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The spirit of optimism is alive and well in Palm Springs. 

“While the sunshine, heated pools, and stellar attractions make the city a destination for people looking for relaxation and adventure alike, the pandemic has changed Palm Springs’ visitor profile considerably,” Michael Green, chair of the Desert Gay Tourism Guild and Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels, said. “Visitors from Europe are not coming as frequently as in previous years, and Canadians, who typically help boost the Coachella Valley’s economy, didn’t start returning until November.”

That said, the number of visitors overall exceed those of pre-covid days, and since June 2020, the vast majority of travelers have been domestic. Let’s dive into the reasons why.

Beautiful flowers in bloom. Photo credit: Kathy Condon

Feeling Safe on the Road

With the pandemic ongoing, many people feel safer planning a road trip with their family instead of getting on an airplane or cruise ship. San Diego, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Phoenix are no more than a 3.5-hour road trip away from Palm Springs, and even people from the San Francisco Bay Area can drive here within a day. For those in the northwest, they can turn Palm Springs into a road trip destination, making leisurely stops to see sights along the way. Road trippers not only pack their comfort items, but pets are welcome in Palm Springs, so Fifi and Brutus can come along for the ride, too.

Art at the Palm Springs International Airport. Photo credit: Kathy Condon

Direct Flights to Palm Springs

For travelers who do choose to fly, the Palm Springs International Airport is easy to navigate, just five minutes from downtown Palm Springs, and welcomes direct flights from many U.S. cities. Major airlines are always adding direct routes to Palm Springs, and new carriers are building the city into their business plans. According to Daniel Meier, Palm Springs International Airport’s deputy director of aviation, marketing, and air service, arrivals are up nearly 25 percent at the airport. 

Professional Mobility

When people first couldn’t go into the office to work, they came up with innovative ways to get their jobs done. Zoom allowed them to connect with colleagues and customers from anywhere with WiFi, and Palm Springs became a choice workcation destination. “With the ability to work remotely, we noticed a trend that people were taking advantage of the opportunity to stay longer,” Joyce Kiehl, director of communications for Visit Greater Palm Springs, said.

A Change of Residence

Palm Springs was one of the epicenters of the 2021 summer real estate boom, as harsh northeastern winters and being stuck inside brought to mind visions of sitting under a palm tree near the pool, conducting business meetings on Zoom. Robert Hunt, manager of Alcazar Palm Springs, said he has noticed that “many of our guests are staying here while looking for property.” Bob Deck, an agent with Town Real Estate, has found that people interested in buying homes in Palm Springs are “tired of the traffic in the bigger cities. They are looking for ways to take their commute time and turn it into family time.” 

A couple explores Palm Springs by bike. Photo credit: Visit Palm Springs

What Does the Data Show?

Things are looking up in Palm Springs, with hoteliers and retailers seeing a 23 to 25 percent increase in business in November, compared to the same month a year earlier. Jeff Witthuhn, owner of downtown gift shop Peepa’s, said he’s seeing “many more customers are coming from the East Coast,” while Kim Galland, owner of the women’s accessory store Kimbals, attributes her growth to previous customers who are delighted to be out in the world shopping.

In October, the city reported that transit occupancy tax collection increased almost 45 percent over 2020. Randy Garner, marketing manager for the Palm Springs Board of Tourism, noted that most events and conferences were canceled in the fall and winter of 2020, and the recent success of the 2021 Palm Springs Festival of Lights Parade illustrates people are ready to get out there and enjoy the many aspects of our welcoming community, including new public art and restaurants.

Inside Gigi’s Restaurant. Photo credit: Kathy Condon

Thriving is a word that best describes Palm Springs. Remodeling of stores, the upgrading and restoration of our hotels, and additional direct flights are making our ever-changing desert community a destination that encourages visitors to come back again and again. What are you waiting for? Make a reservation through Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels to see this fabulous city for yourself.

In Palm Springs, change is in the air. Several of Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels are now under new ownership, with each property undergoing its own unique transformation.

The Talavera in Palm Springs has new owners and upgrades.

One example is the Talavera Palm Springs. Formerly known as The Rossi, this 11-suite property has undergone a name change, as well as several upgrades, including new furniture in the rooms.

“We’re bringing in a professional landscaper and arborist to help us enhance the tropical vibe so it’s more immersive, but manicured and lush,” co-owner April Smith says. “We’re also reworking some of the space here so there is a community fire pit and private bar for the guests.”

The Desert Paradise, a clothing optional resort catering to gay men in Palm Springs.

The Desert Paradise is keeping its name and staying as a men’s clothing-optional resort, but has given makeovers to all 12 of its rooms, and improved on the continental breakfast offered to guests. Future plans may also include adding kitchenettes to rooms, so guests who stay for several weeks can cook for themselves when the mood strikes.

The hotel is a “gem, with so much opportunity,” general manager Charles Zalepeski says. “I want it to feel like people are visiting family, a place where they feel comfortable and right at home. It’s a place where everything’s going to be taken care of, from start to finish.”

The iconic Willows Inn was purchased in 2020 by Ron Burkle.

The Willows Historic Palm Springs Inn is starting a new chapter in its storied history. The luxury 8-room hotel was purchased last year by investor Ron Burkle, the majority owner of the Soho House members’ clubs. The Willows has long been a must-visit for politicians and celebrities alike — Albert Einstein and Shirley Temple were among the hotel’s frequent guests.

La Maison

La Maison, under new ownership, still offers romantic privacy.

Also under new ownership is La Maison, which changed hands in the fall. This 13-room hotel still offers a touch of France in the heart of Palm Springs, with its European decor, delicious continental breakfasts, and lovely, flower-filled gardens.

 

About Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels

Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels is a consortium of independently owned boutique hotels, which are an essential part of this desert resort town’s uncommon culture and economy. From quirky to charming, mid-century modern to clothing-optional, Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels has got your stay. Follow the fun on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Pinterest.

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.

La Plaza Downtown Palm Springs ©Kathy Condon

Palm Springs is known for its excellent restaurants and umbrella drinks around the pool. However, after an evening enjoying our restaurants and relaxing music venues, you may need an eyeopener cup of coffee or a light breakfast the following day. Here are a few locally owned coffee shops you might want to consider.

L’Atelier Café means coffee shop in English. It is located in our historic La Plaza. Thus, it is centrally located and about two blocks from the well-known La Serenas Villas boutique hotel.

Like so often happens, this town draws people in and makes it hard to leave. Visiting Palm Springs from Southern France, the present owners dined at this coffee shop. While sipping their coffee and people watching, the enchanting charm of this desert city hooked them. The words, “This café is for sale,” are stuck in their heads as they head back to France.

Three months later, they sold their place in France and bought the café. Now, this thriving location has people raving about its croissants, brioche, and quiche.

Koffi Readily Available to Help You Wake Up ©Kathy Condon

Want a quiet place to meet friends or work on the next great American novel? There is a Koffi nearby to serve you. With three locations in Palm Springs, you just have to search out which one is nearby your hotel.

North Koffi appears to be your average coffee shop. However, after you have your coffee and breakfast pastries in hand, continue walking to the back of the store. Once you walk through the door, there before you an expansive grass-covered courtyard, complete with sculptures, a view of the mountains, lounging chairs, and palm trees. If you are lucky, you may even see the resident roadrunner.

Central Koffi is the newest addition in Palm Springs. Located on busy Tahquitz Boulevard, it is set far off the street, so it is quiet under the bright blue umbrellas. If you want a pleasant place to have a meeting, this is a place to consider.

South Koffi, located in South Palm Canyon, is one busy place. Serving the same great coffee and pastries as the others, its location is perfect for a quick stop before heading down the valley or to one of our many trails.

Ernest Coffee Brews up the Unusual ©Kathy Condon

Ernest Coffee is an independently-owned coffee shop in the former home of the Don Beachcomber in North Palm Springs on North Palm Canyon Drive. Look for a building with lots of orange accents and the original tiki torches guarding the door. Their patio is a great place to strike up conversations with others who have discovered their excellent Stumptown Coffee.

Located near Coyote Inn, this coffee shop is a great place to go for breakfast for their variety of pastries. Be sure to try their flaky, so satisfying scones.

The adventurous types will be delighted to discover the wide variety of coffee drinks and teas. The baristas are creative, so you never know what the special of the day maybe. How about a golden milk kind of chai tea with healing herbs and coconut milk? Okay, you got the idea; this is the place to try something new or just enjoy a perfect cup of coffee to start your day.

Café LaJefe Newest Coffee Shop in Palm Springs ©Kathy Condon

Palm Springs is known for its mid-century architecture for a reason. Great care has been taken to preserve buildings built in the mid-50s and 60s. Happily, Café LaJefe’s new home is located in a repurposed bank building in the Uptown Design District. It is right around the corner from the Los Arboles Hotel.

Their large patio provides the backdrop for your Instagram photos of your Palm Springs vacation with its colorful string-back chairs. Of course, these comfortable chairs, many of them rocking chairs, will beckon you to stay longer than you had anticipated.

Believing in partnership, the owners seek out ways to not only serve their community but provide sustainable coffee from Sister’s Coffee in Bend, Oregon, and gourmet food from local artisan Chula Artisan Eatery.  Thus, you can get your morning pick-me-up cup of coffee and grab some healthy organic food for your lunch later in the day.

Ristretto Serves Up a Magnificent View of the Mountains ©Kathy Condon

One wouldn’t expect a coffee shop to have thirst-quenching Italian sodas. However, the local owners of Ristretto are well aware that our summer’s rising temperatures increase the need for a cool, tall drink. Thus, why not a drink that is not readily available in other places in Palm Springs.

Across the parking lot, Bank of America is one of the most iconic modernist architectural buildings in our city. If you stay at the Ingleside Inn, it is easy to walk across the street for a scone or a muffin. Their inviting patio literally sits at the foot of the Jacinto Mountains.

Are you going on a hike? They have vegan choices and salads that will be perfect for eating as you hike and stop and take a break as you sit and enjoy the views looking over Coachella Valley.

4 Paws Coffee Co. Welcomes Dogs ©Kathy Condon

The Northside of Palm Springs needed a coffee shop. Thus, when 4 Paws Coffee Co came into the neighborhood, it was greeted with cheers. Guests of hotels, such as The Cole, can now grab a cup of coffee on the way to exploring our many attractions.

Not only are dogs welcomed, but they also get a free treat. The “puppy cup” (whip cream with a dog treat bone) is a big hit with their 4-legged guests. It is not unusual to see dogs in training as service dogs, for the atmosphere is conducive to quiet contemplation and people watching. In addition, the coffee shop is a great supporter of our animal shelter programs.

They have breakfast entrées. Word is their turkey croissant alongside their organic and certified coffee salted caramel latte is a great lunch.

Part of Palm Springs’ charm is the slow pace and the ability to stop and relax practically any place in the community where you can see our magnificent Jacinto Mountains. So, take your time and stop in one of our local coffee shops. You are sure to meet some of our residents who are ready to share our history and give you suggestions for places to see that are often now obvious to a visitor.  Better yet please take advantage of our summer discounts and stay longer.

Guidelines for Palm Springs Visitors

With temperatures in the 70s and the sun shining brightly, we are welcoming visitors who need to travel for essential reasons. There are restrictions you need to aware of as of December 11, 2020.

According to the state of California’s Public Health Department, essential reasons for travel include “work and study, critical infrastructure support, economic services and supply chains, health, immediate medical care, and safety and security.”

As you drive into town, you will see this banner across our main throughways into town. We local citizens are doing a great job of wearing masks and social distancing. We ask our visitors to honor us by doing the same.

Boutique Hotels

Unfortunately, our quaint and inviting hotels are not open except for essential Covid mitigation. At this time, we have no way of knowing if this restriction will remain in place after December 27, 2020. If a member of your household is at risk or has been exposed to Covid, you may safely seek shelter at one of the hotels.

Shopping

Retail stores are open. However, they are at 20% capacity. The good news is you can be sure of your safety in the store, for social distancing and masks are required.  You will want to call and check on hours for stores are adjusting their hours to accommodate the flow of traffic.

Dining

Hopefully, you have been here before and know which are your favorite restaurants, because the only way you can enjoy their food is by curbside pick-up or delivery service. The City of Palm Springs just passed a new ordinance that cut the delivery service’s amount and enhanced the amount the restaurant will get from your purchase.

At least through December 27, 2020, there is no outside or indoor dining.

Art and Museums

Unfortunately, museums remain closed. However, we have over 70 public art installations in Palm Springs. There is nothing like taking the paths less traveled downtown and finding them in unexpected places, like behind the Desert Art Center, located on Palm Canyon Drive.

Thursday Night Street Fair

This fun and engaging activity remains closed until further notice.

Certified Saturday Market

Located on the grounds of the Palm Springs Cultural Center, the vendors continue to provide farm-fresh produce.

Hiking

Palm Springs is renowned as a community of great hiking with spectacular views. Trails are open and attract hikers of all degrees of endurance. These hikes also offer the possible chance of seeing our famous mountain sheep. A reminder: Take plenty of water with you and wear a hat. Our sun here is hotter than you might think.

Walks and Bicycling

Each of our neighborhoods takes on its unique kind of personality. Old Las Palmas provides you with a look at mansions built in the late 40s and 50s. Gigantic palm trees and lush plants thrive in the desert air. A walk through the Movie Colony is always enjoyable.

Bike paths are prevalent in Palm Springs. You may want to rent a bike, so you can explore our many streets and view our palatial residents and modernism style homes.

Many of our attractions are closed. Yet, we local citizens never get tired of the sunrises as we sip our coffee in the morning, the sun dancing on the mountains during the day, or cocktails as we watch the sun setting behind these glorious mountains in Palm Springs.

The Cole Hotel and Courtyard

It is time to pack your bags and head to Palm Springs and the fabulously restored retro hotel called The Cole. Locals drop by on weekends for their fabulous brunches.  Even celebrities are starting to discover it, so make your reservations while you still can.

The Cole Hotel Sign

A getaway to Palm Springs offers some spectacular views. By plane, you see the windmills scattered on the Coachella Valley floor. If you are driving in with your convertible top-down, you pass the miles of windmills standing there like soldiers guarding the valley.

Whether arriving by taxi or convertible, The Cole, located on the northernmost end of Palm Springs on Highway 111, is waiting to provide you with every comfort you were dreaming of for your escape from the city.

The Cole Hotel Inviting Entrance

With the soothing sound of the entryway water fountain and the 50s and 60s vibes radiating everywhere from the colorful courtyard, it is easy to start to relax into the casual and fun style that awaits you.

The Cole Hotel Registration and Bar Area.

Gone is the big registration desk one has come to expect. There is no need for one since all your information is already safely guarded in the hotel’s new online registration system. The bartender or the assigned person to check you in will be there to greet you and hand you your card key.

The Cole Hotel Welcome Package

A welcome gift awaits you. Protected by a see-through bag are a mask, sanitizer, and most importantly, a barcode that will help you ease into your lifestyle during your stay. Contained on the barcode are the WIFI password and instructions on running all the appliances in your room. Perhaps, even more importantly, are the food/drink and minibar menus and the pool and open bar hours.

The Cole Hotel Welcome Beverage

Thirsty after your journey? No problem. At the registration desk, cocktails are waiting for you, along with a non-alcoholic drink if you want. Try something new like their cocktails served in a can. Many visitors have decided to take this tasty alternative to a traditional cocktail home with them.

The Cole is a dog-friendly hotel. Since you registered online, they already know the name of your dog. Their pet gift pack includes a “Pet Relief Map” of the grounds with a bag. However, we think your dog will be most pleased with the treat.

The Cole Hotel Art Décor Rooms

With the sun shining and key in hand, it is time to wander up to your room.

Opening the brightly colored door reveals a well-appointed space with contemporary art and sleek furnishings. The high-end linens were carefully selected and their luxurious will make you feel like you are an extraordinary person, indeed.

The Cole Hotel Partnership with Biscuit and Counter

With no full-time chef at present, The Cole developed a partnership with Biscuit and Counter, a new business known for its exquisite, melt-in-your-mouth biscuits. When you stay here Thursday through Sunday, you can order some of these tempting biscuits in a variety of ways. They are so good; you will more likely find locals stopping in for their brunch specials.

The Cole Hotel Swimming Pool and Spa

The Cole’s Manager, David Smith, takes immense pride in his staff. He remarked, “I have an incredible staff, and they have been crossed trained so anyone can handle any request you might have during your relaxing stay.”

“Hopefully, we had handled the little details before you arrived, for your room has been inspected at least three times. But if we missed something, all you have to do is ask.”

The Cole Hotel Manager David Smith

If you didn’t met David earlier, he is sure to wander over while you are sitting by the pool sipping your cocktail. David’s pride in this property is evident with every word he utters. “I have been so fortunate because I have been here from the very beginning. To see it transformed to the vision the owner had has been one of the most extraordinary chapters of my life.”

What are you waiting for? Go online and reserve your room. Yes, we expect to fill up during the summer too, so the sooner you make your travel plans, the better.  There is so much to explore in Palm Springs. However, if you decide you just want to stay by the pool, we have you covered.

We forgot to mention that the Cole shows movies by the pool too. Since it 21 plus hotel, they are not planning on showing any cartoons.

See you soon.

Are you looking for a place with a serene setting to relax and forget about your hectic schedule? Look no further than the Amin Casa boutique hotel, where you can spend hours sitting and listening to the sounds of a three-tiered water fountain and birds chirping. 

Located just steps away from bustling downtown Palm Springs in the Historic Tennis Club neighborhood, you can park your car at Amin Casa and take a rest from the congested roads that may be part of your daily life. If you fly in, no need to rent a vehicle — the airport is a quick 10-minute trip by taxi. 

Amin Casa owner and manager Nelson Cooley. Photo credit: Nadine Conger

Owner and manager Nelson Cooley is quick to bounce out of his office to greet you upon arrival. He has your keys in hand, and the online registration filled out ahead of time told him everything he needs to escort you to one of the property’s eight bungalows, your home for the next few days.

A historic place

This repurposed hotel was once the home of famed Hollywood actress Gloria Swanson, considered one of the most photographed women of her time. Indeed, there are numerous photos around the property of her walking the grounds with people from the entertainment world. It is rumored Joe Kennedy was a frequent visitor, so imagine the entourage he brought with him.

Another interesting factoid: During this period, Swanson was the highest-paid entertainer in the world. She starred as Norma Desmond in the 1950 classic Sunset Boulevard, one of the American Film Institute’s 100 Greatest American Movies of All Time.

The Amin Casa grounds. Photo credit: Nadine Conger

Gorgeous grounds

Swanson recognized quickly that the four-bedroom house needed a swimming pool and, of course, a guest house to help maintain her privacy. The pool and tennis court were added to entertain her guests, who were also summoned to participate in Swanson’s famous movie nights. Today, the tennis court has been replaced by a lawn, which is home to a 100-year-old cactus.

A new chapter 

As Swanson’s career skyrocketed, she decided to sell her home to a newspaper heiress from Rhode Island, and moved to a new place in the Movie Colony neighborhood. The Swanson property was transformed into a hotel, with a kitchen added to the guest house (those quarters still have the original all-oak paneling). The inn was called Arenas Garden Hotel, which gave homage to the road it is located on and the gardens that wind their way through the property. 

New owners bring life back to the property

In recent years, the property languished for lack of visitors and no caretaker to make sure repairs were done. It was becoming an eyesore, and fear was mounting that this beautiful place would come to face the fate of a wrecking ball.  

Cooley and partner Ramon Bautista were frequent visitors to Palm Springs, and when they saw the hotel, they appreciated the architecture of the building and understood its historical significance. By chance, Bautista went to a dinner party in Los Angeles and was seated next to a woman he knew well, who told him, “I need your help. I have a friend who owns a small boutique hotel in Palm Springs inherited from a childhood friend who had no heirs, so he left the place to my friend. She lives in Chicago and does not know what to do with it. Would you look at it?”

Yes, it was the hotel the two men had admired from afar. In March 2016, they bought the property and the work began. Cooley, a former high tech executive, took over the outside and interior structural aspects and day-to-day management of the hotel. Bautista is the mastermind behind interior design while continuing his medical practice in Pasadena, where he specializes in international travel medicine. Their goal was simple: to maintain the integrity of the architectural structure, interior, and grounds

Amin Casa’s bungalows are fully equipped for your stay. Photo credit: Nadine Conger

Staying at the Amin Casa

When getting ready to launch Amin Casa, the men wrote down everything they disliked about going to other hotels. The list included parking fees, resort fees to use the amenities, and extra charges for special cleaning, satellite television, and Wi-Fi. Today, when you go to check out at Amin Casa, you will find no surprises on your bill — everything is included in the cost of your room. 

This hotel heats its pool all year, giving guests the opportunity to swim or read a book and sip a cocktail poolside during winter, spring, summer, and fall. Since Palm Springs has 350 days of sunshine, you can work on your tan at the same time. 

Amin Casa’s sparkling swimming pool. Photo credit: Nadine Conger

Longterm guests are welcome, with many already booked for years to come. Amin Casa’s bungalows are well-appointed with everything one may need to live comfortably — in the deluxe bungalow, I was surprised to see fine china displayed in the glass-door cupboards. If you want to prepare a gourmet dinner for special friends, you have everything you need to impress even the most persnickety.

The bungalows have lovely living rooms, which could be used as part of a movie set. Attention to every detail has been magnificently executed throughout the entire property. 

Yes, there is a great deal of history in this 94-year-old structure. It is one of our premier Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels standing open and ready to invite you to bring your family here for a reunion or a wedding. However, most of the year, it is a beautiful place to relax and meet fascinating people. If you want to escape the real world for a bit, this is the place to step back in time and be pampered. 

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

Four of Palm Springs’ most stunning boutique hotels are featured in a new commercial touting the benefits of a desert vacation.

The Descanso Resort, Fleur Noire, The Art Hotel, and Hotel El Cid all have their moment in the spotlight, showing off their pools, grounds, and hotel decor. The 30-second commercial, “Unique Stays,” makes it clear that staying at a Palm Springs boutique hotel offers an authentic experience guests cannot find at a large hotel or home rental. 

Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels, in collaboration with the Greater Palm Springs Convention and Visitors Bureau and Palm Springs Bureau of Tourism, created the spot. The trio worked with Summerland Creative and JNS Media for production and talent, with Panoramic serving as the agency.

Now is the perfect time to plan an escape to Palm Springs — for residents of the West Coast, it’s a leisurely drive for a playcation or workcation, and domestic and international travelers can easily fly into Palm Springs International Airport. Visit the Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels website to learn more about our unique properties and pick the right boutique hotel for your trip. 

 

 

You made a wise choice to visit Palm Springs, where the sun shines 360 days a year. As you pull up in front of the Avanti Hotel, the contemporary exquisite stone entrance affirms that you also made the right decision for your home away from home…especially if you brought your pup.

The secure hotel requires newcomers to ring the doorbell. Suddenly, Jim Rutledge, the owner, and manager opens the door, for he lives on site. His huge smile and very welcoming greeting immediately help you understand you are about to have a memorable experience.

Pets are always welcome at the Avanti Hotel in Palm Springs.

Dogs are very welcome at Avanti. Next to the registration area is a knee-high dog constructed of real looking plants sitting beside a chalkboard welcoming your dog with their name and a water dish. When is the last time your dog has been welcomed in such a gracious manner?

Avanti View as you enter into the complex.

When you look around the space, you see the spacious pool surrounded by the ten rooms identified by bright sunshine-yellow doors. Framing the doors are full-length beige drapes, which help define each space.

Lucky room 88 at Avanti Hotel in Palm Springs.

If you are fortunate, you will be checked into the lucky room, Room 88. Why the number 88 when there are only ten rooms, you ask?  The number four is considered unlucky by those with traditional Chinese beliefs. When management learned about the number four, they had already numbered all the rooms. Since eight is deemed lucky, they decided to make room number four twice as lucky by labeling it 88.

The hot tub is open 24/7 at the Avanti Hotel.

It is not often you will find a spacious hot tub separated from the main pool. In this case, it is not only separated from the main pool, but it also has its own private walled space. Comfy benches are strategically placed around the perimeter, and artwork adorns the walls. Once again, the long beige drapes make an appearance adding to the elegance of space.

The jacuzzi holds 12 people. Can you imagine having a retreat here and saying, Let’s meet at the hot tub for a brainstorming session? By the way, the hot tub and pool are open 24 hours a day. However, there are rules, and they will be enforced.

Avanti Hotel patios offers refuge from the world.

 

Four rooms have kitchenettes and one a full kitchen. So even though snacks are freely available, it is good to know you can prepare your own romantic dinner if you so choose.  Or order from a Palm Springs restaurant that will deliver meals complete with cocktails. Some of the rooms have large patios with a dining table. These patios are an excellent place to hang out if you want to do some quiet reading.

Breakfast is Served Poolside at the Avant Hotel in Palm Springs.

Breakfast is served around the pool. As Jim was quick to point out, it is a cold breakfast. However, there is more than enough to get you on your way for the day.

After a day of sightseeing, you will want to get back for Happy Hour, which will be the perfect time to mingle with other guests, often from other countries. For example, the Avanti has the same visitor from Iceland come back a year and after year.

Avanti owner and Manager Jim Rutledge with doggy diva Maya

Jim Rutledge is the owner and has been watching over the development of the space for ten years. Here he is pictured with his companion, Maya, who is the diva of the Avanti.

He keeps a close pulse on the community. Thus, guests have access to a wealth of information to decide how they spend their time exploring the Coachella Valley.

When asked what brings him joy about living here and managing the Avanti, his reply was with a large smile, “It’s the people I meet from all over the world.”