Marissa Willman

Correspondent

  • Palm Springs, California, USA

Marissa Willman is a correspondent who lives in Palm Springs and covers the city for Forbes Travel Guide. The Seattle native’s wanderlust has carried her from Southern California to a half-dozen countries in Asia and back again. Her writing career started in a desert news room chasing breaking stories, and after a brief hiatus to teach English as a second language in South Korea, Willman became a full-time freelance writer. She’s written about travel and lifestyle topics for outlets like 10Best.com, Palm Springs Life and Coachella Valley Weekly, among others.

  • On July 2, 2014
  • On October 22, 2013
    Marissa Willman answered the question: Marissa Willman

    What are the best places for live music in Palm Springs?

    Whether you love old-time piano bars or the latest indie-rock releases, you’ll find your groove in Palm Springs. Here are three of the best places for live music in Palm Springs:

    1. Casablanca Lounge at Melvyn’s. You have to look twice to make sure it’s not Ol’ Blue Eyes himself behind the piano when you walk into this piano bar. Many nights at Casablanca Lounge are filled with nostalgic show tunes, but you’ll also find jazz, pop and salsa performers setting the mood at this intimate lounge.

    2. Starlite Lounge at Riviera Palm Springs. Live music sets the tone throughout this classic hotel. The Riviera’s lobby is where you can enjoy small plates and cocktails while jazz singers and soulful DJs play into the night. The hotel’s Sidebar Lounge and its adjacent patio also host singer-songwriters, flamenco musicians, blues bands and saxophone musicians on the weekends.  

    3. Bar. This contemporary downtown watering hole is more than just a place for craft cocktails and a killer bar menu — Bar also hosts some of the desert’s top indie, electronica, reggae and jazz musicians, just to name a few of the genres represented on the venue’s stage. The constantly changing lineup has featured local songwriters, regional bands and respected DJs.
  • On October 22, 2013
    Marissa Willman answered the question: Marissa Willman

    What should you pack for a trip to Palm Springs?

    Palm Springs’ abundant sunshine and warm weather calls for a packing list that will help keep you cool in the desert. Must-packs include sunscreen and a hat, especially important if you’re not used to the desert sun. Sandals are a good idea for strolling down South Palm Canyon Drive, and tank tops and shorts will help you work on your tan in true Palm Springs style. Ladies can bring a sundress or two, and light sweaters are a good idea for the surprisingly cool desert nights. Don’t forget to pack your bathing suit so you can enjoy your hotel’s pool or the local Knott’s Soak City water park (May through mid October).
  • On October 22, 2013
    Marissa Willman answered the question: Marissa Willman

    What are the best places for brunch in Palm Springs?

    If you’re looking for the best spots to do brunch in the desert, don’t miss these three beloved breakfast restaurants in Palm Springs:

    1. Cheeky’s. This funky find in Uptown Palm Springs specializes in creative and comforting brunch dishes, ranging from custard eggs to chilaquiles (chicken, eggs and other ingredients over tortilla chips) to the ever-popular bacon flight (a sampler with five rotating bacon flavors). Cheeky’s focuses on local, farm-fresh ingredients and debuts a new menu every week.

    2. Spencer’s. Two things make Spencer’s one of Palm Springs’ top dining destinations: its gorgeous tree-lined patio and the impressive eggs benedict menu. Sunday brunch offers a taste of both, with top-notch service and a full roster of other breakfast and lunch items completing the experience.

    3. Norma’s. Feeling a bit on the extravagant side? Then head to this all-day diner at the upscale Parker Palm Springs to feast on a brunch menu fit for a king. The pièce de résistance? Norma’s Zillion Dollar Lobster Frittata, an extravagant omelet served with 10 ounces of Sevruga caviar for $1,000.
  • On October 22, 2013
    Marissa Willman answered the question: Marissa Willman

    Where is the best nightlife in Palm Springs?

    Nightlife options abound throughout Palm Springs, so designating the “best” areas depend on how you enjoy spending your evenings out. For contemporary bars, local beers and live music, you’d do well to check out the lineup on South Palm Canyon Drive in downtown Palm Springs. Bar offers DJs and live entertainment nearly every night with craft cocktails, while joints such as Fame Lounge offer a more sophisticated evening filled with hand-selected wines and fine cigars.

    If you like to roll the dice or catch a concert by one of your favorite performers, you’ll enjoy the nightlife offerings at Agua Caliente Casino Resort & Spa and Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, both of which are known for their gaming as well as their impressive headlining acts. Both casinos also offer late-night lounges where you can dance the night away.
  • On October 22, 2013
    Marissa Willman answered the question: Marissa Willman

    What is the best way to see Palm Springs in one day?

    If you only have one day to see Palm Springs, it’s important to make it count. Start your day with a look at Palm Springs’ natural wonders by taking a Desert Adventures tour of the Indian Canyons or San Andreas Fault. From the back of one of their red, open-air Jeeps, you’ll be led through the impressive fault line or striking canyons that surround Palm Springs. Tour guides offer a look at both the geological marvels and the native history of the Coachella Valley, giving you an idea of what this desert oasis looked like before Hollywood’s elite came to play in Palm Springs.

    Speaking of Old Hollywood, you can see how celebrities such as Elvis, Frank Sinatra and Bob Hope lived by taking a self-guided drive of the city’s famed mid-century modern architecture. Must-see buildings include Elvis’ Honeymoon Hideaway, Bob Hope’s “Volcano Home” and the steel houses designed by Donald Wexler. If you’re more of an art fan than an architecture buff, skip the homes and head to the Palm Springs Art Museum for a look at contemporary galleries and Native American artifacts.

    In the afternoon, get a better view of the desert with a trip up the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, the largest rotating tramway in the world. At the top of the tram, you can explore the nature trails at San Jacinto National Park or dine with a view of the entire Coachella Valley at one of the tram’s two eateries, Peaks Restaurant and Pines Café.

    Speaking of dining, you’ll find the desert’s best dinner experience at Spencer’s in Palm Springs. Tucked against the San Jacinto Mountains, you can enjoy an array of Pan-American dishes under the lanterns and stars while sitting on Spencer’s picturesque patio.

    After dark, take a leisurely stroll along South Palm Canyon Drive to enjoy the desert vibe as locals unwind and night rolls over the desert. You’ll find plenty of shops to explore, as well as bars for an after-dinner drink before ending your day in Palm Springs.
  • On October 2, 2013
    Marissa Willman answered the question: Marissa Willman

    What is the design style of JW Marriott Desert Springs?

    JW Marriott Desert Springs was designed with space in mind, embracing the desert itself as inspiration. From the moment you arrive at this oasis, it’s clear you’ll have plenty of room to stretch out and relax. The lobby is actually a 30,000-square-foot atrium, home to exotic birds, Venetian-inspired waterways and a glass mosaic water wall. Large glass windows reveal the green lawns, towering palm trees and red mountains that surround the resort while a sprinkling of lakes and other water features create visuals you wouldn’t expect to see in the desert. The Palm Desert hotel’s lobby and guest rooms embrace the local landscape, drawing on its natural beige, green and red palette to create soothing color combinations.
  • On October 2, 2013
    Marissa Willman answered the question: Marissa Willman

    What’s the best time to visit JW Marriott Desert Springs?

    The best time to stop by JW Marriott Desert Springs depends on the reason for your visit. In general, though, the resort is always popular between November and April, when temperatures top out around 75 degrees. Golfers enjoy teeing off under the sun during the winter months. Tennis aficionados might want to visit during March, when the BNP Paribas Open comes to the nearby Indian Wells Tennis Garden. During the tournament, you may catch a few professional tennis players practicing on the Palm Desert hotel’s courts. The indoor spa makes for a great destination all year round, but try to avoid visiting in August if you’re planning on spending much time outdoors; temperatures soar into the triple digits in late summer.
  • On October 2, 2013
    Marissa Willman answered the question: Marissa Willman

    Where is JW Marriott Desert Springs located?

    JW Marriott Desert Springs is located in the Coachella Valley town of Palm Desert, about a 25-minute drive from downtown Palm Springs. Palm Desert’s shopping and dining district, El Paseo, is a 10-minute drive, as is the I-10 freeway. The central location makes it easy to reach attractions like The Living Desert and the Children’s Discovery Museum of the Desert within 20 minutes. Also in walking distance of the resort is a handful of restaurants and grocery stores, as well as the pickup point for outdoor excursions like Desert Adventures, which offers jeep tours into the San Andreas fault line, and Big Wheel Tours, a desert cycling tour company.
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