Boutiquely Palm Springs - Alcazar

An Art District uptown favorite, The Alcazar Palm Springs is ideally located in walking distance to just about everything fabulous!  Enjoy this video tour with founder Tara Lazar Alcazar and General manager, Robert Hunt.

By Susan Montgomery

La Maison, a thirteen-room boutique hotel, offers guests a lushly landscaped oasis in the heart of Palm Springs. It is owned by Cornelia Schuster and Richard Slosky who opened their doors in February, 2012, although the property had been the site of a small resort since the 1950s. I had the good fortune to stay at La Maison a few weeks ago and savored every relaxing moment.

I learned that the owners moved here from Canada where they had owned a four-room bed and breakfast on lovely rural Salt Spring Island. They enjoyed this experience but eventually realized they needed a more viable hotel business without such a short season and more rooms. They had visited Palm Springs many times and loved the area so it was only logical that is where they looked for another inn to own and manage.  After more than a year of searching, they found the perfect property, which they named La Maison.

This property seemed ideal for them even though it needed some renovation. They liked the layout with the rooms on two sides of the lovely pool and the outdoor breakfast nook. They added a wall on one side and lots of greenery, including ficus. They renovated every room with unique consignment pieces, mostly found in the Palm Springs area, that have helped create what Cornelia describes as a simplified twist on a Country French style.

When I first arrived at La Maison, all I saw was a secluded black door in a wall, but when I opened the door I was greeted by an enchanting patio with welcoming comfortable furniture, outdoor fireplaces, tinkling fountains, verdant landscaping, and a glistening pristine pool. The ambiance is all-enveloping, making La Maison a heavenly retreat from the hubbub of daily life.  Cornelia says many of their guests have told them what a wonderful getaway the property is.  Some have even made life-changing decisions while contemplating their lives in this peaceful setting.

The luxurious rooms offer every comfort and amenity. My room was a deluxe king with warm terracotta floors, charming vintage furnishings, and so many other nice touches such as high quality linens on the beds, along with a little lavender sachet.  Later in the afternoon, guests can enjoy wine around the pool and a cooler is always full of iced water, beer and soda for guests.  La Maison also offers guests bicycles and a fully equipped outdoor barbecue grill.

Each morning a bountiful breakfast is served with such treats as pastries, croissants, fruit, yogurt and juice, plus each breakfast features a special item. When I was there, Cornelia made her famous rosemary, grapefruit cake, which I savored.  Cornelia explained that serving “serious coffee” is important to them so they have a professional coffee machine, which can produce exceptional cappuccino, lattes, and espressos.

Three years ago Marsha and Stephen Ferguson joined the staff at La Maison as the on-site innkeepers. This arrangement has worked out beautifully as far as Cornelia is concerned although she and her husband are also very hands-on. Richard is a handyman who can fix almost anything around the property and who also makes early morning coffee for guests. Besides baking wonderful breakfast items, Cornelia works on the books, inventory, and social media. The couple, who have three daughters (one still living at home), have really enjoyed this venture together in their lives.

Cornelia and Richard like focusing on offering their guests special attention and personalized service. They both love getting to know their guests and, in many cases, making new friends who come back again and again. Guests come to La Maison from all over the world. Europeans especially love the old-world ambiance and all guests enjoy the intimate serenity the hotel offers.

Cornelia says that as owners their greatest satisfaction is knowing their guests are happy and feel rejuvenated when they depart. She believes that small boutique hotels, like La Maison, can offer guests a personalized experience that is hard to find in large resorts.

At the Avanti Hotel, the guest experience is of utmost importance. Owner Jim Rutledge ensures that he knows where visitors are traveling from and what they enjoy doing, in order to offer recommendations and keep the hotel safe and secure.

Owner Jim Rutledge loves dogs, and goes out of his way to make their stay comfortable — at check in, they receive a bag with a pool towel, sheet for the bed, water bowl, and snacks.

“We very much enjoy having them,” Jim said, adding that hundreds of dogs have stayed at the hotel since its opening. These special guests can be spotted on the Instagram page Dogs of Avanti.

Of course, their owners are also treated well at the Avanti, a 10-room mid-century modern hotel that was built in 1954. There are no resort fees, and guests can take complimentary cruisers for a spin and relax at happy hour and an extended continental breakfast. Because it’s such an intimate hotel, Jim gets to know all of his guests, and he estimates that nearly 50 percent of his patrons are repeats.

“We like to get to know our guests, and where they’re from and what they like to do,” he said. “We get to meet people from all around the world who come here.”

Jim and his brother-in-law purchased the property in the early 2010s, after both took buy outs from their corporate jobs. They started from scratch, even coming up with a new name, and Jim, originally from Seattle, was excited to be in a town he was already familiar with.

“I’ve loved Palm Springs and had been coming here for years,” he said.

For guests who enjoy meeting new people, the pool is a natural gathering place, but there are also hideaways for those who want to have some solo time.

“The rooms have private patios, and you can hang out there and read a book,” Jim said.

One of the Avanti’s biggest draws is its security. There is a locked gate, and Jim has a video doorbell, so he can see who is coming and going and he doesn’t have to let people in who don’t belong.

“I know who is in my hotel,” he said. “We have repeat guests, and single women, who know about the safety factor and they love it. They know that when they come in, the door is locked behind them and no one can come in. I know all of the guests, and people who stay here for two or more nights get to know the other guests, and they all recognize each other.”

The Orbit In embraces its mid-century modern roots, wowing guests with its retro furnishings, lively pool area, and — of course — those irresistible Orbitinis, served every night during happy hour.

During their second stay at the Orbit In, husband and wife Kevin Miller and Jinny Park had the place all to themselves, and as they sat outside, looking up at the sky, they started talking about their dream of selling everything in order to buy and run the hotel.

Orbit In owners, Kevin Miller and Jinny Park

“Right then, a huge shooting star went across, and we made a wish,” Kevin said. “Three years later, we bought it. We are guests who ended up buying the hotel, and we try to run it from a guest perspective.”

The Orbit In is a mid-century modern hotel built in 1957, purchased by Kevin and Jinny in October 2007. Guests spend their days gathering around the Boomerang Bar, beating the heat in the pool and under the misters, enjoying Orbitinis during happy hour, and taking advantage of cruisers they can take around the neighborhood.

“It kind of feels like a hotel, but it also feels like you’re coming to someone’s house,” Kevin said. “It splits the difference there. We see a lot of repeat guests, and that’s just terrific.”

Although he is always improving the hotel, Kevin listens to his guests who like the retro vibe and want things to stay exactly the way they are.

“They always say, ‘Don’t change anything,'” he said. “They love it the way it is. They really like the staff. Everyone is personable and knows them by name, and they feel at home here.”

Dive Palm Springs, BelleVue Oasis join the Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels family.

It was a summer of change in Palm Springs, and this fall, you’ll want to check out — and check into — the newest boutique hotels to open in the city.

LaReve room at Dive hotel

Dive Palm Springs is an 11-room paradise, inspired by the French Riviera. Formerly Colt’s Lodge, the property reopened in August, after a meticulous two-month renovation. Most of the rooms come with an outdoor patio, and the most magical one of all, La Reve, features a customer ceiling mural and wallpaper by Christian Lacroix and a gorgeous red-tiled bathroom with a rainfall shower and smoked glass two-way mirror.

“Dive is more than a hotel,” owner and general manager Abdi Manavi 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.”

In September, Escape Palm Springs officially became BelleVue Oasis. It is no longer a men’s clothing-optional hotel, but will remain a 21-and-over, mid-century modern resort. The lush grounds are what inspired the new name, with senior hotel manager Charles Zalepeski saying once you walk onto the property, “it’s kind of shocking, you don’t expect it to be as beautiful and as big as it is. The pool is beautiful, and the mountain views are ridiculous.”

Casa Cody, the oldest operating hotel in Palm Springs, is under new management by the Casseta Group. Casa Cody was founded in the 1920’s by Hollywood pioneer, Harriet Cody, cousin to the legendary, Buffalo Bill. Renovations are underway in several rooms as well as at the Winters House, an original 1930’s California Ranch House, which was added to the property in 2004.

With the closing of the Terra Cotta Resort, Tuscany Manor is now the go-to destination for adults looking for a clothing-optional experience. The all-suite hotel boasts apartment-style units with one or two bedrooms, plus kitchens and living and dining rooms. There is also an updated flower-filled courtyard, complete with a renovated pool, spa, and picnic area. In another major change, the entire property is now smoke free.

As for the Terra Cotta Resort, it is being renovated and will reopen in the fall of 2020 under a new name.

And if owning an exclusive boutique hotel is the dream of a lifetime, The Old Ranch Inn, a Spanish-style landmark hotel built in Palm Springs in the 1930’s, is available for sale at $2.5 million. 

About Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels

Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels is a consortium of independently owned boutique hotels, which are an essential part of this desert resort town’s uncommon culture and economy. From quirky to charming, mid-century modern to clothing-optional, Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels has got your stay. Follow the fun on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Take a video tour of The Monkey Tree Hotel! This classic mid-century modern hotel is a Palm Springs time capsule.  Perfectly restored with meticulous attention to detail by owners Kathy and Gary Friedle, who preserved the original architecture and furnishings. Kathy’s background in architecture and design shows in every detail. If you love mid-century design, you will love this tour.

What makes Palm Springs the perfect getaway? The year-round activities — hiking, golfing, cultural experiences — and world-class dining top the list, but the boutique hotels are the city’s crown jewel. Members of the International Food, Wine, and Travel Writers Association recently discovered just how phenomenal hotels like Los Arboles, the Santiago Resort, and The Westcott are, and how they stand out in the desert.

Being an innkeeper at one of Palm Springs’ most beloved hotels is a great way to make a living. La Maison’s Richard Slosky recently appeared on the So Cal Restaurant Show to talk about why he opened the hotel with his wife, Cornelia Schuster, and what it’s like to welcome guests from around the world to Palm Springs.

From The Weekend to the newly-expanded Willows Historic Palm Springs Inn, the hotel landscape of Palm Springs is changing.

There’s never been a more exciting time to visit a Palm Springs boutique hotel, soaking up the sun and as much fun as possible.

Several hotels, including The Weekend Palm Springs, are now open and welcoming guests, while timeless favorites, like The Willows Historic Palm Springs Inn, have recently expanded. At the Desert Riviera and Hotel California, there’s even a brand new owner.

Two new hotels — The Weekend Palm Springs and Tuscany Manor — both have roots in Palm Springs, as they were built in the 1970s. A newly renovated 10-suite hotel, The Weekend offers sophisticated mid-century modern furnishings. The living rooms are spacious, the bathrooms have rain showers and L’Occitane toiletries, and the private patios are made for relaxation, with lounge chairs and fountains. In the morning, a complimentary breakfast is delivered to guests.

“What people really love is the space and attention to detail,” owner Mark Hermann says.

There’s never been a more exciting time to visit a Palm Springs boutique hotel.

The Willows Historic Palm Springs Inn has long been one of Palm Springs’ most legendary properties, originally serving as a private getaway for a Los Angeles millionaire in the 1920s. For years, this graceful hotel had only eight guest rooms, but the property doubled in size when it was joined with the nine-room Bishop House. Guests can travel between both buildings via footpaths.

“The Willows is a confection of the past,” owner Tracy Conrad says. “It recreates a more gracious and lovely time in two twin historic homes which have hosted luminaries, dignitaries, scientists, and royalty.”

Neil Mehta is the newest hotelier in Palm Springs, having purchased the Desert Riviera and Hotel California in January. Mehta comes to the desert with a background in real estate development, and experience in the hospitality industry — he owns a hotel in Newport Beach. Consistency is important to Mehta, and he does not plan on making any major changes to his popular hotels.

“That was the most critical element of our purchase, to ensure that guests did not feel a thing,” Mehta says.

He will add fun new amenities, like movies by the pool at the Desert Riviera and giving guests access to both properties. Mehta has long been enamored with Palm Springs, and can’t wait to get settled.

Michael Green, owner of The Triangle Inn and president of Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels, recently chatted with Big Blend Radio to spill on what it’s like to run a hotel in one of the most exciting cities in California.