So, I made it - both to Palm Desert and through the first week of training!! The hotel is lovely and all of the trainees are so friendly! The hotel put up a hard-walled tent for us to practice and have lectures in.
(The heating system for the hot room!!)
This is a nice, low key little pool area. There is another pool in the middle of the hotel that is maybe 4 times this size - it seems to be the place to be if you just want to people watch. There are swans (black and white), ducks, geese and flamingos galore at the hotel. Here's one that came to visit right outside our balcony: