Story by Terry Ross
While the Palm Springs region of the Southern California desert has long-been a popular vacation favorite for golfers and anyone else looking for a laid-back atmosphere to get away, the City of Palm Desert has grown into the hub of this Coachella Valley area as the central city for not only golf, but everything from shopping, art galleries, fine dining and any number of events.
The El Paseo area of Palm Desert–which has become famous as a world-class shopping and dining venue along this one-mile stretch that has been called the Rodeo Drive of the Desert—has become the cultural, commercial and night life capital of this area. And now the last remaining element has come on board to make this a truly unique vacation spot.
The Hotel Paseo, which just opened its doors this past spring, has brought a splash of style and luxury to the El Paseo area that hasn’t been seen before in terms of lodging accommodations, and is being called the first luxury hotel to open in the city in at least 30 years. It is part of Marriott’s Autograph Collection of boutique properties.
In its effort to embrace this entertainment district of over 250 shops, restaurants, art galleries, jewelry stores, beauty salons, home furnishing stores and more, Hotel Paseo is located near the eastern end of this unique and popular area and is within easy walking distance of just about any of these attractions. Saks Fifth Avenue, Tumi, Gucci and St. Johns are among the shops; along with Sullivan’s Steakhouse, Tommy Bahama, Pacifica Seafood Restaurant, Mastro’s and Le Paon Restaurant—just to name a few.
For those less inclined to walk, the hotel even offers its guests a Mercedes shuttle to just about anywhere you want to go within the area.
The pedestrian-friendly feel of this venue—even in the middle of a desert oasis–is attracting visitors of all ages, but so is the mid-century modern design of the hotel and grounds that this desert has become famous for. From the time you arrive at the hotel framed by two powering palm trees rising through the angular porte-cochère that fits right in with the desert’s retro look, to the lobby featuring a rotating art gallery and vintage art pieces, you feel like you are in an extension of the El Paseo desert vibe.
One of the unique features of the Hotel Paseo is the Backyard Lawn that is a great place to relax during the day or after sundown during the soothing desert nights. In addition to a putting green, there is the hotel’s vintage 1950 Airstream trailer featuring stainless-steel appliances, an eight-foot reclaimed black walnut bar and porch with lounge chairs–that has been restored and will be available as one of nine specialty suites in the 150-room hotel.
Next to the BackYard Lawn is the crystal blue pool and spa, private cabanas with televisions, snacks and refrigerators and the Lemondrop pool-side cabana bar. There is even an outdoor stage for weekend entertainment with A/V capabilities for live musical performances. Interactive games are also available. This is a great area to relax after a round of golf and enjoy the tranquility that the desert offers.
Another way to relax is in the newly-opened Spa LA LÉ, an intimate space with seven treatment rooms, private showers, lounge and co-ed Discovery Relaxation Room.
Under the guidance of Executive Spa Director Stella Chung, Spa LA LÉ offers an array of results-oriented treatments, including organic facials, full body treatments, couple’s massages, nail and waxing services in a 3,000 square-foot-complex.
The resort rooms are expertly adorned in modern artwork by local artists and feature a soothing pallet of gray, white and light blue tones—and have all the comforts of home. The Oasis guestrooms feature free-standing, oval-shaped soaking tubs, while the specialty suites include the Billiards Suite, offering a pool table, wet bar, lounge area and a Shinola Runwell record player complete with a curated collection of old and new vinyl; along with the Grand Desert Suite featuring a motorized expandable boardroom table for intimate meetings.
All of the guestrooms and suites have 55” smart televisions with Netflix, Hulu Plus, Pandora and YouTube, while most rooms have private balconies overlooking the picturesque views of the San Jacinto Mountains and valley palms.
The AC3 Restaurant + Bar located next to the lobby of the Hotel Paseo has already became a favorite spot for both locals and travelers in the short time it has been open with its emphasis on American cuisine. Under the direction of co-owners Tony Marchese and celebrated chef Andrew Copley and his wife Juliana, who are all long-time veterans of the restaurant business in the desert and beyond, they have begun to carve out their place in the busy El Paseo neighborhood with favorite dishes like Jumbo Crab Cakes, the AC3 Wedge, the Lobster Hash and fresh steaks. Other menu highlights include starters like Seafood Ceviche with coconut, lime, jalapeno, corn and fried corn chips; or Blistered Shishito Peppers with Firecracker Sauce and sesame seeds; followed by options like Roasted Jidori Chicken Breast with brown butter panzanella, heirloom tomatoes, zucchini and basil vinaigrette.
The modern-design and the free-flowing nature of this indoor-outdoor bar lends itself to the desert lifestyle with misters, fire pits and mountain views to go with an array of cocktail innovations, local craft beers and a wine list featuring select bottles from family-owned vineyards such as Lewis Cellars in Napa Valley and Foxtrot in British Columbia, Canada.
Happy Hour is a favorite time here – and one of the highlights after a day on the links.
Hotel Paseo has embraced the golf traveler in many ways, but its partnership with city-owned Desert Willow Golf Resort–that is just over three miles away– in providing door-to-door transportation and preferred tee times to what is arguably one of the premier places to play in a valley filled with great golf options–is a real plus.
From the time your driver takes you from the hotel to the Desert Willow complex, you feel like you are getting the white glove treatment. With the spectacular club house at Desert Willow to the two championship golf courses designed by Dr. Michael Hurdzan, Dana Fry and PGA Tour Professional John Cook, a day spent here is indeed a treat.
Of the two courses at Desert Willow, the Firecliff opened in 1997 with great fanfare with a tournament that included former President Gerald Ford. Of the two it is considered the more challenging layout as it winds through the picturesque desert landscape that expertly blends native desert plants and lush green fairways. The Firecliff can be played from five sets of tees, ranging from 7,056 to 5,079, depending on your skill level.
The newer Mountain Course was designed to be a transition between the Firecliff’s desertscape look and the traditional fence to fence turfgrass look. It is more user friendly than the Firecliff but still has plenty of challenges from 6,913 yards and a slope rating from the Black Tees of 132. It also offers five sets of tees to accommodate many skill levels and can also be played from the Green Tees at 5,040 yards. This course offers more water features, but like its sister course is always found in top playing condition—no matter what time of year.
The plush club house has several dinning and post-round refreshment options available, including the Terrace Restaurant, which offers excellent lunch fair, along with Cook’s Grill and the Vista Bar.
And of course, your concierge/driver to take you back to the hotel is just a phone call away—with all the amenities that Hotel Paseo and the and the El Paseo entertainment district has to offer. Just as the hotel asks its guests to “find their own path,” there are a lot of paths to follow on a vacation here.
To learn more about the Hotel Paseo and golf packages or to look at vacation options, visit: www.hotelpaseo.com
An Exclusive for Golf Vacations Magazine Readers
Experience Golf in the Desert package – Available now until August 30, golf enthusiasts can enjoy a round of golf at the hotel’s exclusive partner Desert Willow Golf Resort, including a cart with GPS and range balls; overnight accommodations in Hotel Paseo’s modern guestrooms; and a $25 credit to AC3 Restaurant + Bar. Package rates start at $199 per night and can be booked online by CLICKING HERE: