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JW Marriott, Palm Desert
Biggest Losers Win Big at JW Marriott in Palm Desert
Story and photographs by Greg Aragon

good getaway is more than a great location, with first-class amenities and gourmet food. It is also about people. And on my recent visit to the JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort & Spa, I met some very inspiring souls – while also basking in the sun and luxury of a four-star hotel.

My adventure began when I heard that the Marriott had partnered with The Biggest Loser Resort, to become the new West Coast location for the weight loss and wellness program, inspired by the hit television show, which returns in 2016 for a 17th season.

sunset at the lake of JW Marriott Desert Spring Resort and Spa
JW Marriott Desert Spring Resort & Spa is an oasis of relaxation and well being

As the newest addition to The Biggest Loser Resort portfolio, JW Marriott Desert Spring Resort & Spa offers guests access to its state-of-the-art amenities, including four spacious pools, two championship golf courses, an award-winning tennis program, and one of the largest full-service spa and fitness facilities in Southern California.

"The JW Marriott brand’s commitment to health and well-being aligns perfectly with The Biggest Loser Resort program goals," said Lesley Carey, president of The Biggest Loser Resort. "We are thrilled to partner with this luxury destination and work together to provide our guests with the necessary tools and inspiration to embark on this life changing experience."

JW Marriott Desert Spring Resort & Spa
The Biggest Loser Resort has partnered with Marriott to bring healthy living to the Palm Springs area

I stayed at the JW Marriott during the opening weekend of The Biggest Loser Resort and I not only got treated to the beauty of the resort, but I also met some of the past and present participants of The Biggest Loser program. One of the people I met was chef and nutritionist Cheryl Forberg, who for the past 15 seasons has created healthy and delicious menus for both the TV show and the resort.

During my visit, Cheryl gave advice on eating healthy and smart and showed us how easy it can be to make good choices when going to the market and when waking up in the middle of the night with those dreaded hunger pains.

I also sampled some of the food that The Biggest Loser enrollees eat while at the resort and it was fantastic. I had a pulled pork sandwich with jicama and apple slaw on gluten-free bread, with hints of Mandarin orange, jalapenos and lime juice; and a California turkey wrap with turkey breast, turkey bacon, arugula and avocado, on a whole grain tortilla.

group exercise at The Biggest Loser Resort program
Exercise is a big part of The Biggest Loser Resort program

When not eating healthy, members of The Biggest Loser program exercise in their own fitness area, or on one of the many resort lawns. And like other Marriott guests, they also soak up all the luxury the resort has to offer.

Located in Palm Desert, a few miles east of Palm Springs, the JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort & Spa resembles an island paradise. The place is highlighted by a massive, towering lobby with waterfalls and ponds and boats coming in and out of giant glass doors. The vessels take guests sightseeing around the resort's lake or to dinner at one of the restaurants.

Other property highlights include six restaurants, two championship golf courses, four swimming pools, a full-service spa, fitness center, tennis and volleyball courts, and a scenic jogging path. There are also lots ducks, black and white swans, flamingos, and even Kookaburras floating about the waterways.

Throughout a stay at The Biggest Loser Resort Palm Desert, guests will work with a team of counselors and coaches who help provide the knowledge, tools and confidence to achieve results and sustain a commitment to healthy eating, regular exercise and overall well-being. Matt Hagler, CEO of Biggest Loser Resort, says The Biggest Loser program is ideal for guests at any stage of life.

The program includes stress management through life coaching workshops, dietary direction and a strong focus on physical activity, beginning with training through activities such as cardio, water aerobics, and outdoor hikes, among others.

The Biggest Loser Resort Palm Desert is located at 74-855 Country Club Drive in Palm Desert, CA 92260. For more information on participating in the program, visit: or call 760.341.2211. For more information on just staying at the JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort & Spa, visit: Visit

Related Articles:
Moroccan Martinis and Historic Pueblos in Desert Hot Springs; Rancho Mirage: Palm Springs Desert Oasis; Palm Springs Aerial Tram; Fantasy Springs Resort Casino; La Quinta Resort & Spa; Desert Oasis at Morongo Casino Resort & Spa

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Let Greg know what you think about his traveling adventure.

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Feedback for Harry Potter at Universal Studios

Going to Universal Studios Hollywood to see the Harry Potter "land" is on my bucket list!!

-- Nancy, Hawaii

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Feedback for A Spring Escape to Maui And Hotel Wailea

I leave here April 21 for Maui and can hardly wait. It'll be my 15th trip, more or less and I love it, and your pictures.

-- Ellie – Port Ludlow, WA

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Hi Greg,

It's not a forest of banyan trees in Lahaina by the harbor. It's one huge tree, about 140 years old. It's an important landmark of Lahaina, and one of our favorite views.We always stay at the Pioneer Inn, overlooking the harbor and the banyan tree. Every evening thousands of mynah birds fly into the tree, chattering and fluttering until they settle down for the night. Otherwise, great article.

-- Virginia – Northridge, CA

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Feedback for Hilton San Diego Resort & Spa

Very nice story, Greg.

-- Maris Somerville – Los Angeles, CA

Ed Boitano's travel blog/review
Journey to the Bottom of the Globe: Exploring the White Continent of Antarctica

nguins on  shore as writer's cruise ship passes by, Antarctica
As a travel journalist I am constantly asked what are some of my favorite travel experiences. The list is endless. But there is one destination that seems to raise the most eyebrows. That destination is a cruise to Antarctica. Sadly, that cruise line I was on is no more, but today there is a plethora of cruise lines that offer similar packages. Here's a look back at my Antarctica cruise.

Go There

Tom Weber's travel blog/review
Treasures of Ireland: Food, Fun and Falconry at Ashford Castle (Dispatch #18)

sunset at Galway Bay

The Palladian Traveler soars above the crowd with a gal named Lima, cruises across a lake dotted with hundreds of islands, and feasts like a king in a regal dining room.

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Cedar Hill: Frederick Douglass' Home is as Imposing as the Man who Lived There

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Having recently received a misguided shout-out from the president during Black History Month – Frederick Douglass has done an amazing job... – it seems a good time to revisit the cultural icon's legitimate place in history. And a visit to his home in Washington, DC – surely a place the current president might want to consider visiting himself – would be a good place to start.

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Bev Cohn's travel blog
Richard Gere and Joseph Cedar Discuss "The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer"

a scene from the documentary 'My Hero Brother'

Richard Gere is one of America's acting treasures. He has an uncanny knack for selecting scripts with the most interesting characters. Included in some of his vast body of films are "American Gigolo, "An Officer and a Gentleman," "The Cotton Club," "Internal Affairs," "Pretty Woman," "Primal Fear," "Unfaithful," and "Chicago." Joseph Cedar, writer and director of the critically acclaimed "The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer," was born in New York City but when he was five, his family moved to Israel where he was raised.

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