He’s been called the “Desert Maverick” who brought “Fifth Avenue to the desert,” and the project that put him on the map was the Del Marcos Hotel.

The Del Marcos, built in 1947, was architect William F. Cody’s first independent commission in Palm Springs. He was destined for this career — his mother was an interior designer, and during his childhood, they would sketch buildings together. In 1946, he left Los Angeles to begin working as the staff architect at the Desert Inn, and just a year later, he was hired to design the Del Marcos.

The Del Marcos Hotel was the project that put William F. Cody on the map.

The modernist Del Marcos, made with stone and redwood, was praised not just by guests, but also Cody’s peers; the Southern California chapter of the American Institute of Architecture honored Cody with a creative design award for the project. From there, his success snowballed — not only did he have an accomplished career in the desert, where he designed L’Horizon, the Palm Springs Public Library, the Thunderbird Country Club, and St. Theresa’s Catholic Church, but Cody was able to leave his mark internationally, coming up with the blueprints for a London apartment building and golf clubs in Cuba and Mexico.

Cody died in 1978, but his legacy lives on at The Del Marcos.

This mid-century modern hotel has everything you need for a fabulous vacation.

At the beloved Desert Riviera, guests become family. This mid-century modern hotel has a loyal — and even international — fanbase, with some guests coming to stay multiple times a year.

The Desert Riviera has everything you need for a fun, carefree getaway.

Poolside firepit at the Desert Riviera

Built in 1951 and designed by Herbert W. Burns, this mid-century modern hotel is now under new ownership, but nothing will change for guests. The Desert Riviera still offers fantastic complimentary amenities, including use of retro bikes, continental breakfast, and concierge services to help with everything from restaurant reservations to golf tee times.

“We’re all about the customer service and community,” general manager Misty Roland says.

The Desert Riviera has a loyal fanbase, with repeat guests coming back annually — and in some cases, multiple times a year. They love that the pool is heated to 93 degrees in the winter, and parties are held throughout the year to mark special occasions — on Valentine’s Day, guests might find a chocolate fountain set up outside, and on the Super Bowl, the big game will be on, with a big spread of snacks.

“Guests like that we’re a boutique property, where the pool is open 24 hours,” Misty says. “There’s an open layout, and they enjoy that we have a lot of greenery and sunshine, instead of a concrete pool area.”

The Desert Riviera attracts guests from around the world — China, Russia, Kenya, England — who love the Palm Springs experience.

“Sometimes, we don’t even have anyone here from the United States,” Misty says. “It’s about understanding one another, and we’ll all sit around the fire pit and talk and play card games.”

The front entrance to Old Ranch Inn in Palm Springs has a fountain and wood beams
Contributed by: Brittany Ryan

Nestled between Indian Canyon and bustling downtown Palm Springs, sits the historic Old Ranch Inn. Here, in this intimate eight-room boutique hotel catering to adults and their pet dogs, is where travelers come to find a home away from home. Although Old Ranch Inn has been offering guests a peaceful escape since the 1930’s, it has recently come under new ownership. Old Ranch Inn is now being looked after by Troy and Jason, and they have big plans for the Inn’s future including an extensive renovation of the guestrooms and public spaces.

Troy, who is a retired partner from the accounting and consulting firm Ernst & Young, has 30 years of experience in the hospitality industry, loved the idea of customers being able to feel like they were staying at a close friend’s guesthouse.

“Old Ranch Inn is designed to offer privacy and intimacy.” Troy explained to me. “Because the property accommodates 16 people total, we are able to provide a completely customer-centric experience for our guests from the time they check in to the time they check out, which is reflected in our Expedia rating of 4.7 out of 5 and a 9.6 rating out of 10 on hotels.com” And since the hotel is located in a residential neighborhood, it’s a peaceful setting.

This customer-centric experience is made apparent in all of the details of the property. When you arrive at this slice of paradise, you’re welcomed by the trickling sound of fountains and birds singing in the trees. Western lanterns line the property offering a peaceful amber glow in the evenings.

Old Ranch Inn Courtyard in Palm Springs. Photo Credit: Brittany Ryan

Old Ranch Inn Courtyard in Palm Springs. Photo Credit: Brittany Ryan

The pool is surrounded by bright teal lounge chairs, each with their own pillow. It’s easy to see why some guests spend their entire trip just relaxing by the pool. Jason and Troy see to it that all of your poolside needs are taken care of – cold water, sunscreen, pool noodles, and floaties. The patio offers a variety of umbrella-covered seating areas. This is a favorite spot for guests to enjoy cocktail hour and dine al fresco under the string lights as the sun begins to set.

Old Ranch Inn Pool in Palm Springs. Photo Credit: Brittany Ryan

Old Ranch Inn Pool in Palm Springs. Photo Credit: Brittany Ryan

Old Ranch Inn is set in the Historic Tennis Club area – one of the city’s oldest neighborhoods, founded in 1937. Just minutes from the famous Palm Springs Walk of Stars, Palm Springs Art Museum, the bars/restaurants on Arenas, the Tennis Club was once an under-the-radar destination for Hollywood celebrities, politicians, statesmen, and infamous world travelers. Today, the desert community is considered one of the premiere locations for upscale boutique hotels.

The eight pristine guest rooms at Old Ranch Inn create an instant feeling of coziness. Tasteful western design elements, like Tiffany-style lamps and white quilted linens, are seamlessly blended with modern amenities, like a kitchenette, walk-in shower, and a private patio.

“We wanted to pay homage to the western desert roots that the Old Ranch Inn is known, while still providing a contemporary, relaxing experience for our guests,” says Jason.

Old Ranch Inn Bedroom in Palm Springs. Photo Credit: Brittany Ryan

Old Ranch Inn Bedroom in Palm Springs. Photo Credit: Brittany Ryan

Troy and Jason’s vision for a comfortable home away from home is quickly coming to life. The guesthouse caters to both short and long-term travelers. Old Ranch Inn is set in a very walkable location, just a few blocks from local favorites like FARM, a charming, French-inspired eatery, and Wilma & Frieda Palm Springs, a brunch spot with reinvented comfort food. Head in the opposite direction toward the mountains, using one of the Inn’s free bike rentals, to hike one of the popular Tahquitz Canyon hiking trails and get some grand views of Palm Springs and the Coachella Valley. If you’re lucky, you might even see some big horn sheep.

“We have active guests that love the ease of access to hiking, golfing, shopping, and local dining, and we also have guests that come simply to enjoy the quiet pleasures of relaxing poolside for the majority of their stay,” says Jason.

Old Ranch Inn at Dusk in Palm Springs. Photo Credit: Brittany Ryan

Old Ranch Inn at Dusk in Palm Springs. Photo Credit: Brittany Ryan

In short, Troy and Jason’s vision for Old Ranch Inn is to provide a luxury level experience in an intimate setting. The fact that this boutique hotel is perfectly located between the San Jacinto Mountains and Downtown Palm Springs is icing on the cake!

We always love it when travel writers visit Palm Springs and stay in one of our uniquely beautiful, independently-owned Palm Springs boutique hotels. But it is particularly heartening when a writer like Joanna visits us and is completely captivated by the charm of her hotel and Palm Springs. Joanna recently stayed at the Alcazar and here’s what she had to say about her trip.

L'Horizon Pool and mountains - Jeff Mindell

Next up in our series of articles on the most Instagram-worthy small hotels in Palm Springs is L’Horizon Resort & Spa.

L'Horizon exterior - Jeff Mindell

In 1952, Jack Wrather, producer of Lassie and The Lone Ranger, wanted a desert retreat for himself and his Hollywood friends. He enlisted prominent modernist architect William F. Cody to create a large property in South Palm Springs featuring 20 separate bungalows that ultimately hosted everyone from Marilyn Monroe to the Nixons during its heyday. More than six decades later, designer Steve Hermann, who has designed homes for clients including Christina Aguilera and Vera Wang, purchased the property and reopened it in July 2015 as L’Horizon Resort & Spa following an extensive renovation and redesign.

L'Horizon Pool and mountains - Jeff Mindell

L'Horizon guest room - Jeff Mindell

Hermann’s design update retained Cody’s signature midcentury architectural elements while infusing modern comforts and luxuries. An al fresco fine dining restaurant called SO.PA was added to the property, as well as a poolside bar and a spa.

L'Horizon Pool Bar - Jeff Mindell

L'Horizon Instagram posts

A blue-tiled infinity pool is the centerpiece of the resort, with guest room bungalows scattered around the property.

L'Horizon Infinity Pool - Jeff Mindell

One bungalow, called the Fireplace Suite, was Marilyn Monroe’s personal bungalow when she stayed with the Wrathers during the 1950s. It features a wood-burning, copper clad fireplace as the centerpiece of the room and opens out onto a private patio.

L'Horizon Bungalow with Fireplace - Jeff Mindell

The ultimate luxury accomodations at L’Horizon can be found in The Residence, which is a nearly 2,000 square foot standalone home with two bedrooms, a full kitchen, living room, sunken wet bar and its own private pool with gorgeous mountain views.

L'Horizon Residence - Jeff Mindell

L'Horizon Residence Pool - Jeff MindellOther Instagram-able details I love at L’Horizon include the black and white multi-patterned design motifs around the property; the ornate starburst front doors; bikes available for guest use during your stay; bocce ball court; hammocks; and the desert landscaping throughout the resort. The property is adults only, but your four-legged friends are welcome!

L'Horizon Front Doors and Bike - Jeff Mindell

L'Horizon Hammock and Bocce- Jeff Mindell L'Horizon Instagram Posts

Stay tuned as we continue to explore other great Instagram-friendly small hotels in Palm Springs in this series of blog posts coming out each month!

 

Images via Jeff Mindell for Palm Springs Style and Instagram.

A screenshot from the Boutiquely Palm Springs video tour of the Triangle Inn Palm Springs

Enjoy this video tour of the men’s clothing optional Triangle Inn Palm Springs with hotelier, Michael Green. This historical mid-century modern resort was originally the Impala Lodge designed by the legendary Hugh Kaptor.

Can you take a dark-brown cement bench and turn it into art while still maintaining its function for resting or people-watching? The answer in Palm Springs is an unequivocal, yes.

Mainstreet Palm Springs’ Downtown and Uptown Business Association have upgraded the benches throughout the entire area thanks to a grant by the Palm Springs Art Commission. Local artists, representing  the culture and diversity of  the valley, were each paid a stipend for giving a new look and life to 70 benches, including 8 at the Palm Springs International Airport.

Initially, local artist Tysen Knight was commissioned to paint ten benches to test the concept. And they were a big hit. Functional and eye-catching, the colorful benches became the focus of many visitors’ photos. With the success of the first phase, phase two was approved.

Each bench looks like this before it receives its new life. As you can see, the artists have a blank canvas to design and apply their art.

A before shot of the plain brown benches have been transformed by local artists.

A before shot of the plain brown benches have been transformed by local artists.

Here are examples of the benches created by our local artists from our culturally diverse community.

Abe Alvarez Tostado

Abe Alvarez Tostado colorful bench in Palm Springs evokes community heart and unity.

A resident of Yucca Valley. In his younger years, he was interested in comics. Then with his Mom, who was an artist, he started going to art galleries. His artistic talents were encouraged by friends that surrounded him at Long Beach, California. He has painted murals in San Francisco, Long Beach, Los Angeles, San Diego, and Palm Springs for over 30 years. 

Susan Gresto

Artist Susan Gresto’s bench in iconic Palm Springs hues of oranges and blues features free-spirited winged humans greeting one another.

A resident of Palm Springs. It brings her great joy to mentor students, support community art programs. Her work has been exhibited and sold at the Palm Springs Art Museum Store, University of California Riverside, the Community Gallery at Palm Desert City Hall, Indio Senior Center, and CREATE Center for the Arts Palm Desert.  

Tim J Leary

Tim Leary created a bold geometric and linear bench design.

A resident of Indio.  His work as a visual merchandiser spanned 28 years and three states: Florida, Connecticut, and California. After moving to San Francisco, he completed his formal education, studying spirituality and art, and art therapy. He has a studio in the Backstreet Art District in Palm Springs.

Jessica Frederic

A bright lime-green bench with palm fronds and yellow and black birds came to life by artist Jessyca Frederick.

A resident of La Quinta. After years of searching, she now uses her creativity and problem-solving skills to create art. With encouragement from friends and artists, this bench is her first piece of public art.

Paul Kole

Paul Kole created a word-art bench with a bright white background and multi-colored letters that remind visitors of the joys found in Palm Springs.

He resides in Orange County, Palm Springs, Arizona, and International resort stay-cations. His abstract work on wood and other materials are in the United States and international collections. He has a working studio in Palm Desert, California.

Stroll up and down Canyon Drive to see these creative benches. They most certainly will bring a smile to your face. Oh, if you need to stop and rest, be our guest, and remember, we have great people-watching in Palm Springs.

Walk of the Inns

The holidays have come to Palm Springs. Just because the weather is warm (and beautiful) doesn’t mean that you can’t find the holiday spirit. One way to do that is to go on the Walk of the Inns on December 12, where you can enjoy a festive holiday vibe while going on an exclusive tour of many of the area’s lovely small boutique hotels. This self-guided tour is free and runs from 6 to 9 p.m.

Amin Casa for Walk of the Inns

The charm of these small hotels, many of them historic, creates the warm ambiance of the holidays with their twinkling lights and other decorations. The mid-century modern, Spanish, and Mediterranean architecture of many of these hotels enhances their appeal.  You can just imagine how Hollywood celebrities in the 1940s and 50s savored the holiday season in these magical retreats away from the buzz of Sunset Boulevard.

Palm Springs Museum interiorIf you want to participate, you can begin your walk at the Palm Springs Art Museum or the Palm Springs Women’s Club, where you will receive a map of participating hotels, enjoy live entertainment, and pick up a flashlight to illuminate your walk. At these two locations, you can also drop off gifts and toys for the annual fundraiser, Well in the Desert, which donates gifts to those in need in the Greater Palm Springs area. What better way to get in the holiday spirit than by giving to others.

Casa Cody poolOne of the oldest inns participating in the walk is Casa Cody, which includes lovely villas and cottages that were originally built to house athletes during the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics. Other enchanting boutique hotels will be featuring a cheerful holiday atmosphere during the walk.

Village Fest Palm SpringsWhile you are walking around, you can also enjoy Palm Springs’ Thursday Night Village Fest for enticing food, entertainment, and shopping for the holidays.  There’s no better way to launch the holiday season in Palm Springs.

Sparrows Lodge pool

We’re back with the next feature in our series on Instagram-able small hotels in Palm Springs, featuring the rustic chic Sparrows Lodge.

Originally built in 1952 as Castle’s Red Barn by MGM actor Don Castle, the property was a popular getaway for Hollywood stars, and rumor has it that actress Elizabeth Montgomery (best known as Samantha in the original “Bewitched” television series) was married there.

After passing through various ownerships and doing stints as Catalina Palms and El Rancho Lodge, the property was again purchased and a major renovation was completed in 2013, resulting in a beautiful property that combines luxury with summer camp vibes and lots of Instagram-friendly photo ops.

The 20-room property, located in south Palm Springs, features the ‘50s original barn, now renovated to house a bar and lounge seating. Exposed redwood beams, concrete floors with hand-inlaid pebbles and functional wood window shutters lend a cabin-y vibe to both the exterior and interiors. Rooms are outfitted with custom-made redwood beds featuring plush mattresses topped by Swiss Army blankets, as well as metal footlockers and leather butterfly chairs.

A rock wall acts as a divider for the bathroom area, which includes enameled horse troughs for bathtubs and an open shower made of concrete and inlaid pebbles.

Most guest rooms have private patios, and two larger suites offer a little extra space and luxury: the Owner’s Suite, with a large sitting area and a sunken bedroom area with a functional fireplace, and the Cabin, with a kitchen and dining area separate from the bedroom.

Outdoor amenities at Sparrows Lodge include a saltwater pool and spa, a fire pit and horseshoes, and guests can enjoy spa services in the Massage Tent. There are hammocks throughout the property, as well as bikes available for guests to use their stay.

Daytime dining is available in the Barn Kitchen, along with outdoor seating surrounded by fruit trees. Chef Gabriel Woo also preparestwo special family-style dinners each week: a chicken dinner on Wednesday evenings and a steak dinner on Saturdays.

The property is very pet-friendly, so you can bring your furry friends along for some fun in the sun!

If you’re heading to Sparrows Lodge, just look for the nameless sign bearing two small birds and you’ll know you’ve reached this laid-back and inspiring retreat.

Stay tuned for our next installment as we explore the most Instagram-able Palm Springs small hotels!

 

Images via Instagram, Jaime Kowal and Camron Carrier.

Wanderlust must be in my DNA. There are times when my innate desire to travel and explore wells up like hot lava that’s about to burst from a volcano, and I have no choice but to hit the road. Traveling via airplane fills the need, too, but there’s something about being on the open road that feels the most liberating—plus, I can pack as many pairs of shoes and hats as I want without paying extra baggage fees.