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California

Historic Palm Canyon Drive, a shopping and dining hub

PALM SPRINGS This desert city is an oasis for meetings and incentives By Laura Janelle Downey

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alm Springs is a special place. Used back in the day as an exclusive hideaway for celebrities like Frank Sinatra, Marilyn Monroe, and Ronald and Nancy Reagan, the desert hotspot is now frequented by more than 200,000 people each year. The palm-tree-lined oasis, which is comprised of nine cities (Palm Springs, Desert Hot Springs, Cathedral City, Rancho Mirage, Palm Desert, Indian Wells, La Quinta, Indio and Coachella), is graced with more than 350 days of sunshine a year. “Palm Springs is really the best of all worlds,” asserts James Canfield, Executive Director of the Palm Springs Convention Center and Palm Springs Bureau of Tourism. “We have incredible outdoor adventure opportunities with beautiful hiking, biking and jeeping. Our downtown has become a vibrant, active place featuring chef-owned restaurants, boutique and specialty shopping, and a design district featuring fashion icons and midcentury modern design. And we have nearly 60 historic boutique hotels offering a specialty lodging experience, as well as major, branded resort properties.” With so much to offer, the masses are making their way to Palm Springs, and that includes meeting groups. According to Canfield, “Palm Springs is celebrating very strong results across all sectors of tourism and meetings and conventions.” He adds, “Rate and occupancy at the hotels have also grown annually. The convention center has seen an increase in the number of events, attendance, revenue and room-night generation each year as well. That growth has translated into strong positive economic impact, revenue to the city from transient occupancy tax and sales tax collection increases, and increased employment in the hospitality industry.”

Facilities & Destinations 2016-2017 WINTER

HOTEL DEVELOPMENT

In 2017, the chic Kimpton brand will make its way to downtown Palm Springs. Boasting the first rooftop pool in town, the six-story, 155-room boutique hotel will bring just the right mix of business and pleasure to the shop and restaurant filled North Palm Canyon Drive. Nearby, Andaz Palm Springs will offer visitors a cosmopolitan vibe along with views of the San Jacinto Mountains. The property, which opens in 2018, will come with 150 rooms and 13 luxury suites. Getting in on the action is Virgin Hotels. Designed by local architect Chris Pardo, Virgin Hotels Palm Springs will offer everything from meeting spaces and a rooftop terrace to the hotel’s signature lounge, The Commons Club. Virgin Hotels Palm Springs is expected to open in late 2018. “We are very excited by the new development in the city,” says Canfield. “The new brands reflect the change in the perception of Palm Springs from a sleepy retirement community to a cuttingedge destination with a broad appeal and really fit the vibe of what Palm Springs has become.” Apart from boutique hotels, the city is home to several “major, branded resort properties,” as Canfield notes. THE RITZ-CARLTON RANCHO MIRAGE Nestled alongside the San Jacinto mountain range, The RitzCarlton Rancho Mirage sits 650 feet above the Palm Springs valley. The 244-room property houses 16 suites and about 30,000 sq. ft. of indoor and outdoor meeting space. Gathering spaces range from the 8,400-sq.-ft. Ritz-Carlton ballroom to the 7,500-sq.ft. Vista Lawn, which overlooks the San Jacinto Mountains. Planners can’t go wrong with the help of a conference concierge (download The Ritz-Carlton Meeting Services App on your smartphone or tablet for help with room setup, temperature control, billing, etc.), floral services and the best in onsite audiovisual technology. “The Ritz-Carlton ballroom offers flexible, elegant event space that comfortably accommodates 300 guests in a desert39

Profile for Facilities Media Group

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Facilities & Destinations - Winter 2016-2017  

F&D's Winter edition, includes: Q&A with Atlantic City Convention Center's new GM, Dean Dennis. F&D A-List: Woman CVB Executives. Planne...