At Play in Palm Springs

At Play in Palm Springs

So…I’ve created a monster! You see, a few years ago, I planned (and Jave and I paid for) a joint Mother’s Day/Father’s Day Palm Springs golf getaway. With the exception of my dad, we were all new to golf. My mom shared her clubs with me, and my dad shared his with Jave. Despite the fact that my dad bought my mom golf clubs years and years ago, we were literally peeling the plastic off of them while we were on the course!

With the exception of my dad, none of us had the vaguest idea of what we were doing. Every time I swung, I dug up chunks of grass if I was lucky enough to connect with the ball at all. My swing was so horrible that I literally had muscle aches in my arms and wrists by the end of the day. As a golf newbie, Jave was pretty horrible too. And none of us knew the rules of the game, so we just kept swinging and swinging until we finally made our way to the hole. It was pretty laughable. But I’ll admit that I found our day on the course to be quite relaxing despite the dry desert heat.

Ever since, Jave hasn’t stopped raving about our Palm Springs golf trip. When we got home from that trip, he immediately invested in golf clubs and has since upgraded, he’s bought some pretty silly looking golf sunglasses, all sorts of golf outfits, golf shoes, hats, gloves, and the whole nine. He’s started watching the Golf Channel. He gets urgent golf (and other sports) alerts on his phone. And somehow, in spite of his ridiculous schedule, he manages to play a game of golf or at least go to the range twice a week. Faithfully. And while I’ll indulge in his new favorite pastime with him every now and then, it’s really not my thing. I humor him, but I’ve accepted that I’ve become a golf widow. My mom advises that it could be worse…he could be addicted to other things. This is true.

So for Jave’s birthday this past June, I decided that he’d probably love nothing more than a return trip to Palm Springs. He’s a simple guy, really; he doesn’t ask for much. So I scheduled a late afternoon tee time in hopes that the sun would be more forgiving by then. To round out our itinerary, I decided to add a few other interesting activities to get into while in Palm Springs. Here’s a look at Jave’s b-day getaway…

Bowling at Fantasy Lanes


Before our scheduled tee time, I decided to surprise Jave with a few games at Fantasy Lanes at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio nearby. Jave will probably roll his eyes at the fact that I’m sharing this, but until then, he’d never been bowling before! I knew that I wanted to be the first one to play with him, so when he realized that we were pulling up to a bowling alley, his eyes lit up with sheer glee. Seriously, nothing makes me happier. But then he beat me! What the…?!

Late Afternoon Tee Time at JW Marriott

(l) A canal runs through the hotel’s interior; (m) A lush view of the resort outside

After our bowling alley warm up, we headed to JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort & Spa in Palm Desert for the main event. Our first golf experience was at Marriott’s Shadow Ridge, a villa-style resort that I really love, but JW Marriott Desert Springs takes the cake. The resort features two golf courses – the Valley and Palms. The reservation agent recommended the Valley course because it’s more beautiful, so the Valley it was! Jave was giddy. Seriously, he looked like he could’ve passed for a PGA golfer.

*TIP: Because we booked a late afternoon tee time, it only cost $39 per person to play the entire 18-hole course – cart and balls included! Book early or late tee times for the best rates.


The Bells at play
The Bells at play

After stopping at Starbuck’s for some refreshing iced peach green tea, water, and biscotti, we loaded up our cart and headed out into the sweltering, unbearable heat. Jave played all 18 holes. All of them. On the other hand, I would tee off here and there and then promptly make my way back to the cart where my Kindle and cooling refreshments were waiting for me. I’m sorry, but looking for my tiny golf ball on a massive course in 105-degree heat is just not appealing. Don’t nobody got time for that! But I didn’t complain…I just sipped my tea, cheered on my PGA hopeful, and admired the stunning beauty of the course.


Beautiful vacation homes on the course...I'm going to have a home in Palm Desert someday
Beautiful vacation homes on the course…I’m going to have a home in Palm Desert someday
Flamingos & black swans on the course
Flamingos & black swans on the course
It looks like a lush mirage in the desert heat
It looks like a lush mirage in the desert heat



As many times as I’ve been to Palm Springs, I’d never heard about Palm Springs VillageFest until recently. Every Thursday night, downtown Palm Springs transforms into an open-air market where you can buy everything from arts and crafts to jewelry and food. Vendors and entertainers set up booths along a long slice of Palm Canyon Drive, and it seems the whole city converges there.


Although there was a paella vendor that looked really good, Jave and I decided to eat dinner at a random Mexican restaurant along the strip. It was packed when we entered, so I thought we’d made a good choice, but we were so wrong. We should’ve gotten up to leave when we realized that the chips were stale. But the piña coladas were good, so we stayed. A plate full of mush and $68 dollars later (can you believe that?!), we left completely disappointed. We should’ve gone with the $10 paella!

Where We Stayed


Instead of staying at the Shadow Ridge like last time, this time around we stayed at Marriott’s Desert Springs Villas II in Palm Desert because I found a great rate for just $99! Although the villas I’ve stayed in at Shadow Ridge are bigger, I really enjoyed our stay at the Villas II.

Balcony view

Though smaller, our room was completely comfortable, well decorated, and our bed felt like we were laying on a cloud. But what I loved most is that the Villas II have more of a resort feel. The only drawback was that check-in wasn’t until 4pm, and the checkout time the next day was 10am. Soooo not cool!

Breakfast the Next Morning

bristol-farms-palm-desertNot wanting to spend a lot of money on breakfast the next morning, and not wanting to eat at McDonald’s, Jave and I navigated to the closest Bristol Farms market which was only a few miles from our hotel. I love Bristol Farms’ breakfast in their in-store café. It reminds me of my summers home from college when I’d work for my mom, and before going to work, we’d go enjoy breakfast at Bristol Farms. Jave ordered waffles and I got eggs benedict. Our total was about $20…very cool!

Although we were only able to escape to the desert for a night, Jave was on cloud 9 the entire time. And though his obsession with golf is sometimes annoying, I’m happy that he’s found a hobby that he’s so passionate about. Now, if only I can get him to join me for samba class



Are you a golf lover? Have you been to Palm Springs? Please share in the comments.

  • I love Palm Springs and this post is really making me want to go back! Great photos!

    • Dana Carmel

      Thanks, Becky! 🙂

  • LOL at golf widow, my condolences. I have gone golfing once and I vowed to never go again. I was horrible, my club kept digging into the course instead of hitting the ball and I had more misses than actual hits. My arm muscles were also in pain plus I was exhausted from all the walking.

    Jave looks like he had loads of fun on the trip, the two of you look so happy.

    • Dana Carmel

      Thanks for your sympathies – lol. I totally feel you, Rachel! My first few tries, golf used to hurt my muscles too because my form was way worse than it is now. You know, I don’t know what’s so fascinating about trying to get a small ball into a small hole in a really big field in as few strokes as possible. But for some reason it makes Jave and millions of other people around the world happy. I will admit that I do like the peace that comes from being on a beautiful course though.


This site is protected by

Complete this form to join Time Card Express for FREE!
Enter your info below to join and get access to exclusive discounts on local tours and at boutique hotels and restaurants around the world!
We hate SPAM and promise to keep your email address safe.
By joining, I agree to the Membership Agreement and Privacy Policy and confirm that I'm 18 years or older.