This mid-century modern hotel has everything you need for a fabulous vacation.

At the beloved Desert Riviera, guests become family. This mid-century modern hotel has a loyal — and even international — fanbase, with some guests coming to stay multiple times a year.

The Desert Riviera has everything you need for a fun, carefree getaway.

Poolside firepit at the Desert Riviera

Built in 1951 and designed by Herbert W. Burns, this mid-century modern hotel is now under new ownership, but nothing will change for guests. The Desert Riviera still offers fantastic complimentary amenities, including use of retro bikes, continental breakfast, and concierge services to help with everything from restaurant reservations to golf tee times.

“We’re all about the customer service and community,” general manager Misty Roland says.

The Desert Riviera has a loyal fanbase, with repeat guests coming back annually — and in some cases, multiple times a year. They love that the pool is heated to 93 degrees in the winter, and parties are held throughout the year to mark special occasions — on Valentine’s Day, guests might find a chocolate fountain set up outside, and on the Super Bowl, the big game will be on, with a big spread of snacks.

“Guests like that we’re a boutique property, where the pool is open 24 hours,” Misty says. “There’s an open layout, and they enjoy that we have a lot of greenery and sunshine, instead of a concrete pool area.”

The Desert Riviera attracts guests from around the world — China, Russia, Kenya, England — who love the Palm Springs experience.

“Sometimes, we don’t even have anyone here from the United States,” Misty says. “It’s about understanding one another, and we’ll all sit around the fire pit and talk and play card games.”

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.”

The Wesley is essentially a gated community, ensuring privacy

The Wesley is all about the fun. From giant Jenga and Connect 4 to the splashworthy courtyard pool, guests make memories here that will last forever.

The Wesley is essentially a gated community, ensuring privacy

The Wesley is a mid-century modern micro resort, where the flats are fully-stocked and the pool is always the perfect temperature.

The property, managed by AvantStay, has nine flats, and each one has its own kitchenette, toaster, refrigerator, and microwave, with Flat 10 equipped with a full kitchen, complete with a stove top and oven. The flats range from studio to two-bedroom, two-bath, and most have gas grills and private patios with views of lush gardens.

Thought went into every aspect of the property. There are complimentary bikes and board games for guests to use, a common grill area, and fun activities around the beautiful pool and spa area, including giant Jenga and Connect 4 and corn hole.

“You feel really invited to just relax and unwind when you get there,” AvantStay Customer Experience Specialist Dylan Perese said. “There’s robe to pool appeal — literally you can wander out with your morning coffee and take a dip in the pool. It’s right there and completely available to you. It’s your pool, it’s your pool house.”

Guests rave about the low-key vibe and how private the property is — The Wesley is essentially a gated community, and in order to gain access to the grounds, guests must have a code to put into the lock pad, and another code to enter their room. There isn’t a front desk, which gets guests to their flats faster, but assistance from hotel staff is just a phone call or text away.

The hotel attracts guests from all over the world, as well as locals looking to have a staycation. “We see a lot of overseas guests, and it’s really exciting that they get to experience the magic of Palm Springs,” Perese said. The Wesley also offers buyouts — families can rent all of the flats for a reunion, while corporations can have their own private oasis for team building.

“That’s when people can really relax and unwind and stretch out on their own time,” Perese said. “This is a place for you to create memories.”

The Wesley is what you make it, Perese added, and they are always looking for ways to make the property “more spectacular.”

Love desert modern design? This fabulous story by Alan Hess in Palm Springs Life tells how the Alexander Family put desert modern living within reach for Palm Springs.

By Nicole Anderson, Modern Magazine

If Palm Springs is synonymous with modern architecture, then Modernism Week is the celebration of Modern Palm Springs. Several boutique hotels, including The Triangle Inn Palm Springs, L’Horizon Palm Springs, and The Monkey Tree offer stellar examples of the mid-century aesthetic. Nicole Anderson’s piece for Modern Magazine, beautifully summarizes the appeal of Palm Springs mid-century architecture.

He’s been called the “Desert Maverick” who brought “Fifth Avenue to the desert,” and the project that put him on the map was the Del Marcos Hotel.

The Del Marcos, built in 1947, was architect William F. Cody’s first independent commission in Palm Springs. He was destined for this career — his mother was an interior designer, and during his childhood, they would sketch buildings together. In 1946, he left Los Angeles to begin working as the staff architect at the Desert Inn, and just a year later, he was hired to design the Del Marcos.

The Del Marcos Hotel was the project that put William F. Cody on the map.

The modernist Del Marcos, made with stone and redwood, was praised not just by guests, but also Cody’s peers; the Southern California chapter of the American Institute of Architecture honored Cody with a creative design award for the project. From there, his success snowballed — not only did he have an accomplished career in the desert, where he designed L’Horizon, the Palm Springs Public Library, the Thunderbird Country Club, and St. Theresa’s Catholic Church, but Cody was able to leave his mark internationally, coming up with the blueprints for a London apartment building and golf clubs in Cuba and Mexico.

Cody died in 1978, but his legacy lives on at The Del Marcos.

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.”
 

As fall arrives and with winter approaching rapidly, one’s thoughts often turn to places in the sun. With an average of 269 days of sunlight every year, Palm Springs is a sound choice.

With a perfect combination of ambiance, amenities, and location, a wise choice to stay is Alcazar Palm Springs. This quiet, 34-room, secluded hotel is one block from the central artery into downtown Palm Springs. Yet, the beautiful grounds makes you feel as if you have arrived in Paradise.

Alcazar is part of local restaurateur and hotelier Tara Lazar’s F10 Creative, which focuses on developing and upholding sustainable methods of operation, maintaining genuinely happy and inspired team members, and creating unique and memorable moments for every guest.  The F in the corporate name stands for “fun, food, festivals, family, fashion and friends.” The 10 stands for 6+2+2 — their address 622 North Palm Canyon Drive.

Once you park in the spacious lot, you will see the impressive artistic gates, which give homage to the site, which was once known as the Pepper Tree Inn. These gates are large and display a local artist’s interpretation of the pepper trees once prevalent in the Palm Springs area.

When you walk through the archway to the registration desk, you immediately feel this is an extraordinary place. At the registration desk, you are graciously welcomed, offered drinks, and pastries as you take a breath and begin your time away from home.

Like a cathedral, the palo verde trees provide a canopy over this inviting space. The water screen helps provide the sense of serenity; and quickly calms any travel anxiety. At night, this area becomes a magical, communal space to enjoy the desert sky.

After you settle in, the saltwater pool beckons you to come for a swim. Lounge chairs and towels are readily available and provide the perfect accessories for you to relax after your drive or flight. As your drinks are served in the jacuzzi, you take a deep breath and realize you are now on vacation.

Hungry? No problem, you do not have to leave the premises nor take a shower and dress up. Just take the walkway to Cheeky’s. This restaurant is part of F10 with the same owners as the hotel. Farm-fresh ingredients are used to produce an ever-changing delectable breakfast and lunch menu. On weekends, you find locals waiting in line for late breakfast. Its bacon flight is a perennial favorite of tourists and locals alike.

With your car safely parked, you have access to free bicycles to start exploring Palm Springs. Each neighborhood has distinctive architectural and landscape, which makes any direction you take on our many clearly marked bike paths an exceptional experience. After each use, bicycles are thoroughly disinfected as part of Alcazar’s Covid-19 protocol.

After your bike ride, swim, and shower, it is time for dinner. Just a few steps from Cheeky’s is Birba, where the menu is seasonal and the ingredients perfectly fresh. This outdoor restaurant has a great story. The owner’s husband’s family is from Italy. When F10 decided to add another restaurant to its portfolio, he said, “I would like a restaurant where we could use my grandmother’s recipes.

The name, Birba, in Italian means “Little Rascal.” It was the name his grandmother called him when he grew up.  Reservations are recommended.

Robert Hunt has been the manager of this hotel since it became Alcazar in 2011. He has watched over every detail of its creation. When the cleanliness of even the courtyard chairs was mentioned, he replied, “I’m a little OCD about keeping this place immaculate, sometimes to the despair of my team.”

Eleven years is a long time for a hotel manager to be in one place; the obvious question was, “What has kept you here so long?” He said, with a broad smile, “We realize we have to change with time. I am a fortunate person to make creative suggestions, and once approved, I am the one to implement them. Besides, gesturing his hands to the beautifully serene courtyard, “Can you think of a better workplace than this?”

Downtown Palm Springs (roughly defined as from the north end of Alejo Rd. and south to Ramon Rd.) offers visitors a vibrant combination of the old and the new. The sidewalks are wide, the mid-century and Spanish-style storefronts are charming, and the lovely palm trees sway in soft breezes. This is all enhanced by the weather, which is beautiful, no matter what time of year you visit.

Mary Jo Ginther, Director of the Palm Springs Bureau of Tourism, says, “The City’s goal, along with the business owners and residents, is to retain the character and ambiance of Palm Springs for visitors and locals alike, while providing new development to keep everything up to date. We are all very proud of the way our City has developed over the last 20 years.”

So much has happened in the last two decades. The old-fashioned plaza mall, which had been closed for 15 years, has been revitalized and the area is highlighted by outstanding restaurants and enticing shopping.

A variety of small boutique hotels in the downtown area offer visitors enchanting options for personalized accommodations in lushly landscaped settings. Many of these hotels were favorite getaways for the rat pack during Hollywood’s heyday in Palm Springs and they still exude the charm of that magical era. Some of these beautifully designed retreats, all members of the Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels association, include Casa Cody Country Inn, Andalusian Court, Ingleside Inn, Holiday House, La Serena Villas, La Maison, and Alcazar Palm Springs.. Several of these hotels include wonderful restaurants such as The Pantry at Holiday House, Melvyn’s at the Ingleside Inn, Acuzar at La Serena Villas, and Birba and Cheekys at Alcazar.

Plans for future expansion and renovation of the downtown area are underway. Discussions include renovating the historic Town and Country Center to much of its original mid-century modern condition. These plans are important because this area connects Palm Canyon Drive to Indian Canyon Drive, which is becoming two-way instead of one-way. This will improve the area for pedestrian traffic.

The city is expanding eastward toward the airport. The Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, which has been very involved in the economic development of Palm Springs, is developing an exciting new campus with a cultural museum, bath house and spa, and an expanded casino. Construction is also just starting for a spacious 10,000-seat arena.

The Tahquitz Corridor going from downtown to the airport has been preserved. For example, an historical building designed by celebrated architect Hugh Kaptur has been restored to its original mid-century modern design rather than replaced by a high rise that had been contemplated by some developers. The once almost-empty building is now flourishing with retailers, a coffee bar, a wine bar, and offices.

Since the areas being developed are owned by both the city and the Agua Caliente tribe (in a checkerboard pattern), some plots of land are controlled by the city and some by the tribe, but they have worked well together over the years to develop the area. There is also a very healthy preservationist community that is involved in many of these plans and residents are active in decision-making with great value placed on buildings that are unique to the mid-century heritage of Palm Springs. These renovations have brought back visitors who value the historical significance of the area.

Much credit for development goes to the businesses putting their resources back into the city. Ten years ago, there was no real food scene in Palm Springs and now many wonderful restaurants are thriving. Tours have also exploded, with biking tours, mid-century modern tours, hiking tours, and celebrity bus tours. There is even a foodie’s Desert Tasty Tour and the Palm Springs Historical Society has tours every Saturday morning with a focus on the town’s unique history.

Downtown Palm Springs is perfect for walkers. You can walk from many of the small boutique hotels and explore the shops, restaurants, and architecture. People are friendly and the town is safe. The vibe is relaxing with something for everyone.

The city’s slogan — “Like No Place Else” — is so true. And the city’s planners intend to maintain and continue to develop its special character.

Mother and daughter getway to Palm Springs

By Susan Montgomery

My daughter (who is 40-something) is a busy surgeon in San Diego.  I love to travel with her, but she does not have much time to get away. The challenge is: Where can we enjoy a weekend getaway that is not too far away and still feels like a real retreat? Fortunately, we have a lot in common when it comes to our travel preferences. We both love nice hotels with all the amenities (including a fabulous pool of course), wonderful restaurants and cocktails, unique shopping, and lovely weather in the great outdoors.

We have taken a few trips to Palm Springs together and found everything we want in a getaway, including beautiful weather almost any time of year. This article highlights a few of our wonderful experiences on several trips. If you would like to visit Palm Springs with your daughter (or your mother or your sister or your best friend), you might like to stop at some of these spots too.

Stay at The Weekend

We love staying at the small boutique hotels in Palm Springs where we find privacy and serenity in lush settings. While we’ve had relaxing stays at several delightful hotels, I think The Weekend Palm Springs is an ideal choice for a mother/daughter getaway because it offers stylishly furnished two-bedroom suites. My daughter and I prefer our own rooms so this works well for us. At The Weekend, we can stay together but have our own separate rooms for sleeping. (I’ve heard that I snore, but that can’t possibly be true.)

A classic example of mid-century modern architecture, this sleek, luxurious hotel in the lovely Old Las Palmas neighborhood was once a retreat for many of the “rat pack” Hollywood celebrities. The structure has recently undergone a stunning, multi-million dollar renovation but still retains its historical character. These suites surround a beautiful, inviting pool with lounge chairs and benches. (I can just imagine Marilyn Monroe languidly lounging by the pool.) The Weekend is a peaceful getaway but still within easy walking distance of hip bars, restaurants, and shops. Included with each stay is a delicious, ample continental breakfast delivered right to your room every morning. We both love savoring early morning coffee and really looked forward to the delectable breakfast trays.

Eat and drink

There are so many special spots in Palm Springs for great food and cocktails. Here are just a few suggestions for places my daughter and I love.

Azucar is the restaurant at La Serena Villas and is a perfect stop for lunch or dinner. The setting is modish and open with an upstairs deck overlooking the mountains and the pool. The cocktails are innovative and the food is equally tantalizing. We loved the fish tacos and watermelon salad with feta, but there are many other enticing choices.

Cocktails at Azucar in La Serena Villas

Holiday House is another chic restaurant in a small hotel. Its bar focuses on creative cocktails (such as the Aperol Spritz or the Club 55 martini (made with gin, elder flower liqueur, lemon, and rosemary-infused syrup). For lunch, if you are really hungry, you will love the juicy Pantry Cheeseburger or for a healthier option, try the Baby Kale Salad topped with salmon.

Cheeky’s (adjacent to the Alcazar Hotel) is the perfect place for a tasty breakfast or lunch before exploring Palm Springs. We love their cheesy eggs and unique bacon flight accompanied by great coffee or a spicy bloody mary. (Start the day with a zing!)

Wexler’s Deli at another small hotel, Arrive, attracts a lively youngish crowd, but this older babe loved it too. The vibe is rocking and the drinks are refreshing. We tried the savory smoked fish platter that paired well with some unique cocktails, including one that looked just like a snow cone (but was infused with vodka)

For Late Night Fun

When traveling with your daughter, you can’t go to bed too early. After dinner, the night has just begun and there is lots to do in Palm Springs.

My daughter particularly enjoyed the cozy speakeasy, Seymour’s, which is hidden away in the famous steakhouse Mr. Lyons (also an excellent dining choice). Its secret location and dimly lit atmosphere capture the ambiance of prohibition days. Creative cocktails are imaginative and delicious.

The Purple Room in the Trinidad Hotel is an iconic supper club with live entertainment Tuesdays through Sundays and vintage cocktails like Old Blue Eyes, the signature old-fashioned that was evidently Frank’s favorite drink. The dinner menu also offers traditional, nicely prepared steak, fish and pasta options. When we were there most recently, the talented owner, Michael Holmes, was performing a special show with nostalgic rat pack songs that carried us back to a bygone era. I almost expected Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin to stroll out on stage to soothe us with their old favorites.

Also harking back to the Hollywood era is the Casablanca Lounge in Melvyn’s Restaurant at the Ingleside Inn. (Melvyn’s is also a romantic spot for classic dishes like Steak Diane and Bananas Foster prepared flambè at your table.) Guests sip cocktails and dance to live music most nights, making this a perfect stop for an after dinner drink.

To do:

Besides eating and drinking, there is lots to do in Palm Springs—all activities that appeal to both my daughter and me. Most of the small hotels have bikes for guests and plenty of tours are available from celebrity home bus tours to walking tours around various neighborhoods. We love the entrancing Palm Springs Art Museum. The impressive collections focus on art of the Americas and California, including Native American artifacts and contemporary glass art, highlighted by a stunning Chihuly sculpture. My daughter and I have also really enjoyed the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. In ten minutes, you can ride in a unique tramcar (with a rotating floor) from the Coachella Valley desert up 8,500 feet to a top peak of the San Jacinto Mountains. At the top you can savor the gorgeous views, hike around, and then have lunch. And of course once you are back from your tram ride, you can shop, shop, shop in the many small boutiques with unique items you can’t find anywhere else. We particularly like the shops with mid-century furnishings and décor.

We never get tired of visiting Palm Springs. There is so much to see and do — and eat and drink — and it’s so special to share the experience with your daughter — or your mother. I hope to go back with my daughter for my birthday soon.