Palm Springs' Best Hotels

Amazing places to stay in Palm Springs, CA.

By: Matthew Link

A whopping $180 million has been pumped into hotel renovations and reopenings in Palm Springs, CA, in just the past few years. Hollywood name-dropping in the desert is growing as a new generation rediscovers the hip hideaway two hours from Los Angeles. Drew Barrymore and Miley Cyrus like the pool at the Ace Hotel & Swim Club, while Britney Spears and Angelina Jolie prefer overnighting at Le Parker Meridien. In 2014, Leonardo DiCaprio purchased Dinah Shore’s former midcentury abode. That means now’s the time to head to Palm Springs before the desert gets too red-hot.

Riviera Resort & Spa

Riviera Resort & Spa

Riviera Resort & Spa

Photo by: Noble House Hotels & Resorts

Noble House Hotels & Resorts

Just beyond the illuminated orange walls of the Riviera’s stunning semicircular lobby, you’ll find murals made from pennies in the likenesses of Cher, Phyllis Diller, Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr. All headlined the Riviera’s cabaret in its late-’50s to early-’60s heyday. The resort’s original glamour was finally reinstated in 2008, after Noble House Hotels & Resorts’ 3-year, $70 million renovations.

Preserved was the main spoke-wheel design of two-story buildings encircling a huge central pool, which now has a hip, 21st-century bar/lounge, poolside DJs and private cabanas. An 11,000-square-foot Asian spa with 22 treatment rooms and the award-winning Circa 59 indoor/outdoor restaurant also helped revitalize the resort. The Riviera’s elegant oval ballroom annually hosts happenings such as the TED talks’ only simulcast conference and the world’s largest lesbian party weekend, called The Dinah.

Del Marcos Hotel

Del Marcos Hotel

Del Marcos Hotel

Photo by: Del Marcos Hotel

Del Marcos Hotel

This adults-only property received the city’s Class 1 historic status in 2012. The current owners of the Del Marcos, which was designed by midcentury-modern master architect William E. Cody when he was just 30 years old, spent the past decade restoring the hotel’s playful, sloping rooflines and Flintstones-like rock exteriors. The lobby’s vintage ’50s furniture and Rat Pack tunes on the stereo set up Del Marcos’ retro vibe immediately.

Guest suites named after Palm Springs regulars such as Bing Crosby and Errol Flynn are configured in a two-story U-shape around a central saltwater swimming pool. Private patios, landscaped seating spaces and balcony-shaded outdoor lounges encourage socializing. Busy downtown is only a couple of blocks down the street but feels miles (and decades) away.

Colony Palms Hotel

Colony Palms Hotel

Colony Palms Hotel

Photo by: Colony Palms Hotel

Colony Palms Hotel

Classic Spanish California mosaic tile work, red-tiled roofs and stucco walls define the Colony Palms Hotel with roots stretching back to the 1930s, when Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Clark Gable and Carole Lombard stayed here. Mobster Al Wertheimer once owned the inn and hid an underground speakeasy, casino and brothel on the property.

In 2007, Colony Palms found new life after a $16 million renovation, including a pool area designed by Million Dollar Decorators star Martyn Lawrence Bullard. Colony Palms soon earned Condé Nast’s coveted best-new-hotel status. Wooden beams, French doors and indigo walls with palm tree silhouettes adorn the poolside patio restaurant, Purple Palm — a perfect setting to down a signature lavender mojito.

Korakia Pensione

Korakia Pensione

Korakia Pensione

Photo by: Korakia Pensione

Korakia Pensione

Before midcentury modern, Palm Springs was a Mediterranean/Moorish wonderland of stucco and adobe. Built in 1924, the upscale guesthouse Korakia Pensione looks like a bit of Tangier replanted in California. Arabesque archways, beam ceilings, canopy beds, tiled courtyards, a library of vintage books and Islamic artwork all recount Palm Springs’ initial incarnation.

Everyone from Donatella Versace to Waiting for Godot director Michael Lindsay-Hogg has overnighted at this walled villa retreat, despite its monastic spareness (no phones or televisions). Wake up early for poolside Sun Salutations in yoga class, treat yourself to a eucalyptus aromatherapy stone massage or lap up afternoon Moroccan tea service on a plush daybed amid mountain panoramas.

Sparrows Lodge

Sparrows Lodge

Sparrows Lodge

Photo by: Sparrows Lodge

Sparrows Lodge

Hollywood B-Western star Don Castle opened this hotel in 1951, and after many iterations, it was finally resurrected as Sparrows Lodge in autumn of 2013. Owners Doug and Josie Smith (who turned Korakia Pensione into a celebrated Palm Springs address) oversaw a meticulous renovation.

The 20 luxe bungalows feature rich redwoods, large sunlit windows, rustic, hand-built furniture, inlaid pebble floors, sepia wall photographs and plush mattresses topped with Swiss army blankets. Looming 25 feet over the swimming pool is Castle’s original barn structure, now a guest restaurant serving homemade pizzas with herbs and vegetables grown on the property. The absence of TVs and telephones maintains the property’s tranquility, although lively games of horseshoes and wooden-racket tennis matches are encouraged.

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