No, it can mean to wish as well. http://www.wordreference.com/es/en/translation.asp?spen=desear
okay, my thought was that the right solution must be "la deseo" because "el deseo" would be wrong (it had to be "lo deseo") - but i was fixated on the verb "deseo" and didn´t think of the noun. so when i read your explanation it makes sense to me that i should choose the correct article for the noun "deseo".
Hope is not quite a synonym for desire or wish. If you look up desire and wish in the dictionary you will find the other word as an essential part of the definition of the other. But hope is a feeling that exists beyond simply wishing and desiring. It is the expectation that you can achieve that wish or desire.
hope [hohp] noun the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best:
When I was a child, I used to wish that I could fly every time I blew out my birthday candles. It was a rather strong, strange desire, but even as a child I had little hope of that.
Beyond all that, deseo is a cognate of desire. I know users like to explore different translation options, but whenever you have strong cognates that haven't diverged in meaning, it is a gift to be used. To the extent you can rely on your native speaker understanding of the English word to interpret the Spanish words, the easier learning Spanish becomes. Of course there are false friends and some cognates that only share one or two of the possible translations, so honing your comparison skills is important. But if you remember deseo as desire first it is both easier to remember and easier to use.