I should say that I am a timeshare owner in Monarch Grand Vacations which owns the Palm Canyon Resort and Spa about a mile away from Desert Isle, and MGV also has purchased seasonal usage rights to a small number of Desert Isle units. I mention this because probably dozens of other TripAdvisor readers also are MGV owners who perhaps have never visited Desert Isle. Also I should mention that I live in the rural far end of the Coachella Valley desert, about an hour’s drive from Desert Isle, so I’m fairly familiar with the entire area because I shop in the Coachella Valley resort cities about twice a month.
I needed a few days to work intensely on a lot of paperwork and a very clutter and distraction-free wide space to set out many piles of papers, so I booked a few days at the Desert Isle Resort. It was my first time staying here.
When MGV first obtained use rights here, I stopped by once for a tour. I was impressed by the wide, well kept gardens, pools, and fountains, but a little turned off by the darkness of the units. Also I was used to the liveliness of the Palm Canyon Resort and Spa, so I never booked here.
I must now say that after a three day stay, I left very impressed with Desert Isle. The interiors are a bit dark because the color scheme is of earthy colors, but it is very restful. I recall reading that the one bedroom units have 900 sq. ft., which seemed accurate and mine certainly felt spacious. I loved the textured Berber-style carpeting and the very nice touch of having a recessed niche in the tiled hallway with a lovely flower arrangement (even if it’s a faux orchid because even the real ones look fake) on a pretty table with an small overhead light spotlighting the arrangement.
Even though DI is on the busy Palm Canyon Boulevard, most units are set back a great deal and probably all are quiet, but best of all, it is also just a short walking distance to stores and restaurants. An upscale but very reasonable deli-restaurant, Manhattan in the Desert, is practically attached to the resort. The portions are huge and the deserts are gorgeous. You can get some very basic groceries like milk, right across the street at Walgreens and if you don’t mind walking across a big parking lot, there is a Jensens (the Saks of desert grocery stores) for regular and gourmet groceries. I had an expensive but very fresh and organic burrito at the eco-hip Chipotle chain restaurant also just a hop away.
I was in unit 45 and as I drove up I was a little disappointed because my patio was right next to the parking lot (all parking places are in a carport near the unit), but it turned out great because I backed into my spot and could unload all my many bags and boxes from the back hatch opening and with just a few big steps through the siding glass doorway into the living room. People who worry about their cars would love having a direct view of their car from the living room.
Once you pull away the curtains and sit down in the living room of unit 45, you have a magnificent view of the desert mountains rising behind clusters of thin, high-towering palm trees. I kept thinking how spectacular that view must be in winter when there is usually snow on the tops of those mountains--some years the snow is really packed and way down Mt. San Jacinto (DO take the tram to the top!). Also that unit is pretty cool because it’s just a few steps out the front door to be in the pool and spa area.
I have stayed at many timeshares and this is the first one bedroom unit I’ve been to with two bathrooms: one large one off the bedroom, and another medium size one off the living room. Usually I have a guest with me and one of us is sleeping on the pull out couch, so having a separate bathroom for each of us is divine. Also I thought it was really nice to have a folding cot with a thick folded mattress in one of the closets in case I have an another extra guest. Those are extremely nice touches.
The kitchen probably has everything you could need, plus a small window with a view to the pool. The resort has tennis courts, two or three pools, several small jacuzzis, a small gym, and a sauna, but I only had time to use a pool a little.
The front desk couldn’t have been nicer, especially by giving me a lot of extra time at check-out when I still didn’t have all my mountains of papers yet organized and stashed. (Check out is at ten a.m., very nice as some places make it at nine. People who frequent hotels need to realize that it takes a long time for staff to clean timeshare units because they are essentially condo units.) Though the Palm Canyon Resort is ideal for families with kids and has activities all day for just about everybody, the Desert Isle is very quiet and private. I think it would be ideal for someone wanting peace and quiet, or to recuperate after an operation, or for a distraction-free place for a paper/computer working vacation like mine.
(BTW, to Vikki of San Diego who posted previously: As a former ESL teacher, world traveler, and widow of a Middle Easterner, I've spent years with people from all around the world. Almost all Middle Easterners here also speak English quite well, but like traveling Americans, they speak their native language when together on a vacation. What a great educational opportunity for your kids to introduce themselves to a Middle Eastern child. I've never met a Middle Eastern family who didn't impress on their children sort of an old fashioned protocol of courtesy as their culture has yet to discard the notion that a child's behavior in public is a direct reflection of the dignity of his or her family. As a native Californian, I found a great contrast with peers of my generation in that every Middle Easterner I've ever met is VERY family oriented and adores kids. I do agree with you about the smoke---I despise tobacco toxicity of any kind regardless of whether it's rolled or hookah generated, and I'm arrogant enough to wish the rest of the world would consider the perspective most Californians have about that. Lastly--and I found this to be the same in the Deep South of the U.S.--you don't just walk up to a Middle Easterner and say what you want from him unless you want to come off as very boorish and virtually insulting. First you say something like "Good Evening" with a smile (and in the South don't forget "Sir" or "Ma'am"!), introduce yourself, comment nicely about something safe like the weather or the family, then politely mention that you're a soft sleeper and the sounds from their patio are keeping your family awake. Then watch them apologize profusely and offer you some dessert to take back with you for breakfast or the like. When I visited Alabama, an ex-New Yorker insurance agent told me he almost starved his first year in the South until he learned the gist of what I just said. I hope I don't come off as condescending; I not only love learning and sharing about different people of the planet in the broader hope of a safer world, I also have permanent pedagogy in my genes. Class dismissed ;)