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.”