Designer Desert Hotels in Palm Springs

Stay in stylish and historic modernist hotels whether you’re on a budget or looking for exotic luxury on your Palm Springs vacation.

There’s a hip hotel for every budget when planning a Palm Springs vacation. So many hotels, so much style—from luxury lodgings to boutique bargains. So just how does one determine where to stay in Palm Springs?

While there are the usual hotel chains (the Hyatt is nice—and conveniently located on Palm Canyon Drive), the cool Palm Springs accommodations are the mid-century gems that have been tastefully spiffed up, redone and renovated with contemporary tastes in mind. Every year, a few more get added to the limelight. Here are some favorite Palm Springs lodging choices, for budgets big and small.

Del Marcos Hotel: How Low Can You Go?

Decent rooms from $49 per night? What year is this? Yes, the Del Marcos Hotel lists $49 as the price for its standard room, with deluxe rooms from $161 per night and suites from $189 per night. And this is high season.

This hotel was designed in 1947 by William Cody, known for his desert architecture, and has 16 rooms with private patios or balconies. While up to date, it’s not as stylish as the others on this list, but at $49 a night, it’s not half bad. Wireless Internet is free—and so is the parking. There’s some retro flair, the modernist bones of the original place are intact, and it’s a block from downtown Palm Springs.

From $49 per night. 225 W. Baristo Road. Tel 800-676-1214.

The Horizon Hotel: All Spiffed Up

This newcomer (newly renovated, that is) is still wet behind the ears, which is probably why it looks so spiffy and white. This 1952 modernist statement was also designed by renowned architect William Cody and began its life as the homestead of oilman Jack Wrather. In the Horizon Hotel’s heyday, Betty Grable, Marilyn Monroe and Rosalind Russell could have been found poolside. Today, it’s ready for you with 22 sleek rooms on 2.5 acres.

With retro style, the amenities are as up-to-the-minute as they come: European beds, Italian cotton linens and sharp white bathrooms. Even an outdoor shower! Feel like staying indoors? There’s a cozy robe and an LCD TV with free DVD rentals. Then step outside to the angular pool and chemical-free natural therapy pools. There’s a Jacuzzi and a nifty poolside bar. Mornings at the Horizon begin with a complimentary newspaper and a continental breakfast. And it all comes with spectacular mountain views.

Rates start at $139 per night. 1050 E. Palm Canyon Drive. Tel.800-377-7855.

Movie Colony Hotel: High Style, Low Price

In the Movie Colony neighborhood lies the Movie Colony Hotel. This enclave of 170 homes in downtown Palm Springs still goes by its old moniker from the days when Cary Grant, Marilyn Monroe, Jack Benny and Dinah Shore were among its many famous residents. The Movie Colony Hotel has been renovated to perfection. Today, it’s simple, modern and chic. The bedding is luxe and the robes are comfy. You can almost feel like a Movie Colony resident if you go for one of the poolside townhouses. Other rooms have private patios to gaze upon the mountains and starry skies above. 

Luxuriate inside and catch a film on the DVD player. Or venture out during the sunset wine hour for a glass of one of California’s best around the outdoor fire pit. Breakfast is included—and with rooms starting at $129 a night (depending on the season), that’s even more incentive to consider the Movie Colony.

Classic Rooms start at $129 per night, from April 1 to May 31. Summer 2009 rates start at $99 per night. 726 N. Indian Canyon Drive. Tel. 888 953-5700.

Viceroy Palm Springs: Small Scale, Big Statement

I stayed at the Viceroy Palm Springs over Christmas and I have to admit, I didn’t see much more than our incredibly comfortable room. After a busy few days with family, my husband and I were ready to relax and this place made it easy. The weather was cool, so the pools—all three of them—weren’t all that inviting—although heated to a perfect pitch and pretty as a picture. Our Premium Studio was all black, white and yellow with a Hollywood kind of glamour designed by Kelly Wearstler of Top Design fame—she’s the judge with the really out-there clothes. (Read our review of the Wearstler-designed Viceroy Miami hotel.)

Two big comfortable beds beckoned and movies were delivered for the DVD. Add a platter of cheese and some champagne, and it was as cozy as could be. There’s a small bar and restaurant called Citron. The hotel is close to town, but on a smaller street off Palm Canyon Drive that gives it a more serene feel. Other hotel features include complimentary bikes for guests and the charming full-service Estrella Spa.

The cool thing about the Viceroy is that it’s a collection of magical-looking areas linked by beautifully landscaped pathways. There are courtyards with pools (one specifically for kids), and several options for rooms, from individual units to more traditional hotel buildings. And it all seems to have a little fairy dust.

Double rates from $95 midweek now on the Web site; standard rates start at $135. 415 S. Belardo Road. Tel. 760-320-4117.

Parker Palm Springs: Oasis Inside an Oasis

My husband loved the mattress in our room so much that he found out the make from the concierge; it’s called Miralux—and now we sleep on one at home. The Parker Palm Springs has by far the best bath amenities I have ever seen: full sizes of all kinds of cool stuff—from lip balm to sunscreen, and all the necessities, too. And we were just in a regular room!

The Jonathan Adler décor is a mélange of ‘60s and ‘70s retro cool. And the public areas are fun to hang out in, whether indoors or out. The grounds here are both cozy and immense. They feel like a collection of outdoor living rooms with exotic lighting fixtures hanging from trees—and small seating areas are strategically sprinkled around the property. The pools are pretty and the pool menu is on a plastic spritz bottle of water. Want to work out? There’s no finer fitness center than the Palm Springs Yacht Club. Housed in its own building, this fashionable facility has treatment rooms, an indoor pool and a spacious gym that’s state of the art.

The Parker attracts a stylish crowd. Food and drinks are costly, but delicious. And no matter how many magazine spreads have featured The Parker Palm Springs, you’re treated like a valued guest every time you pull up in front. No attitude here. (Hint: Once you stay, you’ll get e-mails for occasional super low rates, sometimes as low as $99 midweek.)

Rates start at $315 per night. 4200 E. Palm Canyon Drive. Tel. 760-770-5000. 

Destinations: Palm Springs

Themes: Luxury Travel

Activities: Sleep

User Comments

I have been to the Parker and it was FANTASTIC. I loved the atmosphere. Nice article, I learned about a few hotels I didn't know about.