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Palm Springs, California

First-class golf, shopping and dining

By: Bob Hellman

Appeared in November/December 2008 LINKS

Set against the striking San Jacinto Mountain range, this desert oasis with year-round blue skies is a mecca for first-class golf, shopping and dining. And with more than 100 courses in the area, the problem isn’t getting tee times; it’s deciding which courses to play.

Golf 
The Bob Hope Chrysler Classic utilizes four courses. Of those, only Arnold Palmer’s SilverRock Resort in La Quinta is open to the public. Watch for bighorn sheep. The Celebrity course at Indian Wells Golf Resort is the latest host of the Skins Game. Palm Desert’s Classic Club is one of the best new courses in California, while Pete Dye’s PGA West Stadium in La Quinta is one of the toughest tests anywhere.

Accommodations 
Outdoor spas, massive suites and cozy casitas provide every reason to call La Quinta Resort your second home. Renovated in 2007, the Desert Springs JW Marriott Resort & Spa has two Ted Robinson designs with so much water you’ll forget you’re in the desert. The swanky digs at the Viceroy in Palm Springs cascade from the rooms to the poolside cabanas. For the ultimate posh stay, the Ritz-Carlton in Rancho Mirage re-opens in early 2009.

Dining 
Since he dines there quite often, Arnold Palmer’s in La Quinta is fit for a king. Featuring the best steaks in the area, Chop House has two locations: Palm Springs and Palm Desert. At Johannes in Palm Springs the martini menu ignites the unique Austrian dishes. Copley’s not only serves innovative American cuisine but offers cooking classes.

Activities 
The ritzy shopping on El Paseo in Palm Desert easily rivals Rodeo Drive. For a citywide view, Palm Springs Trams ascend 8,000 feet in the world’s largest rotating tramcars. With intimacy resembling a European opera house, the McCallum Theater in Palm Desert showcases headline talent. Living Desert is a spectacular preserve, with animals like bobcats, mountain lions and warthogs flourishing in their natural terrain.  

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