Stay small at these midcentury hotels
Want an authentic midcentury modern experience in Palm Springs? Stay at a small local or vintage hotel and enjoy! Our picks for best hotels...
10 Best Mid-Century Modern Small & Boutique Hotels in Palm Springs
Palm Springs, California is one of the most recommended places to visit for travelers who appreciate the mid-century modern style of architecture. From the now-iconic post-and-beam construction, to the large windows and quirky patterns scattered strategically throughout, this style has become instantly recognizable thanks to its links to what are known as the International and Bauhaus movements. Some of the most popular architects of the mid-century (1950’s to 1970’s) have completed marvelous works in the area, and visitors wanting to stay in a hotel matching the style should check out the ones outlined below. Of course, while you’re enjoying your stay at one of these great small hotels, don’t forget to explore Palm Springs architecture on one of our self-driving architecture tours.
Best small hotels in Palm Springs
Monkey Tree Inn
The Monkey Tree Inn at 2388 E. Racquet Club Road is one of the most recommended hotels in the area for classic mid-century modern architecture. The hotel was built in 1960 to accommodate people who were unable to get a room in the high-demand Racket Club Hotel. The Monkey Tree Inn offers 16 different rooms, each of which is unique in its own way. Albert Frey designed the adult-only hotel, which includes pops of all kinds of colors scattered throughout, including one pink-tiled bathtub. Rumor has it Marilyn Monroe stayed in the Presidential Suite, and depending which room you choose, you might be sleeping under a B-52’s poster.
The guest rooms feature very tall glass windows that offer stunning views of the surrounding mountains. The hotel also features an excellent pool with a floating flamingo where visitors gather around to enjoy drinks and the California sun (plus free sangria!).
Another great mid-century modern hotel, the Orbit In, is located at 562 W. Arenas Road. The Orbit In was created in 1957 by Herbert W. Burns and the hotel has been owned for many years by a couple, Jinny and Kevin, who stayed at the hotel in 2004 and fell in love with the place. The hotel has nine guest rooms that all have unique retro-colored themes and rare furniture personally built by mid-century modern designers.
Jinny and Kevin are very interactive with the guests and offer complimentary “Orbitini” cocktails. Albert Einstein may have visited the Orbit In a time or two, and the hotel offers many in-demand amenities including pools, Wi-Fi, a hot tub, a full library, and, of course, breathtaking mountain views.
Colony Palms Hotel
The Colony Palms Hotel at 572 N. Indian Canyon Drive was first established in the mid-1930’s by a well-known mobster before becoming the “Howard Manor” and then the “The Palms at Palm Springs” until 2017 when it was renovated and renamed the Colony Palms Hotel. The hotel is made up of 57 rooms that include a mix of both mid-century modern themes as well as the original Spanish colonial-style architecture. The hotel has maintained the large, arched entryways and the original Spanish-style ceramic floors, but the recent renovation included various tweaks to the color themes and added more of the mid-century modern “openness” vibe. The hotel has a restaurant, a classy spa, and a 65-foot saltwater pool.
The Del Marcos Hotel at 225 W. Baristo Road is another lodging option with charming decor and classic mid-century modern features. The 17-room, two-story hotel was built in 1947 in the oldest neighborhood of the city, and it is believed that the architectural inspiration for the place was renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s style. The color theme all throughout the exterior and interior is perfect for mid-century modern fanatics, as there are numerous pops of retro colors, especially retro orange and green shades. The hotel encourages guests to interact with each other and the Azucar restaurant located next door is also a great place to grab a meal during your stay at this desert gem.
Similar to other hotels in the area, the Sparrows Lodge at 1330 E. Palm Canyon Drive leaves guests feeling like they have just stayed at a hotel from the 1950’s. Built in 1952 and originally named Castle’s Red Barn, Sparrows Lodge has been restored to how it was in its opening days. The pool is incredible and the hotel encourages putting the electronics away for your stay, as the rooms do not have TVs; instead, the peaceful atmosphere of the place provides a very relaxing getaway for those looking for some rest. While the lodge maintains sort of a “barn” feeling, mid-century modern features are quite noticeable including the large ceiling-to-floor windows and quirky retro furniture.
L’Horizon Hotel and Spa
William F. Cody, one of the most famous mid-century modern architects, designed the L’Horizon Hotel and Spa in 1952. Famous people used to hang out here frequently including celebrities and U.S. presidents, and although the hotel changed ownership and design a bit throughout the years, it has now been restored to its original beauty.
This hotel can undoubtedly be classified as a desert oasis, as the exterior of it features the typical beaming palm trees and glorious views of the San Jacinto Mountains. The rooms, deemed “bungalows” by the hotel, have a more “tame” feeling to them and most do not have “pops” of retro colors, but they are extremely spacious and let plenty of natural light in through the massive sliding glass doors leading to patios and the courtyard. The hotel has been updated to accommodate some of the latest technology, but still offers a perfect 1950’s atmosphere.
Best vintage hotels in Palm Springs
The Ace Hotel at 701 E. Palm Canyon Drive is one of the most popular hotels in the area today. The 179-room establishment puts an extra “desert” twist on mid-century modern and truly focuses on using natural building materials, tall glass windows and doors, and ultra-smooth lines. The rooms have various retro decor as well as retro speakers, and the pops of color are more dark and brown-orange as opposed to some of the other hotels in the region that have bright pinks, yellows, and greens strategically placed throughout. Of course, the desert vibe is prominent as the exterior has numerous palm trees and mountain views. Many of the amenities have been upgraded for the desires of guests today, and the hotel offers events including Tuesday karaoke nights as well as a dog park. The on-site King’s Highway Diner and Lounge is also excellent for a great, convenient meal.
The Skylark Hotel
The Skylark Hotel is another one of the oldest hotels in the area that features authentic mid-century modern architecture. Located at 1466 N. Palm Canyon, the 28-room hotel had changed decor and themes throughout the years after its opening in 1955 but was remodeled in 2013 to match a specific photograph of it taken back at the time it was built. The hotel is unmissable with its bright burnt orange doors, the beds feature retro green bedding, and the pool has a huge neon pink flamingo floating around at all times. The rooms take some inspiration from Denmark, featuring Danish mahogany and walnut furnishings, and the owners are constantly making updates to ensure the hotel maintains the original 1950’s atmosphere.
Desert Hills Hotel
Also built in the mid-1950’s, the Desert Hills Hotel was designed by Herbert Burns alongside Allen and Joanne Petty in 1956. The decor and architecture of this 15-room hotel shows an appreciation for the mid-century modern style with enormous glass doors, simple wooden furniture, and many spots of retro greens and blues. Giving a simplistic yet olden-day vibe, the hotel also offers a great pool and the option to barbecue on the patio. While the decor isn’t as eccentric as some of the other hotels on the list, the hints of mid-century modern architecture against the backdrop of the gorgeous mountains probably gives off the same feeling guests had back in the 1950’s.
Palm Springs Rendezvous
The Palm Springs Rendezvous, which was designed in the 1930’s by William Cody at 1420 N. Indian Canyon Drive, is one of the oldest hotels in Palm Springs. The hotel underwent renovations in 2008, but instead of updating the architecture and theme, the owners wanted it to go back to how it was in the 1950’s. The 10 rooms in the hotel are each unique with the decor and color themes, including the Elvis “Shake, Rattle & Roll” room and the “Pretty in Pink” room that Marilyn Monroe stayed in at least once. The dining room is perhaps the best part of the Palm Springs Rendezvous, as it is designed with retro diner-style furniture, but the bursts of yellow, blue, and pink also work to truly take visitors back to the 1950’s.
With so many options, choosing a mid-century modern hotel in Palm Springs can be a daunting task, but they are all so great and highly respected that you can’t go wrong with whichever you choose! Just like you can’t go wrong on a self-driving, audio guided tour of modern architecture in Palm Springs. Pair your hotel stay with a fun and safe tour today.