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.
Archive for category: Style & Design
Wake up in Palm Springs with the sun gloriously shining and grab your glamorous floppy hat, recyclable water bottle, and sunglasses. It doesn’t matter if the museums are closed because there’s so much fabulous public art to explore in Palm Springs.
Start your walking tour in the Uptown Design District on North Palm Canyon.
First Stop – Palm Springs Desert Art Center
The center for Palm Springs creative arts is the Desert Art Center at 550 N Palm Canyon Dr, Palm Springs, CA 92262. Often overlooked, this grand building is the home for numerous art classes, exhibits, and theatre performances. One of our city’s latest art installations is on the Desert Center’s palatial grass-covered lawn.
MIDABI is an artist and philosopher focused on large-scale public art using text in sculptures and murals. Residing in Palm Springs since 1998, with family roots going back to the 1950s, MIDABI continues a family tradition of contributing artistically to the desert.
Large, bold, and thought-provoking, MIDABI creates works of art that seek to inspire and challenge the viewer to think for themselves and see reality differently. One may feel shaken, for emotional core values may be questioned.
Since you have your walking shoes on, head on down Palm Canyon; along the way, you will see colorful benches to rest upon, which our local artists created.
Second Stop – Koffi North
If you want to have a cup of coffee, you might want to stop at Koffi North. Be sure to go straight through the store to the back and see the courtyard. The locals hang out here during non-Covid times.
Third Stop – Near the Palm Springs Art Museum
Now that your energy is restored, head down to Museum Way and turn right.
Before you get to the Palm Springs Art Museum and located in what we locals call the “Sand Pit,” (and future home of an underground parking lot) are ten sculptures, 11 ft long X 9-foot fiberglass babies. A barcode replaces any semblance of a face.
Czech artist David Cerny has loaned this art installation to Palm Springs through 2022. He wanted to make a statement about the dehumanization of society due to big tech and data. We are betting you will have an opinion.
Check out the wall on your left as you overlook the Sand Pit. You’ll spot a mural by Santa Monica artist, Peter Tigler, who worked with attendees of all ages to create this 7-foot-tall-by15-wide mural at the Annual La Quinta Arts Festival in 2019. Look closely; it was created by finger painting. The bright colors and numerous scenes invoke the sense of “Wish you were here.” It’s a great place to take a selfie to post your social media.
Fourth Stop – Graffiti Park
Across the street from the Sand Pit is our Graffiti Park. While waiting for the area to be developed, artists are encouraged to express themselves through their art. The various cement pillars and stones, remnants of past construction, serve as canvases. The art is constantly changing, so be sure to come back and see it on your next visit.
Fifth Stop – Right Side of Palm Springs Art Museum
The Palm Springs Art Museum is closed, but the parking lot holds a surprise. Check out the Road Signs scattered throughout the premises. They were created by artist Gerald Clark, who identifies himself first as an artist; and secondly, a Cahuilla Indian.
These Road Signs were created for an exhibit of his work in the Palm Springs Art Museum a couple of years ago. Walk to the museum’s right side first, then see the rest of them on the museum’s left side.
Sixth Stop – Left Side of the Palm Springs Art Museum
After you have pursued both sides of the museum, you will see a large semi-truck parked in the parking lot. In the semi is a three-story all-metal house, called the Aluminare House, designed by Albert Frey and A. Lawrence Kocher. The house was donated to the Palm Springs Art Museum for its permanent collection and will be reassembled in 2021. It is considered to be one of the most outstanding examples of Modernist architecture in the world.
We hope you have enjoyed this tour of some of our public art. There are many more installations–both inside and outside–scattered throughout the city. However, we wanted to give you a small taste of the many treasures that await your visit to Palm Springs.
By Diana Elizabeth Steffen
I discovered one of the most Instagrammable spots in Palm Springs.
Decorating The Monkey Tree Hotel (https://www.palmspringspreferredsmallhotels.com/stay/monkey-tree-hotel) has been a blast for Kathy Friedle.
Before Kathy and her husband, Gary, purchased the Albert Frey-designed property in 2015, she worked in New York City at the world’s largest architectural firm, overseeing her own studio. Kathy has “a fantastic eye,” Gary says, and has picked up mid-century modern treasures from antique stores and boutiques across Palm Springs. The Monkey Tree Hotel feels like a step back in time to the swinging ’60s, when everyone from Marilyn Monroe to Bob Hope stopped by for the night.
There are standard and deluxe rooms, all of them spacious and equipped with snacks and water upon arrival. Two standouts are the 725-square-foot Presidential Suite, boasting a large private backyard, kitchenette, and two rooms and bathrooms, and The Jungle Room. With its original leopard wallpaper and monkey sculptures, there’s nothing like this 465 square foot room anywhere else in Palm Springs.
The Jungle Room is the wildest part of The Monkey Tree Hotel
The Jungle Room has a California king bed, living room area, and the original bathroom, with a full walk-in glass shower that doubles as a sunken tub and two sinks. There is a huge window, which offers a lovely view of the private 550-square-foot outdoor patio, with a sitting area, tropical landscaping, and orange trees. The Jungle Room was just refreshed, with Kathy adding more vintage finds like orange lava glaze lamps and macrame owls, plus a custom headboard. Eric Clapton was a repeat guest of the Monkey Tree Hotel in its earlier days, and this was his favorite room.
John Janulis is not the first guy from the Pacific Northwest to fall in love with Palm Springs (nor will he be the last) but he is the latest and greatest, making a splash with the sleek and seductive renovation of an old Hollywood haunt tucked away on the south end of town.
Recently we took our sweet cocker spaniel, Fender, on a short trip to Palm Springs. It was a beautiful afternoon when we arrived at the so aptly named Azure Sky, one of the most recently renovated Palm Springs Small Preferred Hotels. Yes, the sky and enticing pool were both sparkling azure when we arrived at this stunning boutique hotel.
The grounds are lushly landscaped with blooming native plants and palm trees that help create a tranquil getaway in the middle of the desert, but Azure Sky is also still ideally located in the heart of Palm Springs. Here you can have it all — a peaceful hideaway that is still close to the activities and restaurants that attract so many visitors to Palm Springs.
As we entered the hotel grounds, we were especially impressed by the striking, steel entryway gate, which introduces guests to the innovative contemporary design of the hotel.
This hotel was originally built in 1959 and was a timeshare and then apartments for many years. In June, an extensive two-year renovation was completed, resulting in a stylish retreat featuring wood and stone with an emphasis on natural light. The hotel has a modern vibe while still retaining its original mid-century charm that is so characteristic of Palm Springs. There are only 14 rooms so you almost feel as if you are staying in your own personal, private retreat — and since this property caters to adults, you can expect peace and quiet.
We were warmly welcomed in the chic, inviting lobby with a refreshing cocktail, and Fender was even greeted with a little doggie bag holding a special healthy treat, which he eagerly devoured. It is so nice to be able to visit such a wonderful hotel that is also dog friendly.
We were then shown to the Agave Suite, which was spacious and comfortable. Our room included a lovely living room with a kitchenette and a separate comfy bedroom with a unique floating wooden bed featuring linens that were as soft as clouds — just like the clouds in the azure sky. We also enjoyed the outdoor private patio connected to our room. There are four different room configurations at different price points.
This suite included almost every amenity possible except a TV, which we did not miss at all. It was nice to tune out the news of the day and enjoy our quiet retreat. The soothing palate of subdued colors enhanced the serenity of our room; even our dog was ready to curl up and take a snooze. There were bottles of cocktail mixes to purchase in our room so we enjoyed drinks as we embraced the restful atmosphere. My husband and I agreed that Azure Sky provided a much-welcomed escape from our busy, daily lives.
The luxurious courtyard with spectacular views of the dramatic San Jacinto Mountains offers guests ample outdoor areas for relaxing and contemplating life. Guests can gather around one of the two fire pits for pleasant conversation or quiet reflection. The expansive terrace surrounding the pool had plenty of lounge chairs and is another ideal place to relax after a refreshing swim or dip in the warm waters of the jacuzzi. Azure Sky is truly an enchanting getaway designed with the comfort of guests in mind.
After relaxing in our room, our only decision was where to go for dinner. So we adjourned to the comfortable Azure Sky lobby lounge and warmed ourselves in front of the fire crackling in the fireplace while we savored a cocktail and considered our dinner options. Of course Palm Springs offers many superb restaurants, but we found ourselves enjoying the ambiance of Azure Sky so much that we were reluctant to venture out for dinner. Instead, we ordered a pizza (which was delivered right to the lobby) and talked with a few of the other friendly Azure Sky guests while we nibbled and sipped. We met two pleasant young women from Paris who had been traveling around Southern California on business and they were also genuinely impressed with the upscale charm of Azure Sky.
Azure Sky offers a complimentary continental breakfast and freshly brewed coffee every morning, which helped us launch our day ahead in Palm Springs. We learned that the hotel is also the perfect venue for weddings and other special occasions. Sometimes all the rooms are sold out for events so that guests can have the entire property to themselves.
By the way, while we were in Palm Springs we had a delightful lunch with a friend at another PSPSH property, La Serena Villas, where the much celebrated restaurant, Azúcar, is located. We dined on delicious swordfish tacos, scrumptious chicken lettuce wraps, and a shrimp cocktail while we sipped the restaurant’s special margarita called the Rosearita, which is made with tequila, rose liqueur, and agave nectar. Azúcar’s outdoor patio setting around the La Serena Villas pool captures the quintessential relaxing spirit of Palm Springs. Our friendly restaurant server even brought Fender a bowl of water. We’ve learned that dogs are generally very welcome in Palm Springs.
We could not have had a more perfect day and of course we ended it at Azure Sky, which truly is over the top and quickly became our home away from home. We will be back — and so will Fender who loved Azure Sky as much as we did!