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.

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 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.

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.”

Just a few minutes from the thumping beat of the nightlife on Arenas is The Hacienda at Warm Sands, LUXlife magazine’s 2020 and 2021 Best LGBTQ Resort in North America. If you didn’t know, you wouldn’t know — it’s discreetly camouflaged by a perfectly manicured privacy hedge standing sentry over the Spanish villa-style artistry that waits inside. Carved into the hedge, a gorgeous wooden gate with lanterns on either side to show you the way.

Welcome to The Hacienda at Warm Sands. Photo courtesy of The Hacienda at Warm Sands

Inside, a rich tapestry of winding Saltillo tile pathways are surrounded by lush foliage and dotted with surprises along the way: an outdoor fireplace, an in-ground spa, a tranquil water feature, and the two clear blue pools that anchor the 10 suites surrounding them. And if you’re impressed with the outside of the property (if you aren’t, you’re dead inside), the rooms are gonna knock your socks off.

Before we get to that part of the tour, you should meet your hosts: Jim Moje and Maurice Minno. Jim is, as he puts it, “a frustrated architect” with a degree in finance, and Maurice has a master’s degree in hotel and restaurant administration from Cornell University. For the past 21 years, they’ve put all their hopes, dreams, and skills into turning The Hacienda at Warm Sands into the 5-star experience that it is.

The experience begins the moment you book your room — that’s when the Hacienda’s team begins to prep for your stay. Something special you’d like upon arrival? Would you like the food pantry stocked with specific items? Perhaps you’d like a private chef for a delicious dinner? If you can dream it, the team will do everything within their power to make it happen. 

It gets even better when you’re a repeat guest because it’s easier to anticipate your needs, and that’s what the resort is all about: offering “anticipated but unexpected Hacienda moments” to their guests. And they do it unobtrusively, like your guardian angel. The ratio of staff to guests is one to one with a turnover that’s nearly non-existent — even after a pandemic. That’s because Hacienda values their staff as much as they do their clientele and made provisions to take care of them while the resort was closed for about six months due to COVID-19. Now that they’re back open, every precaution is taken to keep you safe inside their hedges. 

The Deluxe Grand Suite. Photo courtesy of The Hacienda at Warm Sands

There are five styles of well-appointed suites. The smallest is just under 500 square feet, and the largest around 900 square feet — all with furniture and amenities chosen for functional elegance. Every suite has a kitchenette that is ingeniously disguised to look like an elegant wet bar, a sitting room, and a large luxurious bathroom with so many L’Occitane amenities it’ll make your body giddy with anticipation. 

The Deluxe Junior Suite bathroom. Photo courtesy of The Hacienda at Warm Sands

Multiple heads and horizontal water sprays turn each shower into a spa, with large plush towels waiting to dry you quickly once you’re done. In your closet, there are two robe options available: a waffle weave for daytime and a heavier-weight robe to provide extra warmth and comfort on cooler evenings by the fire.

The beds are fit for a king (or queen): thick comfy mattresses dressed in crisp linens with a variety of luxury pillows available from the resort’s “Pillow Menu.” It’s a bit like Goldilocks and the Three Bears — keep trying them until you find one that’s just right.

The continental breakfast spread. Photo courtesy of The Hacienda at Warm Sands

An expanded, seemingly endless continental breakfast and a restaurant-crafted catered lunch of wraps, sandwiches, and salads are served daily, along with your favorite beverage (red or white wine, fresh-brewed iced tea, or lemonade). You can enjoy your meals while languishing in the outdoor spa, by one of the pools, or next to the outdoor fireplace. Above you, only palm trees, breathtaking mountains, and blue skies frame this extraordinary 5-star oasis in Palm Springs.

It’s no surprise that no matter where you look, all the reviews of The Hacienda at Warm Sands are five stars. Jim and Maurice have spent 21 years cultivating the best staff and service known to mankind, as well as perfecting a luscious landscape of earth, water, and fire surrounding their spacious and exquisite suites, providing so much worldly comfort and pampering you’ll feel like a royal.

Night falls on the hotel. Photo courtesy of The Hacienda at Warm Sands

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.”

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.