The Aloha Hotel is a woman-owned property in the Tahquitz River Estates

The Aloha Hotel embraces its vintage vibes. Built in 1947, this Tahquitz River Estates property has 11 poolside rooms containing original furniture and decor (don’t worry — the mattresses are new!).

The Aloha Hotel is a woman-owned property in the Tahquitz River Estates

A visit to the Aloha Hotel is a step back in time.

“People like the nostalgia of the 1950s, and we own it,” the hotel’s owner, Mona, said

Built in 1947, the property was purchased in 1971 by Mona’s mother, who previously owned the Four Trees Restaurant in Hollywood. She came to Palm Springs because it helped with her asthma, and ran the hotel for 40 years before Mona took over.

“I am so blessed to meet so many wonderful travelers,” she said. “The foreigners love it, and most feel like it’s home.”

The 11-room Aloha Hotel is the first property in the Tahquitz River Estates, and while the poolside suites are all restored with new beds, they contain the original 1950s furniture and decor. Several movies, music videos, and magazine spreads have been shot at the kitschy hotel, and when upgrades are available, especially mid-week, Mona gives them to guests, free of charge.

At one time, the hotel was called the Palo Verde Inn — the building once had a big “P” on it, and Mona found a vintage key and embroidered blanket with the name — but it was renamed the Aloha Hotel in order to be the first hotel in the phone book.

“Aloha means ‘hello’ and ‘goodbye,’ and everyone comes back, even 30 years later,” Mona said. “So, there are no goodbyes. Aloha, and mahalo!”

Take a video tour of The Monkey Tree Hotel! This classic mid-century modern hotel is a Palm Springs time capsule.  Perfectly restored with meticulous attention to detail by owners Kathy and Gary Friedle, who preserved the original architecture and furnishings. Kathy’s background in architecture and design shows in every detail. If you love mid-century design, you will love this tour.

By Elizabeth Borsting

The eight-room Willows Historic Palm Springs Inn, a luxury destination built in 1925 as a private residence and operating as the city’s only Four-Diamond hideaway since 1996, has more than doubled in size with the opening of The Bishop House last week.   The historic compound now has a combined total of 17 rooms and suites divided among a pair of historic estates with each room boasting its own floorplan and design. 

Just open to guests, the Bishop House has been completely renovated from top to bottom returning the property to its 1920s splendor.  There are seven rooms in the main building and two rooms in a separate casita including one that is fully accessible.

Both Estates, Built in 1925 and Sharing an Almost Identical Floorplan, Have Been Reunited for the First Time in Decades

The two properties are joined together via footpaths with only registered guests permitted behind the compound’s gates.  Guests are free to roam between the two houses to enjoy the public spaces, such as the great rooms and sweeping verandahs, as well as the terraced grounds.   All guests enjoy a daily deluxe, chef-driven breakfast enjoyed in The Willows dining room with views of the inn’s 50-foot waterfall.  In the evening, wine and hors d’oeuvres are served at either estate where guests can sip or sup on the sweeping terraces or in one of the public rooms.  Other complimentary amenities include en suite snacks, poolside beverages, complimentary parking and charging stations, 24-hour swimming pool privileges and more. 

History of the Properties

Both The Mead and The Bishop Houses have fascinating histories that are intertwined with that of the City of Palm Springs itself.  Their story begins in 1924 when William J. Dodd, a Los Angeles architect who created iconic dwellings for the likes of Charlie Chaplin and Cecil B. De Mille, was commissioned to design Spanish Revival-style mansions for best friends and prominent Angelenos, William and Nella Mead and Roland and Dorothy Bishop.  The couples selected a choice spot where the willows grew at the foot of the mountain.  William Mead was a prominent banker and philanthropist who played an instrumental role in the Owens Valley Aqueduct project helping to transform Los Angeles from a dusty outpost to a major metropolis.  Roland Bishop was a founder and head of Bishop & Co., the region’s premier confectioner and baked goods manufacturer.  He sold the company in 1930 to the National Biscuit Company –better known as Nabisco.

Dodd arranged the two villas to complement the surrounding terrain and sloping hillside anchoring both structures to the desert floor and mountainous backdrop.  Dodd deliberately designed both houses so that they shared similarities of style—a pair of grand vaulted entrance terraces and a great room for gathering–but he also ensured that they had their own architectural identities.  Once the homes were complete in 1925, the two couples made the pilgrimage from Los Angeles to Palm Springs as often as possible.

As the years passed new occupants came and went, including Marion Davies—silent screen star, tycoon mistress and astute businesswoman—who took up residency at the Mead house in the early 1960s and is rumored to have transformed the kitchen into something more useful – a bar.  Her sister Rose Douras occupied he Bishop house during this period and often entertained her “daughter” Patricia Van Cleve and her husband, actor Arthur Lake better known as Dagwood of “Blondie” fame.   Patricia, who was living in nearby Indian Wells when she died in 1993, was actually the love child of Marion and her longtime paramour William Randolph Hearst, a fact she confirmed on her deathbed. 

The original Gladding McBean-tiled fountain of the Bishop house has been restored to working order and graces an outdoor patio. While Gladding McBean may not be a household name today, the company was once the go-to place for ornate and decorative tile during the 1920s.  It company also created The Franciscan Pottery line of dinnerware named for the friars who founded the California Missions.   Its Franciscan Ware patterns—Desert Rose, Franciscan Apple and Franciscan Ivy—are sought after today by modern-day collectors. 

Hotel Amenities

The collection of rooms and suites at The Bishop House feature king-size beds, plush linens and hand-selected furniture reminiscent of the era coupled with modern amenities such as high-speed Internet, individual climate control, smart TVs, USB charging stations and plush robes for lounging. 

Nightly rates start at The Willows Historic Palm Springs Inn and The Bishop House start at $375 and include a chef-driven, deluxe breakfast; evening wine and hors d’oeuvres; in-room welcome snacks; poolside beverages; parking and electric charging stations; and guest-only access – no resort fees.  For reservations and information, call 800.966.9597 or visit online

Media Contact for the Willows Historic Palm Springs:
Elizabeth Borsting
T. 562.856.9292
E. elizabeth@BorstingPR.com

No two rooms are alike at Ruby Montana’s Coral Sands Inn (https://www.palmspringspreferredsmallhotels.com/stay/ruby-montanas-coral-sands).

Each one is a testament to the owner’s distinct style, which was on full display in the store she once operated in Seattle, Ruby Montana’s Pinto Pony. Many of the furnishings and knickknacks from the shop made it to California with Montana when she moved in 2000, and they are now in the different themed rooms.

The hotel was built in 1952, but Montana is going for more of a kitschy feel, rather than pure mid-century modern. The hotel is pink after all, with a kidney-shaped pool in the middle of the courtyard, and the rooms have names like “Howdy Doody Goes to Bali” and “The Yiddish Cow Girl.”

Depending on where you stay, there might be wagon wheels and horse lamps next to your bed,  pictures of Roy Rogers and Dale Evans on the wall, or maybe a leopard carpet covering the floor with a matching duvet on the bed. It’s this fun, surprising vibe that keeps guests coming back.

The Palm Springs Hotel (https://www.palmspringspreferredsmallhotels.com/stay/palm-springs-hotel) is sleek and modern, but owner Denise Adams made sure to include a nod to some of Hollywood’s finest.

All of the rooms at the Palm Springs Hotel are named after celebrities, including several who used to roam the desert — Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Elvis Presley, Paul Newman, and Raquel Welch. The rooms come with private patios, and all of the furniture and artwork was custom curated for the hotel, meaning you won’t see these combinations anywhere else.

There are pops of color in each room, as well as outside, where bright orange umbrellas provide shade around the huge pool. At night, the pool — which is open 24 hours — lights up, making night swims a must-do.

Another colorful corner of the hotel is the Instagram Wall, which features a large orange Palm Springs sign in a retro font. There’s no better way to commemorate your stay than by grabbing your camera and getting that perfect shot.

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.

By Diana Elizabeth Steffen

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

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.