Greater Palm Springs, CA

"Find your oasis"

The hospitality workers who make Palm Springs the nice place that it’s come to be. (Credit: Marissa Willman)

Travel is meant to make you feel good and here in Greater Palm Springs we think the best way to make visitors feel good is by simply being nice. The picture-perfect backdrops lined with palm trees, mountains, and blue skies certainly don’t hurt. Plus, more than 300 days of sunshine a year easily puts people in the mood to do good. But our niceness goes deeper than that. There is an incredible community of hospitality workers who go above and beyond each day to be nice, whether they’re welcoming visitors to the oasis, solving problems to get a vacation back on track or offering expertise to create an unforgettable getaway. These people are the faces of tourism in Greater Palm Springs, and their niceness is what makes this oasis such a special place to visit time and time again.

In Greater Palm Springs, every day is filled with random acts of niceness that make this such a special place to visit.

Perhaps the most fitting place to start is the Palm Springs Visitor Center, which will welcome about 250,000 people this year. Each and every one of these visitors will experience just how nice our community is, thanks to Rick Fraley and his team. They go above and beyond to assist visitors and help them plan their vacations and create an unforgettable first impression every time. Their customer service speaks for itself on TripAdvisor, where visitors give thanks with reviews like, “People lovers work here,” and “We start here every time we visit Palm Springs.”

A single person truly can make the community a nicer place, like May H. Kitagawa of Shields Date Garden in Indio. In fact, everyone who visits leaves as a friend of May’s. Her outstanding customer service skills create an unforgettable experience and lasting memories for every visitor. She brings a wealth of knowledge about local produce to her position, having owned her own market that she opened in 1968. She is also spreading this culture of community service by mentoring the many young adults who work at Shields and setting them on their own paths towards greatness.

Sometimes, visitors never see the faces who work tirelessly to create such a nice community, but their dedication is crucial to creating such an atmosphere. Take, for example, Juan Diaz of The Living Desert in Palm Desert, who keeps the zoo looking beautiful day in and day out.

“If not for Juan and his superhero-like work, I don’t believe we would have as many happy and comfortable guests come through our gates time and time again,” says Dawn Petrick of The Living Desert. “I have never in my entire career met anyone who cares as much or works as hard.”

The Living Desert is one of the most popular attractions in Greater Palm Springs, and it’s always in picture-perfect condition, thanks to Juan. He never hesitates to get out of bed at 3 a.m. to make sure the zoo is in perfect condition before a single guest arrives.

Nice people create priceless memories that carry on long after vacation is over. People like Yessica Puga of the DoubleTree by Hilton Golf Resort in Cathedral City welcome guests with a bright smile and go above and beyond to create meaningful memories.

It’s always nice to have a friendly and knowledgeable person to turn to when visiting a new place, and that’s just what Marilyn Whittington is as lead concierge at Hyatt Regency Indian Wells. For more than 25 years, Marilyn has created memorable moments for guests, and her coworkers see her as “the best of the best.”

Greater Palm Springs is nice to our furry friends, too! Every dog has its day at the Westin Mission Hills Golf Resort & Spa, thanks to the hotel’s Dog Samaritans Team that goes the extra mile to enrich the lives of our furry friends. The hotel partners with local charity Animal Samaritans to foster adoptable dogs in the resort’s lobby and find them forever homes. To date, the hotel has helped 77 dogs find homes. The staff goes above and beyond for this program, volunteering time to give these dogs plenty of attention with walks, playtime and interaction with guests, too.

Carrot was part of The Westin’s “Dog Samaritans” program, which houses adoptable dogs in the hotel lobby. Happy news, Carrot was adopted! (Credit: Marissa Willman)

Being a nice place means being nice to nature, as well. Businesses like Killer Bee Removal do just that. Owner Lance Davis has a motto: To work with nature, not destroy it. That’s why his company relocates bee hives, rather than destroys them. The hives are moved to open areas where the bees can continue to pollinate our crops and produce honey, a win-win for the community and the environment.

In Greater Palm Springs, niceness is a way of life.

Jan’s Story

Everyone here gives something extra. We hired a plumber to fix a shut-off, and he helped me prune a tree! We hired a painter to paint the walls, and he resurfaced them where imperfect! We hired an electrician to hang fixtures, and he changed the bulbs in the ceiling fixtures too! We hired a delivery person to bring in a rug, and he moved the furniture, placed the pad, the rug, and replaced the furniture! We hired someone to prune a palm tree and he gave advice about the care, health, (and infestation) of everything else! We bought a birthday cake and it was the richest I’ve ever eaten and was twice as large as we expected. We needed to get rid of packing boxes, and the people who took them offered us a bottle of wine! We took the car in and it cost half what we expected and works better than ever! Our realtor gave us a welcome basket filled with amazing top quality gourmet foods and fabulous wine. I think she spent half her commission on it! This is the city of generosity.

Dan Terzian receives the key to his new home from realtor Mary Marx. (Credit: Jan Terzian)

The Friendly Faces of Palm Springs