Palm Springs, California, the Golfer’s Dream. The Hyatt Palm Springs, the Visitor’s Dream.

By Jon Bogart

Palm Springs is in the midst of a major renovation that will transform the city into a cutting-edge capital of shopping, dining, recreation, art appreciation and, of course, golf. Palm Springs has always been known as the “Golf Capital of the World,” boasting a phenomenal number of world-class clubs and golf resorts.

In the midst of all this activity stands the Hyatt Palm Springs, a stunning Mayan pyramid structure that stands majestically in the heart of downtown Palm Springs on Palm Canyon Drive. It’s the only all-suite hotel property in Palm Springs. Every room, which has been recently refurbished, is oversized with a bedroom and a furnished balcony, a living room, a marble appointed bathroom, two large flat-screen TVs, a digital work station with internet connection and a fridge, for storing beverages and food. It’s in the heart of downtown, surrounded by the natural beauty of the San Jacinto mountains and the energy and excitement of Palm Canyon Drive. It’s at the crossroads of one of the most memorable vacation destinations in Southern California, providing the perfect accommodations for leisure and business travelers, and it’s also perfect for a family stay. In addition, the Hyatt Palm Springs is directly across the street from the O’Donnell Golf Course, a classy 18 hole layout, right in the city limits of Palm Springs. It’s notable as a public course, available to all…right in downtown Palm Springs. Imagine that!

The Hyatt Palm Springs takes great care to provide a hotel experience that is designed around its guests. They can customize their stay with Hyatt’s eConcierge program and in-room request cards that let guests have suites provisioned with special requests and amenities designed uniquely to satisfy individual tastes. You can do it all or do nothing at all. The Hyatt Palm Springs has exclusive relationships with area attractions, recreational facilities, golf courses and specialty retailers to provide the opportunity to develop handcrafted vacation experiences and itineraries that are as distinctive as each guest. Whatever one chooses, whatever one wants, Hyatt Palm Springs is the only hotel ready to accommodate, well, everything.

Our stay at the Hyatt was more than memorable. To test the eConcierge program we requested a high floor suite at the top of the pyramid with a city view and an early arrival. So, upon check in, bingo! We were handed keys to a top-floor suite directly in the center of the building with a breathtaking view of Palm Springs. We christened the room “Camp Happy”, and it just kept getting better from there.

Since we arrived early, we enjoyed the benefit of a bonus day in Palm Springs. As mentioned, the Hyatt is located directly on Palm Canyon Drive, downtown’s main drag. So, it was a short walk to check out the action with a variety of shops, restaurants and attractions. We stopped for a margarita at Las Casuelas, a local legend for oversized margaritas. The blenders are whirling, the salt shakers are moving and the margaritas keep coming. For entertainment there is a house band that has been at Las Casuelas for over 20 years. They play during the day on weekends as well as at night. It’s a musician’s dream: a steady gig at the same place for over 20 years. It’s a longevity record that will not be broken soon, if ever.

We noticed that on Palm Canyon Boulevard, with its variety of shops, bars and restaurants, there is a quaint recreation of a pueblo with some information on early Palm Springs and a life-size bronze statue of Sonny Bono, who served as the mayor of Palm Springs and gave the city notoriety because of his fame. After Bono’s tragic death from a ski accident, his wife Mary took over and became involved in local politics and is still a force shaping the future of Palm Springs. And at this present time every visit to Palm Springs is a new adventure because of the renaissance that is going on to transform the city to its former glory.

With our headquarters at the Hyatt we made our way back to our suite and let things unfold from there. Day one was to relax and get acquainted with the layout and the ambiance of the property. We settled into our suite, went out on the balcony to enjoy a bottle of wine and a private happy hour…simply sublime. In the afternoon the setting sun presents a picture that’s a living watercolor. The mountains are painted shades of purple and tan, giving live meaning to “earth tones.” Snap a photo and you have an instant objet d’art. We had a chance to visit the pool late in the afternoon and planned to spend the next day poolside to get some more rest and work on our tans.

The air conditioning was set at the perfect temperature and we awoke refreshed and renewed. We went down to the breakfast buffet for a scrumptious, outstanding breakfast, beginning with access to an assortment of fresh cut fruit, yogurts, juices, cereals, muffins, bagels, and an offering of artisan cheeses. Then came the main course with choices of fresh scrambled eggs, breakfast potatoes, meats and trimmings, or guests can opt for a three-egg omelet prepared by the master breakfast chef, with a hearty smile. The omelets can be customized to tastes. I like avocados, so at my request the server delivered two avocados to the chef and I had a great avocado omelet. All this is for only $21 per person. Incredible value. Gourmet food.

It was early, and not at all hot so we headed out to play a round of golf. The notable thing about Palm Springs is its sheer beauty. With the desert and irrigation miracles it is a treat for the eyes. The golf courses are world-class championship caliber and it made for a terrific daytime activity.

After a full day of golf and sightseeing we returned to our suite for another private happy hour and enjoyed a bottle of wine with cheese. This ritual would become a repetitive activity for the remainder of our stay, it was quite addictive. The sun went down and we enjoyed a lovely outdoor dinner, poolside. The service was impeccable and the food was, again, over the top. Great food. Great value…what a combination!

We spotted a local nightspot, the Village Pub on Palm Canyon Drive, which has outdoor seating and a busy club indoors with live music and dancing. We had a wonderful time and retired to our suite, capping a serene and perfect day.

We visited the Palm Springs Art Museum and were impressed with the variety and quality of the exhibits. We made our way to some of the private galleries and discovered Elena Bulatova on Palm Canyon Drive, directly across the street from the Hyatt. Elena Bulatova is a Russian artist who has some dynamic art presentations. The gallery director, Sam Goldman, is a veteran Palm Springs aficionado and has created a stunning outdoor display that is like a treasure waiting to be discovered. It’s a must-do and it’s right across the street. It’s best to visit at night when it’s all lit up.

We capped the night with a visit to the Spa Casino. Yes, there is an Indian gambling casino in downtown Palm Springs, and it’s walking distance from the Hyatt Palm Springs. It seemed like everything is within walking distance from the Hyatt. We had a great time playing the tables and the slots and wound up at the nightclub for some late-night partying. The casino is opened 24/7 and is a fun after-hours destination.

We were so impressed with the Hyatt, we could not tear ourselves away, so we extended an extra day and spent Monday night in Palm Springs as well. We lounged all day at the pool, and because the majority of the guests were leaving on Monday, the pool was relaxing and much more personal. Ahh, what a day at the pool can do to rejuvenate and refresh! Lots of mai tais and piña coladas helped us wash down the pool service food, which again, was surprisingly tasty and so reasonably priced.

As the sun went down, we returned to our suite and enjoyed our last private happy hour. This does not get old. This being our last night, we decided not to go out to dinner, but to order room service and get the best from our suite. Room service uses the main restaurant kitchen so one can order off the restaurant menu. We chose a last-night feast of salmon, sea bass, mushroom risotto, truffle fries andlayer cake for dessert. Pre-meal drinks were frozen margaritas – OK Las Casuelas, you have a competitor. A bottle of chardonnay was perfect with the meal. As was becoming the custom, the experience was completely over-the-top. The food was unreal, the balcony was the perfect place and the tab was a little over $100 including tax and tip.

We had to get back to L.A. so we departed early Tuesday morning, content that we had spent four wonderful days at the first-class hotel. The Hyatt Palm Springs is the place to be, and with the renaissance of Palm Springs as an ongoing project, things are only going to get better. The golf, the attractions, the weather, the Hyatt. It’s all good.

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Disclaimer: California News Press and its contributors may have received goods, services and/or other professional courtesies to facilitate this review. All opinions are those of the author.

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