Vibe Style and Design

One of the biggest challenges we’ve faced during this ongoing pandemic is gathering our families in a safe setting. So here is a great idea. When we are allowed to safely travel again, why not consider bringing your family to one of the lovely small boutique hotels in the Palm Springs?

Recently, representatives from several of these hotels shared their experiences and thoughts with me about planning gatherings of families and close friends.

Many of these hotels encourage guests to buy out the entire hotel. There are many advantages to a buyout, such as knowing you are with a familiar group (your own “bubble”) while not interacting with strangers. You can also relax with confidence knowing that the hotels have taken all kinds of protective measures so that your stay is safe. At the same time, you can enjoy the beautiful Palm Springs setting.

Since the start of the pandemic, Dive (playfully decorated in a St. Tropez style) has hosted more than a dozen gatherings of families and close friends. Like many small hotels, it is well designed to accommodate small groups. Guests can enjoy spacious outdoor gardens, pools, multiple lounging areas, and fountains spread across a half-acre lot, making socially distancing easy and comfortable. Dive, which has 11 rooms, welcomes small groups, but if you need more than five rooms, the hotel requires a full buyout, which means you would have exclusive access to the property and a dedicated staff for support.

The Weekend, a small, mid-century modern hotel, where I have stayed and which I love, has ten deluxe suites, most with two bedrooms and two baths, along with living rooms, kitchens, and patios.  During the pandemic, the owners prefer that the entire hotel be bought out so you will not encounter other guests besides your family members.

One advantage at The Weekend and most other small boutique hotels is there are no hallways or elevators and the rooms open directly to the pool so there are plenty of opportunities for social distancing.

Both Hotel El Cid and The Marley (sister hotels) are private boutique hotels that rent to only one group at a time so they are perfect for families or close friends. They are also lovingly decorated and totally luxurious. The Marley has nine bedrooms and El Cid has seven bedrooms.  Both hotels are completely walled and gated for total privacy. Each hotel has full kitchens that allow guests to cook for themselves or groups can bring in professional chefs

Dining options are varied but ample at most of the small hotels. The Weekend delivers a lavish continental breakfast to each suite every morning. Their suites have a kitchen (no stove) with a full-sized refrigerator, ice maker, and four-seat dining room table. At Dive, two amazing chefs are available to support whatever dining needs guests have. In addition, each guest receives a complimentary organic breakfast each morning. During the current Covid situation, all food and drinks are served in single-use containers to ensure guests’ safety.

The safety and well-being of guests are the top priorities at the PSPSH hotels. Each hotel has enhanced cleaning and sanitizing procedures in place. All staff members are equipped with proper PPE — sanitizers, gloves, and masks. At The Weekend, staff members have daily temperature checks.  At all the hotels, guests are asked to wear masks coming and going from the hotel and to socially distance while relaxing at poolside. Outside visitors are not allowed.

So many of us have been mostly confined to our own homes for the last many months and, if you are like me, you are chomping at the bit to get out and start traveling again. Staying at a small boutique hotel is an ideal way to reconnect with close family members and friends while enjoying a luxurious setting in a fabulous location. Even if you live close to Palm Springs, you will feel as if you have really gotten away. Just go to the PSPSH website to find out when hotels are open and then you can explore the many enticing options for small groups in Palm Springs.

By Diana Elizabeth Steffen

I discovered one of the most Instagrammable spots in Palm Springs. 

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.”
 

A Place In The Sun Hotel

A Place In The Sun Hotel

Norma and Ron Van Meeteren didn’t set out to own and operate a hotel, but in October 1999, the couple found themselves embarking on an exciting journey now in its 20th year.

At the time, Norma and Ron had been selling real estate and doing property management in Palm Springs for 16 years. They learned about a property that was going to be converted into a hospice but had fallen out of escrow. Most of the units were like apartments, with living rooms, bedrooms, full kitchens, and private walled garden patios, and since the Van Meeterens were experts in residential income properties and had clients looking for apartment buildings, they arranged a meeting with the seller.

“To make a long story short, ten days later we were the proud new owners,” Norma said. “It’s been quite the journey, but our exceptional staff and happy guests make it all worth it.”

A mid-century boutique inn, A Place in the Sun Garden Hotel was built in 1951 as a retreat for the production crew working on the movie A Place in the Sun, starring Elizabeth Taylor, Shelley Winters, and Montgomery Clift.

“We get to meet so many interesting people, from all walks of life.”

The property has 18 units, with standard studios, one-bedroom bungalows with kitchens, living rooms, and private patios, and a 1,300-square-foot two-bedroom, two-bathroom bungalow with a large kitchen, fireplace, and private jacuzzi. There is free fast internet, a heated saltwater pool, spa, artificial turf putting green, and a poolside gazebo with misters and heaters.

For Norma, getting to know the people who stay at A Place in the Sun is the best part of owning such a unique property.

“So many come back again and again, year after year, and it’s like welcoming back friends,” she said. “Many have happy memories of coming to A Place in the Sun as a child, and now are grown and bringing children of their own. We get to meet so many interesting people, from all walks of life.”

Author: Brittany Ryan

Tucked away from the hustle and bustle of downtown sits the newly renovated Bellevue Oasis, a modern, tech-friendly oasis in Palm Springs. With a streamlined digital procedure for self-check-in, this boutique hotel sets the standard for safe social distancing.

Enjoying the pool at Bellevue Oasis Photo Credit: Brittany Ryan

Prior to arriving, you’re provided with a keyless entry code for both the gate and your room. Private travelers will appreciate the ability to quickly and easily check in and out without any lengthy procedure or human interaction.

From the outside, Bellevue Oasis seems rather unassuming, however this boutique hotel surprises its guests right as they hear the joyful chirp of the keyless entry granting you access to the property. Upon stepping through the threshold, guests are greeted with the exotic smell of jasmine from the gardens and sounds of birds singing in the trees. Perfectly manicured lawn and bright white guest rooms surround the focal point of Bellevue Oasis – an Insta-worthy swimming pool (an essential for every chic boutique hotel in Palm Springs)!

 

Bellevue Oasis Whirlpool in Palm Springs. Photo Credit: Brittany Ryan

The refreshing pool, heated seasonally, is encircled by white lounge chairs. Retro pagoda-style patio umbrellas with alternating turquoise and white panels compliment the pool’s crystal clear blue water. Hidden away under the shade of tropical trees sits a heated whirlpool for guests to relax in. Guests can ask Alexa to play their favorite tunes poolside as they sunbathe and swim.

The ground-level guestrooms at Bellevue Oasis are low-profile to ensure perfect views of the desert mountains from the pool. Each guestroom features a private front patio covered in stylish black and white geometric tiles.

Bellevue Oasis Front Patio in Palm Springs. Photo Credit: Brittany Ryan

Bellevue Oasis’ recently renovated rooms are contemporary with a touch of Hollywood glam. Despite a low-profile exterior, every room features high-vaulted ceilings to create a more open, sophisticated atmosphere. Special touches like velvet accents, mirrored dressers, and floor to ceiling marble bathrooms create a luxe ambiance.

As a former network TV producer and a BBC World News journalist, Owner Tayfun King has a keen eye for details. It was important to him that Bellevue Oasis capture the essence of Palm Springs.

“I was captivated by the culture and architecture that Palm Springs had to offer,” says Tayfun. “I wanted to preserve the 1950s Palm Springs aesthetic, while incorporating a global perspective and localized style to the hotel.”

Bellevue Oasis Bedroom in Palm Springs. Photo Credit: Brittany Ryan

Tayfun has curated an aesthetic that many cannot master – Bellevue Oasis blends the best of mid-century modern design elements with the modern luxuries of today. Some of the guestrooms come with a full kitchen and dining area, while every room is outfitted with food and drink options for purchase. Keeping with the tech-friendly theme, all T.V.s at Bellevue Oasis are Roku-enabled and come with Hulu Live.

At first glance, it appears that the room tour ends there, but wait, there’s more! Not only do rooms feature a private front patio, but they also have a private back patio, decorated in the same chic black and white geometric tile. There, guests can enjoy a cocktail or play mini golf in the back of the property, steps outside of the guestroom.

Bellevue Oasis Back Patio in Palm Springs. Photo Credit: Brittany Ryan

One may think that a mobile self check-in may eliminate the chance for a personal touch at Bellevue Oasis, but that is not the case. Tayfun is renowned for his commitment to excellence and customer service, and these values have been adopted by the Bellevue Oasis staff. Hotel Manager, Adam Ramirez, knows guests by name and is often seen on-property tending to guest needs.

“We want our guests to know that we are there for them,” Adam explains. “If guests ever need anything, like an in-room massage or bike rental, they can just shoot us a text or give us a call. Our guests are the reason why we do what we do!”

As Adam mentions, guests looking to get off property and explore Palm Springs have full access to bike rentals. Bike about 4 minutes west to arrive at the Tahquitz Canyon Visitor Center, where you can take an out-and-back hike (2 miles total) and be rewarded with beautiful views of a 60-foot waterfall. Or you can ride about 4 minutes south instead to visit the 1-acre, family-owned Moorten Botanical Garden. Chat with the second-generation owner, Mr. Clark Moorten, who lives onsite and shares his knowledge of cacti and desert plants from around the world.

Whether guests want a whole week with full kitchen access or just a relaxing weekend to get away, Bellevue Oasis offers the ideal Palm Springs stay. Experience the luxuries typically found at larger, chain hotels, but in a quiet, intimate setting.

At the Avanti Hotel, the guest experience is of utmost importance. Owner Jim Rutledge ensures that he knows where visitors are traveling from and what they enjoy doing, in order to offer recommendations and keep the hotel safe and secure.

Owner Jim Rutledge loves dogs, and goes out of his way to make their stay comfortable — at check in, they receive a bag with a pool towel, sheet for the bed, water bowl, and snacks.

“We very much enjoy having them,” Jim said, adding that hundreds of dogs have stayed at the hotel since its opening. These special guests can be spotted on the Instagram page Dogs of Avanti.

Of course, their owners are also treated well at the Avanti, a 10-room mid-century modern hotel that was built in 1954. There are no resort fees, and guests can take complimentary cruisers for a spin and relax at happy hour and an extended continental breakfast. Because it’s such an intimate hotel, Jim gets to know all of his guests, and he estimates that nearly 50 percent of his patrons are repeats.

“We like to get to know our guests, and where they’re from and what they like to do,” he said. “We get to meet people from all around the world who come here.”

Jim and his brother-in-law purchased the property in the early 2010s, after both took buy outs from their corporate jobs. They started from scratch, even coming up with a new name, and Jim, originally from Seattle, was excited to be in a town he was already familiar with.

“I’ve loved Palm Springs and had been coming here for years,” he said.

For guests who enjoy meeting new people, the pool is a natural gathering place, but there are also hideaways for those who want to have some solo time.

“The rooms have private patios, and you can hang out there and read a book,” Jim said.

One of the Avanti’s biggest draws is its security. There is a locked gate, and Jim has a video doorbell, so he can see who is coming and going and he doesn’t have to let people in who don’t belong.

“I know who is in my hotel,” he said. “We have repeat guests, and single women, who know about the safety factor and they love it. They know that when they come in, the door is locked behind them and no one can come in. I know all of the guests, and people who stay here for two or more nights get to know the other guests, and they all recognize each other.”

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.

Blogger Debra Schroeder of Traveling Well for Less found herself captivated by the Albert Frey-designed Monkey Tree Hotel, with its mid-century modern architecture and fun vintage decor.

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?”

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