Leisure is one of the major reasons people flock to the Palm Springs desert oasis. Now with a sea of properties to choose from when visiting this southern California escape, AirBnB rentals, grand corporate hotels, and intimate boutique villas continue to sprout around the Greater Palm Springs area. Just a little over a 2-hour drive from Los Angeles, Palm Springs provides addictive playful sun-drenched scenery.
In the middle of the 20th Century, the dramatic geographic surroundings of the Coachella Valley inspired a design aesthetic now called Desert Modernism. This can be felt strongly in Palm Springs where more and more properties lure guests with their mid-century mod design that is balanced with the landscape – looming mountains hugging poolside views with poking palm trees swaying in the warm winds. The choice of hotel stays in 2020 seems endless but the question always one should ask is what stay feels right for you.
The one-year-old newcomer Villa Royale Palm Springs, built in 1947, is a 38-villa hideaway that seems to preserve time. Retro modern cool Villa Royale, situated in the Deepwell Estates neighborhood off South Palm Canyon Drive, offers a seductive stay that will make you fall in love with Palm Springs all over again. And with a variety of price points, reasonable prices mid-week and the right time of year, you might just extend your stay – indefinitely.
Here are Ten Reasons Villa Royale is the best new boutique hotel stay in Palm Springs:
1. Design and ambiance
The sumptuous remodel of what was thought to be the home of Olympic figure skater Sonja Henie is thanks to a Portland crew known for creating Instagram-worthy cocktail bars in Portland, Oregon. The Lightning Bar Collective partnered with the Provenance Hotel Group to revitalize this old Hollywood haunt.
The intimate hideaway is an influencer dream – Spanish mission-revival style with bold framed art with faces you might recognize from the past. More than 50 large-format oil paintings were painted on-site by artists who lived on the property prior to opening. Cool pop art and wall murals perfectly placed mesh with Spanish tiles and romantic courtyard fountains. Retro black and white tiles with pops of aqua surround the pool below.
Terra cotta clay roofs on this elongated one level property are surrounded with towering palms and flowering desert flora with the occasional flitting hummingbird. Colorful, airy, and with a sense of escape, the ambiance is incredibly alluring because Villa Royale feels like well, your own villa. You can decide whether you want to be seen or not here with 3 pools, a jacuzzi, and a lengthy property with many nooks. One day, we had the pool across the street at Villa Rosa all to ourselves.
At night, a cozy chic warmth ensues as fire pits and fireplaces are spread throughout the grounds encouraging snuggles and conversation under the dynamic array of quiet desert stars.
Different mid-century modern décor is carefully articulated in each of the 38 rooms spread out with various sized pools while a sprawling garden lawn space almost the size of a city block is available in the back for events. The location is ideal – just an easy bike, walk, or few minutes drive to many fun food and drink spots like Mr. Lyons Steakhouse or the retro diner at King’s Highway. A tiny rooftop terrace is coming soon above the intimate lobby and major pool to host DJ’s – probably just in time for Coachella weekend.
To spot the entrance to Villa Royale, you will notice a vintage ride outside the lobby. One day a 1960 Oldsmobile with tailfins, another day an aqua Volkswagen bus that matches the sky, accenting the tall palm trees.
2. Mid-century modern rooms
Some trendy retro rooms come poolside and offer picturesque mountain views while our grand villa suite with a separate kitchen, living room, bathroom, and bedroom came with courtyard fountain views – sunlight twinkling in the spray. While some rooms offer fireplaces, a monstrous two-bedroom villa can also be booked.
Carefully selected mid-century modern design in each room comes with old school telephones, aqua sofas, sleek wood furniture, and Marshall Bluetooth speakers to help guests set their own tone. In our suite, a portrait of actor Charles Bronson loomed over the couch. Kimono-style chic robes are a nice touch to throw on quickly for complimentary morning breakfast hosted in the lanai. Provenance Signature amenities can be expected while a dry bar is fully stocked for cocktail revelers.
Across the street, a 1950s apartment now known as Villa Rosa (part of Villa Royale) has been renovated so that eight one-bedrooms with a central pool offer added privacy. We could easily see how this could be rented out for brand-sponsored parties and events or for those who wish to have the ultimate friends and family private hideaway.
3. Intimate pools
Three pools in various areas allow you to choose your relaxation based on your mood. Sunbathe on a striped chaise lounge or on their long aqua cushioned lounge seating adjacent to the major pool next to the rest of the hip world that some days spanned all ages from all over the world. Or spend a few hours as we did across the street at the Villa Rosa pool where no one was to be found. Order Happy Hour drinks and bites right to the pool while being lulled by the views – that sharp contrast of the towering San Jacinto mountains against the piercing blue sky coupled with warm winds and the swaying palms.
4. Del Rey Restaurant and Bar on site
Just a few steps from your room is the cozy romantic dimly lit Del Rey where you can order tapas-style bites and exquisitely crafted cocktails. Share Mediterranean and Spanish dishes like explosive chicken pot pie croquetas, fried cheese balls aka Manchego Bomba, Albondigas (pork and beef meatballs), brussels sprouts with chorizo and dates, garlic brandy shrimp, and a Spanish tortilla (omelet-like slathered with piquillo peppers). Wood ceilings, a black and white tiled fireplace, leather cushioned booth seating, and a gold tabletop with candles flickering just enhance the sumptuous feast.
Happy Hour from 4-6 and 10 pm to close brings the average $14-$16 cocktails down quite a bit. We strongly recommend every concoction but kept returning to the Murcielago, a monkey shoulder scotch blend with date syrup, barrel-aged bitters, and a black tea ice cube. Rayu Mezcal can be found in the Mucho Mucho with carrot, saffron syrup, lemon, egg white, and vermouth Blanco. The Floating Hat comes with tequila, of course, while pistachio whiskey and peach will be sure to bring you Precious Memories.
5. Complimentary bikes
Surrounded by the Art Deco neighborhoods of Deepwell Estates and Tahquitz River Estates, cruise around on bikes to admire the eclectic mix of midcentury-modern, Spanish Revival, and contemporary homes. These picture-perfect neighborhoods boast so many architectural styles filled with desert-studded yards and rock landscapes. Nearby, is Downtown Palm Springs and Palm Canyon Drive filled with shops, restaurants, and nightlife.
6. Happy Hour drinks and bites poolside
For Happy Hour every day from 4- 6 pm, find bites around $5, beer for $6, wine for $8, and cocktails for $8. Watch the sun glow by the pool with a Shy Rickey – vodka, celery, lime, ginger syrup, and ginger beer and thank the heavens you were lucky enough to find this place.
7. Complimentary breakfast
In an artsy colorful nook by the pool, find a complimentary morning breakfast spread to start your day. Eat here or bring your loot of Good Coffee from Portland or Smith tea back to your room. Expect a wide assortment of fancy pastries, croissants, muffins, fruit, and boiled eggs to help start your day on a good note.
8. Jacuzzi in the hummingbird garden
One area of the property flits with hummingbirds. Meander the desert garden path to the jacuzzi to find your Zen. I enjoyed my solitude solo one afternoon OR steal away to this private spot for a nighttime display of dazzling stars.
9. Pets are welcome
Pets can also expect the same royal treatment as guests as dogs are offered pet beds, bowls, and a tasty-treat upon check-in.
10. Free Parking
Although the resort fee is $39, this hotel doesn’t amp your bill with overnight parking fees because parking is free. With breakfast included and free bike use anytime, this is an added bonus that many larger hotels don’t offer.
Written by Melissa Curtin
Read more posts by Melissa Curtin