BelleVue Oasis pool, courtesy of BelleVue Oasis

While on assignment for BBC News, Tayfun King was interviewing the owner of a boutique hotel in Buenos Aires when it hit him — he wanted to be the one running an inn.

As a travel reporter, Tayfun was immersed in the hospitality industry, crisscrossing the globe to learn more about the world’s most fabulous hotels. This wasn’t his original career choice — while studying mathematics and management at Cambridge University, he made a promise to himself: if he graduated with a first class honors degree, he would turn down the financial job offers he had received to follow his passion and become a professional Latin American dancer. Tayfun graduated with honors, and embarked on a dancing career, which led to him becoming a television journalist and host with the BBC, presenting programs on technology and travel.

“The travel show is where I developed my passion for boutique hotels,” Tayfun says. “I traveled to over 70 countries and 200 cities, and more than anything, staying at these amazing boutique hotels around the world stood out.”

Tayfun was fascinated by how these properties were able to forge their own identities, with each room connected despite their individual distinct themes. The owners he spoke with had “a passion that was coming through so clearly,” Tayfun says. “It was hard work for them, but they loved it and being able to express their creativity.”

In 2014, Tayfun launched a hospitality company in Los Angeles. He opened a property in Venice Beach, and then turned his attention east to Palm Springs. He was interested in a particular hotel for sale, but when his realtor showed him 641 E. San Lorenzo Road — the resort formerly known as Escape — Tayfun knew this was the place.

An aerial view of BelleVue Oasis

An aerial view of BelleVue Oasis. Courtesy of BelleVue Oasis

“I didn’t expect that,” Tayfun says. “I was there to have a matter-of-fact look around, but once I walked in and saw the entrance, I had an emotional reaction. The feeling you get when you’re there is so welcoming. It’s so natural, and there’s so much greenery with the grass, the trees, and the flowers. If I were coming to Palm Springs for a stay, I would love to stay here.”

A lot has changed at the mid-century modern property, starting with the name. Tayfun chose BelleVue Oasis because “belle vue” means “beautiful view” in French and “was what I was experiencing in the moment,” he says. The 13-room hotel has a new pool, pool deck, and interiors, plus recently installed turf and two putting greens. The mature palms and tropical landscaping are still in place, and guests rave about being able to enjoy the serene setting from their private patios.

“A common reaction is this is a hidden gem in Palm Springs — it’s beautiful, it’s lovely, it’s an oasis,” Tayfun says. “We have a high number of guests who keep returning to the property, and people who say their friends told them to stay here.”

Tayfun plans on developing a boutique hotel brand that will first grow in California before expanding, and is excited to get it started in Palm Springs. For him, it’s important that hotels tap into the history and true essence of the cities they are in, and he wants to make sure that people know as soon as they arrive at BelleVue Oasis that they are in Palm Springs.

“I love Palm Springs,” he says. “I love the energy, the people are friendly, it’s spread out, and it’s so well groomed.

From the time they book to the time they check out, Tayfun aims to make it so guests enjoy every part of the BelleVue Oasis experience. He wants them to look forward to their stay, building it up ahead of time and then having their expectations surpassed once they arrive, and to leave with lasting memories of their visit.

“It’s so fulfilling and exciting hearing what guests have to say,” Tayfun says. “That has been so rewarding and greater than what I thought it would be.”

BelleVue Oasis spa at night

Night falls on BelleVue Oasis. Courtesy of BelleVue Oasis

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.

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 and cast off winter’s gloom.

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.

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.

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

For Michael Green, the past two decades feel like they’ve gone by in the blink of an eye.

Michael and his husband Stephen Boyd own The Triangle Inn (https://www.palmspringspreferredsmallhotels.com/stay/triangle-inn-palm-springs), a gay men’s clothing-optional resort, having purchased the property in January 2000. They bought the hotel after spending their careers in advertising, embracing the opportunity to try something new. Now, nearly 20 years later, Michael can’t believe they’ve been hoteliers for so long.

Michael and Stephen have created such a welcoming atmosphere that it’s inspired several guests to actually move to Palm Springs.

People often ask them if they’re tired of running their own business, or want to try something new. “To me, as long as we still enjoy it, we should keep doing it,” Michael says. “It’s great owning a small hotel. It’s a lot of work, but it’s also a great lifestyle.”

The Triangle Inn was built in 1958, and Michael and Stephen are its fifth owners. They’ve been through renovations and upgrades, and are always doing something to enhance the property. Along the way, they’ve made tons of friends, and have created such a welcoming atmosphere that it’s inspired several guests to actually move to Palm Springs.

“It’s what happens when people come and fall in love with the hotel, fall in love with the city,” Michael says. “All of a sudden, they think, wow, we need to have a part-time place here, or retire here. That has really been a phenomenon that has fueled a lot of Palm Springs’ resurgence.”
 

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.

Centrally located in the Warm Sands neighborhood of Palm Springs, the historic 1930’s property has been refreshed under the direction of up-and-coming LA-based hotelier/designer Matthew Kurtz in partnership with local hoteliers Richard Crisman and Jeff Brock. Together they strive to deliver a new, whimsical boutique hotel with minimalistic yet chic design and approachable service – all at an affordable price point.

The outside of Sakura

The outside of Sakura

George Cebra brought his love of Japan to Palm Springs.

Sakura, the Japanese-style bed and breakfast, offers a unique experience. At Sakura — which means “cherry blossom” in Japanese —  guests can wear kimonos and slippers, and sliding shoji doors lead to the garden and swimming pool. Shiatsu acupressure massage is available.

George is a jazz musician, and has performed in clubs around the United States and world. He spent five years playing in Tokyo, and “planned on living there forever,” he said. “There’s no crime, you can leave your purse or wallet on a train with $1,000 in it and no one would touch it. The food is incredible. You can eat off the sidewalk, everything is immaculate.”

Things changed when he met his wife, whose dream was to live in California. George thought they would only live in the state for a few years, but they stayed, and 20 years ago, as their daughter prepared to go to college, George and his wife opened the bed and breakfast.

“My wife taught me how to make Japanese food,” George said. “People seem to like what I do.”

George’s wife has since passed away, and George runs Sakura on his own. It has just two rooms, and he spends much of his day maintaining the property and getting to know his guests, including many who are first-generation Americans with parents born and raised in Japan. He also sees a lot of people from western Europe and those who “enjoy the Japanese culture.”

“I enjoy hanging out with people during breakfast, we can sit down and talk,” George said. “About 50 percent of guests are from other countries, so it’s nice talking with them about where they are from.”

When George isn’t at Sakura, he is teaching music — everything from violin to the cello to the trumpet — and playing at clubs and with a local orchestra. While George would love to have the chance to go back to Japan and play in the clubs, “If I won $1 million tomorrow, I wouldn’t change anything,” he said.

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

The Triangle Inn pool

The Triangle Inn is like a charming man with a cheeky wit and a very sexy smile. Who wouldn’t want a second date?

Let’s start with a few fun facts, rated Hollywood-style.

The Triangle Inn spans the corners of San Lorenzo (très exotique, non?) and Random Road, a flirty wink from the street naming committee.

Rating: R for randy randomness

When it was built, the hotel was called The Impala Lodge. The year was 1958, and the architect was notable mid-century modernist Hugh Kaptur. 

Kaptur apprenticed for mid-mod darlings Harrison and Wexler, and Wexler apprenticed under the man they called the Desert Maverick, William Cody. In a 1958 Desert Sun article, Kaptur described the architectural design of the Lodge as the highly non-PC “Indian Modern.”

Rating: Winner, best documentary

Then, like the rest of us, the lodge went through some changes. From lodge to apartment building and into disrepair, the modernist gem was badly in need of an image overhaul.

Rating: Elizabeth Berkley

In the late 1980s/early 1990s, Matthew Robinson and Kevin Rice purchased the property, restored the original architecture, remodeled the rooms, and when the flag finally flew it was a rainbow flag, waving high above the newly named Triangle Inn, an eight-suite, men’s clothing optional resort. 

Rating: Kal Penn

The Triangle Inn’s entrance. Photo courtesy of The Triangle Inn

In 2000, Robinson and Rice were looking for someone to love the inn as much as they did, and ran into some wicked good luck. Two frequent Palm Springers from Atlanta (let’s call them Michael and Stephen because those are their names) decided they wanted to live in paradise and purchased the classy little mid-century revival gem.

Its massive glass-paned walls let the sunshine in and provide an endless view of our gorgeous mountains. Angular steel beams and the slanted roof are punctuated by lush tropical foliage; there are fruit trees all over the property —  mango, lemon, blood orange — making it feel as remote and as exotic as Gilligan’s Island without Ginger, Marianne, or the Howells (they’re so pretentious), but with way better amenities. 

But it’s not remote; it’s intimate. The hotel is actually only five minutes from downtown Palm Springs. That’s five by car, 15 if you’re biking. Drinking and biking renders various results, but generally longer durations and is not recommended.

Rating: A Star is Born

The living room in one of The Triangle Inn’s suites. Photo courtesy of The Triangle Inn

Consistently garnering five-star ratings and rave reviews, it shouldn’t surprise you that The Triangle Inn has a very long history of repeat guests. There are many reasons for this — the lovely suites, the fine amenities — but also because there is zero judgment. They’re very light on the rules, and then there’s that southern hospitality: warm as the sun and cool as the night air. 

Breakfast offers an assortment of breads, fruit, yogurt, and cereals, as well as coffee and tea — all gratis — on the covered patio by the pool. If you’d like a White Claw (again, no judgments, you’re on vacation) they’re $3 and you can drink them poolside. It’s all very chill.

The suites echo the style of the exterior, all in the mid-mod aesthetic, dressed in earthy tans and browns; light, sky blues; and rich sunset oranges. Even the Tarocco bath amenities are in burnt orange. 

The bathroom in one of The Triangle Inn’s suites. Photo courtesy of The Triangle Inn

The bed linens are crisp 500-count cotton, and all the accommodations have either a kitchen/dining room or a kitchenette depending on room size. Instead of a dishwasher in each of the suites, the houseman takes care of the dishes when he tidies your room.

Of all the places you can choose to stay in Palm Springs, The Triangle Inn is, perhaps, the most social. The intimate setting provides an opportunity for guests to become lifelong friends, not just with Michael and Stephen, but with each other, flying in from all over the world to meet up for a repeat performance.

Yet, because the rooms are all down the corridor, away from the outdoor activities, festivities, and laughter, guests can work from their suites before they go out to play. Some book for a month at a time, several times a year. It’s their home away from home. And because Michael and Stephen live on property, guests experience family-style hospitality that’s all rom-com and zero drama. 

Rating: All the stars

P.S. The Triangle Inn welcomes friendly canines. Inquire within.

The pool at night. Photo courtesy of The Triangle Inn

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.”