bit worried about the weather as Palm Springs summers are often 110 degrees. Luckily, the time I visited was in the high 90’s. A few years back, I stayed at the Marriott Desert Springs 1 Villas and really enjoyed my stay. At the Marriott Villas, we were granted access to utilize the JW Marriott’s pools which were nice. So, I decided it was time to try the JW Marriott Desert Springs out for an overnight stay as well.
Rates for this summer at the JW Marriott Desert Springs are about $250 a night for weekdays, and $300 for weekends (before taxes and the $38 resort fee). And if you want to use Marriott Bonvoy Points, there are some PointSavers nights starting at 32,000 Bonvoy Points.
The JW Marriott Desert Springs is quite massive, with 884 guestrooms. There’s a huge atrium in the lobby, and a gondola dock at the bottom that provides rides which go around the resort grounds and lake.
Date of Stay: June 2022
Room Type: Resort View Room
Pros: Beautiful grounds, numerous restaurant choices and large pools make for a tranquil desert escape.
Cons: The rooms could use some TLC and overall cleanliness could be improved.
Off Country Club Drive, you turn into the resort and are greeted by a wavy row of palm trees that lead up to the resort. In the center is the porte-cochère with valet that opens up to the atrium lobby, to the left is structured parking and the ballroom area, and to the right there is uncovered outdoor parking. Self parking is included in the $38 per night resort fee, and if you want valet parking it is $40 per night.
We opted for self-parking in the structure to keep our car cool in the Palm Desert heat, and then headed to the lobby to check-in. We arrived a little after 3pm, before the standard check-in time at 4pm. There was a short queue to check-in, but we were quickly helped and thankfully our room was ready.
I am always mesmerized by the lobby + atrium area of the JW Marriott Desert Springs. It has got to be one of my favorite hotel lobbies. It’s breathtaking, and also very well maintained. I would often see associates cleaning the glass panels and sprucing everything up.
Our room was located on the 5th floor, and I have to give the hotel credit for having enough elevators. For a large resort, it was always easy to grab an elevator quickly, unlike my recent stay at the Hilton Hawaiian Village in Honolulu.
The standard rooms clock in at 390 square feet. While not the largest, the room felt like it had enough space to move around. This was my first stay at the JW Marriott property, so I was excited to see how it would be.
The room featured 2 Queen Beds, and had some new furnishings. The beds were a good size, and they were firm and comfortable. There was an additional chair near the balcony, as well as a table with side chair.
To be honest, I did expect the rooms to feel a bit more luxurious, as it did seem like it could just be a more superior Marriott branded property.
A tea and coffee maker was provided in the room, and the TV allowed you to log onto Netflix and YouTube. The TV was a miss for me for two reasons. First, the normal channels offered were very limited (no HGTV!). Secondly, some hotels I’ve stayed at recently let you cast your phone to the TV so you can stream other apps like Hulu, HBO Max, and more rather than just Netflix and YouTube.
Additionally, there is a good sized outdoor balcony with 2 chairs and a table, but since our room pretty much overlooked the parking lot and a bit of the golf course, we didn’t spend much time out there. There also seemed to be a decent amount of summer pests as well. If our room overlooked the lake, I would definitely spend more time out on the balcony.
On the bright side, I did enjoy the bathroom and it was more luxurious than a normal Marriott. It had ample counter space, a nice standalone tub, along with a separate stand up shower with a rainfall showerhead + wand, and a separate WC. Toiletries were provided by Aromatherapy Associates in the Lavender and Ylang Ylang Scent.
I do wish the bathroom opened up to the room a bit more because it felt a bit closed in. Perhaps a glass wall to the bedroom area or some shutters would be desirable from the standalone tub.
The rooms were newly renovated in 2020, and I do feel they could have done a bit of a better job as I have a few pet peeves. For starters the door to the bathroom was quite stuck, and it was hard to open it. Additionally, the phone was very old. Lastly, the cleanliness in the room could have been improved. For starters, the entrance to the room had some sticky spots on the floors, and on my bedsheets there were a few stains.
The resort offers a multitude of dining options. The main restaurant is the Rockwood Grill which is open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner. There’s also the Blue Star Lounge next to the Rockwood Grill. Plus, in the lobby atrium there is Aquifer 65 that serves bar bites and offers a sushi bar from 4-10pm daily. Additionally, there is the Japanese Teppan place called Mikado which is open Thursday-Sunday, as well as the casual Fisherman’s Landing Bar and Grill. Near the pool, the Oasis Bar and Grille serves pool bites, and there is a Starbucks in the lobby.
I was fortunate to be able to try Aquifer 65 for an afternoon snack, as well as the Rockwood Grill for breakfast.
I really enjoyed my experience at Aquifer 65 and would definitely go back in the future. We went at 4pm, and that was when the sushi bar opened, so we were able to order Buffalo Wings + Crab Quesadillas from the bar bites menu, and a California Roll and Spicy Tuna Roll from the sushi bar menu. All the dishes were solid!
Service was very attentive and friendly, and they even offered us samples of their Sinatra Cocktail. Overall, a great dining experience!
For breakfast, we ate at the Rockwood Grill. It was not too hot in the morning, so we sat outside along the lake and it was nice.
They serve a breakfast buffet at the Rockwood Grill as well as from the a la carte menu. We opted for the a la carte menu and our party got an Egg White Omelet, Fruit Plate, Breakfast Sandwich and All American Breakfast. All the plates were quite tasty. My only pet peeve was that the seat cushions were a bit dirty; definitely a steam cleaning would help.
The hotel has the Oasis Pool area which features 3 pools and is open daily from 8am to 10pm. It’s quite large and I’ve enjoyed my visits to the pool.
There is an additional pool called the Springs Pool that’s open on Saturday and Sunday.
Amenities + Things to Do:
There are a few shops at the resort from a chocolate store to some clothing shops. There is also the JW Entertainment Zone which is an arcade that can be very fun for families.
The Spa Desert Springs is open 10am to 6pm, which also contains the fitness center that is accessible to hotel guests from 6am to 6pm.
Tennis courts are available as well as golfing at the Desert Springs Golf Club.
Mini-golf is available which is included in the resort fee, as well as lawn games in the tennis center and bike rentals. There’s also the Desert Springs Aviary on-site where you can see rescued birds.
My favorite part of the resort is the gondola rides around the property, but sadly we were not able to experience it on this trip since we arrived Sunday afternoon and left Monday afternoon. It is only available Monday to Thursday from 3pm-7pm, Friday-Saturday from 4pm-9pm, and Sunday from 9am-1pm.
Additionally, it now costs $5 per person and reservations are required. On my visits pre-covid, the rides were free which was nice. I’m a bit disappointed there is a charge now and I feel that it should at least be included in the resort fee for hotel guests.
For me, service was bit of a mixed bag. Firstly, the front desk representatives seemed a bit transactional, when I expected them to be a bit more hospitable for a JW Marriott. But at Aquifer 65, the servers were very attentive and friendly. Then at the Rockwood Grill for breakfast, while the staff was very friendly, they were clearly understaffed for the breakfast rush.
However, I do give credit to their chat function on the Bonvoy App. When I inquired about a late checkout, the staff replied quickly and granted me an extra 1.5 hours which was much appreciated.
In terms of location, the resort is in Palm Desert, and it is 4 miles away from the El Paseo Shopping District which is known for being the Rodeo Drive of the desert. The Palm Springs Airport (PSP) is 12 miles away and downtown Palm Springs is 16 miles away. The resort is also about 120 miles from Downtown Los Angeles.
Directly across from the hotel is a Ralphs grocery store, Rite Aid pharmacy, a Morton’s Steakhouse, and some other shops + food options.
I ate at a French restaurant called Le Vallauris for dinner in Downtown Palm Springs and it was a great experience! Amazing food and cute treehouse scenery. Highly recommend.
Overall, the JW Marriott Desert Springs is a great resort for a desert getaway. The common grounds are beautiful, and the gondola is a cute attraction. If the hotel could spruce up the rooms a bit more, it could be a perfect retreat! I will definitely consider staying at the resort again in the future.
Have you stayed at the JW Marriott Desert Springs before? What were your thoughts? Comment below!