Southwest

Boutique Hotels in Palm Springs | Delight in an Oasis of Desert Chic

Whether you want to relax and recoup or experience the glamour of 1950s and 60s Hollywood, here you’ll find the Palm Springs hotel that’s the best fit for you.

No-one does Mid-Century Modern architecture like Palm Springs. Home to vintage desert-modernism at its best, around every corner in Palm Springs you’ll find iconic design from celebrity residences, the airport, city hall, tramway station, art museum and the many chic boutique hotels. In fact, the city is reputed to have more than 70 small hotels and inns all designed in this sleek style that uses glass and clean lines to create spaces that move seamlessly between the inside and the out. There’s no better way to take advantage of those welcome desert breezes and abundant vistas.

But just because these boutique hotels are all done in the Modernist style, it doesn’t mean that they are all the same. Each of the hotels in our favourites list has something different to offer. 

A Pool Party in a Palm Springs Boutique Hotel

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When ARRIVE ‘arrived’ on the scene in 2016, it was the buzziest opening of the year. Two years before it even opened, Condé Nast Traveler said it was one of the most-anticipated hotel openings in the world.

One of the reasons is that two of its owners are tech celebs: Former Facebook staffers Ezra Callahan,the sixth employee in that company’s history to be hired, and Chris Putnam. Chris became the youngest engineer at Facebook when, at 19 years old, the tech geek hacked the company’s systems and the social media giant decided he should be working for them instead of against.

The other reason was that the vision for ARRIVE came from hospitality experts Chris Pardo and Peter Karpinski, who imagined what a hip boutique hotel should be and made it a reality. Consequently, the hotel doesn’t nickel-and-dime guests—you won’t find resort fees or extra charges for items like in-room water or WiFi here—and offers good design that is not so chichi that it’s impractical. In other words, you’ll find a spot to place your cell phone by the bed and there are hangers so your clothes won’t get wrinkly.

At this 32-room property—16 of which have private outdoor patios with fireplaces—the style is updated desert modernism: rust-coloured corrugated steel, a low-slung rooftop and a typical breezeway courtesy of the restaurant’s patio. You check in at the bar, grab a drink from the cooler, then head to the pool because the fun’s centred there.

As you bask in sun loungers around the pool, you’ll find guests mingling with locals, who can use the pool when the hotel isn’t swamped. There’s plenty to keep you occupied; get into a poolside game of bocce ball, do a bit of Downward Facing Dog with a yoga instructor, move those muscles by doing some water aerobics (or just dance) while grooving to the live DJ at sunset. Snuggle with your pooch around the stylin’ nearby fire pits. You can even bob in the water during the Dive-In Movie nights. This is a pool party that just keeps on going.

Arrive Palm Springs

9.0 Excellent (842 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 9.4 / 10
Parking lot
Pets allowed
Outdoor swimming pool
Restaurant
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Luxe Lodgings at this Spa Hotel in Palm Springs

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L’Horizon, located on the edge of downtown Palm Springs, is the fanciest boutique hotel in the city. Leading Hotels of the World include it in their portfolio which puts it in good company: the Ritz Paris, The Lanesborough in London, The King David Hotel in Jerusalem and The Hazelton Hotel in Toronto all fall under the LHW banner.

Originally built in 1952 by William F. Cody for TV producer Jack Wrather and his wife “Bunny” Granville—plus 20 of their closest friends—the hotel was renovated in 2014 to bring it back to its Mid-Century Modern glamour, but with all of the modern conveniences for guests who appreciate pampering plus privacy.

Twenty-five bungalows are secreted away on three acres of manicured desert and standard amenities include wooden post-and-beam exposed ceilings, hand-crafted natural fibre mattresses, Frette linens, Italian furniture, industrial-style lighting, Santal 33 Le Labo toiletries and private patios. Some bungalows include an outdoor shower and/or fireplace.

When guests do decide to leave their private sanctuaries, they head to the infinity-edge pool—where complimentary hand and foot massages are performed— sip on an Expresar Pina cocktail crafted from house-made pineapple liqueur at SO.PA bar or indulge in a treatment at The Spa, such as the invigorating Lemongrass Mimosa Scrub performed outdoors in a white canvas-curtained cabana with Delft Blue-styled tiles underfoot. This level of luxury means that you won’t have to wait for a sun lounger to become available or try to flag down wait staff at the bar. Take note that this hotel haven is rated A for adults only.

L'Horizon Resort & Spa

Top rated
8.9 Excellent (525 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 9.3 / 10
WiFi in rooms
Parking lot
Pets allowed
Outdoor swimming pool
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A Rustic Retreat at this Palm Springs Boutique Hotel

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Sparrows Lodge was originally built in 1952 for Hollywood B-lister, Don Castle, who came out with his wife Zetta and his pals Bunny Granville and Jack Wrather. Originally named Castle’s Red Barn, the rustic resort became a popular celeb hot spot, which worked out quite well for the underemployed actor.

Restored in 2013, the lodge, found in the south end of Palm Springs, still remains more casual than glam, with many of the original buildings still there (although heavily restored). This includes the namesake communal red barn, now a stylish grey with hanging barn doors in glass. A simple hand-painted sign greets guests at the roadside entrance—as does a complimentary glass of sangria at check-in—and flagstone floors and russet red walls set the tone for this cottage-like lodging. It feels like summer camp for adults.

But rustic does not mean unfashionable. The 20 rooms housed in separate buildings have concrete floors lined with inlaid grey pebbles—just like a chic outdoor patio—beamed wooden ceilings and walls in a rich, earthy red or artist-studio white, hand-crafted wooden furniture, stone dividing walls, a metal locker stepping in for a closet, rain showers and a steel horse’s trough bathtub. Here, quirky works. What you won’t find are a TV or phone in your room but you can chill with a book on your private outdoor patio.

Aside from the pool, there is a small spa offering massages in, what else, a tent. A complimentary continental breakfast is served in the barn around the communal tables and sofas with fruit, yogurt, granola, muffins and toast on offer and, in the evenings, you can find cocktails, craft brews and wine to sip on as you while away the time around the fire pit, maybe singing camp songs.

Sparrows Lodge

Top rated
9.2 Excellent (604 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 9.4 / 10
WiFi in rooms
Parking lot
Pets allowed
Outdoor swimming pool
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A Holiday Home Vibe at this Boutique Palm Springs Hotel

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This 28-room hotel sits in downtown Palm Springs, close to plenty of shops and restaurants. Another Mid-Century Modern renovated beauty, its look leans towards cool 1950s bungalow set by the sea: full of wicker, white and vibrant blue-hued furniture with colorful art on the walls. And not just pretty-to-look-at art; this is work from some serious artistic players like Roy Liechtenstein, David Hockney and Alex Katz.

A fairly new addition to the Palm Springs boutique hotel scene, Holiday House was originally designed by architect Herbert W. Burns, who was one of the biggies of Desert Modernism. The owners of Sparrows Lodge bought the hotel and opened it again in 2017, when interior designer Mark D. Sikes introduced its current Mediterranean-inspired style.

Rooms are stylish, with clean white walls and a vibrant complementary blue-patterned feature wall, walnut or rattan headboards, and the big white bathrooms house the Malin + Goetz toiletries. The Best rooms—and that’s what they’re called—also include a bathtub and balcony or patio with outdoor shower. And don’t forget there’s a curated art collection in every room.

Go on a guided or self-guided art tour of the property when you’re ready to get out of your room, hang at the pool, take a house bike out for a spin, play shuffleboard or enjoy a glass of vino (you get a complimentary glass of rosé and some love beads when you check-in); there’s plenty to do to occupy your time. And in this art-laden spot, even the bikes match the décor in their seaworthy white and blue polka dots.

Holiday House Palm Springs

9.0 Excellent (322 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 9.6 / 10
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A Chic Boutique Hotel with Plenty of History

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The Colony Palms is one of the earliest hotels on the Palm Springs scene, opened in 1936 as Colonial House by Detroit mobster Al Wertheimer, part of the infamous Purple Gang. Its underground speakeasy and brothel attracted a wealthy but, perhaps, less-than-wholesome crowd to the hotel. Then, in 1951, its reputation changed when it was bought by Robert Howard, son of the owner of famed horse-racing legend, Seabiscuit, although the purchase did still mean the hotel retained a tenuous link to gambling.

Today, the hotel may have left its rather risqué past behind it but, luckily for us, it has not forgotten its adventurous side. The Purple Palm restaurant—a reference to the Purple Gang—sits above the underground speakeasy of long ago and the Palme D’Or suite, the once private residence of Frank Sinatra, still remains, as does the Winner’s Circle suite, a nod to Seabiscuit and his owners.

The hotel’s 57 rooms and casitas still evoke its original Spanish style with mosaic tiles, Moroccan-chic patterned headboards and dark, heavy wood furnishings. The theme continues on through the rest of the property with wrought iron lamps and furnishings as well as clay-coloured fountains, floors and tiled roofs.

The Purple Palm Restaurant & Bar is a kaleidoscope of pattern and serves Californian cuisine: light, flavorful and fresh. Cocktails lean towards updated tropical such as the Rio Rita, containing a heated mix of tequila, blood orange puree, lime and ghost pepper. The intimate spa lets you chill in the desert with signature treatments like The Garden Retreat and The Desert Rain Drench. Or you can just hang out at the 65-foot saltwater pool and soak in the hotel’s history.

Colony Palms Hotel

Top rated
8.8 Excellent (1551 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 9.1 / 10
WiFi in rooms
Parking lot
Pets allowed
Wellness centre / Spa
Hotel CTA

Sleep with a Music Great at this Boutique Hotel

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The best way to describe the 16-room Monkey Tree Hotel is sunny. Designed by big-time architect Albert Frey in 1960, the outside and inside of this motel-style property (in layout only) are bright white, lemon-peel yellow and cool-pool blue. Rooms look out onto the landscaped courtyard and pool and there is a set of original Salterini patio chairs and table outside of each room if you’d like to sit and sip on a coffee in the morning.

The hotel is small enough that you’ll see the friendly owners walking and working around the property and it feels like you’re staying in a friend’s spare room. There isn’t a restaurant at the hotel but the proprietors cook up a mean breakfast of fresh scones, savoury tarts including the yummy mushroom and sweet onion ones, homemade granola, perhaps some green eggs and ham deviled eggs, fruit and yogurt with a special local coffee blend made just for the hotel.

Most of the rooms are a classic and modern mix of Mid-Century design, but one thing that makes this hotel truly special is the largely intact room where Eric Clapton spent a good deal of time. (Not that we’re making a comment about any of the many celebrities who stayed in the hotel when it first opened—John F. Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe we’re looking at you—but the rumour is that hotel got its name because of the ‘monkey business’ that went on here.)

The Jungle Room was Clapton’s fave spot to stay in Palm Springs and the original leopard-print wallpaper still remains. Although the room has been modernized with high-tech comforts like a large flat-screen and WiFi, as much as the original furnishings as possible have been kept. Retro lamps, vintage glassware, a macramé plant holder, plenty of wicker and bamboo furniture all co-exist nicely with the modern amenities. The bathroom is in a league all of its own with double sinks and a large, open mosaic-tiled shower that you enter by stepping down into. There is a floor-to-ceiling window that looks out over your private 550-square-foot backyard with lounger, table and chairs that gives bathing au naturel a new meaning.

Aside from the saltwater pool, where sodas and seltzers are complimentary, you’ll also find a little lap pool, sauna, whirlpool and cold plunge pool. Upon check-in you’ll receive a daily pass for a local gym for those who want to leave their ‘White Room’—thank you Mr. Clapton—and explore what else The Monkey Tree and Palm Springs has for its guests.

The Monkey Tree Hotel

8.3 Very good (24 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 9.3 / 10
WiFi in rooms
Parking lot
Wellness centre / Spa
Outdoor swimming pool
Hotel CTA

A Modern Yet Nostalgic Boutique Palm Springs Hotel

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Although The Rowan Palm Springs is owned by mother brand IHG, Kimpton Hotels manage to hold their own in reflecting a boutique hotel ethos: Each hotel in the portfolio takes its design cues from the hotel’s location. The Rowan is no different.

With 153 rooms, the hotel is larger than the 100-room max number usually associated with boutique hotels, but it doesn’t feel like a large, rambling resort either. The lobby soars with high ceilings, white and gray walls and breezy blue furnishings and artwork that mixes Kimpton’s love of industrial chic with the allure of Palm Springs’ modernism. This look carries on into the large rooms, starting at 364 square feet, with floor-to-ceiling windows, blue patterned headboards and black-tiled bathrooms for contrast. Rooms that look out at the San Jacinto Mountains offer jaw-dropping views.

A fairly recent add-on to the Palm Spring hotel scene, making its appearance late 2017, this property has more amenities than its smaller brother and sister boutiques. This is where lovers of more petite properties can really benefit.

The Rowan has two restaurants and three bars, including the comfy Windows Bar off the lobby, surrounded by bookshelves, and Juniper Table, a Mediterranean-focused casual eatery with a barista on staff to offer lattes and grab-and-go munchies. As the tallest building in downtown Palm Springs, you’ll also find great views at the 4 Saints’ Restaurant and the High Bar—try the ceviche of the day before it runs out—found on the top floor. And, as is the Kimpton tradition, you’ll be able to indulge in the nightly social hour in the lobby where wine and beer flow and light snacks are served.

But the real showstopper here is the rooftop pool on the seventh floor, the only one in Palm Springs. Sip on a Frozen Canary cocktail (tequila, guava, lime and spicy chilies) while chilling on one of the swanky cedar day beds, with the misters spraying seemingly microscopic water droplets that feel like nothing but a cool breeze.

If a workout is in order the hotel has PULSE bikes and a fitness center complete with hula hoops. It’s all so vintage Palm Springs.

Kimpton Rowan Palm Springs

Top rated
8.8 Excellent (280 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 9.4 / 10
WiFi in rooms
Parking lot
Pets allowed
Wellness centre / Spa
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