A new lap of luxury, elegance, and vintage charm has emerged in the heart of Palm Springs. 

Introducing The Velvet Rope, the latest addition to the city’s illustrious landscape of boutique hotels, uniquely designed for the modern, sophisticated traveler. But this isn’t just any boutique hotel – it’s an experience and a journey back in time, encapsulating the golden age of Hollywood glamour, reimagined with a contemporary, luxurious twist.

The Velvet Rope, poised unassumingly at 120 W. Veredasur in the tranquil Old Las Palmas neighborhood, is an embodiment of Herbert W. Burns’ mid-century genius, now infused with the design sophistication of local designer and owner David Rios. It’s reminiscent of his celebrated design work at the acclaimed Trixie Motel, drag superstar Trixie Mattel’s latest venture featured on HBO’s Trixie Motel.

A photo of David Rios in a floral shirt and Gregory Douglass in a black shirt

David Rios, left, and Gregory Douglass. Photo courtesy of Gregory Douglass

The Velvet Rope is the embodiment of Old Hollywood

While the Trixie Motel feels more like a paradise in pink, Rios’ aesthetic aims more on the darker side, adorning blacks and midnight green up against lighter colors that embody that Old Hollywood era. “I wanted to showcase Burns’ classic architecture and honor the contemporary visionary he was,” Rios said. “Right down to the level of detail in the recessed ironing boards, Burns was very much ahead of his time.”

With its roots deeply embedded in the golden age of cinema, each of The Velvet Rope’s nine unique suites is a narrative, telling tales of an age where walking, breathing Old Hollywood icons of style and elegance escaped to Palm Springs to live their best lives. 

“The location is key because many Hollywood celebrities gravitated to the Palm Springs Las Palmas neighborhood back then,” Rios said. “It encapsulates the way they used to live out here. Everyone talks about the epic parties that happened back then, and The Velvet Rope will offer nine different bespoke opportunities to experience what it was like to live like some of these icons really lived.”

9 suites with their own personalities

With each room honoring different iconic people and events from that era, the discovery is in the details. A blend of original and recreations, every custom design, vintage piece, and luxurious fabric tells a story of its own. And if that’s not enough, each room has an exclusive scent to heighten the experience.

Inside a bathroom with pink painted walls and a gold sink and a photo of Elizabeth Taylor in a black frame

Elizabeth Taylor is the star of this glam bathroom. Photo by Gregory Douglass

The Presidential Estate ushers you into unapologetic opulence; the Honeymoon Suite is where the rebellious spirit of Elvis flirts with timeless elegance; the Ricardo Suite immerses you in an exciting blend of comedy and charm, honoring the timeless allure of I Love Lucy. Other suites pay homage to the Rat Pack era, Studio 54, Liberace, Elizabeth Taylor, Jean Harlow, and even the Playboy bunnies.

An external white door with the I Love Lucy heart icon on it

The Ricardo Suite is made for fans of “I Love Lucy.” Photo by Gregory Douglass

Bar Valerie evokes the golden era of entertainment

Bar Valerie, The Velvet Rope’s premiere lounge, is inspired by the iconic song “Valerie” by Amy Winehouse, one of Rios’ favorite artists. It offers a mix of social, musical, culinary, and libation specialties. With nightly live music and an array of craft cocktails, this intimate bar has an eclectic and vibrant speakeasy-type feel. 

“I want this to offer everything from high tea to a luxury piano bar experience that echoes that golden era of entertainment,” Rios said.

The Velvet Rope also welcomes wedding parties and private events of all kinds. The San Jacinto Mountains serve as the perfect backdrop for intimate ceremonies on the property’s private lawn as well.

The Velvet Rope is a testament to the transcendental appeal of Palm Springs’ cultural and architectural heritage. It also underscores the enduring appeal of staying at independently-owned boutique hotels – each a unique tapestry of personalized experiences, architectural wonder, and intimate luxury. As each suite at The Velvet Rope opens its doors this December, the hotel will provide an exclusive experience to Palm Springs like never before, intertwining the city’s iconic past with an exciting, inclusive present.

Contact information for The Velvet Rope and Bar Valerie:


Phone: 714-345-7610

Looking for a serene resort in which to relax? A romantic getaway? A fun and fabulous hotel with high energy? Or a place to catch some sun on your buns?

Here’s the thing about boutique hotels in Palm Springs: they’re each so very different. 

So, how do you choose the one that best suits you? Here’s a tip:

Use PSPSH’s vibe sorter to increase your odds of landing in the perfect boutique hotel or resort. There are six vibes to choose from:

Stay in Style: Perfectly Designed Palm Springs Hotels: Palm Springs boutique hotels are known worldwide for their attention to style and design. So, if you’re intrigued by staying in a well-appointed hotel that places an emphasis on architectural flair, there’s a hotel for you. Palm Springs is a design hot spot, and modernism aficionados flock here year-round to stay in some of the finest and most authentic examples of desert-modern and mid-century design. But there are also prime examples of historical Art Deco, Mediterranean, and contemporary design. 

Les Cactus, a laid-back escape

Utterly Tranquil:  Forget the party scene — these hotels cultivate serene quiet environments where social interaction is minimal and staff can usually help you book an on-site massage or a delivered dinner from one of Palm Springs’ many amazing restaurants (some even have restaurants on site!). These hotels are small and intimate…just perfect for that writing, meditation, or personal rejuvenation retreat you long for. 

Do Not Disturb: These romantic Palm Springs hotels offer the ideal destinations for that anniversary celebration, honeymoon, or first — or 100th — getaway. These dreamy properties offer exquisite gardens and intimate spaces with plenty of comfort and indulgence for every beautifully love-filled vacation.

Korakia, one of the most romantic hotels in Palm Springs

Fabulous & Fun Palm Springs Hotels: Sometimes you just have to cut loose! These hotels are known for supporting their guests’ desire for a playful, unforgettable Palm Springs experience. They’re ideal for a bachelor party, a girl’s weekend away, or a reunion with college friends or family. Most of these hotels have less than a dozen rooms — perfect for property buy outs — so you and your party can have the whole place to your party-happy selves. 

Nakedly Confident: Clothing-Optional Desert Resorts: If you love a safe, body-positive environment that welcomes the sun on your skin, you’ll be in your element at these clothing-optional Palm Springs small hotels. Many of these clothing-optional resorts cater to gay men, but a few welcome the ladies and couples, too. 

The Santiago, a men’s clothing-optional hotel.

Culturally Queer: LGBTQ Palm Springs Hotels are Here  The gay community put Palm Springs back on the map. From the bearlicious to the salacious, fit for a queen or perfectly serene, you’ll find an extraordinary concentration of jaw-dropping resorts in Palm Springs that cater to gay men (but also welcome their sisters and allies). Find out why Palm Springs has been a desirable destination for the LGTBQ community for more than five decades.

There’s an air of excitement in Palm Springs every October, and not just because of the cooler weather. Running October 14 through 17 is Modernism Preview Week, a mini-version of February’s Modernism Week. This event was originally designed to attract journalists and entice them to write about Palm Springs’ unique architecture.

With few design regulations in Palm Springs, Los Angeles architects Arthur Elrod, E. Stewart Williams, Don Wexler, Hugh Kaptur, and Albert Frey came to the area reveling in the prospect of experimenting with unusual shapes for roofs and buildings. Today, most of their buildings are preserved, and in some cases, also have the original décor. 

During Modernism Preview Week, there are numerous tours available, both walking and through the buildings. Be sure to get tickets in advance at Modernism Week. 

Palm Springs Art Center Architecture and Design Center in downtown Palm Springs. Photo credit: Kathy Condon

Palm Springs Art Museum and local citizens come together

Recognizing the significance of these architects’ impact on the Palm Springs area, a coalition of local residents raised funds to convert the Coachella Valley Savings and Loan building originally designed by Stewart Williams into the Palm Springs Art Museum Architecture and Design Center. (Fun fact: Williams also designed the Palm Springs Art Museum!) Today, with the design help of Marmol Radziner architects, this building holds the papers donated by Albert Frey, as well as other documents and designs by the architects that helped put Palm Springs on the map.

Photo: Kathy Condon

Exhibitions that excite

The Palm Springs Art Museum Architecture Design Center is at the end of downtown Palm Springs’ retail shopping district, and a great stop to make after enjoying lunch. Take time to notice the plants surrounding the building, and how the cacti cast shadows onto the windows. Walking through the entry doors, you are greeted and asked to pay your $5 admission fee.

The Modern Chair exhibition will quickly grab your attention, with each chair having its own space so it can be viewed from different angles. Swiss-French designer LeCorbusier designed the oldest modern chair, and its inclusion helps one see the journey of the development of the modern seat beginning in 1905. 

Just some of the chairs in the exhibit. Photo: Kathy Condon

Ribbon chair by Pierre Paul, 1966. Photo credit: Kathy Condon

Heart Cone chair by Vemer Panton, 1958. Photo credit: Kathy Condon

Corrugated chair by E. Frank Gehry. Photo credit: Kathy Condon

The old drive-thru window. Photo credit: Kathy Condon

Did you notice incorporated in the décor is the drive-up window installed when the building was a savings and loan? Next to it, the modernism wall is covered in an easily recognized wallpaper design of the ’60s. 

A book store and gift shop worth the stop

What do you do with a vault that is impossible to move? Turn it into a place to house your vast collection of architectural books for sale. The Palm Springs Art Museum Architecture Design Center’s collection of books will help you navigate the world of modernism, with many of the authors from the Palm Springs area.  

A unique gift shop entrance. Photo credit: Kathy Condon

With an architectural theme, the items in the gift shop are colorful and unusual — as an added bonus, many of them are created by local artists. Take the time to browse and ask the knowledgeable staff and volunteers any questions you might have.  

The well-stocked gift shop. Photo credit: Kathy Condon

The Palm Springs Art Museum Architecture and Design Center exhibitions and educational programs change, so be sure to sign up for their mailing list. As you walk out the door, look down. There you will see stars in the sidewalk honoring the architects and interior designers who embraced modernism and helped Palm Springs become a destination that embraces the style. 

If you really want to immerse yourself in the architecture, use the Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels website to search for mid-century modern hotels. The best way to cap a visit to the Palm Springs Art Museum Architecture and Design Center is by then checking into one of these fabulous properties.

Kathy Condon