Les Cactus – Palm Springs newest resort

Walking into the newly renovated boutique hotel, Les Cactus, I noticed a framed “Les Cactus” record album of the 1960’s French rock ‘n roll artist Jacques Dutronc behind the reception table.


Centrally located in the welcoming Warm Sands neighborhood, the historic 1930’s property has been refreshed by LA-based hotelier Matthew Kurtz in partnership with local hoteliers Richard Crisman and Jeff Brock.


Together they deliver a cheerful adult-only boutique hotel with hip design elements, in a private, quiet and comfortable setting. The soothing design interior rooms, and plenty of inviting outdoor space allowing guests to relax, unwind and soak up the Palm Springs sunshine.


Guests will instantly feel at ease while checking-in at the whimsical lobby, as they are offered a Modelo beer or glass of wine with their room assignment. Nearby is a grand piano for guests to play for others, and colorful books are displayed on shelves and tables for guests to read.


The whimsical pineapple theme dining area is next to the open kitchen.


Throughout a stay, guests can open the refrigerator to grab a Chobani vanilla Greek yogurt, bottle of sparkling water or pour a glass of chocolate oat milk.


Next to the refrigerator are wicker baskets holding bags of chips and popcorn, and glass jars filled with gummy bears and cookies.


Checking into room 16, we appreciated the touch lock system, instead of a key card or key.


The clean and spacious room has a king-size bed, flat screen television, lit night stands, charging outlets, and an updated bathroom featuring black washcloths labeled “makeup”. Inside the shower there are large bottles of “Further” soap labeled “Wash Your Outer Spirit”, shampoo “Hair Has Soul, Cleanse it” and “Awaken Your Follicles” conditioner.


The room offers a high ceiling and large window adding brightness into this historic motor lodge type room. There is a kitchen and a back door leading out to a rock garden, and outdoor parking lot. This room is ideal for guests who bring their well behaved, under 35 lbs furry best friend. Les Cactus does add a pet cleaning fee is $100 per stay.


In the morning from 8 to 10 a.m., a staff member sets out warm croissants, fresh fruit, coffee and tea. There is a bowl of oranges to cut and squeeze for fresh orange juice. Guests can sit outside at one of the umbrella tables, or take their breakfast to the pool area or back to their room.


Activities throughout the day include swinging in one of the three hammocks, swimming in the heated pool, and lounging on comfortable lounge chairs. There are plenty of pink and white striped plush towels, and pink, or green and white striped umbrella for guests seeking shade.


For those looking for a private massage, there is a massage room near the heated kidney shaped whirlpool. Stairs lead up to a few chairs up on a small rooftop deck offering views of the resort during the day and stargazing in the evening.


Other amenities include pink Les Cactus bicycles with wicker baskets to borrow for a spin around Palm Springs.


In the evening, guest sit in Adirondack style chairs with soft blankets around a fire pit sipping another Modelo or glass of wine before or after dinner in Palm Springs.

Les Cactus is ideal for a golf getaway, couples weekend trip or girlfriend getaway. It’s also available for a buyout for a small wedding or wedding guest destination. 555 S. WARM SANDS DR, PALM SPRINGS, CA,     HELLO@LESCACTUSPS.COM


Desert Luxury at the Ritz Carlton Rancho Mirage

The Ritz Carlton resort in Rancho Mirage offers an array of amenities and services for guests all year round. During the summer when the heat rises to 100 degrees, the elegant room rates drop. As the sun sets and the temperatures cools, guests gather at both swimming pools and on the recreational lawn. Activities include swinging a golf club at the putting green, aim and throw at ladder ball and building Jenga towers. A staff member leads a Serenity under the Stars yoga class on the Vista lawn, while another staff member takes guests on a sunset hike for spectacular views. Mountain bikes and hiking maps are also availale. On Friday and Saturday evenings the staff hold an informative stargazing astronomy experience.


Walking into the lobby of this desert oasis near Palm Spring, the concierge desk offers an array of complimentary candy for guests to enjoy during check in and throughout the day from noon to 5 p.m.


Entering room number 1334, I slid open the sliding glass door and stepped onto the balcony with two chairs and a table. Looking out, I appreciated the palm trees, desert, majestic mountain and the main pool views. The spacious room features a king size bed with Frette luxury bed linens, 55-inch LCD flat-panel HD television, mini refrigerator and small sitting area. In the closet there is a safe, two plush white hooded bathrobes and slippers.


Inside the oversized bathroom is a custom designed 19-inch HD television with a remote control on the bathroom vanity. One can watch their favorite television show while taking a warm soaking bubble bath using luxurious Asprey bath amenities. There is also a marble tiled shower.

Dining at State Fare Bar & Kitchen for dinner, the menu by Chef Bruno Lopez is an ode to California-sourced food and wine. The upscale dining venue overlooks the Coachella valley, and offers an exhibition kitchen. There are tables outside for al fresco dining.


On Wednesday through Sunday, The Edge Steakhouse is open in the evenings for dinner serving premium dry-aged prime steak and fresh seafood paired with wines from all over the world. The glass window cliff side setting offers spectacular sunset and twinkle light views.


Walking back to my room, the Reflection Fountain had three large blue orb balls that changed shades as they floated on top of the water.


The next morning I went down to the reception area for complimentary morning coffee and tea before joining others for a staff member guided morning hike. There are more than 20 miles of mountain and hiking trails originating right from the hotel. For guests who prefer to hike on their own, the concierge desk has towels, bottled water, apples and a hiking map to guide guests on three different trails from the resort. The Jack Rabbit is a moderate 0.9 trail, the Roadrunner/Bighorn overlook trail is a 1.5 moderate hike and the Chuckwalla Trail is 1.6 miles with steep drop-offs.

Ready for a swim in the main pool, guest already rented many of the cabanas. They are available for the day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The cabana package includes a dedicated cabana attendant, seasonal fruit bowl, bottled water, sunscreen, two personal lounge chairs, flat screen television, resort WIFI, refrigerator, personal safe, ceiling fan, misters and electrical outlet.


Other resort activities during the day include a visit to the famous Jose Eber Salon, an indoor spa treatment, and workout in the fitness center. Nearby desert activities and sightseeing include air conditioned Modern architectural tours of Palm Springs, and taking the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway to soar up to a cooler 8,500 feet mountain to dine, hike and explore under towering pine trees.


The Ritz Carlton, Rancho Mirage is conveniently located to the Palm Springs International Airport (PSP) and 60 minutes from Ontario International Airport (ONT). It’s two hours from the Los Angeles (LAX), Orange County (SNA) and San Diego (SAN) International Airports.


Stay here during Greater Palm Springs dineGPS Restaurant Week.

For reservations go to http://www.ritzcarlton.com/en/hotels/california/rancho-mirage or call (760) 321-8282.

This review was published in JustLuxe on June 1, 2019.

Summer Fun at La Quinta Resort & Club

When director and writer Frank Capra arrived to La Quinta Resort in the 1930s with his wife Lucille, he worked on his script “It Happened One Night.” The film went on to receive an Academy Award. The beauty and tranquility of the resort brought him inspiration and luck in his writing. He and his wife returned for many winters while he discovered new creative prose for “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington”, “You Can’t Take It With You”, “Mr Deeds Goes To Town” and “It’s a Wonderful Life.”  Capra fondly called La Quinta the “Shangri-La of Screenwriting.”

Frank Capra Casita

I’ve been told that he found his creative inspiration staying in the San Anselmo casita. Since Capra and his wife Lucille spent many winters at La Quinta, the resort has honored the 450-square-foot cottage The Capra Suite. It offers the luxurious Waldorf Astoria bedding on a king-size bed, among authentic Spanish-style detailing, a wood-burning fireplace, cozy sitting room and over-size windows. Nearby is a special memorable bench with their names on it too.

Word spread about this desert playground and soon Gretta Garbo drove twenty miles beyond Palm Springs “to be alone.” Clark Gable as well as, Presidents Taft and Eisenhower and some of the weatlhiest families including the Crockers and the Vanderbilts vacationed at the resort built in 1926.

The view and pool from Starlight Casita #246

Many of the historic casitas, and newer suites, villas and vacation units are surrounded by green lawns, flower gardens or clustered around one of the 41 pools and hot tubs.

During Mother’s Day vacation we stayed in an elegant Starlight casita #246. Walking up a flight of stairs we approached a secured door. Opening it with our room key, we unlocked the door and were transported to a private lounge patio with a large conversation couch, cocktail table, dining table with four chairs and outdoor fireplace. It’s ideal for morning breakfast, napping in the afternoon, and sitting outside in the evening to stargaze while the fireplace is aglow with small flames.


Inside our casita offered a King-size bed with Waldorf Astoria sheets, a fireplace and sofa that can be converted into a bed. The double sink bathroom has a deep soaking tub and seperate shower. There is a small bar with a refrigerator and self coffee service. The Mexican accent tiles give the casita character and a custom design.IMG_3444

To elevate my Mother’s Day I had a 3:30 p.m. facial appointment at the 23,000 sq. ft. luxury La Quinta Spa. My aesnitician Joy pampered me for 80 minutes. Besides facials other treatments include Body Renewal, Sun Worshipper Rituals, Mommy-to-Be Offerings, a variety of massage experiences and skin care treatments.

The next morning we woke up and rented the resort’s bicycles for a four-mile paved bike path ride along the Santa Rosa Mountains. Rentals are available near the Tennis Pro shop. The resort has 23 hard and clay court tennis courts. There is also a large fitness center, bar and cafe by the main family pool.IMG_3519

Working up an appetite, we dined for brunch at Adobe upstairs at The Plaza across from the resort’s entrance. Fountains, flowers and a Mission Bell are in full view when dining al fresco. Guests were enjoying tableside guacamole and salsa and Adobe Grill’s famous margaritas. Executive Chef is Marco Aguilar makes a delicious chicken mole, Taco Salad, Sopes Benedictos and chile relleno.  We finished with a delicious bread pudding dessert served with dried fruit and mole ice cream. IMG_3551

For those looking to get away and just chill, La Quinta Resort & Club is one of the best  for mental and physical therapy.

My review of La Quinta Resort & Club was featured in JustLuxe – Celebrities flock to Luxury La Quinta Resort & Club

Indian Wells Newly Renovated Resort

Check out my review of the new Signature Experience at the Miramonte Resort in Indian Wells – http://luxebeatmag.com/morning-hike-spa-miramonte-resort/

8 Fun Activities in October in Palm Springs

Hopefully the cooler fall days are just around the corner and weekend jaunts to Greater Palm Springs is appealing with beautiful weather in October. Enjoy a world class concert, ride a camel, tour a mansion, and participate in athletic challenges. Click here to see where to stay – https://dineandtravel.me/tag/palm-springs/

(Photo by Jill Weinlein)
(Photo by Jill Weinlein)

Here are  8 fun events –

  1. Sunnylands Opens For The Season – The Annenberg Retreat at Sunnylands and Sunnylands Center & Gardens is the former winter home of Ambassadors Walter and Leonore Annenberg. Take a tour to learn about all of the  U.S. presidents, celebrities, sports legends and British royalty who have visited the estate and compound. The Center and Gardens are open Thursday – Sunday from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. http://sunnylands.org 37977 Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage, California 92270. (760)202-2222.
  2. Year of the Cheetah Launch Party is October 1 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.. With less than 7,500 cheetahs left on our planet, The Living Desert recognizes the Cheetah and offers public awareness to help save them from extinction. Cheetah Spots in the park include food trucks, a beer garden, live entertainment, storytelling. Attend keeper chats, special Behind the Scenes Tours of their Cheetah exhibit. Kids can have their face painted just like a cheetah. The camels are back for guests to enjoy a ride. http://www.livingdesert.org/event/year-cheetah-launch-party/ 47900 Portola Ave. Palm Desert, CA (760) 346-5694.

    Entrance of V Palm Springs - Photo by Jill Weinlein
    Entrance of V Palm Springs – Photo by Jill Weinlein
  3. Rock & Roll Desert Trip Festival is October 7 through 9 & 14 through 16, 2016. The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, unites six of the world’s most iconic and influential rock and roll artists for both weekends offer three nights of unforgettable concerts, including The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan and His Band, Paul McCartney, Neil Young + Promise of the Real, Roger Waters and The Who. https://www.ticketcity.com/festivals/desert-trip-tickets.html.

    (Photo by Jill Weinlein)
    (Photo by Jill Weinlein)
  4. Modernism Week Fall Preview is October 21-23, 2016. Highlights of the events for the February 2017 festival, include an architectural walking and bike tours, festive cocktail parties, home tours, stimulating lectures, the not-to-be-missed Premier Double Decker Architectural Bus Tours, classic cars, the Modernism Show & Sale, tours of Sunnylands and more.http://www.modernismweek.com.

    (Photo by Jill Weinlein)
    (Photo by Jill Weinlein)
  5. Ultimate Endurance Test. On October 22, the Palm Springs Tram Road Challenge is a strenuous 3.7 mile walk/run along a beautiful path, that traverses up 2,000-foot elevation. All finishers receive a customized finishers medal, shirt and breakfast. This event benefits the United Way of the Desert. http://www.kleinclarksports.com/tram
  6. Fiesta at the Living Desert Museum – For every paid adult admission, one children’s admission is free on weekends now through Oct 15. La Gran Fiesta ¡Mi Casa Es Zoo Casa! is from  9a.m. – 1 p.m. with fun events highlighting the Hispanic culture. Play games, listen to live music and dance. Encounter animal enrichment moments, and try some delicious dishes. The first 1000 guests to celebrate La Gran Fiesta will receive a FREE pepper plant grown at The Living Desert! One per person, while supplies last. http://www.livingdesert.org/event/la-gran-fiesta/ 47900 Portola Ave. Palm Desert, CA (760) 346-5694.img_9180
  7. Fall Fun in Cathedral City from  October 27-30, 2016. Families enjoy a pumpkin patch area and carnival with hay bales, scarecrows, corn stalks and pumpkins for sale. There is a  pumpkin carving and Halloween costume contests. Kids can trick-or-treat and participate in arts and crafts.  The weekend activities include food and craft vendors, a beer garden and live entertainment.
  8. Halloween Golf Cart Parade on October 30. Bands march down El Paseo as the nation’s only golf cart parade is filled with spectacular colors and glitter. The pageantry of whimsically decorated golf carts begins at noon. http://golfcartparade.com.  72559 Highway 111, Palm Desert, CA 92260 (760) 346-6111.

Palm Springs July 4th Events

Fourth of July is special in Palm Springs to watch fireworks while lounging poolside or riding the down Palm Canyon Drive with a drink in hand. Sit and dine al fresco at one of the numerous restaurants offering outdoor dining patios. Here are 10 Fun Events during Fourth of July and throughout the summer months –

Join Shannon and Jen for a fun new type of Pub Crawl in Palm Springs. Photo by Jill Weinlein
Join Shannon and Jen for a fun new type of Pub Crawl in Palm Springs. Photo by Jill Weinlein

1.Hop on the Sunny Cycle Palm Springs for a new type of pub crawl experience. This safe and entertaining service has partnered with local businesses for appetizers and cocktails. It’s fun as guests get a little exercise, and lots of waves from locals and tourists while cruising on Palm Canyon Drive. The  15 seat cycle is an electric, pedal powered vehicle for 10 peddlers, and 5 non-peddlers. The two Sunny Cycle team member operating the vehicle are Shannon and Jen. It’s a great way to explore local sights and enjoy fresh air and light exercise outdoors. Tours are ideal for simply cruising the city, bar-hopping, corporate events, conventions, team-building, bachelor and bachelorette parties, singles mixers, family reunions, tailgating, picnics, progressive dinners, and even wine tastings. Stopping points along each tour can be customized. To learn more, go to http://sunnycycleps.com.


2. The fun starts on Thursday June 30 with the lively Villagefest in downtown Palm Springs. Stroll among hundreds of vendors from around the desert with fashion, jewelry and art along  downtown to the uptown design district. Villagefest hours are 7 to 10 p.m. www.villagefest.org. Grab a bite at Kaiser Grille or Las Casuella Terraza for margaritas and authentic Mexican cuisine.


3. On July 1 the Wet ‘n’ Wild Water Park is having a movie night with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles shown pool side after dusk. The park has 18 fun water rides and attractions, around the 21-acre desert oasis. Dive-in Movies at Wet ‘n’ Wild are every Friday in July. www.wetnwildpalmsprings.com.

Spa Casino
Spa Casino

4. There will be a Sandsational Summer at Spa Resort Casino on July 2, outside the Spa Resort Casino. Come to a beachside paradise from 1 to 6 p.m. with food vendors, bar service, a live band, kid friendly attractions, shaded spots with cool water misters, and Sandscapes sculptures. This sand art form took the sand artists three days to build. Champion sculptors from Sandscapes will be at work building a large sand sculpture outside Spa Resort Casino during the three days leading up to the Sandsational Summer event. General admission to the Sandsational Summer event on July 2 is $10; $5 for kids 12 and under. Tickets are available for purchase on the Spa Resort Casino website at www.sparesortcasino.com or in person at the Paradise Rewards Club.

5.  Cool down in the pool at Palm Springs Swim Center with a fun pool party. There is music, games and a large inflatable slide from 2 p.m. to when the last firework illuminates the sky. Visitors can swim in the pool while the fireworks ignite.  405 S. Pavilion Way.  Admission is $2 for children and $6 for adults. Due to the fireworks fallout zone, parking for the pool party will be located in the parking lot off Ramon Road.

6.  When the sun sets, head over to Sunrise Park adjacent to the Palm Springs Stadium for a picnic dinner. Pick up some food from Whole Foods or Bristol Farms and watch a FREE firework show.

7. Fireworks & Power Baseball Game on July 4 during “All American Fourth of July” Fireworks Spectacular, Watch the Power baseball team take on Southern Nevada at 6:05 p.m. followed by patriotic fireworks at 9:15 p.m. FREE admission for the fireworks show begins at 8 p.m. Everyone is invited to bring blankets and lawn chairs and sit on the field. 1901 E. Baristo Road.

8.  The AIDS Assistance Program Fourth of July fundraising event at the Historic O’Donnell house in Palm Springs offering hor d’oeuvres and a festive firework show by the City of Palm Springs. The cost to attend is $125. More information about this event is available at aidsassistance.org/events.

(Photo by Jill Weinlein)
(Photo by Jill Weinlein)

9. Sip sunset sangrias and hang by the pool at The Monkey Tree Hotel. It’s a boutique 16 room hotel in Palm Springs that is filled with mid-Century furniture and decor. The pool has large inflatable floats to enjoy as the sun sets. http://www.themonkeytreehotel.com.

(View from the lobby of the V Palm Springs - Photo by Jill Weinlein)
(View from the lobby of the V Palm Springs – Photo by Jill Weinlein)

10.  Stay. Play and Enjoy Polynesian-style food at V Palm Springs. Lounge on the large pool deck and float on or swim next to large golden inflatable swans.The hotel will be taking 25% off best available rates on guest rooms with outdoor space or patios with relaxing wicker basket swings. Also V Palm Springs is offering 25% off Food & Beverage for hotel guests to experience Elixir, the poolside bar, serving innovative Polynesian-inspired fare and cocktails. This offer runs through September 22.  If you book for 2 nights or more, you can stay in your bathing suit a little longer with a late checkout on request. This offer is based on availability and is non-refundable.
To learn more, go to http://vpalmsprings.com.

A New Boutique Hotel in Palm Springs – V

Entrance of V Palm Springs - Photo by Jill Weinlein
(Entrance of V Palm Springs – Photo by Jill Weinlein)

Driving on Palm Canyon Drive, I noticed downtown Palm Springs is being redeveloped into a new pedestrian friendly urban village with retail shops, restaurants and two hotels (Kimpton and Virgin Hotel) being built. Continuing on to East of Palm Canyon Drive, I pulled into the driveway of the recently opened V Palm Springs resort.

The 1960’s style mid-century hotel, used to be an economy Travelodge and a Curve hotel until celebrity criminal law attorney Mark Greagos and some partners purchased the property. They had it taken down to the studs and framing while investing $15-million in renovations. The striking lobby offers a butterfly-style roof, reminiscent of the modern and iconic Palm Springs Information Center.

(View from the lobby of the V Palm Springs - Photo by Jill Weinlein)
(View from the lobby of the V Palm Springs – Photo by Jill Weinlein)

During the Coachella music venue, they had a soft opening with half of their 140 rooms completed. Every day they continue to complete another room with a large bathroom. Their goal is to have all the rooms and a Polynesian theme restaurant completed by September. Meanwhile guests can take advantage of discounted rates during the summer as they put the final touches throughout.

The entrance of the lobby has a large glass door, with a small business center planned and sparkling and inviting pool beyond. There are two large inflatable golden swans floating on the surface, offering a fun vibe. The large concrete patio deck offers luxury lounge chairs and deep seating areas for guests to relax, read a book or nap.

There is a small fitness room and aqua yoga classes in the brand new pool at 9:30 a.m. on the weekends. Checking in, a staff member will escort you to a room. The majority offer views of the pool area, palm trees, nearby San Jacinto Mountains, and the newly open Elixir pool bar and grill. Some have semi-private patios with chairs and a hanging rattan swinging chair.

(A Standard Room at V Palm Springs - Photo by Jill Weinlein)
(A Standard Room at V Palm Springs – Photo by Jill Weinlein)

The air conditioned rooms offer a king size bed  or two double beds with white and navy blue decor. There are a few Junior suites and one V Suite. All have fluffy feather duvet covers and down pillows. The 300 thread count fine linen sheets on the new pillow top mattress is a guarantee for a comfortable sleep. All have a 47″ flat screen smart TV, and inside the closet are two light hooded bathrobes, and a personal safe.

The large bathroom has a white tiled walk-in shower and large viewing mirror. The bath products include an interesting rum bar soap, peppermint shampoo, cilantro hair conditioner, rum body wash and vitamin B5 body moisturizer.

Al fresco dining is offered at the onsite Elixir Grill near the pool with breakfast, lunch, Sunset Hour and dinner menus.

Leave your car in the parking lot and hop on the complimentary Buzz shuttle service to Downtown Palm Springs on Thursdays through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. It starts at The Riviera Resort with multiple stops before it reaches the V Palm Spring stop and continues on to Saguaro Hotel.

Another mode of transportation is complimentary bicycles from a staff member in the lobby. They will provide helmets, a bike lock, and bottle of water if needed.

(Photo by Jill Weinlein)
(Photo by Jill Weinlein)

The timing is perfect for V Palm Springs to open, because the first two weeks of June is the Greater Palm Springs Restaurant Week. It’s the tenth year the Coachella Valley has showcased a diverse dining event with over 90 restaurants. It begins on June 3 and runs through June 12 with exclusive deals and prix fixe dinner menus available for $28, $38 or $48 per person. To see a list of participants, go to – http://visitgreaterpalmsprings.com/restaurantweek/

Here are 10 of my favorite restaurants to try during Restaurant Week or on your next visit to Palm Springs –

1. The SteakHouse at the Spa Resort Casino – 401 E. Armado Road

2. Smoke Tree BBQ Bar & Grill – 1175 East Palm Canyon #405

3. Chi Chi at The Avalon Hotel –  415 S Belardo Road

4. Kaiser Grille – 205 S. Palm Canyon Drive

5. Las Casuals Terracce – 222 S. Palm Canyon Drive

6. TRIO – 707 N. Palm Canyon Drive

7. Reservoir at the Arrive Hotel – 1551 N. Palm Canyon Drive

8. Workshop Kitchen + Bar – 800 N. Palm Canyon Drive

9. Mr. Lyons – 233 E. Palm Canyon Drive

10. Ernest Coffee – 1100 N. Palm Canyon Drive

(Entrance of V Palm Springs – Photo by Jill Weinlein)

When the desert floor heats up, a ride on the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway is a 10-minute thrilling journey up the sheer cliffs of Chino Canyon.

The views from the rotating tram cars are spectacular, and the temperature drops 30 to 40 degrees cooler.

Another cool afternoon destination is the air-conditioned Palm Springs Art Museum featuring 28 galleries, a 90-seat lecture hall and 433-seat Annenberg Theater.

To learn more about what is new in Greater Palm Springs this summer, go to www.visitpalmsprings.com.

The Monkey Tree

(Photo by Jill Weinlein)
(Photo by Jill Weinlein)

The Terra Cotta Inn was a clothing optional resort for over 30 years in Palm Springs. During this time, the owners Tom and Mary Claire had a great time running the nudist resort. As they got older, they felt it was time to sell the property.

When Gary and Kathy Friedle were getting ready to retire from their New York City Wall Street and Architectural firms they had a realtor show a handful of  boutique hotels for sale. When they toured the Terra Cotta Inn with a taupe and mauve exterior and painted sunset in every room, the Friedle’s appreciated its good bones and location.

They purchased the property with the intension to bring it back to its 1960’s beauty. This talented couple researched the history of the property, and looked at photos of when it was designed by architect Albert Frey with 16 rooms on a private one acre. It was originally an overflow hotel for extra guests at the famous Charlie Farrell’s Racquet Club. Grey designed two other hotels in the Movie Colony area of Palm Springs.

The Friedle’s changed the color scheme to yellow, blue and white with rolling green lawns. There are plenty of yellow and white lounge chairs with yellow umbrellas for guests to relax by the pool. A whimsical element is the two large inflatable swans floating around the pool.

They gave the resort a coat of fresh paint inside and out and spent three months renovating the property. Daily trips to consignment and mid-century modern stores in Palm Springs inspired the Friedles to purchase 1960 period pieces to offer an authentic uniqueness in each room.

(Photo by Jill Weinlein)
(Photo by Jill Weinlein)

When they learned that Marilyn Monroe used to stay in one of the rooms at the hotel (at least once with JFK), they made this the Presidential Suite.

While renovating the property, a woman visited the property and shared with the Friedle’s that she used to babysit Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz’s children when they all stayed at the resort. It has history and a celebrity element.

Some of the rooms have a kitchenette for those who want to entertain in their room or out near the pool. Instead of giving guests plastic bottles of water, the owners put in a filtration system and offer a glass bottle in each rom that can be refilled. If you stay longer than two days, the staff will provide you with a mesh bag and wash your clothes.

Just minutes from downtown and uptown Palm Spring and close to the airport, one side of the resort has majestic views of the San Jacinto Mountains. This property is a destination for active and health-minded travelers that want a quiet getaway.  Gary is happy to share the best running, biking and hiking trails in Palm Springs. He put in a cold plunge pool (55 degrees) near a small hot pool (102 degrees) for therapy to his active guest’s muscles. There is also a wonderful large lap and swim pool. You won’t find children screaming and doing cannonballs here. Each room is limited to two guests. It’s a respectful and quiet place that is more ‘Chill’. No yappy dogs or ruckus pool parties here.

(Photo by Jill Weinlein)
(Photo by Jill Weinlein)

For those not so active, sit by the pool or lounge on one of the enormous pink inflatable swans.

There is no bar or restaurant, but there is a “living room” next to the office where Gary cooks in his new restaurant-grade kitchen a complimentary healthy breakfast with fresh fruit, granola and scones in the mornings for guests. In the evening Kathy whips up a pitcher of sunset sangria for guests to sip with one of Gary’s caramelized onion and Gruyère cheese handmade tarts.

(Owner Gary near the therapy pools - Photo by Jill Weinlein)
(Owner Gary near the therapy pools – Photo by Jill Weinlein)

For lunch and dinner there are a multitude of restaurants less than five-minutes away. Some of my favorite go-to dining spots are all on Palm Canyon Drive – Try the poolside restaurant Reservoir at the Arrive Hotel, Kaiser Grille, LuLu’s and Las Casuelas Terrace for blood orange margaritas and So Cal Mexican cuisine.

If the weather is too hot for you during the summer, drive 10 minutes away to the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway to enjoy temperatures 30 degrees less than the Palm Springs desert floor and spend the day looking out at the breathtaking views or hike among vanilla smelling Jeffrey pine trees.

Another cool spot is the Palm Springs Art Museum with 28 modern art galleries, theater and museum store. This architecturally interesting building, designed by E. Stewart Williams is air-conditioned and offers a cafe.

Take advantage of the summer deals in Palm Springs by going to www.visitpalmsprings.com

The Monkey Tree Hotel is located at 2388 E. Racquet Club Road, Palm Springs, 760-322-6059 – themonkeytreehotel.com.


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