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.

By Steven Skelley and Thomas Routzong, Gay Travelers Magazine

Palm Springs, California is a wonderful place for anyone to visit but it is especially significant for gay travelers. Palm Springs has an inclusive, welcoming vibe, excellent entertainment and dining options, beautiful views and a variety of quality gay resorts to choose from.

The striped front wall of The Velvet Rope hotel in Palm Springs, California

A new lap of luxury, elegance, and vintage charm has emerged in the heart of Palm Springs. 

Introducing The Velvet Rope, the latest addition to the city’s illustrious landscape of boutique hotels, uniquely designed for the modern, sophisticated traveler. But this isn’t just any boutique hotel – it’s an experience and a journey back in time, encapsulating the golden age of Hollywood glamour, reimagined with a contemporary, luxurious twist.

The Velvet Rope, poised unassumingly at 120 W. Veredasur in the tranquil Old Las Palmas neighborhood, is an embodiment of Herbert W. Burns’ mid-century genius, now infused with the design sophistication of local designer and owner David Rios. It’s reminiscent of his celebrated design work at the acclaimed Trixie Motel, drag superstar Trixie Mattel’s latest venture featured on HBO’s Trixie Motel.

A photo of David Rios in a floral shirt and Gregory Douglass in a black shirt

David Rios, left, and Gregory Douglass. Photo courtesy of Gregory Douglass

The Velvet Rope is the embodiment of Old Hollywood

While the Trixie Motel feels more like a paradise in pink, Rios’ aesthetic aims more on the darker side, adorning blacks and midnight green up against lighter colors that embody that Old Hollywood era. “I wanted to showcase Burns’ classic architecture and honor the contemporary visionary he was,” Rios said. “Right down to the level of detail in the recessed ironing boards, Burns was very much ahead of his time.”

With its roots deeply embedded in the golden age of cinema, each of The Velvet Rope’s nine unique suites is a narrative, telling tales of an age where walking, breathing Old Hollywood icons of style and elegance escaped to Palm Springs to live their best lives. 

“The location is key because many Hollywood celebrities gravitated to the Palm Springs Las Palmas neighborhood back then,” Rios said. “It encapsulates the way they used to live out here. Everyone talks about the epic parties that happened back then, and The Velvet Rope will offer nine different bespoke opportunities to experience what it was like to live like some of these icons really lived.”

9 suites with their own personalities

With each room honoring different iconic people and events from that era, the discovery is in the details. A blend of original and recreations, every custom design, vintage piece, and luxurious fabric tells a story of its own. And if that’s not enough, each room has an exclusive scent to heighten the experience.

Inside a bathroom with pink painted walls and a gold sink and a photo of Elizabeth Taylor in a black frame

Elizabeth Taylor is the star of this glam bathroom. Photo by Gregory Douglass

The Presidential Estate ushers you into unapologetic opulence; the Honeymoon Suite is where the rebellious spirit of Elvis flirts with timeless elegance; the Ricardo Suite immerses you in an exciting blend of comedy and charm, honoring the timeless allure of I Love Lucy. Other suites pay homage to the Rat Pack era, Studio 54, Liberace, Elizabeth Taylor, Jean Harlow, and even the Playboy bunnies.

An external white door with the I Love Lucy heart icon on it

The Ricardo Suite is made for fans of “I Love Lucy.” Photo by Gregory Douglass

Bar Valerie evokes the golden era of entertainment

Bar Valerie, The Velvet Rope’s premiere lounge, is inspired by the iconic song “Valerie” by Amy Winehouse, one of Rios’ favorite artists. It offers a mix of social, musical, culinary, and libation specialties. With nightly live music and an array of craft cocktails, this intimate bar has an eclectic and vibrant speakeasy-type feel. 

“I want this to offer everything from high tea to a luxury piano bar experience that echoes that golden era of entertainment,” Rios said.

The Velvet Rope also welcomes wedding parties and private events of all kinds. The San Jacinto Mountains serve as the perfect backdrop for intimate ceremonies on the property’s private lawn as well.

The Velvet Rope is a testament to the transcendental appeal of Palm Springs’ cultural and architectural heritage. It also underscores the enduring appeal of staying at independently-owned boutique hotels – each a unique tapestry of personalized experiences, architectural wonder, and intimate luxury. As each suite at The Velvet Rope opens its doors this December, the hotel will provide an exclusive experience to Palm Springs like never before, intertwining the city’s iconic past with an exciting, inclusive present.

Contact information for The Velvet Rope and Bar Valerie:

Email: contact@thevelvetropeps.com

Phone: 714-345-7610

Neil Mehta was impressed as soon as he walked onto the grounds of the Hotel California.

The Hotel California is consistently voted as one of the top hotels in not just Palm Springs, but the entire country. That’s just one of the reasons why Neil purchased the 14-room hotel in January 2019.

“It has a really nice intimacy to it,” Neil says. “There are a lot of different areas where you can get away and be by yourself. If you want to have a cup of coffee and stare at the mountains, you can do it in two or three different spots upstairs. But if you want to be surrounded by other guests, you can go to the pool.”

Originally built in 1942, the Hotel California is decorated with Spanish charm. It has a private courtyard, heated pool, spa, poolside cooling misters, fire pits, barbecue patio, and secluded outdoor cigar lounge.

At the same time Neil bought the Hotel California, he also purchased the Desert Riviera Hotel. As it turns out, both hotels once had the same owner.

“That great customer service culture was implemented at the Hotel California and Desert Riviera by the same owner long ago, and they’ve done a great job upholding that standard of service,” he says.

The Hotel California has a loyal following, with guests coming back year after year. Neil is looking forward to interacting with visitors, and is “extremely excited about the prospect of not only continuing the legacy of the prior owners, but also trying to find areas where we can improve and make guests feel even more like family,”

Neil has spent the last 10 years doing real estate development, and also owns a residential real estate company in Orange County. In 2014, he bought his first hotel in Newport Beach, and fell in love with the hospitality industry. Neil feels “lucky and blessed” to now own both the Hotel California and Desert Riviera, and is looking forward to getting settled in town.

“I am a big fan of the city of Palm Springs and of the culture that has always embraced diversity,” he says. “I’m excited to be part of it, to grow our business, and to provide positive experiences for guests.”

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.

A Palm Springs classic boutique hotel –Posh Palm Springs– has changed management and its name. Now known as The Westcott, this stunning hotel provides a timeless art deco style retreat in a relaxed adults-only atmosphere.

Public spaces and all ten guest rooms have been thoughtfully and beautifully updated. A large freshwater pool and separate hot tub features 1930s inspired poolside furniture. Sumptuous bedding, plush robes and top-of-the-line amenities will be found in each room.  Upon request, staff will arrange for private in-room spa services (massages, facials, manicures, etc.)

Breakfast is served buffet style and offers a selection of cereals, toast, yoghurt, and fruit as well as a hot egg dish made fresh daily. And they happily accommodate special dietary requests such as vegan and gluten-free. A delightful happy hour takes place daily from 5-6 PM and features a daily house-special cocktail. Light refreshments are available all day.

Eco-conscious guests will be pleased to know that The Westcott prides itself on its green practices. Solar panels generate clean energy that powers most of the hotel’s needs. High-efficiency Quietside Ductless Heating and Cooling systems and ceiling fans make each room extra comfortable. And all lighting (interior and exterior) is high-efficiency LED or fluorescent bulbs.

The Westcott is also perfect for intimate weddings, retreats, and family reunions.

Owner, Mathew Westcott, and manager, Michael Barge, look forward to welcoming prior customers of Posh who helped make it such a desirable bed and breakfast destination in 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.

The huge sparkling pool in the back of Limón Palm Springs boutique hotel in Palm Springs, California

Limón Palm Springs is as fresh and effervescent as its name suggests.

Built in 1956, this mid-century modern property makes a statement, with cheerful pops of yellow everywhere, from the doors to the kitchen backsplash. The colorful wallpaper, eclectic art, and patterned tile and rugs add to the vibrant feel. It’s very Palm Springs, but there’s also an international touch.

The front entrance to Limón Palm Springs

Courtesy of Limón Palm Springs

“Picture white Vespas in front, a little bit of Italian flair,” co-owner Amy Brinkman said. “That’s what we went for with this structure. It’s a little more elevated, more luxurious, and more private.”

When Amy and her husband, Tim Brinkman, first heard about the property, they weren’t in the market to buy anything — they own the LIT Property Group, and were working on other hospitality projects. That changed once they saw it in person. “We were blown away by the glass and steel architecture,” Tim said. “We saw the amazing bones and what we could do with it all. We were on the same page, right off the bat, and what actually transpired even exceeded our expectations.”

The kitchen at Limón Palm Springs

Courtesy of Limón Palm Springs

Limón has six large guest suites with private patios, the interior design by local firm H3K. There are two different ways to stay here: guests can reserve individual rooms, or the entire property can be rented out by one group, accommodating up to 14 people. Limón works well for bachelorette parties, family reunions, and retreats because there’s space for everyone to spread out, especially outside, where there’s a sparkling pool, spa, barbecue area, fire pits, a television, and outstanding mountain views.

A colorfull bedroom

Courtesy of Limón Palm Springs

With a buyout, guests are welcomed with champagne and charcuterie, and can arrange to have private chefs cook meals in the state-of-the-art gourmet kitchen and bartenders come over for a private happy hour. “If you want it, you ask us and we’ll do it,” Amy said.

Visitors to Limón not only appreciate the style and design, but also the care Amy and Tim put into ensuring that the amenities are top notch and guests have everything they need for a relaxing stay. 

“It feels like the coolest spot in Palm Springs,” Tim said.

The communal area at Limón Palm Springs

Courtesy of Limón Palm Springs

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.

Growing up in Los Angeles, Denise Adams grew up vacationing in Palm Springs. She loved those visits to the desert, and when she sold her greeting card business and the opportunity came up to purchase an older hotel for sale on North Palm Canyon Drive, she jumped on it.

The Palm Springs Hotel opened in November 2014, with Denise entering a partnership with friends and family to own and operate the hotel. She followed her instincts when it came to decorating and designing the property, adding a bit of an industrial slant to a hotel that is primarily mid-century.

“It’s clean and simple, but elegant,” she said.

The hotel’s 15 rooms are situated around the pool, have bold furnishings, and are named after some of Palm Springs’ most famous celebrity guests — Elvis, Frank Sinatra (“I like men in suits, with a tie or tux,” Denise said). Making guests happy is the top priority, and Denise said she is so excited when guests walk in and their expectations are exceeded.

“It’s a boutique experience,” Denise said. “To us, guests are royalty. We do whatever we can to make a guest happy, and they feel the love and give it back to us. Our guests mean everything to us.”