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Avalon Palm Springs
Photograph: Courtesy Avalon Palm Springs

The 12 best Palm Springs hotels

Whether you’re planning to relax or party, the best Palm Springs hotels are waiting for you in this desert oasis

Written by
Kai Oliver-Kurtin
Contributors
Alex Schechter
&
Rhys Thomas
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Palm Springs hotels have gone from strength to strength in the last decade or so. You can now find something to suit any style, from cozy rustic spots to quiet boutique properties. Keen to book an opulent five-star villa kitted out with every possible amenity plus a dope restaurant? Well, Palm Springs has plenty of that, too.

One thing that hasn’t changed, however, is the entrancing “desert modernism” aesthetic and discreet vibe; you’re just as likely to catch a crew of European retirees scouting the famous Architecture and Design Center as a Hollywood A-lister lounging by the pool. And speaking of pools, every hotel on our list has one — a Palm Springs hotel with no pool is like a martini without an olive, after all (spending time poolside is practically a required thing to do for travelers in this spirited town). 

So, whether you’re making the trip for Coachella or are just looking for a fun getaway, take a scroll through the options below and make sure you pack shorts and sunscreen – it’s gonna be a scorcher. Advance reservations are recommended, particularly during the high season, which runs from September to April. But whenever you arrive, here are the Palm Springs hotels worth checking out right now.

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RECOMMENDED: the ultimate guide to California 

Best hotels in Palm Springs, ranked

It comes as no surprise that Palm Springs’ concept of luxury is as colorful and zany as something out of a Lewis Carroll story. Sure, it’s wild, but also pretty cool. While a stay at the Jonathan Adler-designed, 13-acre Eden is a bit of a splurge, there’s no need to leave once you’re here. Start your day with a libation from the Lemonade Stand and explore the exquisitely manicured grounds. Take a nap on one of the palm-tree-slung hammocks or cozy up by one of the fire pits. Once you’ve gotten your second wind, reserve time at the clay tennis courts, petanque, or croquet areas, then cool off with a dip in one of the hotel’s saline pools. End your day with dinner at Mister Parker’s supper club, self-billed as a place for "fops, flaneurs and assorted other cronies". As you can imagine, it’s plenty of fun.

Lush Mediterranean vibes abound in this olive tree-lined compound complete with hanging Moroccan lanterns (okay, that's actually Northern Africa, but you get the gist). The rustic rooms are located throughout two beautifully restored villas that were built in the 1920s and '30s, and there are two heated pools to enjoy. It's pretty much impossible not to feel at home here. In fact, you may find it hard to leave the lovely grounds, where you can throw bocce balls in the bougainvillea-scented courtyard and recline in great big granite bathtubs. And yes, those tubs are as good as they sound.

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Stay in the middle of the action at The Rowan, a modern hotel that opened in 2017. Located on a prime corner of downtown, you can walk to the best restaurants, bars, and shops in no time. You can't beat their rooftop pool’s views of the nearby mountains, and you won’t hate the water misters that keep things cool in the desert sun — an adjacent bar tops it off with summer party music and plenty of seats for lounging. Don't miss their daily happy hour in the lobby when they serve complimentary beer and wine. Afterward, you can visit their rooftop restaurant 4 Saints for contemporary American fare and 270-degree views of downtown and the San Jacinto Mountains. Pets owners will be thrilled that their fur babies are not only welcome at The Rowan, but greeted with open arms and full water bowls.

The Palm Springs Ace Hotel, housed in what was once a Motel 6, is a party destination for hip young travelers heading to the desert. They’ve got all the accoutrements, from a photo booth and retro macrame in the lobby to record players and vintage magazines in the rooms. There are also fancy robes and decked-out walking sticks for guests to use during their stay, which means that as the day goes on, more and more guests look like hippie cult members running around with hoods and canes. And it is a bit of a cult — the guests here are die-hard, looking to see and be seen by the pool, out on beach cruiser bikes or in the decent (but a little overpriced) restaurant, King’s Highway (which used to be a 24-hour Denny’s). The hotel offers $20 day passes ($30 on weekends) for pool use, which gives non-guests access to the scene: parties and live music often grace the grounds. The Ace is almost so hip that it’s becoming a caricature of itself — if you’re down to party all night with trendy 20-somethings, this is your spot, but the more sophisticated (or relaxed) traveler might look elsewhere. Unless you want to relive your youth? Go on, you only live once.

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Remember when you pledged to “take a break” from social media and try living off the grid for a while? Well, this bite-size resort might be the closest you’ll come to a pseudo-digital detox while still enjoying Palm Springs’ desert vibes. There are no phones or TVs to be found in any of the guest rooms, though you will get plenty of rustic accoutrements, like a horse trough bathtub and rich, stained oak paneling. A highlight is a gorgeous communal barn (a restored 1952 structure where Bewitched’s Elizabeth Montgomery was reportedly married) that functions as a bar, restaurant, and general hang-out spot — it’s also where the hotel serves a daily continental breakfast.

At Casa Cody, you can stay two blocks away from the main drag of downtown Palm Springs while still feeling like you're a world away from the hustle and bustle. This historic, charming property is the oldest operating hotel in Palm Springs, founded in the 1920s by Buffalo Bill's cousin, Harriet Cody. You'll find peace and quiet here, thanks to the shelter of tall hedges and protective gates. All the rooms are well-appointed with Southwestern decor and new-age amenities, and the property is brimming with various citrus trees. The hotel serves a light complimentary breakfast each morning with items such as croissants, bagels, and gourmet granola, as well as evening tea by the pool. Hatha yoga classes are held on Saturday mornings for those who want a good stretch before spending the day lounging by Casa Cody's two pools.

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Parrot Heads rejoice! Margaritaville Resort Palm Springs is a 16-acre property located just a few miles from the downtown area. Thanks to its size, the hotel can accommodate large parties—and weddings—without feeling congested, and it makes the most of its sprawling space with not one, but two pools. The hotel lobby houses a signature "blown-out flip-flop" in the form of an oversized sculpture, plus their trademark chandelier made from margarita glasses. An upbeat playlist is streamed throughout the property, and thankfully (for variety's sake) includes a mix of hits that aren't exclusive to Buffett. The property is pet-friendly (they even have designated pet relief areas), while humans can keep themselves busy at the on-site restaurant, fitness center, spa, and fire pits, (there’s even a shop that sells branded merchandise for mega-fans). But chances are you'll spend most of your visit parked next to the 5 o’Clock Somewhere Bar by the pool, drinking frozen daiquiris and yes, margaritas, too.

The Saguaro is way less cheesy than it looks. A bright, color-blocked facade and blue bedrooms with lime furniture (yes, we said lime) and purple carpeting might sound like a designer’s worst nightmare, but somehow this place pulls it off. The hotel is massive, but the amenities are plentiful, the staff is friendly, and the spa and pool are extra nice (though they do blare poolside music rather loud). The food is nothing to write home about, but there are plenty of other Palm Springs restaurants in town to keep you satisfied. If you’re here over the weekend, it may feel a little Jersey Shore-ish, with lots of bachelorette parties and booze-fueled bros, but the place is set up so you can mostly avoid anyone you don’t care to see — or for that matter, hear.

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Making the drive out to Palm Springs always lulls us into a dreamy, carefree stupor—and this intimate spot only adds to the town’s glitzy appeal. Originally built by mobster Al Wertheimer in the 1930s (the pantry had a secret door leading to a brothel), the hotel has come a long way in its near-90-year history. Today, the rooms are luxurious without being over-the-top, while the thick greenery will make you feel like you’re tucked away in a rustic Spanish hacienda (even though the town’s main drag is a block away). The tree-shaded pool gets lively on the weekends, but never out of hand—and the downstairs speakeasy-style restaurant, Purple Palm, makes for a classy dinner spot after a day of bikini lounging. We think you'll like it here. A lot.

Making the drive out to Palm Springs always lulls us into a dreamy, carefree stupor — and this intimate spot only adds to the town’s glitzy appeal. Originally built by mobster Al Wertheimer in the 1930s (the pantry had a secret door leading to a brothel), the hotel has come a long way in its nearly 90-year history. Today, the rooms are luxurious without being over-the-top, while the thick greenery will make you feel like you’re tucked away in a rustic Spanish hacienda (even though the town’s main street is a block away). The tree-shaded pool gets lively on the weekends, but never out of hand — and the downstairs speakeasy-style restaurant, Purple Palm, makes for a classy dinner spot after a day of bikini lounging. We think you'll like it here. A lot.

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The first thing you'll notice when checking into L’Horizon is just how peacefully quiet it is. With its 25 delicately appointed bungalows and its sumptuous open-air spa, the property bills itself as Palm Springs’ only luxury boutique hotel. And you kind of have to believe them. The design is razor-sharp: private outdoor showers and copper-hooded fireplaces add a homey touch, while the floor-to-ceiling windows flood each room with light. Steve Hermann, an accomplished Hollywood-based designer, has overseen the project, which explains the discreet, CEO-meets-desert-Maharaja vibe. The infinity pool is another highlight, with unobstructed views of the San Jacinto Mountains and the wide, blue California sky.

Sometimes you just need a place to stay without the fuss and frills, and Hotel California does a pretty great job of that. What it lacks in designer amenities, it makes up for in homey, unpretentious charm. Don’t feel like dining out? There’s a full kitchen for guests with all the utensils you’ll need to blend your own date shakes or fry up an omelet in the morning (there are also two grills outside — BBQ by the pool, anyone?). Since there are only 15 rooms (plus a two-story townhouse with a private balcony), foot traffic through the lush courtyard, which is surrounded by towering banana palm trees and serenaded by a gurgling fountain, is minimal. Ditto for the guest lounge, which serves coffee and fresh fruit all day.

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