The Best Boutique Hotels in Palm Springs

Palm Springs has some prime boutique hotels vying for your attention, including Villa Royale
Palm Springs has some prime boutique hotels vying for your attention, including Villa Royale | Courtesy of Villa Royale / Expedia
Photo of Tim Rowland
2 January 2021

Palm Springs has its fair share of giant resorts – you know, the ones sandwiched between golf courses with great concrete swimming pools in the middle – but there are also plenty of characterful boutique hotels offering a more personal experience. That means a pretty retreat for the stars built by a 1950s Hollywood actor, a hotel based on top of a natural spring and a pair of restored historic villas dubbed one of the sexiest hotels in America by The New York Times.

Two Bunch Palms

The other side of the Coachella Valley from Palm Springs, off Route 62 rather than 111, is this contemporary wellness escape built in 1857 where a settler is said to have discovered natural springs. Soak in a sunken pool of the spring water, avail yourself of some spa treatments or chill in the grotto, lithium bath or a hammock slung between two palm trees. The hotel even has two Capone suites – named after rumored former owner, feared Chicago gangster Al Capone – which have private teak-and-concrete soaking tubs.
Everything you need to know

At a Glance

Free WiFi
Breakfast available (surcharge)
Restaurant
In-room accessibility
Full-service spa
Conference space
24-hour front desk
Multilingual staff
Terrace
Bar/lounge
Smoke-free property

Alcazar Palm Springs

The whitewashed buildings of this 34-room boutique hotel really stand out against the blue of the Southern California sky in the retro Uptown Design District. The vibe is all modernist and minimal, with imported Italian linens, fireplaces and poolside patios. Attached is Cheeky’s, a popular breakfast and brunch destination known for its bacon flight – a selection of different kinds of bacon – and potent bloody marys.
Everything you need to know

At a Glance

Free WiFi
Outdoor pool
Breakfast available (surcharge)
Restaurant
In-room accessibility
Concierge services
Multilingual staff
Terrace
Bar/lounge

The Avalon Hotel & Bungalows

The Avalon has a sister hotel in Beverly Hills and there’s plenty of Hollywood glamor to these manicured grounds, Spanish-style studios and private villas and cabanas arranged around three pools, all just one block from the Design District. Pool servers hover to supply food and drink by the water. Check out the Avalon Breakfast at Chi Chi restaurant – two eggs (your way), Nueske’s bacon, potatoes and rustic sourdough – and wash it down with a turmeric latte to really get you going in the morning.
Everything you need to know

At a Glance

Free WiFi
Breakfast available (surcharge)
Restaurant
In-room accessibility
Full-service spa
Conference space
Concierge services
24-hour front desk
Fitness facilities
Dry cleaning/laundry service
Multilingual staff
Bar/lounge
Smoke-free property

Ace Hotel & Swim Club

This uber-cool, desert hangout used to be a cheap motel with a Denny’s attached until it got an upmarket makeover. The vibe now is organic and bohemian, which means a vintage photo booth, record players and old vinyl in some rooms (you can play the records and even take them home if you pay for them), caramel popcorn in the minibars and communal fireplaces throughout the hotel. There are also two big pools, a spa and the Amigo Room bar is lively, with DJs, live music and bingo.
Everything you need to know

At a Glance

Free WiFi
Breakfast available (surcharge)
Restaurant
Full-service spa
Express check-out
24-hour front desk
Limo or Town Car service available
Fitness facilities
Multilingual staff
Bar/lounge

Sands Hotel & Spa

There’s a Moroccan feel to this designer hotel, spliced with classic mid-century Palm Springs. It’s adult, so all registered guests must be over the age of 18. There’s a spa, private wedding garden and the Pink Cabana restaurant and bar, billed as a modern take on the great tennis and racquet clubs of the 1950s and ’60s in Palm Springs.
Everything you need to know

At a Glance

Free WiFi
Outdoor pool
Restaurant
In-room accessibility
Concierge services
24-hour front desk
Dry cleaning/laundry service
Terrace
Bar/lounge
Smoke-free property

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  • Holiday House

    This downtown 28-room boutique hotel originally opened in 1951 and was designed by self-taught architect Herbert W Burns, whose desert-modernist style has become synonymous with Palm Springs. There’s some lovely tilework throughout and art by David Hockney and Roy Lichtenstein. Guests must be over 21 and there are no televisions in the rooms “in order to create a communal environment”. The Pantry serves chef Carlos Arciniega’s take on classic Americana, all prepared with produce from across the Valley.
    Everything you need to know

    At a Glance

    Free WiFi
    Outdoor pool
    Restaurant
    In-room accessibility
    Concierge services
    24-hour front desk
    Dry cleaning/laundry service
    Bar/lounge
    Smoke-free property

    Sparrows Lodge

    Originally built as Castle’s Red Barn in 1952 by MGM actor Don Castle and his wife Zetta, this was a popular getaway for many a Hollywood type. The Lodge was restored in 2013, with many of the Red Barn’s original buildings still in use. The vibe is rustic and outdoorsy, with a communal barn, outdoor fire pit and vegetable garden. The 20 rooms have exposed beam ceilings, russet red walls, pebble-inlaid floors and butterfly chairs. There are rain showers in the bathrooms and many include horse troughs as bathtubs. Most rooms have private patios and there’s an open-air massage tent with two treatment areas.
    Everything you need to know

    At a Glance

    Free WiFi
    Outdoor pool
    Restaurant
    In-room accessibility
    Full-service spa
    Concierge services
    24-hour front desk
    Terrace
    Bar/lounge

    Villa Royale

    Terracotta clay roofs studded with flowering local fauna give a real desert charm to the villas at Villa Royale, which was built in 1947. There are vibrant murals on the walls of the grounds and a host of portraits both there and in the rooms, including of icons such as Lana Turner, Clark Gable and Debbie Harry, all painted by a trio of artists who lived and worked at Villa Royale for weeks at a time. Bar and restaurant Del Rey serves Mediterranean tapas-style food and cocktails.
    Everything you need to know

    At a Glance

    Free WiFi
    Restaurant
    In-room accessibility
    Concierge services
    24-hour front desk
    Terrace
    Bar/lounge
    Smoke-free property

    Korakia Pensione

    Boutique Hotel
    Map View
    Korakia Pensione
    Courtesy of Korakia Pensione / Expedia
    Restored in 1989, korakia is Greek for ‘crows’ and is another boutique hotel with a Mediterranean/Moroccan feel. It’s housed in two historic villas set in 1.5 acres (0.6ha), including bungalows, guesthouses, gardens and pools. There are citrus blossoms, olive trees, oleander bushes, date palms, bougainvillea vines, Moroccan fountains and a stone waterfall spread across the main courtyard. There’s a library where original owner, painter and artist Gordon Coutts displayed his paintings, as well as massage, yoga, meditation, Moroccan tea, and classic films projected on the wall as the sun sets. The New York Times has called Korakia “one of the sexiest hotels in America.”
    These recommendations were updated on January 2, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.