With only 13 rooms, La Maison is where you go when you want to experience utter tranquility in a secluded spot. Blogger Deirdre Michalski discovered during a recent stay that this beautiful property is one of Palm Springs’ hidden gems, with flowers and fountains everywhere you turn.
We always love it when travel writers visit Palm Springs and stay in one of our uniquely beautiful, independently-owned Palm Springs boutique hotels. But it is particularly heartening when a writer like Joanna visits us and is completely captivated by the charm of her hotel and Palm Springs. Joanna recently stayed at the Alcazar and here’s what she had to say about her trip.
Author: Andrew Schaeffer
I’m not an outdoorsy guy. I’m in my element when I’m lounging on the couch binging something on Netflix. But, I needed to change that habit and get out and get moving—and what better way to do so than by going somewhere with plenty of outdoor activities?
Wanderlust must be in my DNA. There are times when my innate desire to travel and explore wells up like hot lava that’s about to burst from a volcano, and I have no choice but to hit the road. Traveling via airplane fills the need, too, but there’s something about being on the open road that feels the most liberating—plus, I can pack as many pairs of shoes and hats as I want without paying extra baggage fees.
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.”
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.
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)!
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’ 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.”
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.
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.
Contributed by: Brittany Ryan
Nestled between Indian Canyon and bustling downtown Palm Springs, sits the historic Old Ranch Inn. Here, in this intimate eight-room boutique hotel catering to adults and their pet dogs, is where travelers come to find a home away from home. Although Old Ranch Inn has been offering guests a peaceful escape since the 1930’s, it has recently come under new ownership. Old Ranch Inn is now being looked after by Troy and Jason, and they have big plans for the Inn’s future including an extensive renovation of the guestrooms and public spaces.
Troy, who is a retired partner from the accounting and consulting firm Ernst & Young, has 30 years of experience in the hospitality industry, loved the idea of customers being able to feel like they were staying at a close friend’s guesthouse.
“Old Ranch Inn is designed to offer privacy and intimacy.” Troy explained to me. “Because the property accommodates 16 people total, we are able to provide a completely customer-centric experience for our guests from the time they check in to the time they check out, which is reflected in our Expedia rating of 4.7 out of 5 and a 9.6 rating out of 10 on hotels.com” And since the hotel is located in a residential neighborhood, it’s a peaceful setting.
This customer-centric experience is made apparent in all of the details of the property. When you arrive at this slice of paradise, you’re welcomed by the trickling sound of fountains and birds singing in the trees. Western lanterns line the property offering a peaceful amber glow in the evenings.
The pool is surrounded by bright teal lounge chairs, each with their own pillow. It’s easy to see why some guests spend their entire trip just relaxing by the pool. Jason and Troy see to it that all of your poolside needs are taken care of – cold water, sunscreen, pool noodles, and floaties. The patio offers a variety of umbrella-covered seating areas. This is a favorite spot for guests to enjoy cocktail hour and dine al fresco under the string lights as the sun begins to set.
Old Ranch Inn is set in the Historic Tennis Club area – one of the city’s oldest neighborhoods, founded in 1937. Just minutes from the famous Palm Springs Walk of Stars, Palm Springs Art Museum, the bars/restaurants on Arenas, the Tennis Club was once an under-the-radar destination for Hollywood celebrities, politicians, statesmen, and infamous world travelers. Today, the desert community is considered one of the premiere locations for upscale boutique hotels.
The eight pristine guest rooms at Old Ranch Inn create an instant feeling of coziness. Tasteful western design elements, like Tiffany-style lamps and white quilted linens, are seamlessly blended with modern amenities, like a kitchenette, walk-in shower, and a private patio.
“We wanted to pay homage to the western desert roots that the Old Ranch Inn is known, while still providing a contemporary, relaxing experience for our guests,” says Jason.
Troy and Jason’s vision for a comfortable home away from home is quickly coming to life. The guesthouse caters to both short and long-term travelers. Old Ranch Inn is set in a very walkable location, just a few blocks from local favorites like FARM, a charming, French-inspired eatery, and Wilma & Frieda Palm Springs, a brunch spot with reinvented comfort food. Head in the opposite direction toward the mountains, using one of the Inn’s free bike rentals, to hike one of the popular Tahquitz Canyon hiking trails and get some grand views of Palm Springs and the Coachella Valley. If you’re lucky, you might even see some big horn sheep.
“We have active guests that love the ease of access to hiking, golfing, shopping, and local dining, and we also have guests that come simply to enjoy the quiet pleasures of relaxing poolside for the majority of their stay,” says Jason.
In short, Troy and Jason’s vision for Old Ranch Inn is to provide a luxury level experience in an intimate setting. The fact that this boutique hotel is perfectly located between the San Jacinto Mountains and Downtown Palm Springs is icing on the cake!
Can you take a dark-brown cement bench and turn it into art while still maintaining its function for resting or people-watching? The answer in Palm Springs is an unequivocal, yes.
Mainstreet Palm Springs’ Downtown and Uptown Business Association have upgraded the benches throughout the entire area thanks to a grant by the Palm Springs Art Commission. Local artists, representing the culture and diversity of the valley, were each paid a stipend for giving a new look and life to 70 benches, including 8 at the Palm Springs International Airport.
Initially, local artist Tysen Knight was commissioned to paint ten benches to test the concept. And they were a big hit. Functional and eye-catching, the colorful benches became the focus of many visitors’ photos. With the success of the first phase, phase two was approved.
Each bench looks like this before it receives its new life. As you can see, the artists have a blank canvas to design and apply their art.
Here are examples of the benches created by our local artists from our culturally diverse community.
Abe Alvarez Tostado
A resident of Yucca Valley. In his younger years, he was interested in comics. Then with his Mom, who was an artist, he started going to art galleries. His artistic talents were encouraged by friends that surrounded him at Long Beach, California. He has painted murals in San Francisco, Long Beach, Los Angeles, San Diego, and Palm Springs for over 30 years.
A resident of Palm Springs. It brings her great joy to mentor students, support community art programs. Her work has been exhibited and sold at the Palm Springs Art Museum Store, University of California Riverside, the Community Gallery at Palm Desert City Hall, Indio Senior Center, and CREATE Center for the Arts Palm Desert.
Tim J Leary
A resident of Indio. His work as a visual merchandiser spanned 28 years and three states: Florida, Connecticut, and California. After moving to San Francisco, he completed his formal education, studying spirituality and art, and art therapy. He has a studio in the Backstreet Art District in Palm Springs.
A resident of La Quinta. After years of searching, she now uses her creativity and problem-solving skills to create art. With encouragement from friends and artists, this bench is her first piece of public art.
He resides in Orange County, Palm Springs, Arizona, and International resort stay-cations. His abstract work on wood and other materials are in the United States and international collections. He has a working studio in Palm Desert, California.
Stroll up and down Canyon Drive to see these creative benches. They most certainly will bring a smile to your face. Oh, if you need to stop and rest, be our guest, and remember, we have great people-watching in Palm Springs.
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.”
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.