No matter what time of year you head to the desert, the Coachella Valley is a fun place to visit. If you’re not sure where to stay I’m sharing what I think are the best hotels in Palm Springs and the surrounding area.Palm Springs is so haute right now. I grew up going to the desert to visit family and it is one of my favorite places to be. There is nothing like that first blast of hot air as you get out the air-conditioned car upon arrival. Updated January, 2018.
Palm Springs is awesome because there is as much to do or as little to do, depending on the goal of your trip. If you want to veg out by a pool and not leave the resort, you can do that. If you want to explore for hours and simply find a place to rest your head, that’s fine too. No two trips have to be the same which is awesome. It’s great for families and friend trips and great year round (although some restaurants close in the off season! Be sure to check business hours before heading out!).Living in Orange County, Palm Springs is about an hour and a half away and super easy to get to. This post is not particularly family focused, I simply wanted to share what I think are the best 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, the overall mood for the trip and price. You can often find great deals on sites like Travelzoo. But don’t even think about trying to plan a trip during the Coachella or Stage Coach music festivals! Prices sky rocket!
Ace Hotel and Swim Club
I love the Ace Hotel. 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’ve 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. During peak times the pool can be really crowded and the crowd is too cool for school. In my opinion this party scene is more kid friendly than you’ll find at The Saguaro.
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 most places. There is a great little coffee shop, called Koffi, right across the street and Mr. Lyon’s (a crazy good lounge and steak house) is a 2 minute Uber ride down the street. But you should plan on eating at least one breakfast at King’s Highway, the hotel coffee shop, though. Their food is fantastic.
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 left the property. This hotel was recently remodeled and under new management and I’m dying to check it out. These photos are from an older visit when the vibe was all Hollywood Regency here with crystaly chandeliers and amazing patterns throughout the common areas. There is something about the beds at this hotel! I sleep really well when I stay here. The pool tends to get really crowded on weekends which makes renting a cabana worth while.
The spa services were fantastic and the on-site restaurants were quite tasty. I was particularly fond of the spicy margarita, but like I said, they’ve recently mades some changes so I don’t know what the restaurants are serving now. 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… Alcazar
The Alcazar is a nice little place. It’s totally no frills with a nod to clean 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, but I doubt it. I love the location. While you are not directly downtown, you have two amazing restaurants, Cheeky’s and Birba within walking distance down a short corridor. There are several other dining options within walking distance making it the perfect place to stay and play with no driving required. I stayed here on a mother/daughter getaway and it was quiet and relaxing. I’m not sure I’d bring the kids here but it is perfect for a couples getaway. The Saguaro
I don’t love it. I used to stay here because you could find great deals. And who doesn’t love the bold use of color? But the rooms here are just ok. They had a minor update a few years ago and have a new management company. Which I think might have improved the rooms slightly but the service isn’t excellent. So why include it on a Best Hotels in Palm Springs post? Because people see the color and instantly are drawn to it. But I wanted you to know my thoughts.
While there are photo opps with the bright-colored walls and furnishings around every corner, that doesn’t mean you can slack on the hospitality part of running a hotel. If you are looking for a room to stay in and not for a resort where you feel like you can get all your needs met, this is fine. I have seen kids here but in summer, the pool gets cray with LA hipsters and it’s drunk city. If that’s not your vibe, look elsewhere.
Renaissance Indian Wells
I’ve stayed at the Renaissance Indian Wells on a girlfriend’s trip and also with family. And I loved it for both. Although it is set way out on the far edge of the valley, there are still awesome dining options in the area if you want to go off property. But this 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 with a big lobby to hang out in and a huge pool complex. But it totally works for a relaxed girl’s trip too. 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 girlfriend trip and one night as a family. The rooms are clean and comfortable and you can often find great deals on Travelzoo.
There are two large pool areas, one with a walk in sandy beach. With the girls 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. On our family trip, we rented a Cabana so that we had somewhere to escape the heat and also didn’t need to get up at the crack of dawn to get pool chairs together with the other family we were with. You also have your own server so getting drinks and lunch is a breeze. Although it was expensive it was totally worth it.
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 family resort 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. I should also add that water parks freak me so take that in to consideration.
Rancho Las Palmas
If you’re looking for a resort that caters to families, check out Rancho Las Palmas. Head to this post for my full review but with the water park features and swim up movies, you know that this spot is all about families. They also have an adults only pool but this wouldn’t be my first choice on an adults only trip. The food on site was good (when we went there was a free kid’s buffet that both boys loved) and the rooms were comfy. It’s a great option for family getaways.
The Hard Rock Hotel is a don’t. It usually has some crazy good deals. But 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.
Other Hotels to Check Out (I haven’t stayed here yet, but these get great reviews!)
There are several other places I haven’t yet stayed at but am dying 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. It looks relaxing and peaceful. While attracting hipsters, this doesn’t appear to be a party hotel.
The Colony Palms is boutique and cool. Their pool area is simple with an amazing maroon and white striped cabana. They also have a restaurant on site, The Purple Palm, that is delicious, and really well designed. Even if you don’t stay here, be sure to come enjoy a meal. I’ve never seen the restaurant crowded and maybe that is because it’s a little off the beaten path but definitely keep it in mind!
The Westcott is newly updated and looks sleek and cool. I’m guessing it isn’t right for families but I would certainly pick this for a romantic getaway.
The Arrive Hotel is small with great design features. Their restaurant is delicious and I’ve eaten there several times. It’s not for kids but I’d love to check it out for a girl’s trip. This one is one of the first hotels as you come in to town so you would need your car to get out and explore.
The Kimpton Rowan Palm Springs just opened right downtown. It is brand new construction not a repainting of an older building. I think this one is going to be great for girl’s trips and is in the heart of downtown where you can walk to tons of restaurants, have easy access to the Farmer’s Market during the summer months and a great place to base your visit.
For families or large groups of friends 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. And with Postmates being available in town, you virtually have room service if you want it. 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.
While Airbnb is full of great homes in the Palm Springs area, I really love to use Acme House Co. They have a great selection of homes to choose from and the BEST service! This is the house we stayed in last winter for a fun family winter trip to Palm Springs.
There are a huge amount of options for where to stay in the Coachella Valley. But I think these are the best hotels in Palm Springs! Not sure what to do when you get there or want even more hotel and resort information? Head to VisitPalmSprings.com for great planning tools and area info!
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