Palm Springs has turned itself into a destination ideal for golfers, celebrity gawkers, shoppers and foodies alike. Gone are the days of a town split simply between seniors year-round and the throngs of spring break revelers.
The discounter eLeisurelink (tel. 888/801-8808; www.eleisurelink.com) has a four-night package starting from $429 that puts you in the La Quinta Resort and Club, known for being an old haunt of big-time actors taking a short reprieve away from the daily grind of "Hollywierd." The trip includes round trip airfare out of either Kansas City, Chicago or San Francisco; your accommodations (plus hotel taxes) and an Alamo Rental Car to get you around the Palm Springs area. The base price goes up to $529 for flights out of New York, Boston, or Philadelphia. The airfare is good for Thursday departures and Monday returns. You need to book this trip by September 22, 2005 and be advised the price goes up slightly for travel before August 6, 2005. La Quinta is a resort complete with five golf courses, 23 tennis courts and 42 swimming pools. The spa is huge, and one of the golf courses is championship caliber.
For a steal of a hotel deal, The Lodge at Rancho Mirage (tel. 877/770-7625; www.rockresorts.com) has a summer special good through September 22, 2005 with rooms going for $99 per night Sunday through Thursdays with weekends going for a $20 add-on. You need to book travel by July 29, 2005. The special rates represent a 50-percent discount on a resort some travel critics call Palm Springs' highest-rated resort. The gorgeous property is located on a 650-foot plateau with incredible grounds for long walks, jogging paths, and mountain and valley views. If you're a golfer, the Lodge has a partnership with Mission Hills Country Club, home to Pete Dye- and Arnold Palmer-designed golf courses.
The 7 Springs Inn and Suites (tel. 800/381-0684; www.palm-springs-hotels.cc) has some solid rates on rooms. Offering accommodations ranging in price from $39 to $250 for mid-week stays, the 7 Springs -- a boutique property located about a fifteen-minute walk or five-minute ride to the center of town -- also has suites and townhouses available for more deluxe travel. Rates will vary depending on the time of year, but rooms right now should be close to $100 per night.
Getting to Palm Springs just got a lot easier. Jet Blue (tel. 800/538-2583; www.jetblue.com) just announced some very low fare specials including a $99 each way fare from Washington, D.C. to Long Beach. Palm Springs is about two hours plus drive from Los Angeles and the surrounding area. The offer expires August 10, 2005, with travel good from September 6 to December 14, 2005. It's a $109 each way from Syracuse, Buffalo, Rochester or Burlington, Vermont to Las Vegas or Long Beach. Las Vegas is only 116 miles to Palm Springs, so you can get a little gambling time in on your way to the desert.