Amin Casa embodies the quiet sophistication of Palm Springs, with a twist of old Hollywood glamour.

Once the residence of actress Gloria Swanson, Amin Casa made its debut in the Historic Tennis Club neighborhood in November 2016, following several months of major renovations both inside and out. “Amin” means “ours” in Tagalog, while “casa” is Spanish for “home,” and owners Ramon Bautista and Nelson Cooley want it to feel like “your home away from home.”

“On property, guests will find the relaxing, club-like ambiance and genuine, heartfelt hospitality they have come to treasure,” Ramon said.

The compound dates back to the 1920s, and when fully occupied, the property only accommodates 14 guests, adults only. The bungalows come with living rooms, kitchens complete with microwaves, coffeemakers, blenders, and dishes, eco-friendly toiletries, and bathrobes and slippers, plus the Swanson residence with two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a fireplace, and the property’s largest kitchen. There are stunning gardens, fountains, a swimming pool, cabanas, and an outdoor dining area with a grilling station.

Above all else, Ramon and Nelson, who have experience at some of the finest hotels in the world, strive to give the patrons of Amin Casa one thing: “Intuitive, gracious service provided by a staff passionate about pleasing our guests.”

There are only a few places to have a destination wedding in these United States where it’s pretty much guaranteed you’ll have sunny skies, and Palm Springs is one of them. This is a big little town, intimate but offering a lot for your guests to do. The airport is international, and as far as airports go, it’s adorable.

So, if that’s a consideration for you, have a peek at some of the things our romantic little town has to offer to make your big day the best wedding ever. As an FYI, I’m going to split this into two blogs, because there are a lot of options and I don’t want you to miss any.

Say “I do” at your boutique hotel

Pink Bougainvillea covering the building at Casa Cody boutique hotel in Palm Springs, California

Gorgeous bougainvillea cover the buildings at Casa Cody. Photo courtesy of Casa Cody

Rather than getting ready somewhere else and shoving your gorgeous dress into a carriage of some sort, why not stay where you’re going to marry and have the reception there too? In fact, why not have everyone stay there? If your wedding is on the smaller scale, you can accomplish this and make it one of the most memorable weekends of your life — and your guests’ lives! There’s plenty to do in Palm Springs, and you can plan activities galore or let your pals entertain themselves until the moment you walk down that aisle. 

Alcazar — Warm and modern, the Alcazar describes itself as a “serene, peaceful oasis.” Open since 2011, the hotel’s 34 rooms and gathering areas are sleek and stylish. The outdoor space also dazzles, boasting a saltwater purified pool, cooling misters, garden courtyard, and fire and water walls. For an excellent meal, you don’t have to go far — the breakfast hot spot Cheeky’s and Italian-focused Birba are right next door.

Casa Cody — The old-world charm and opulence of Palm Springs is on display at Casa Cody, where the contemporary interiors strike a delicate balance of sophistication with a sense of playfulness. This is a Class 1 historic site with 30 rooms across several historic structures and freestanding homes. There’s Olympic Cottage, which housed athletes during the Los Angeles 1932 Summer Olympics; Winter’s House, an original 1930s California ranch house; Adobe House, a true adobe built in the early 1900s and one of a handful still standing in Palm Springs; and the quaint and cozy Harriet’s Cottage.  

A giant mural of yellow and blue flowers at Fleur Noire Hotel in Palm Springs, California

The flower murals make Fleur Noire come alive. Courtesy of Fleur Noire Hotel

Fleur Noire — The 21 Spanish-style casitas, studios, and standard rooms each have their own distinct look, courtesy of interior designer Chris Pardo and wallpaper designer Ellie Cashman. Before guests even get to their rooms, they are dazzled by the stunning outdoor murals of desert flowers created by artist Ouize and greeted by staff with a welcome drink. Expect furnishings inspired by the mid-century modern era, pink Keurig coffee makers, and refrigerators that are stocked daily with complimentary water. The heated pool is original to the property and is the centerpiece of the hotel. The grounds are covered with native desert plants and shaded by palo fierro trees, and guests are invited to linger around the fire pits. Fleur Noire has a clubhouse with a communal pantry, lounge seating, and working and dining areas.

Ingleside Inn — This 30-room Spanish Colonial Revival-style property was once owned by a wealthy automaker, but was transformed in the 1930s by Ruth Hardy. This Palm Springs pioneer turned it into an invitation-only private club, where everyone from Elizabeth Taylor to Ava Gardner to Marlon Brando stayed and Carole Lombard and Clark Gable honeymooned. The Inn is also home to Melvyn’s Restaurant, where diners can indulge in Frank Sinatra’s favorite dish, the Steak Diane, and enjoy tableside food preparation.

A beautiful courtyard fountain at Korakia Pensione in Palm Springs, California

The perfect wedding backdrop. Photo courtesy of Korakia Pensione

Korakia Pensione — The historic 28-room property says it “blends the silhouette of Tangier with a whisper of the Mediterranean,” and is the perfect escape. There are two restored historic villas with spacious rooms featuring wood-beamed ceilings, stone showers, balconies, private patios, French doors, and antique and handmade furniture. The Moroccan villa was built in 1924 as a hideaway of Scottish painter Gordon Coutts, who wanted to recreate his earlier life in Tangier, and the courtyard is filled with fountains, date palms, and a stone waterfall. You can book massage treatments in the spa lodge, but plan on spending much of your time in one of the two heated saltwater pools, boasting views of the San Jacinto Mountains.

L’Horizon — Truly elegant, L’Horizon is the flagship of Steve Hermann Hotels, and was originally designed in 1952 by William F. Cody as a retreat for television producer and oil tycoon Jack Wrather and his actress wife, Bonita “Bunny” Granville. The 28 light and bright rooms are spaced across three acres and feel more like private residences, with such luxuries as Frette bed linens, Nespresso coffee machines, smart TVs and Le Labo toiletries. The property is also home to SOPA, a gourmet restaurant and cocktail lounge and The Spa, which offers massages, body treatments, and facials.

Smoke Tree Ranch —You have to actually book here, or know someone who did, to get through the gates. That’s how special it is. There are 49 cottages, from quaint and quietly secluded bungalows to hip and modern poolside-hangouts. I’ve heard it’s in the “Awesome” category, but you’ll have to check it out yourself. I’ve never been.

Rocky ledges and palms surround the beautiful pool at Sparrows Lodge Hotel in Palm Springs, California

The Sparrows Lodge pool is a natural gathering place for guests. Photo courtesy of Sparrows Lodge

Sparrows Lodge — When it was first built in 1952 for actor Don Castle and his wife, Zetta, the property was known as Castle’s Red Barn. In 2013, it underwent a full restoration, but its spirit remains the same, and guests often remark on its rustic yet modern feel. There are no televisions or telephones in the 22 rooms, to ensure that guests are unplugged during their stay. Horseshoes outside, a communal barn, an outdoor fire pit, a vegetable garden, and a spectacular pool. The Barn Kitchen whips up simple yet delightful breakfasts for guests as part of their room rate. 

Okay, that’s it for small hotels and resorts where you can put the entire wedding party and hold the wedding. In the next post, we’ll talk about bridal party options as well as where you might house your guests, a different event space, and some bakers in Palm Springs. See you soon!