Tracy Turco is painting the town red … and orange, yellow, blue, green, and purple.

The colorful owner of The Art Hotel, The Tiki Hotel, and The Cheetah Hotel, Tracy is also a designer, artist, and entrepreneur. Along with her husband, real estate developer Jerry Turco, Tracy has spent the last few years leaving her mark on Palm Springs’ hotel scene, transforming old properties and bringing them back to life.

“I do the soup to nuts,” Tracy says, and it’s true — she selects all of the decor, furnishings, flooring, and paint at their hotels, and has created designs for wallpaper, bedding, clocks, and stools. Tracy is known for embracing bright colors and pattern play, and takes inspiration from all things Palm Springs.

The Tiki Hotel at twilight. Photo courtesy of Tracy Turco

“What I love most about Palm Springs is nature’s beauty,” Tracy says. “I love the sunsets, love the mountains with the palm trees, and all of the fruited trees. You can pick grapefruit and figs from your backyard, and while walking and taking hikes, you see all of these gorgeous flowers in full bloom all year round. The beautiful bougainvillea makes it like you’re living in technicolor. It’s just magical.”

Before heading out west, Tracy lived in New York, where she studied at the New York School of Interior Design; launched the brands SalonTea, Tea&Co., and Tracy Stern Shoes; and wrote two books, Tea For You and Tea Party. Tracy has always been a tea connoisseur, and enjoyed creating tea blends and opening tea rooms in Manhattan, Paris, and Dubai. Her SalonTea outlet in New York was at the City Club Hotel, and this gave Tracy a behind-the-scenes look at what it’s like to operate a boutique hotel. 

“I always wanted to run a bed and breakfast as a little girl,” she says. “That’s why I started my tea parties — to give someone a beautiful experience.”

A peek inside The Cheetah Hotel. Photo courtesy of Tracy Turco

Tracy first fell in love with Palm Springs during visits from New York, when she would fly in and spend the night at a hotel before driving to her geodesic dome in Joshua Tree. Tracy and Jerry spent more time here together on their honeymoon, and he liked it so much that they decided to start a business in the city. 

“Everyone here is so inviting and friendly, and I love the support of our community,” Tracy says. “The community has been nothing but gracious to all of our ventures and endeavors.”

When Tracy isn’t busy at one of their properties, she’s at home conducting research, trademarking her logos and designs, and selling her designs on Society6. The Turcos have purchased an old apartment complex that they are turning into an Art Deco-themed hotel, and they are hard at work developing their passion project: the Modernism Museum. The museum will offer guests an interactive and immersive experience, showcasing collections of mid-century modern kitsch, art, and memorabilia, along with a bowling alley, roller rink, and pizza place.

The Art Hotel’s pool. Photo courtesy of Tracy Turco

Tracy has also started an entrepreneurial group for women, where members can share tips and tricks and offer support for one another as they start or grow their businesses. 

“It’s important to share and give back,” Tracy says. “There’s a lot of fear, and people don’t know how to get from the concept to fruition.” 

Every day at work is different for Tracy, but one thing is constant: she brings her 8-month-old daughter with her to their hotels, where she watches as her mom hangs drapes and picks out paint colors. 

“I hope she sees what I do and grows up to be creative and an entrepreneur,” Tracy says.

Tracy Turco having fun at the Tiki Hotel. Photo credit: Catherine Garcia

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.

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.

For years, the Coyote Inn was where Chris and Barb Miller would go when they needed an escape. Now, it’s home.

The Millers have owned the Coyote Inn since 2008. They fell in love with it as guests, when they would leave their donut business in Utah for a few days of relaxation in Palm Springs. It was “a grind,” Chris says, and when the opportunity to purchase the Coyote Inn came up, they jumped. “The previous owners were looking for a different lifestyle, and we were looking for something different,” Chris says.

Chris and Barb live on the property, and work seven days a week. They do everything and anything that needs to be done, and always have their “game faces on,” Chris says. They love forging relationships with guests, greeting new faces and welcoming back regulars.

“We meet a lot of interesting people,” Chris says. “When people find us, they’re hooked.”

Guests come from all over the world, and enjoy the peace and tranquility that comes along with a property that is adults only. They also love the saltwater pool and hot tub, which is good for the skin. Snowbirds flock to the Coyote Inn during the spring, and book for the next year before their visit is even over.

“People come here to relax,” Chris says. “Our location is ideal; you can walk downtown, but you’re far enough away where you can’t hear it. Some guests don’t even rent a car.”

There’s something about walking through the gate and entering the Coyote Inn’s courtyard that instantly puts guests at ease.

“Once people hit the fountain, they forget about everything,” Chris says. “It’s a great place to unwind.”

The Cole Hotel and Courtyard

It is time to pack your bags and head to Palm Springs and the fabulously restored retro hotel called The Cole. Locals drop by on weekends for their fabulous brunches.  Even celebrities are starting to discover it, so make your reservations while you still can.

The Cole Hotel Sign

A getaway to Palm Springs offers some spectacular views. By plane, you see the windmills scattered on the Coachella Valley floor. If you are driving in with your convertible top-down, you pass the miles of windmills standing there like soldiers guarding the valley.

Whether arriving by taxi or convertible, The Cole, located on the northernmost end of Palm Springs on Highway 111, is waiting to provide you with every comfort you were dreaming of for your escape from the city.

The Cole Hotel Inviting Entrance

With the soothing sound of the entryway water fountain and the 50s and 60s vibes radiating everywhere from the colorful courtyard, it is easy to start to relax into the casual and fun style that awaits you.

The Cole Hotel Registration and Bar Area.

Gone is the big registration desk one has come to expect. There is no need for one since all your information is already safely guarded in the hotel’s new online registration system. The bartender or the assigned person to check you in will be there to greet you and hand you your card key.

The Cole Hotel Welcome Package

A welcome gift awaits you. Protected by a see-through bag are a mask, sanitizer, and most importantly, a barcode that will help you ease into your lifestyle during your stay. Contained on the barcode are the WIFI password and instructions on running all the appliances in your room. Perhaps, even more importantly, are the food/drink and minibar menus and the pool and open bar hours.

The Cole Hotel Welcome Beverage

Thirsty after your journey? No problem. At the registration desk, cocktails are waiting for you, along with a non-alcoholic drink if you want. Try something new like their cocktails served in a can. Many visitors have decided to take this tasty alternative to a traditional cocktail home with them.

The Cole is a dog-friendly hotel. Since you registered online, they already know the name of your dog. Their pet gift pack includes a “Pet Relief Map” of the grounds with a bag. However, we think your dog will be most pleased with the treat.

The Cole Hotel Art Décor Rooms

With the sun shining and key in hand, it is time to wander up to your room.

Opening the brightly colored door reveals a well-appointed space with contemporary art and sleek furnishings. The high-end linens were carefully selected and their luxurious will make you feel like you are an extraordinary person, indeed.

The Cole Hotel Partnership with Biscuit and Counter

With no full-time chef at present, The Cole developed a partnership with Biscuit and Counter, a new business known for its exquisite, melt-in-your-mouth biscuits. When you stay here Thursday through Sunday, you can order some of these tempting biscuits in a variety of ways. They are so good; you will more likely find locals stopping in for their brunch specials.

The Cole Hotel Swimming Pool and Spa

The Cole’s Manager, David Smith, takes immense pride in his staff. He remarked, “I have an incredible staff, and they have been crossed trained so anyone can handle any request you might have during your relaxing stay.”

“Hopefully, we had handled the little details before you arrived, for your room has been inspected at least three times. But if we missed something, all you have to do is ask.”

The Cole Hotel Manager David Smith

If you didn’t met David earlier, he is sure to wander over while you are sitting by the pool sipping your cocktail. David’s pride in this property is evident with every word he utters. “I have been so fortunate because I have been here from the very beginning. To see it transformed to the vision the owner had has been one of the most extraordinary chapters of my life.”

What are you waiting for? Go online and reserve your room. Yes, we expect to fill up during the summer too, so the sooner you make your travel plans, the better.  There is so much to explore in Palm Springs. However, if you decide you just want to stay by the pool, we have you covered.

We forgot to mention that the Cole shows movies by the pool too. Since it 21 plus hotel, they are not planning on showing any cartoons.

See you soon.

When Ruby Montana packed her bags and left Seattle in 2000, it was front page news.

The Seattle Times ran a story about Ruby’s big move, and the fact that she was closing the vintage store she operated for nearly 18 years. “They ran a funny headline,” she said. “‘Montana Leaves Washington for California.'”

The same quirky treasures that filled the shelves in her store are now on display at Ruby Montana’s Coral Sands Inn, a pink, whimsy place to rest your head. As an added bonus, guests are welcome to purchase any of the collectibles on display.

“I’m more of a kitschy experience, as opposed to pure hospitality or pure mid-century,” Ruby said. “I think the Coral Sands has a sense of humor that is built-in as a result of some of that. It’s a precious little jewel of a place tucked into Las Palmas.”

The Coral Sands was built for the L.A. Rams in 1952, and has six rooms, a nine-foot pool, and a “warm, kind of embracing” atmosphere. Ruby also has small rescue dogs, and several guests have fallen in love with the dogs during their stays and after building relationships, end up adopting them.

“I love everything about this property,” Ruby said. “My favorite room is the Roy Rogers and Dale Evans. It was built with stone and redwood beams; it’s like a lodge. When I stepped foot on the property, I knew immediately I wanted to be part of it. It’s a phenomenal property and works well with my nostalgia; it feels like your grandmother’s lakeside property, on a pool.”

Ruby’s fans from Seattle continue to flock to her hotel, as do return guests from Los Angeles and other environs. She loves having a “fully-integrated life,” where all she has to do is wake up and be where you need to be. “You don’t have to put on a suit and go downtown in a commute,” she said. “My commute is to the kitchen.”

Ruby also loves being around her guests. “It’s required you be a person who enjoys people, and doesn’t have a lot of boundaries,” she said. “I live at my hotel, and my friends tease me that I live in a fishbowl, because you can see in the picture window. My mother used to always say to me, ‘Honey, sometimes I wish you were a little more discerning, is there anyone you don’t like?’ Basically, not many.”

The hotel is seriously special, Ruby says, a “vortex for really incredible things happening.” It’s not unusual for guests to run into people they know, as “coincidences happen here. There’s a certain force that people feel — it’s a very magical place.”

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.”

In Palm Springs, change is in the air. Several of Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels are now under new ownership, with each property undergoing its own unique transformation.

The Talavera in Palm Springs has new owners and upgrades.

One example is the Talavera Palm Springs. Formerly known as The Rossi, this 11-suite property has undergone a name change, as well as several upgrades, including new furniture in the rooms.

“We’re bringing in a professional landscaper and arborist to help us enhance the tropical vibe so it’s more immersive, but manicured and lush,” co-owner April Smith says. “We’re also reworking some of the space here so there is a community fire pit and private bar for the guests.”

The Desert Paradise, a clothing optional resort catering to gay men in Palm Springs.

The Desert Paradise is keeping its name and staying as a men’s clothing-optional resort, but has given makeovers to all 12 of its rooms, and improved on the continental breakfast offered to guests. Future plans may also include adding kitchenettes to rooms, so guests who stay for several weeks can cook for themselves when the mood strikes.

The hotel is a “gem, with so much opportunity,” general manager Charles Zalepeski says. “I want it to feel like people are visiting family, a place where they feel comfortable and right at home. It’s a place where everything’s going to be taken care of, from start to finish.”

The iconic Willows Inn was purchased in 2020 by Ron Burkle.

The Willows Historic Palm Springs Inn is starting a new chapter in its storied history. The luxury 8-room hotel was purchased last year by investor Ron Burkle, the majority owner of the Soho House members’ clubs. The Willows has long been a must-visit for politicians and celebrities alike — Albert Einstein and Shirley Temple were among the hotel’s frequent guests.

La Maison

La Maison, under new ownership, still offers romantic privacy.

Also under new ownership is La Maison, which changed hands in the fall. This 13-room hotel still offers a touch of France in the heart of Palm Springs, with its European decor, delicious continental breakfasts, and lovely, flower-filled gardens.

 

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, YouTube and Pinterest.