Palm Springs is home to a staggering diversity of boutique hotels. Each of these small, intimate properties (the city's municipal code defines a boutique hotel as "containing at least four guest rooms and no more than forty-nine") has its own unique aura and offers an attention to detail unavailable in larger chain hotels. Here are a few of our favorites.
It feels like you could almost reach out and touch the towering San Jacinto Peak from the Orbit's balmy saline pool. Just a stroll from downtown, this immaculate romantic retreat marries midcentury style to contemporary amenities for a classic yet convenient post-modernist Palm Springs experience. For a more secluded stay, consider its sister Hideaway property a couple of blocks away. www.orbitin.com.
Tastefully romantic, quietly exotic and utterly escapist, it would be nearly impossible not to unwind at Korakia. Built in 1924 by Scottish painter Gordon Coutts as a hideaway homage to his inspirational trips to Morocco, this exclusive pensione basks in the mellow mystique of bygone Tangier. Everything at Korakia, from the yoga classes and soothing spa to the afternoon tea service and library of vintage books, defies the pace of modern life. Stargazing from a lantern-lit Moroccan daybed, your everyday existence will soon fade to a hazy mirage. www.korakia.com.
POSH PALM SPRINGS INN
Opened in 2009, Posh is an Art Deco delight restored with personality and panache by owners Mike and Suzy Antal. Crisp whites are artfully offset by bold splashes of color around the property's centerpiece pool and huge spa, while each room is distinctively decorated to appeal to an array of sensibilities. The Antals describe Posh as "the only all-inclusive inn in the U.S.," offering a substantial home-cooked gourmet breakfast and the chance to mingle around the fire pit with hearty hors d'oeuvres during cocktail hour. Nothing seems like too much trouble here. www.poshpalmsprings.com.
THE WILLOWS HISTORIC PALM SPRINGS INN
Almost an extension of the sepia-brown mountainside behind, the Willows is a bougainvillea-draped Mediterranean villa with a rare "old money" air. Recently restored to the understated elegance that once attracted the likes of Clark Gable and Albert Einstein, it's one of those discreetly upscale places where you half expect to spot a Hollywood A-lister enjoying the included gourmet breakfast next to the waterfall, or European royalty wandering the extensive gardens. One of Palm Springs' few elevated hotels, the Willows also offers marvelous views of the city – just blocks distant, but a world away. www.thewillowspalmsprings.com.
THE ANDREAS HOTEL & SPA
With its cozy courtyard layout, in-room and outdoor fireplaces, and super-convenient location right in the center of downtown, the Andreas might be Palm Springs' perfect winter getaway. Spanish Revival and Craftsman furnishings evoke the 1930s origins of this pet-friendly property, which today features a serene full-service spa, well-equipped workout room and revitalizing poolside Jacuzzi. After a complimentary continental breakfast, visitors can saunter to many of Palm Springs' finest boutiques, galleries and eateries. In the heat of summer, the Andreas' shaded pool deck offers stylish sanctuary to cocktail-sipping guests. www.andreashotel.com.
– Paul Rogers, Custom Publishing Writer