January 8, 2020
We've curated a selection of extraordinary boutique hotels in Palm Springs, CA — chosen by our experts and rated by our guests after verified stays. Tablet Hotels is your source for discovering the world's most interesting boutique hotels (we've been doing this for 20 years and now we're part of the Michelin family) — places where you'll find a memorable experience, not just a room for the night. Here's our top 5 Palm Springs boutique hotels:
Founded in 1936 by the (alleged) mobster Al Wertheimer, it became a favorite of the Hollywood in-crowd before they eventually decamped for more distant destinations. But now, a couple of name changes later, the refurbished and redesigned Colony Palms Hotel is once again a luxe and stylish destination, one that consciously recalls the glamour of the golden age of Hollywood — and Palm Springs — even as it attracts a new generation of boutique hotel travelers.
There's a pool and a spa, the latter a 65-foot salt-water affair, which is naturally Moroccan-themed as well. And the hotel's restaurant, the Purple Palm, is more than a hotel kitchen — it's an upscale Mediterranean fixture on the Palm Springs dining scene, serving inventive modern dishes paired with wines from California and around the world.
This boutique hotel has racked up an impressive number of names in its seventy-year history. Once Gene Autry's Melody Ranch estate, it was, for a time, the Merv Griffin Resort, then the Givenchy Hotel and Spa — and now, after a substantial rethink by lifestyle designer Jonathan Adler, it's back; this time as The Parker Palm Springs Hotel.
And its new style is difficult to pin down as well — it's been described as "hippie chic," but its promiscuous blend of periods and references is an Adler trademark, and alternately recalls the Mod Sixties, the feel-good Seventies, and the classic Rat Pack vibe that Palm Springs is known for.
Hope Springs references two aspects of classic Californiana at once — on the one hand, the mid-century modernist roadside motel (whose resurgence we just can't get enough of), and on the other, the natural hot springs that are the hotel's main attraction. It's the sort of thing that maybe should go without saying, but these days is too easily overlooked: the "springs" in Palm Springs is there for a reason.
Nowadays it's mostly a mecca for golfers, and mid-century architecture obsessives, but once upon a time this corner of the desert — specifically Desert Hot Springs, twenty minutes outside Palm Springs proper — was known for its geothermal waters. After extensive renovations it's down to just ten pared-down minimalist-chic rooms, which adds to the private-retreat aspect of the place — it's on a whole different scale from the typical Palm Springs resort.
At Holiday House, a 28-room boutique hotel in downtown Palm Springs, there's no messing about with superior, deluxe, and the like: the room categories are Good, Better, and Best. And the good is pretty good, indeed. Good means bright and cheerful, with original artwork, bath hardware by Waterworks, and custom textiles by Mark D. Sikes, the same Hollywood-based designer who reimagined the hotel's interiors during recent restorations.
Better means bigger, in this case, with a wet bar for good measure. And Best means mountain views, plus a private balcony or patio where you can properly enjoy them. (If the Best isn't quite good enough, look into one of Holiday House's top-of-the-line options, the aptly named Big Room or The Suite.)
Take a hint from the word-of-mouth publicity, the quiet poolside crowd in retro swimwear, and the understated logo — a minimalist illustration of two little birds perched on a branch. Sparrows Lodge is not aiming for the mainstream.
Recycled from the Fifties and refreshed for a style-conscious clientele, this woodsy hideaway is the kind of place where people play horseshoes, swing wooden tennis rackets and read books by their private campfires. At night, the property's original red barn opens for dinner and drinks. It's like a dreamy hipster version of the summer camp of your childhood — complete with artisan cocktails and deep, luxurious bathtubs fashioned out of old horse troughs.
Considering the mini-Renaissance of Palm Springs as a weekend getaway for cool LA kids working in design and fashion, there's certainly a place for a rustic-chic ranch in this corner of the desert. And unlike many of Palm Springs's boutique hotels, the twenty-room Sparrows Lodge has a distinctly outdoorsy vibe: think built-in redwood furniture, tin roofs, patio fireplaces, stone floors, earth tones, exposed beams.
View our entire selection of Palm Springs Boutique Hotels