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Palm Springs: An oasis for groups

Courtesy Palm Springs Desert Resorts Communities CVA

A conversation with Kevin Rice, senior travel industry sales manager,  Palm Springs Desert Resorts Communities Convention and Visitors Authority Rancho Mirage, California

What is distinctive about Palm Springs?
The area is surrounded by mountains and national monuments on all sides, including Mount San Jacinto, the Santa Rosa National Monument and Joshua Tree National Park. But here is the best: We have 350 days of sunshine.

What are the main group attractions in Palm Springs?
Legendary waters: Nearly 30 spa resorts tap into an underground aquifer brimming with natural hot mineral waters discovered by the Native American tribes who appreciated the restorative magic of this region centuries ago. While Desert Hot Springs and the Spa Hotel in downtown Palm Springs are known for their waters, groups enjoy resort destination spas throughout the Palm Springs region.

Celebrity watching: Join Hollywood heavyweights twice a year for our world-famous film fests, breeding grounds for budding Scorseses and Spielbergs. But anytime of the year, visitors stroll down Palm Springs’ Walk of Stars, then climb aboard a first-class celebrity tour to gush over Hollywood’s desert hideaways, like the Elvis Honeymoon Hideaway and the Diamonds Are Forever estate. For a genuine taste of early Hollywood, check out iconic landmarks like Melvyn’s Ingleside Inn, Le Vallauris and the legendary La Quinta Resort and Club.

When dining at one of our celebrity-owned eateries or taking in a concert or theater production, you just might catch a glimpse of someone you recognize from the big screen.
Historic inns and hotels:
From the Mediterranean mansion where Clark Gable and Carole Lombard honeymooned to a 1920s Moroccan-inspired villa that hosted Rudolph Valentino and Errol Flynn, bank groups can take a look at landmark retreats during the annual Walk of the Inns, a yuletide tradition, after Thanksgiving.

Positively Frank: Frank Sinatra called the desert home for 30-plus years, and groups swoon over Ol’ Blue Eyes by visiting his Twin Palms Estate and cruising Frank Sinatra Drive past his estate compound. Dine at Sinatra hangouts Riccio’s and Lord Fletcher’s after paying a final tribute at Desert Memorial Park, where Sinatra’s headstone aptly reads: The Best Is Yet to Come.

Play like a pro: Our destination boasts more than 115 championship golf courses where greens designed by golf industry greats like Arnold Palmer attract not only U.S. presidents but bank travelers. For fun in October, don’t miss Palm Desert’s one-of-a-kind Golf Cart Parade complete with decorated golf carts.

World-famous dates: Since 1947, the Riverside County Fair and National Date Festival has paid tribute to the annual date harvest with fun festivities like camel and ostrich races.

Our greatest fault: Expert guides explain the forces of nature that formed the San Andreas Fault while groups gawk at this twisted, steep fracture in the earth’s crust. More gawking takes place on the Coachella Valley Preserve, a shady surprise that encompasses three desert fields and more than 1,500 palm trees.