This was our 3rd or 4th time at Dessert Willows. My husband and I go there to relax, rejuvenate, and write. We spend mornings writing, so we're in the villa with great views and comfy interior space. Then afternoons are for playing — catching up on movies we never get to at home (several great theaters within 10min drive and free parking!) and trying local restaurants, some of which we've grown to love. (We're not golfers, although I hear it's perfect for that!)
When we drove onto the property, It felt so good. We were immediately relaxed and at home. The place looks beautiful! The desert plantings are gorgeous, the our view overlooking the golf course was lovely, and surrounding mountains everywhere you look are breathtaking. We wondered what they would like capped in snow. Another trip?
Since the people at a place can make a beautiful property seem exquisite, or, well you know... flat and uninviting, I'd like to mention some of the people who made this trip so delicious and restorative.
First is the GM there, Jim Moran. Wow. He is an amazing human being. Attentive, responsive, warm, welcoming. We got to spend some time with him and just love it — and him! We had such a wonderful conversation, we came away feeling energized and engaged, and inspired about how deeply and personally he cares about the our and other guests' experience and also his staff and the owners (it's a starwood vacation ownership property). It's obvious meeting Jim that he contributes greatly to the overall sense of warmth — and I'm not talking about the outside temperatures!
Every trip since the first one, we look forward to seeing Bernie out front and HOPE we arrive on a day he's working! He is superb as a host and guide, and a perfect spokesperson for the heart and generosity of the place. Every time we see him, we feel safe and at home in ways that are impossible to really put into words. On one day, we asked him if he knew of any other rooms we might enjoy since there are new buildings now. He drove us around and pointed us to other locations he knew we would like given the location we had already fallen in love with. His familiarity with the property and with us made us feel so excited about our next trip. We also saw how kind and generous he is with other guests, greeting them joyfully and offering rides (we had room!).
An unexpected highlight was Roy in engineering. He was in the villa to change the air filter one day, and we mentioned a few things that needed fixing. I'm sure he had a lot to do, since he was doing all the air filters on the property, but he immediately and happily took care of the issues that were important to us on our stay and made note of one thing that could wait until after we were gone. But it wasn't just that he fixed these things, it was how delightful he was and willing to help. We felt totally taken care of and know exactly who to ask for if something in the unit needs attention.
Marilyn at the concierge desk recognized us from before, which is always nice, and she was particularly helpful with suggestions, and often followed up to ask about our experience so she could make even better suggestions in the future. She's knowledgable and fun!
Eileen, the manager of the Agave (the cafe on the property), stopped by our table to check in about a small difficulty we were having with our order. We hadn't ask for her, but she came out to make sure we were happy and satisfied. She listened carefully, and it was a delightful conversation. She also made sure our meal was delivered properly and promptly, all of which and made a wonderful impression on us. Plus that meal was fantastic. Their homemade potato chips are amazing!
All the people at the front desk are always superb. Whoever manages that group deserves major kudos. On this trip, one personal stood out — Belinda. She was helpful, attentive, and graciousness. We felt personally understood by her, and thought it wonderful and appropriate that her passion was "poetry." (Everyone's nametag says: My passion is ....").
Two stand-out people at Mission Hills (another Starwood property in the area) need to be mentioned, both on the wait-staff at Pinzimini — Jose Luis and Enrique. Both of them were so spectacular handling our special food needs that we sent a note to their manager afterwards. They also made us feel at home and special, and really paid attention to our preferences. Actually, we went back to that restaurant a second time because of our experience with them.
We didn't use any of the pools (not our thing) but it sure looked like people were having fun.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- A villa resort offering just-like-home amenities in a world class destination. The Westin Desert Willow features villas up to 1,420 square feet with fully equipped kitchens, private balconies or patios, washers and dryers, separate living and dining room areas, and complimentary Wi-Fi. Experience the value of a villa and enjoy no resort fees. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Westin Desert Willow Villas Hotel Palm Desert