The Aloha Hotel is a woman-owned property in the Tahquitz River Estates

The Aloha Hotel embraces its vintage vibes. Built in 1947, this Tahquitz River Estates property has 11 poolside rooms containing original furniture and decor (don’t worry — the mattresses are new!).

The Aloha Hotel is a woman-owned property in the Tahquitz River Estates

A visit to the Aloha Hotel is a step back in time.

“People like the nostalgia of the 1950s, and we own it,” the hotel’s owner, Mona, said

Built in 1947, the property was purchased in 1971 by Mona’s mother, who previously owned the Four Trees Restaurant in Hollywood. She came to Palm Springs because it helped with her asthma, and ran the hotel for 40 years before Mona took over.

“I am so blessed to meet so many wonderful travelers,” she said. “The foreigners love it, and most feel like it’s home.”

The 11-room Aloha Hotel is the first property in the Tahquitz River Estates, and while the poolside suites are all restored with new beds, they contain the original 1950s furniture and decor. Several movies, music videos, and magazine spreads have been shot at the kitschy hotel, and when upgrades are available, especially mid-week, Mona gives them to guests, free of charge.

At one time, the hotel was called the Palo Verde Inn — the building once had a big “P” on it, and Mona found a vintage key and embroidered blanket with the name — but it was renamed the Aloha Hotel in order to be the first hotel in the phone book.

“Aloha means ‘hello’ and ‘goodbye,’ and everyone comes back, even 30 years later,” Mona said. “So, there are no goodbyes. Aloha, and mahalo!”

Step foot on the Dive Palm Springs property, and you’ll immediately be transported to the French Riviera of the 1960s.

Dive Palm Springs opened in August 2019 after a two-month renovation. The hotel was built in 1954 as the Sunrise Villa, a western-style hotel. Over the years, it changed names and themes, ultimately becoming the Alpine Gardens before transforming into Colt’s Lodge in 2015. Since being purchased earlier this year, the 11-room property has been “extensively redesigned, both inside and out,” new owner Abdi Manavi says. “We have developed a sense of luxury in all the rooms, and a feeling of serenity throughout the different areas of the grounds.”

The hotel features furnishings by Serena & Lily and Anthropologie, premium linens, and original murals. Most of the King rooms come with an outdoor patio, complete with an oversized daybed, and one has a private hot tub. The most magical room is the La Reve, French for “The Dream.” This room has a custom ceiling mural and wallpaper by Christian Lacroix, a solid brass queen bed with an ultra-comfortable Tuft and Needle mattress, and a red-tiled bathroom with a rainfall shower and smoked glass two-way mirror between the bedroom and shower.

“Dive is more than a hotel,” Abdi says. “It’s a private luxury time machine. Evoking the casual elegance of Saint Tropez in the 1960s, we created Dive to transport our guests to a romantic forgotten world where it’s still safe to relax, play, explore, and release all the trappings of modern life.”

Dive is an adults-only property, and can host events for up to 150 people, including weddings, retreats, and reunions. Guests have been raving about the lush grounds, cozy daybeds, the restored original Libott pool, the koi pond, and The Orchard — Dive calls this its “vacation spot within a vacation spot,” as it has a two-person swing chair, waterfall, comfortable couches and loungers, and a vintage neon sign of a diving girl, affectionally nicknamed Lulu.

“My business partner Dale Fox and I have created an intimate atmosphere for our guests, as you would have staying at a friend’s house,” Abdi says. “We are here to provide magic and ensure our guests are relaxed and happy during their stay. Though I take on the role of an owner and general manager, my business card says ‘Liaison to Happiness.'”

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.

A Place In The Sun Hotel

A Place In The Sun Hotel

Norma and Ron Van Meeteren didn’t set out to own and operate a hotel, but in October 1999, the couple found themselves embarking on an exciting journey now in its 20th year.

At the time, Norma and Ron had been selling real estate and doing property management in Palm Springs for 16 years. They learned about a property that was going to be converted into a hospice but had fallen out of escrow. Most of the units were like apartments, with living rooms, bedrooms, full kitchens, and private walled garden patios, and since the Van Meeterens were experts in residential income properties and had clients looking for apartment buildings, they arranged a meeting with the seller.

“To make a long story short, ten days later we were the proud new owners,” Norma said. “It’s been quite the journey, but our exceptional staff and happy guests make it all worth it.”

A mid-century boutique inn, A Place in the Sun Garden Hotel was built in 1951 as a retreat for the production crew working on the movie A Place in the Sun, starring Elizabeth Taylor, Shelley Winters, and Montgomery Clift.

“We get to meet so many interesting people, from all walks of life.”

The property has 18 units, with standard studios, one-bedroom bungalows with kitchens, living rooms, and private patios, and a 1,300-square-foot two-bedroom, two-bathroom bungalow with a large kitchen, fireplace, and private jacuzzi. There is free fast internet, a heated saltwater pool, spa, artificial turf putting green, and a poolside gazebo with misters and heaters.

For Norma, getting to know the people who stay at A Place in the Sun is the best part of owning such a unique property.

“So many come back again and again, year after year, and it’s like welcoming back friends,” she said. “Many have happy memories of coming to A Place in the Sun as a child, and now are grown and bringing children of their own. We get to meet so many interesting people, from all walks of life.”

Walking into the Palm Springs Rendezvous, blogger Jan Smith was taken aback by the hotel’s “timeless elegance.” Her visit only got better when she learned she would be staying in the “Pretty in Pink” room, where Marilyn Monroe would spend the night during her visits to Palm Springs.

Amin Casa is steeped in Hollywood history. Once the private retreat of Hollywood star Gloria Swanson, it has been lovingly restored and is now one of Palm Springs’ most glamorous boutique hotels. During a recent visit, blogger Marie-Annick couldn’t stop daydreaming about what it would have been like to visit Amin Casa in the 1930s.

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.

Blogger Debra Schroeder of Traveling Well for Less found herself captivated by the Albert Frey-designed Monkey Tree Hotel, with its mid-century modern architecture and fun vintage decor.

By Elizabeth Borsting

The eight-room Willows Historic Palm Springs Inn, a luxury destination built in 1925 as a private residence and operating as the city’s only Four-Diamond hideaway since 1996, has more than doubled in size with the opening of The Bishop House last week.   The historic compound now has a combined total of 17 rooms and suites divided among a pair of historic estates with each room boasting its own floorplan and design. 

Just open to guests, the Bishop House has been completely renovated from top to bottom returning the property to its 1920s splendor.  There are seven rooms in the main building and two rooms in a separate casita including one that is fully accessible.

Both Estates, Built in 1925 and Sharing an Almost Identical Floorplan, Have Been Reunited for the First Time in Decades

The two properties are joined together via footpaths with only registered guests permitted behind the compound’s gates.  Guests are free to roam between the two houses to enjoy the public spaces, such as the great rooms and sweeping verandahs, as well as the terraced grounds.   All guests enjoy a daily deluxe, chef-driven breakfast enjoyed in The Willows dining room with views of the inn’s 50-foot waterfall.  In the evening, wine and hors d’oeuvres are served at either estate where guests can sip or sup on the sweeping terraces or in one of the public rooms.  Other complimentary amenities include en suite snacks, poolside beverages, complimentary parking and charging stations, 24-hour swimming pool privileges and more. 

History of the Properties

Both The Mead and The Bishop Houses have fascinating histories that are intertwined with that of the City of Palm Springs itself.  Their story begins in 1924 when William J. Dodd, a Los Angeles architect who created iconic dwellings for the likes of Charlie Chaplin and Cecil B. De Mille, was commissioned to design Spanish Revival-style mansions for best friends and prominent Angelenos, William and Nella Mead and Roland and Dorothy Bishop.  The couples selected a choice spot where the willows grew at the foot of the mountain.  William Mead was a prominent banker and philanthropist who played an instrumental role in the Owens Valley Aqueduct project helping to transform Los Angeles from a dusty outpost to a major metropolis.  Roland Bishop was a founder and head of Bishop & Co., the region’s premier confectioner and baked goods manufacturer.  He sold the company in 1930 to the National Biscuit Company –better known as Nabisco.

Dodd arranged the two villas to complement the surrounding terrain and sloping hillside anchoring both structures to the desert floor and mountainous backdrop.  Dodd deliberately designed both houses so that they shared similarities of style—a pair of grand vaulted entrance terraces and a great room for gathering–but he also ensured that they had their own architectural identities.  Once the homes were complete in 1925, the two couples made the pilgrimage from Los Angeles to Palm Springs as often as possible.

As the years passed new occupants came and went, including Marion Davies—silent screen star, tycoon mistress and astute businesswoman—who took up residency at the Mead house in the early 1960s and is rumored to have transformed the kitchen into something more useful – a bar.  Her sister Rose Douras occupied he Bishop house during this period and often entertained her “daughter” Patricia Van Cleve and her husband, actor Arthur Lake better known as Dagwood of “Blondie” fame.   Patricia, who was living in nearby Indian Wells when she died in 1993, was actually the love child of Marion and her longtime paramour William Randolph Hearst, a fact she confirmed on her deathbed. 

The original Gladding McBean-tiled fountain of the Bishop house has been restored to working order and graces an outdoor patio. While Gladding McBean may not be a household name today, the company was once the go-to place for ornate and decorative tile during the 1920s.  It company also created The Franciscan Pottery line of dinnerware named for the friars who founded the California Missions.   Its Franciscan Ware patterns—Desert Rose, Franciscan Apple and Franciscan Ivy—are sought after today by modern-day collectors. 

Hotel Amenities

The collection of rooms and suites at The Bishop House feature king-size beds, plush linens and hand-selected furniture reminiscent of the era coupled with modern amenities such as high-speed Internet, individual climate control, smart TVs, USB charging stations and plush robes for lounging. 

Nightly rates start at The Willows Historic Palm Springs Inn and The Bishop House start at $375 and include a chef-driven, deluxe breakfast; evening wine and hors d’oeuvres; in-room welcome snacks; poolside beverages; parking and electric charging stations; and guest-only access – no resort fees.  For reservations and information, call 800.966.9597 or visit online

Media Contact for the Willows Historic Palm Springs:
Elizabeth Borsting
T. 562.856.9292