The dreamy properties that tell the story of Palm Springs are the same ones you’ll want to hole up in for days.
Palm Springs has been through a multitude of incarnations over the last century—from Old Hollywood hangout, to spring break headquarters, to struggling tourist town, to one of California’s most beloved and unique resort cities. That last one is a title it proudly holds today, after reinventing itself as a glamorous desert getaway. To get here, it rode the wave of mid-century modernism’s rebirth to become internationally renowned for its architecture, art and design, one-of-a-kind vintage shops, endless outdoor activities, and the hot spots A-listers descend upon during the juggernaut that is the Coachella music festival.
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The best Palm Springs hotels are as wide-ranging as the area’s visitors; whether you’re seeking a tranquil boutique hotel, sprawling resort, or retro design motel with a shiny facelift, it’s as easy to find the perfect place to stay as it is to spend all day sitting by a sparkling pool, in dreamy desert weather with nothing but mountain views for miles. Here’s where to find them.
La Serena Villas
If you’ve done the midcentury thing before, opt for this Spanish hacienda-style property with just 18 private bungalows, a quiet pool, breezy restaurant, and flowing margaritas. The adults-only property draws mainly couples (of all ages) looking for R&R, along with locals who hit poolside restaurant Azucar and rooftop bar Sugar High for evening cocktails under the stars. Bungalows are decidedly design-forward, with a mix of Spanish, Moroccan, and boho styles, and feel even larger than they are thanks to vaulted ceilings with exposed beams. Every room category comes with its own private courtyard patio equipped with a fire pit, bench seating, and clawfoot tub for soaking under the sky and many also come with front porches boasting bamboo swings. Inside you’ll find Frette linens and towels, L’Occitane bath products, and Keurig coffee makers.
Kimpton The Rowan Palm Springs Hotel
A full-service hotel smack in the center of town, the tallest building (at seven stories) in Palm Springs is also the only hotel in the entire Coachella Valley with a rooftop pool. Thanks to its height, rooftop pool, and plenty of passing foot traffic, The Rowan has more of a real-deal city vibe than most of the resort-feeling properties in town, drawing a crowd that varies in age and demographic, but often skews heavy on business travelers here for onsite meetings and conferences, as well as travelers with pets in tow. It feels modern while still honoring the city’s midcentury roots and desert location, with rooms featuring light-wood floors, hairpin-legged nightstands, leather desk chairs, cool blue accent rugs, framed topographical maps, and the especially novel tiled walls serving as headboards. Bathrooms feel fresh with large, glass-enclosed showers accented by glossy subway tiles. All rooms feature floor-to-ceiling windows, and many have balconies—with corner rooms offering wraparound options. Once you step out of the lobby, you’re mere yards from the city’s bustling main drag and within walking distance of most of Palm Springs’ highlights—shopping, dining and live music, hiking, museums, and many new public art installations. Those looking for a more private, off-the-beaten-path location will likely want to head elsewhere.
ARRIVE Palm Springs
One of the liveliest hotels in the area, this modern and comfortable boutique property centers around its massive pool and plentiful communal spaces built for socializing—with fire pit-flanked seating areas, outdoor games, and an indoor/outdoor bar—along with a fun-filled event calendar. The hotel is meant for mingling (and a prime pick for a solo traveler), with marble ping pong tables, fire pits encircled by low-slung seating where guests gather after sundown, DJ nights, drive-in movies, and drag bingo. The design gives a salute to Palm Springs’ fabled mid-century style via clerestory windows and butterfly rooflines, and the property, which includes an open-air restaurants plus an ice-cream shop, is also surrounded by a few solid restaurants. It’s a short drive (or a mile walk) from the retail-heavy Uptown Design District. Rooms definitely reflect the locale, with clerestory windows, cactus-flower and palm-print wallpaper, rose-pink velvet platform beds, leather seating, and brightly colored mini fridges, along with marble bathrooms. Appreciated extras come in the form of Egyptian cotton linens, robes, Malin + Goetz bath products, work desks, and automatic shades. With just two categories, you simply choose between a studio room or one with a patio—worth the upgrade for its private outdoor seating and fireplace.
One of Palm Springs’ newest properties is a hidden oasis on the north end of town with original custom floral murals throughout, lots of cute communal spaces, and a secret rosé bar that’s been getting plenty of buzz. The intimate property centers around single-story, Spanish-style stucco buildings that house 21 rooms and suites under their tiled roofs. All are boldly covered in colorfully hand-painted murals, and the hotel grounds boast a mix of native desert plantings interwoven with shady, green-barked palo verde trees. Guests can order dinner from standout sushi restaurant Sandfish, which sits behind the hotel, to enjoy in either their room or anywhere else on the property. In the morning, there’s a continental breakfast of pastries, juice, and coffee in the “clubhouse,” where you’ll also find snacks and non-alcoholic drinks you’re welcome to grab throughout the day. One of the hotel’s signature offerings is its pretty-in-pink (and uber-Instagrammable) La Boisson speakeasy rosé bar, tucked behind pink French doors around the side of the property. Open to guests only at the moment, you simply ring the bell and a staff member will appear, ready to pour you a glass.
Holiday House Palm Springs
With just 28 rooms, the recently remodeled Holiday House in Palm Springs has all the luxurious amenities of a large hotel, but with an intimate, relaxed atmosphere. Points for its pristine white facade, impressive art collection (including David Hockney and Roy Liechtenstein), and gorgeous pool surrounded by mountains and towering palm trees. This is definitely an Instagram-worthy hotel, if there ever was one.
Colony Palms Hotel
This luxuriously private adults-only hotel from celebrated celebrity designer Steve Hermann is in the heart of Palm Springs but has a more laid-back, exclusive vibe than its neighbors. (Think The Beverly Hills Hotel meets the desert.) Firepits and private nooks are sprinkled throughout the property, centered on a verdant, palm-tree-lined pool shimmering below the San Jacinto Mountains. Bold statement wallpapering, sky-high ceilings, and plenty of greenery are the through lines across the room categories, with suites offering private verandas with garden seating. Chef Michael Hung has upped the ante for poolside dining at The Colony Club, where you’ll find excellent spins on California Mediterranean cooking.
Villa Royale, Palm Springs
If you’re looking for a romantic getaway or a rest-and-recharge respite, this tucked-away boutique hotel with tranquil courtyard pools and trickling fountains set amongst Old Californian-style buildings is a no-brainer. Guests are hipsters, babymooners, and bachelorettes splayed out on the cushioned lounge chairs or under the massive communal cabana on any given sunny day. Juxtaposed against 1940s Old California architecture and vintage paned windows, rooms are firmly planted in a midcentury aesthetic with vintage-style credenzas, mahogany wood paneling, and pops of turquoise and avocado green with a dash of free-spirited art pulling from a commissioned collection of custom oil paintings of famous faces like Debbie Harry and Charles Bronson. Impala suites are extra comfortable with living rooms, bars, kitchenettes, and separate bedrooms with king beds. All bathrooms feature glass-enclosed tiled showers. Onsite restaurant Del Rey draws both locals and visitors to its sexy fireplace-flanked lounge and 12-seat bar slinging inventive cocktails that guests can pair with a tapas-heavy menu.
Parker Palm Springs
Both the luxe-est and largest property in Palm Springs at 13 acres, the sprawling Jonathan Adler-designed Hollywood Regency-style hotel is posh, kitschy, whimsical, and service-centric all at once. Located on the very south end of town on a non-descript stretch of Palm Canyon Drive across from a car dealership group, once you make it through the gate and up the curling driveway you’ll feel truly transported. Formerly the estate of Western movie star Gene Autry, the Parker is hands down one of the area’s most unique places to stay. Though the entire property is huge by Palm Springs standards, it still manages to feel private and exclusive thanks to the sprawling layout, spread-out structures, and hidden hangouts at every turn, including a croquet lawn, Pétanque courts, firepit seating areas, and two perfect pools. Though you’ll need a car or Uber to get anywhere else noteworthy, you’ll likely just want to hunker down here your entire stay and get your money’s worth.
L’Horizon Resort & Sp
L.A.-based residential designer Steve Hermann spent two years (and millions of dollars) turning the historic William F. Cody–designed L’Horizon into a luxurious boutique hotel. He didn’t alter the footprint much—the main house and 25 bungalows were built in 1952—but he added an open-air spa and an alfresco restaurant and gut-renovated the interiors. Hermann wanted the decor to work with the mid-century architecture without creating a time warp. As such, each bungalow is a mix of modern (custom hair-on-hide rugs, industrial-chic machined brass lighting and fixtures) and vintage (furniture from Percival Lafer, Mullhauser, Knoll, and Katavolos). And while it is a fun hotel, more private club than frat party, it’s also a place for quiet indulgences: The pool is guests-only; unexpected treats are brought to your room every afternoon (could be a scoop of ice cream, could be a shot of tequila); and roaming poolside therapists offer complimentary foot and shoulder massages. Request a west-facing bungalow with an outdoor shower and watch the sun go down over the San Jacinto Mountains while shampooing.