JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort & Spa Review

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One of the premiere destinations in Palm Desert has it’s pros and cons

For the past 22 years, the JW Marriott Desert Springs was my go-to Palm Springs resort. There are many reasons why the JW is a great choice for your trip to the Desert. It offers breathtaking views of the desert, great restaurants and several forms of entertainment. While the hotel is still a prime destination for many travelers, the years have brought several changes to the resort – some for the better and some for the worse.


Hotel History

In 2012, the hotel celebrated it’s 25th anniversary with a $25 million renovation. The hotel went from a whimsical garden theme with hanging vines and waterfalls, to a sleek contemporary design. Out went the waterfalls, and in came the dark wood and modern art. I can’t say I was 100% pleased with the redesign, being a romantic, but I can see how some guests would prefer the new sleeker design.

As an avid Saved by the Bell fan I was super stoked to find out that I’d be staying at the hotel where the cast celebrated Jessie’s father’s wedding. In the 1991 episode, Jessie’s father managed the hotel where he would be hosting his wedding. The cast checked in, and the hijinks began. The episode featured a romantic boat ride, which is still one of the best features of the resort today.


JW Marriott Desert Springs Hotel Pools

To draw party seekers away from Vegas, the hotel recently restructured it’s pool areas into different zones. The “High-Energy Zone” pool is the party pool. Expect your typical Vegas crowd here. This pool area is popular with heavy drinkers, and singles ready to mingle. Newly added tables make it easier for guests to hang together and enjoy cocktails under the shaded protection of an umbrella. DJs spin your favorite songs as you dance the day away in the comfort of a cool pool.

The “Casual Zone” pool is located in the main pool area as well, but slightly removed from the drunken shenanigans of the main pool. You can still hear the music, but the atmosphere is a little more relaxed. Far removed from the main pool area is the “Family Zone”. This pool is the best place for families and children. No need to shield your children’s eyes here, the family zone is a safe place where your kids can play.


Palm Desert Restaurants

Mikado Japanese Steakhouse is a great place to have dinner. Whether you’re staying at the hotel or not, take the boat ride from the lobby to the restaurant. Mikado serves up Japanese fair to guests via hibachi. Order one of the combination plates, which come with soup, salad and steamed rice. Combinations range in price from $37 to $56 per person. The Filet Mignon and Lobster is by far the best option. Skip ordering any of the shrimp options, since shrimp comes with everyone’s meal. Order fried rice instead of steamed for an extra $5.


Avoid the Oasis Poolside Bar & Grille unless you’re really hungry. Service is slow on busy days, and the chips are stale. If you do dine by the pool, go for the hot wings or hummus plate.

The Rockwood Grill serves a mean Sunday brunch. The JW Marriott Desert Springs is a popular destination for bachelorette parties. The Rockwood Grill is the perfect place to brunch with your girls. Enjoy fabulous mimosas, savory options, and sweet deserts.


Guest Rooms at the JW Marriott Desert Springs

If booking your room with a third party website be careful. The hotel cannot control what third party website advertise on their sites. What’s offered on a third party, may not be what is offered by the hotel. This happened to us on our most recent stay. While Orbitz advertised several room types, the JW claimed they only offer two room types, Pool view and resort view. The resort view is of the parking lot. If you do book through a third party, make sure to view your receipt and room description. The hotel will only honor the description on the email, regardless of what you thought you were booking.

The standard rooms at the JW Marriott Desert Springs are aged. While the furniture is modern, the rooms are simplistic. The moldings were cracked in our room, and the showers are small. While the resort offers many amazing amenities, the rooms are more like what you’d expect from a Courtyard Marriott than a JW. Book a signature suite for a better room experience.

The JW Marriott Desert Springs may not be what it once was, but it’s still a great destination for party go-ers and young singles.


Michelle McKinley is a journalist and digital marketer from Los Angeles, CA. She earned her Journalism degree from Pepperdine University, and has been writing for the web since 2003. She’s a life-long Disney fan who travels and writes about her experiences for fun.

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