Palm Springs is so hot (haute) right now. No, like it’s literally 110 degrees. And like, literally the most trendy place you can vacation. I grew up going to the desert to visit family so there is something so natural about being there for me. There is nothing like that first blast of hot air as you get out the air-conditioned car upon arrival. Updated July, 2015.
Living in Orange County, Palm Springs is about an hour and a half away and super easy to get to. What once was a place that I went with friends or my husband has turned in to a place our kids like to go as well. This post is not particularly family focused I simply wanted to share my favorite hotels in Palm Springs. These are not listed in any particular ranking. For me, choosing the hotel is based on many factors such as who I am traveling with and the overall mood for the trip.
I love the Ace Hotel. And yes, so does everyone else. This is the most hipstery of the bunch but also just really well done. I have never had anything other than a great time here. I have stayed her with girlfriend’s, my husband and my family all on separate visits. The atmosphere is totally casual and relaxed. The rooms are well-appointed with good amenities. Concrete floors, slat walls and cool furnishings abound. If you go, be sure to book a room with a patio. It gives you the extra space to hang out and have friends over if you go in a group. For families, they offer an awesome room that has a king size bed and two twins along one wall. The staff is always friendly and my soul feels good here. And they play really good music at the pool and serve adult snow cones. Done. This is not downtown so you will need to take a car to get to some of the best restaurants. But there is a great little Koffi shop within walking distance across the street. You should plan on eating at least on breakfast at King’s Highway, the hotel coffee shop. They get it right every time.
Another place I find I return again and again is The Riviera. This one is a short drive from downtown Palm Springs but on many visits, I never leave the property. The vibe is all Hollywood Regency here with crystaly chandeliers and amazing patterns all around. There is something about the beds at this hotel! I sleep really good when I stay here. The pool tends to get really crowded on weekends making renting a cabana worth while. The spa services are fantastic and the on-site restaurants are delicious. I’ve never taken my kids here but I do see families there every time I go. Be sure to take special note of where your room is located as all of the buildings look remarkably similar with that graphic wallpaper. You may find yourself walking in circles, just sure you’ve found your room at 2 o’clock in the morning, only to determine that you haven’t. Not that this has happened to me…
The Alcazar is newer to town and a nice little place. It is totally no frills with a slight nod to design. The rooms are all white with sparse, rustic furniture. The pool was small and quiet when we stayed here, but that was mid-week. It might GO OFF! on the weekends. I love the location. While you are not directly downtown, you have two amazing restaurants, Cheeky’s and Birba (both run by the hotel) a short corridor away. There are several other dining options within walking distance making it the perfect place to stay and play with no driving required. I stayed her with my mom and she enjoyed it very much. I don’t recall seeing a single handle bar mustache or PBR. Well maybe at Birba…
Ah, the Viceroy. I haven’t stayed here in years! But I have been back several times to eat at Citron, the on site restaurant. This hotel also has a bit of that Hollywood Regency vibe. Everything is on a smaller scale here. The lobby is tiny and the rooms are comfortable but not especially spacious. There are two pools on site which get crowded very early during summer, weekend mornings. If you are with a group, be prepared to get there early or not sit all together in one group. I have not had any spa services here but several of my friends have fond memories of their time there. This hotel is within walking distance to the downtown nightlife and restaurants which makes it really fun for going in a group that wants to spend a night on the town. Updated to note that the Viceroy is now the Avalon Hotel. They have updated Citron to Chi Chi and the decor has changed a bit. It still looks awesome, although I haven’t been there in person to check out all the changes yet.
Who doesn’t love the bold use of color at The Saguaro? The rooms here are just fine. They were brightly colored but not particularly special. They are clean but not high quality. But the rest of the hotel is awesome. There are delicious restaurants on site as well as a nice sized pool and bocce ball. If you feel up to braving the 100 degree weather, you can rent a bike and ride around town (although the hotel is not downtown and the only thing in the area is a shopping center across the street with a grocery store and a few fast food restaurants). Or hang out in the lobby and play a game of ping-pong. I love the atmosphere here and their margaritas and guacamole are my fave! I have not brought my kids to stay here yet but totally would.
There are several other places I have stayed in and around Palm Springs. And there are several that I really want to check out. The Parker (above) is one of those places. We have eaten there and played around the grounds, but never stayed overnight. I hear great things about it. And if the Jonathan Adler designed lobby is any indication, I know that I would love the rooms.
The Korakia looks ridiculous. In a good way. And I would love to check it out this year. The Colony Palms looks small but fun. Their pool area has an amazing maroon and white striped cabana that is calling my name. And although the Hard Rock Hotel has some great deals, I would skip it. The ambiance is cool with the rock memorabilia and the location is great but…I’m not a hotel basher but I’ve been here 3 times now and have had issues on every single visit. Most often the air conditioning hasn’t worked which, in Palm Springs, is a HUGE deal.
For families, check out my post on Rancho Las Palmas.
On my most recent visit to the desert I stayed with some girlfriends at the Renaissance Indian Wells. This place was lovely. It is a resort, so the grounds and hotel are huge. definitely go with a corner room, pictured above, to get a little extra space. This resort is super family friendly but totally works for a relaxed girl’s trip. There are several dining options on property which means you never have to leave. Sirocco Pizza Company was delicious and we ate there two nights of our trip.
There are two large pool areas, one with a walk in sandy beach. We skipped the super busy pools during the day and headed out closer to dinner time when the crowds died down. Drinks are still available from the lobby bar and there is music on, etc. But you don’t have to fight for loungers and the heat is much more bearable. We also had coffee by the pool one morning while it was still quiet. It’s a beautiful set up with some cabanas available for rent.
After staying at the Renaissance Indian Wells, I would also be interested in checking out the Renaissance in down town Palm Springs. The rooms were really well-appointed and nice and the staff was phenomenal so I would certainly consider checking out one of their other properties. I also prefer this to Rancho Las Palmas in terms of where I would want to come with my family. While Rancho Las Palmas has a full water park and lazy river, I really loved the vibe of the Renaissance Indian Wells and think my family would love this property as well.
For families I also recommend looking in to renting a house with a pool (NOTE: the north end of town gets crazy windy and can really hamper your outdoor time and make swimming pools pretty chilly). Having a kitchen makes it really nice for handling meals and snacks with kids. Looking for a little pampering during your stay? Hire this private chef to cook you dinner one night! One of the best meals I’ve ever had.
Where is your favorite place to stay in Palm Springs?