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Questions from first timers heading to Westin Desert Willow

TexasChic

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Hi, long time vistana/starwood owners. Going to Westin desert Willow for the first time in February. Any tips for us? We plan to golf three days and be tourists the other three. Thinking about: Joshua Tree, tram and jeep tour for touring. Appreciate any feedback on villa location, things to do, golf courses for average players and restaurants.

also a tactical question: what type of coffee makers are in the villas? I have filter packs from our visit to Harborside in the fall and will bring them if they will work.

thanks in advance
 

daviator

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Coffee makers are basket-style. Most of them are kind of a weird sort where the coffee goes into a receptacle rather than a pot, and there is a dispenser valve where you hold your coffee cup to fill it, sort of like a soda dispenser. Anyway it uses normal basket-style filters or you can use the filter packs with coffee in them. We usually buy a small package of ground coffee at Ralph's around the corner as we prefer decent coffee to the no-name dreck they usually supply (and we bring filters.) The coffee mugs are tiny tiny!

Joshua Tree is fun and interesting, plan most of a day for that for sure. Look at a map of the park and figure out which sites you want to see. There are a couple of areas with modest hikes that might take a couple of hours if you want to do them. Of course, there's also more extensive hiking and camping available too. When we go, we enter the park on the north/west side near the town of Joshua tree and exit on the south side. That way, when you are done with the park, it's not so far back to "home." Be sure you fill up with gas (or electricity, or whatever) beforehand, there's none of either in the park.

The aerial tram is fun if you've never done it, great views if the weather cooperates. It will be COLD up there so dress accordingly. Never done the jeep tour so can't comment on that.

There is a Ralph's (grocery store) around the corner on Country Club which is a nice store if you plan to cook or at least do breakfasts in the room. The onsite restaurant has reopened, lunch and dinner only I think, and when we were last there in November there was a limited menu but what they had was tasty.

Have fun!
 

TexasChic

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Thanks so much for the great tips!
 

Mulege

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Favorite restaurant and bar is Fresh Agave Mexican in Palm Desert on Hwy111. It’s a locals choice. I love their margarita.
 

MarineBlue

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With golf three days and your tourist activities other days I hope you're staying longer than a week to enjoy the area! The days will fly by. Right next door (walking distance altho the WDW shuttle/golf cart will take you there) is the Desert Willow Golf Course. (Same name, but not a partner altho they use to give owners 20% off). Even if you're not playing, go there for breakfast or lunch (they don't serve dinner) - it's a beautiful setting and good food. Yes, the drive to Joshua Tree will be all day and the drive to the tram will be most of the day - use that day to see downtown Palm Springs main drag and area; too far to go back that direction again just for dinner. Make dinner reservations ahead of time!! It's a busy time of year. Enjoy!!
 

LahainaMoon

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There is a fascinating little zoo called The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens five miles directly south of the villas. Well worth the short drive and admission fee.
 

daviator

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Favorite restaurant and bar is Fresh Agave Mexican in Palm Desert on Hwy111. It’s a locals choice. I love their margarita.
Agree about Fresh Agave, it's a great place. Great margaritas and food, friendly staff, and you even get a WDW discount if you have the owner's card!
 

ambere

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Some of my favorites: walking around downtown Palm Springs, hiking (Tahquitz Canyon is a pretty and easy one, the Indian Canyons are reallyl nice, too), the Living Desert, Palm Springs Art Museum and dinner out somewhere. Enjoy!
 

dioxide45

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Grill-a-Burger will be a must stop for us every trip we make to Palm Desert.
 

BJRSanDiego

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Cactus Jack's has great steaks. It's on 111, west of Cook.
 

Ken555

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Grill-a-Burger will be a must stop for us every trip we make to Palm Desert.

In the same complex is Bristol Farms, which is one of the two better grocery options in the area. The other would be Gelson’s at about five minutes drive west from WDW. You’ll find Albertsons and other typical groceries as well.


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Mulege

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Bristol Farms and Gelsons are expensive compared to Ralphs and Albertsons. There is a Costco and Sam’s close by too.
 

dsmrp

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We liked being next to the Quiet adults only pool, that also has 2 narrow lap lanes. The buildings next to it are 8, 9 and I think ,7.

If you like engineering and nerdy science,
we found the self-guided Windmill tours to be interesting and informative about development of alternative energy in the valley. There is still a cost to the tour.
They also will point you to the nearby Windmill Market for date shakes. We've been to the market several times before for their shakes and casual burritos/tacos etc.
 

Ken555

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Bristol Farms and Gelsons are expensive compared to Ralphs and Albertsons. There is a Costco and Sam’s close by too.

Of course! You get what you pay for. The deli counters at Bristol Farms and Gelsons are significantly better than the others, IMO.


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Kildahl

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We have enjoyed dining at Bella Vita ( in the mall with Ralph’s) and Road Runner in La Quinta.
Castelli’s is also one of our favorites.
Lunch at the nearby Marriott Resort is always a treat.
We hike the area trails, Joshua Tree, and those around Idyllwild and the Salton Sea.
 

Ken555

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We have enjoyed dining at Bella Vita ( in the mall with Ralph’s).

Oops! Sorry. I was thinking of a different restaurant.


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daviator

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I should mention Cork Tree, it's also just around the corner in the same center as Ralph's, but it's a really nice place with great food and service. We only recently discovered it and it's definitely worth trying.
 

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I'm heading there next week and was surprised to find out that the resort gym is closed. Any idea why that would be?
 

daviator

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I'm heading there next week and was surprised to find out that the resort gym is closed. Any idea why that would be?
It was open when I was there a couple of months ago, but I know that it was due for a refresh this year, so if it's marked closed, I'd guess it's because it's being renovated and getting new equipment.
 

Cornell

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It was open when I was there a couple of months ago, but I know that it was due for a refresh this year, so if it's marked closed, I'd guess it's because it's being renovated and getting new equipment.
Well, that's a good reason. My timing is just off. Concierge recommended a gym nearby which I appreciate.
 

DavidnRobin

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Not sure if mentioned already…

Thursday evening street fair (VillageFest) in downtown Palm Springs - been going on strong for 25 years.

Palm Canyon hike.


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daviator

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Well, that's a good reason. My timing is just off. Concierge recommended a gym nearby which I appreciate.
Go by and look when you're there and see if it's getting a refresh... or maybe it will even have reopened by the time you arrive. Let us know, I'm curious, but I know it was scheduled for a makeover this year.
 

Cornell

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Go by and look when you're there and see if it's getting a refresh... or maybe it will even have reopened by the time you arrive. Let us know, I'm curious, but I know it was scheduled for a makeover this year.
Will do. This is where the concierge told me to go:

 
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