Nearby, a far cry from routine
With war making some travelers jittery about flying, new or newly expanded hotels in the Palm Springs area are poised to welcome Southern Californians looking for a getaway close to home. Notable additions include:
* Estrella: The 74-room Palm Springs boutique hotel, sister of the Avalon in Beverly Hills and the Viceroy in Santa Monica, has finished a major redesign that features a new restaurant by chef Tim Goodell, whose other restaurants include Aubergine in Newport Beach and Whist at the Viceroy. Citron, described as an “eclectic California/French” restaurant, is scheduled to open Tuesday.
The hotel’s spa opened about a week ago, offering indoor and outdoor massage, facials and other treatments, plus yoga, tai chi and Pilates classes.
Peak-season rates start at $149 a night. 415 S. Belardo Road; (800) 237-3687 or (760) 320-4117, www.estrella.com.
* Springs Hotel and Spa: A 1935 motel in downtown Palm Springs has been gutted and expanded to create a 25-room boutique hotel, tentatively set to open in late May.
Landscaping and decor will be similar to Andalusian Court, a sister property in Palm Springs that opened in November 2001 with villas set around courtyards, fire pits and water fountains. Guest rooms at the Springs will have fireplaces; some will have Jacuzzi tubs.
Nightly rates will run $149 to $255. 227 N. Indian Canyon Drive; (760) 416-1388, www.andalusiancourt.com.
* Desert Star: The owners of the popular Hope Springs inn in Desert Hot Springs are converting a Palm Springs condominium complex into what they call an “almost-underground, self-service inn” because of its tiny size, residential location and lack of housekeeping service.
Four of the complex’s seven units have been redesigned into 600-square-foot studios with a hip, minimalist-modern look. Each has a full kitchen, sitting area and private patio. The hotel is not listed with directory assistance. Owners, who live on site, refer inquiries to the Hope Springs Web site.
Rooms are $110 per night. 1611 Calle Palo Fierro; www.hopesprings.com.
* Hyatt Grand Champions Resort & Spa: This Indian Wells hotel has opened a 30,000-square-foot spa as part of a $65-million renovation and expansion. Gone is an 11,500-seat tennis stadium. In its place are Agua Serena Spa and 141 more guest rooms, bringing the total to 479.
Published rates start at $365. 44-600 Indian Wells Lane; (800) 233-1234 or (760) 341-1000, www.grandchampions.hyatt.com.
* La Quinta Resort & Club: A three-year, $60-million improvement project wrapped up last month. All 800 guest rooms have new furniture, carpeting, artwork and other refurbishments. The project includes 177 new “spa villas”; cabanas around some of the resort’s 42 pools; a French seafood restaurant, Azur; and the most recent addition, an expansive children’s playground.
Peak-season (through May 4) published rates start at $405. 49499 Eisenhower Drive, La Quinta; (760) 564-4111, www.laquintaresort.com.