by Stefanie Acworth

Ace Hotel Palm Springs

A modern desert commune for creative types

Absolute Highlight

Tuesday night karaoke at the hotel bar. Whitney, anyone?

In a nutshell

No. of rooms
The design aesthetic is...
Thelma and Louise 2.0. Eclectic desert vibes, mixed with an architectural modern edge.
The typical guest is...
creatives – both local and global; celebrities; hipsters; young-couples.
The sustainability features (ie. plastic free, recycling, green wall, garden) are...
Ace transforms 22 tonnes of food waste each year into fertiliser for local farms. They have also used recycled wood for building materials where possible, and the majority of furniture is vintage or found.
The location is...
downtown Palm Springs. Walking distance to a few eateries and galleries, but you will need a car to get around as things are quite spread out in ‘PS’.
Interaction is encouraged by....
organised events like weekly karaoke in the bar; communal fire pits, and the ‘Swim Club’.
You should stay here because
this is exactly the type of roadside motel you’ll actually want to stay at on your next road trip.
What took you there?

A road trip with my bestie out into the desert. I had always admired the Palm Springs aesthetic and wanted to take an architectural tour of the area.

What was your room like?

The rooms are a mish-mash of old and new – and achingly eclectic, to say the least. We stayed in a suite with an outdoor patio and fireplace, which was a comfy reprieve on a crisp Autumn eve. The room itself had modern fixtures and fittings but was decorated with kitschy wall-art, installs and Aztec inspired rugs. The music on the retro radio – old Led Zeppelin and Patsy Cline tunes – sets the vibe as you enter. This is definitely a hotel for creatives who aren’t keen on roughing it in the desert, but still want a distinct sense of their surroundings! The hotel mini-bar is probably the most dangerous of all the mini-bars I’ve been exposed to; with enough booze and food to fill an entire university dorm kitchen. Not a bad thing, if you have self-control…

What about the venue

The hotel is a direct result of its very ‘Americana’ roots. A collaboration between the growing Ace Hotels US-based brand and L.A.-based design firm, Commune, oversaw the conversion of an old motel into the desert-haven it is today.  ‘Desert Modern’ is the much-lauded term used to describe this unique type of Palm Springs architecture. The design, which is notable for its use of glass, clean lines, natural and manmade materials, grew out of local and visiting architects’ desire to adopt modern material and techniques to the unique requirements of arid-desert living and to ensure the impossibly tall palm trees, distant valleys, dunes and mountains remain the dominant feature of the landscape. The hotel’s on-site diner, King’s Highway, is also a converted Denny’s… But don’t worry, it doesn’t have Denny’s lingering fast-food odour… the cafe actually serves up some yummy mod-American fare. 

The hotel swimming pool is where all the action happens, and it’s often busy with gatherings until the early hours. It’s a great spot to meet like-minded people, as are the karaoke nights held once a week in the hotel bar. 

Tell us about the destination

About a 2.5-hour drive outside of Los Angeles, Palm Springs is the epitome of cool. It has an army of boutique design hotels around the place, hip wellness retreats (the desert is famous for its healing properties), yummy farm-to-table eateries and of course the wealth of restored and revamped mid-century modern houses and hotels, possibly the most important collection in the United States. For a creative traveller and amateur architecture-buff like me, Palm Springs is where it’s at!

Who did you meet there?

So many groups of friendly creative folk from Los Angeles up for a weekend in the desert. Couples on road trips and architects on their yearly design pilgrimage to Palm Springs. 

Palm Springs, United States
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Surrounding Activities

Desert Modern Architectural Tour

If you love mid-century architecture—the sleek modernist structures built between the 1940s and mid-‘60s—this tour is for you. The 2.5 hour journey showcases the fabulous exteriors and interiors of some of Palm Springs’ most famous (and infamous) houses of past and present celebrities.

Desert Modern Tour

Eat at Workshop Kitchen + Bar

Farm-to-table eatery blending Palm Springs desert modern architecture with a menu inspired by locally sourced ingredients. The place to go if you’re looking for sleek interiors, a hip and lively vibe as well as some seriously good food.

Workshop Palm Springs

Desert Jeep Tours

If you feel like getting out among the dunes in bright red open-air jeeps. Explore the San Andreas Fault or Joshua Tree National Park during the day or at twilight, with plenty of stops in hidden canyons and palm tree mirages along the way.

Red Jeep Tours

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