Living in Atlanta, I’m spoiled. I can get a non-stop flight to anywhere I need to visit. I actually haven’t had a connecting flight in years, but I didn’t see a non-stop flight from Atlanta to Palm Springs International for this January- I didn’t care. This is Palm Springs after all.
Even though there wasn’t a non-stop flight, there was non-stop golf, tennis, tourist activities, and restaurants to try.
Palm Springs is that oasis in the desert that you’ve been imagining. Perfect weather means it’s the ultimate refuge for not only someone that likes to be active and experience life to its fullest, but also for those that want to take it easy and just relax.
The week I was in Palm Springs, it didn’t matter if you wanted to watch or play golf, it was all right in front of you. For those that wanted to watch the best players in the world, The PGA Tour’s Humana Challenge was taking place. The former Bob Hope Classic draws players to desert each winter and now it has entered into a partnership with the Bill Clinton Foundation and puts and emphasis on health and wellness for people all over the world. I was fortunate enough to attend the Clinton Foundation one-day summit that took place where many of the programs the Clinton Foundation supports were discussed. The former President himself was front and center all week and he delivered the keynote address that morning and led a panel discussion. This isn’t just a passing fancy for President Clinton, even those on the other side of the aisle are commending him for all the good work his is doing since he left office.
Playing golf in Palm Springs is easy. You can’t drive a mile or two without stumbling on another great course.
From Shadow Ridge to Escena and either of the two tracks at the Indian Wells Golf Resort, you can’t go wrong. I took a shot at the beautiful SilverRock Resort and the Arnold Palmer Classic Course. Thankfully I played with a bright young employee of SliverRock who was happy to give me hints, some of the background of the course and point out the views of the Santa Rosa Mountains that shouldn’t be missed.
For me, SilverRock wouldn’t be much fun at the tips since then it’s 7,578 yards, but I moved up and was able to play a course I could somewhat manage. The fairways were wide and the water was manageable, it was a fun day on the course. I almost forgot to mention that each spring the LPGA’s Kraft Nabisco Championship takes place featuring all the top women’s players in the world.
What day isn’t fun in the Palm Springs area? Not one that I’ve found.
Now something for tennis fans and players.
Just a hop, skip, and a jump for where I was staying at the Hyatt Regency Indian Wells Resort & Spa is the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, home of one of the biggest professional tennis tournaments in the world in the BNP Paribas Open.
Every March, the stars of the ATP World Tour and the WTA Tour invade the Coachella Valley for the BNP Paribas Open- a tournament that has a Grand Slam feel, but the laid back feel your would expect from being in Palm Springs- or Indian Wells, as the Mayor of Indian Wells pointed out to me at dinner one night.
This year, the Indian Wells Tennis Garden debuts a new stadium. A new Stadium 2, which will seat 8,000 fans will offer modern conveniences like name restaurants and giant TVs will compliment Stadium 1, which holds 16,600. A huge food court and beer garden will take care of hundreds of thousands of fans and there will be no shortage of retail space where one can get a tournament t-shirt of hat.
The Tennis Garden also offers some of the nicest hospitality suites I’ve even seen at a sports stadium anywhere. This really is an ideal event to entertain clients and get business done.
During non tournament weeks, members and guests can play or take a lesson at the Tennis Garden. The pros love coming here each year and you can work on your game in this world class facility.
Hyatt Regency Indian Wells Resort & Spa
There are dozens of great places to stay in the Greater Palm Springs area, but I can tell the Hyatt Regency Indian Wells Resort & Spa is special. From the moment you check in, and all throughout your stay you will feel at home. I don’t think it was just because I was a member of the media that I received that personal touch. I noticed the managers, employees, and even the GM asking guests how their stay was and if there was anything else they could do for them.
The resort itself has everything when it comes to tennis and golf, but also the Agave Sunset Bar, and tequila sampling to go along with rejuvenation and therapy at the Agua Serena Spa.
If you like a variety of swimming pools, this Hyatt has plenty of options. You can also choose to stay in one of spacious and luxurious villas that border the side and back of the property.
It was hard to leave the Hyatt in Indian Wells. This property is a favorite of the tennis players that will be playing in the BNP Paribas Open.
What To Do
Did you play tennis or golf in the morning and you are looking for something different to do before dinner?
You’ve come to the right place.
Head up into the snow capped mountain on the Palm Spring Aerial Tram. Take a Jeep or Hummer tour to the San Andreas Fault, or maybe even a hot air balloon ride.
I opted for a Hummer tour to not only see the San Andreas Fault, but also to an area that backs up to Joshua Tree National Park. Adventure Hummer will take you on the adventure of a lifetime off road and you will feel like you have gone off the grid. The open-air Hummer is comfortable and the driver/guide was knowledgeable about the route we took and the region in general. While the San Andreas Fault isn’t an actual landmark you can see, you can see liquid bubbling up through the ground near the road we were on, and that loosely marks where the fault line is located.
I didn’t have any time. but I’m told by a trusted source that the shopping in the Palm Springs area is op notch. If you need to take a break from the outside and adventure, the stores and boutiques in the area accept any credit card.
Add is a full menu of great restaurants- I tried an upscale BBQ joint in the Jackalope Ranch along with a great dinner at a longstanding Palm Springs institution in Wally’s Desert Turtle which is located in Rancho Mirage.
There are a variety of mobile apps available for your smartphone or tablet that can accompany you to Palm Springs and may provide some valuable information.
Rick Limpert is an Atlanta based writer who covers events, sports, and technology. He welcomes you comments and you can follow him on Twitter at @RickRoswell.