Sandwiched between downtown Palm Springs and Mount San Jacinto is the Tennis Club, the oldest neighborhood in the city. It’s where many of the first inns and hotels were built in the fledgling city, and stars from Hollywood flocked to them in the 1920s and 1930s to escape the pressures of the studios and the prying eyes of the press. Fortunately for us, most of the charming little inns and hotels are still here. A stroll through the Tennis Club neighborhood is like traveling back in time.
Besides having so many historic inns and hotels, the other great advantage to staying—or living—in the Tennis Club is that all the great shops, restaurants and cocktail lounges of the downtown area are within walking distance. This is one of the main reasons I’ve lived in the Tennis Club for 20 years.
But there’s another important. but easily overlooked advantage to putting down roots here: it feels like a small village. In a city where many of the homes and residents are hidden behind tall hedges and walls, it’s in the nearby restaurants and shops that make up this neighborhood that you get to interact and know your neighbors and the people who run these businesses. Take one of my favorite hangouts—Melvyn’s restaurant, located inside the Ingleside Inn. The food is good and martinis even better, but that’s not why I go there. I’m a regular and I’ve gotten to know the people who work there … and they’ve come to know me. This is why the Tennis Club isn’t just my neighborhood. It’s my home.
Having lived in Palm Springs since 1986, I know this city well. And I’ve invested in it since the 1980s. So besides the fact that I can help you buy property wisely in this city, I can also help you find the best places to eat and to drink, shop and play. Below, you’ll find a handy guide to help you navigate the various inns and hotels of the Tennis Club. As always, if you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or give me a ring at 760-861-5150
If you’re looking for the perfect spot for a wedding, corporate retreat or film location, this is it. This wonderful collection of bungalows and villas began life as a replica of a Portuguese villa and were featured in an issue of Architectural Digest in 1930. Soon afterward, the house and grounds developed a reputation as a haven for artists who naturally flocked to the site because of the stupendous San Jacinto Mountain backdrop and the views across the valley to the colorful Chocolate Mountains. Renovated in 1977, Colony 29 was taken over by new owners who restored the buildings and six acres of botanical gardens to create a quiet, green oasis set against the splendor of the towering mountains behind it.
Romantic and historic, Casa Cody is the oldest operating hotel in Palm Springs. Designated a Class 1 historic site, Casa Cody was founded in the 1920s by Harriett Cody, cousin of the legendary Buffalo Bill. There are 29 units in the adobe-hacienda architectural style and decorated with touches of Santa Fe, many with private patios and fireplaces.
Built in 1924, this upscale hotel is crafted after a Mediterranean-style pensione; a touch of tangier with a whisper of the Mediterranean. The exotic rooms are decorated in Moroccan or Mediterranean themes with wood or stone floors, middle-eastern lighting fixtures and antique furniture. A world away right in the heart of Palm Springs.
Set on an acre of gardens in a downtown residential area, this laid-back boutique hotel has views of the San Jacinto Mountains. It’s 12 minutes on foot from The Palm Springs Art Museum and 2 miles from Palm Springs International Airport.
Built in the 1920s in the Spanish style, the 30-room, 2-acre former private estate echoes the glamor of the Golden Age of Hollywood. It’s quiet, secluded and it’s a historic landmark. It even has its own restaurant on the grounds: Melvyn’s, a favorite of mine.
Tucked discreetly behind the Palm Springs art museum, this ultra-luxurious, five-star retreat was once a private mansion. Built in the Spanish Mediterranean revival style, this inn has high, mahogany-beamed ceilings decorated with painted frescoed and rooms with stone fireplaces. The breakfasts are top-notch. The rooms and all the amenities are top-notch. No expense was spared and you’re quite aware of it. From the luxurious robes to the comforters and sheets on the pillowtop feather beds, you know you’re staying at one of the best inns in the desert.
It’s no wonder that the rich and famous have been attracted to the Willows for nearly 100 years. Carole Lombard and Clark Gable stayed there. JFK’s father, Joseph was a visitor. So was mistress of William Randolph Hearst, Marion Davies. And Albert Einstein.
Eight private, cozy and luxurious villas in the Spanish-revival style offer Old World charm in a private, quaint, boutique setting. Many of the villas have private gardens and entrance gates, marble showers or tubs, and flagstone flooring. Actress Lucile Ball and her husband, Desi, often stayed here.
Tucked behind a forest of palm trees, the Old Ranch Inn is a quaint, intimate hotel with a casual atmosphere and a light touch of the Old West. All of the eight, poolside suites have kitchenettes, spacious baths, private patios and a few have fireplaces.
For those wishing for a truly Palm Springs midcentury experience, there’s no place like the Orbit In. From the moment you check in, you feel like you’re somewhere else in a more relaxed time. Start the day with bagels and French press coffee and graduate to an Orbitini at the Boomerang bar at cocktail hour. Or soak in the saline pool or take one of the cruiser bikes for a ride around town to see all the fantastic midcentury homes and buildings that came to make Palm Springs the capital of midcentury architecture.
Built in 1947 and designed by Palm Springs architect William F. Cody, the 17-room hotel is
built of native stone and redwood in a U-shaped plan that wraps around the central pool and courtyard to encourage socializing among guests. Echoes of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West in Scottsdale, Arizona, are seen everywhere. The luxurious suites have modernist asymmetrical entrance doorways, floor-to-ceiling glass to take in the view, and interiors decorated in classic midcentury architecture. A class 1 historic hotel.
(Formerly the Chase Hotel.) Located at the northern end of the Tennis Club neighborhood, the Holiday is a midcentury hotel built in the 1940s, offering a feeling of quiet seclusion, yet it’s just a block from the restaurants, shops and nightlife of Palm Canyon Drive. The rooms are spacious and come with fully equipped kitchenettes.
This midcentury/modern hotel was built in 1946 and expanded to 14 poolside rooms. Decoration is impeccable and interiors are warm and welcoming with a distinct midcentury feel, all looking out onto the pool with its generous central courtyard.
The Avalon is not the place to go and quietly hide out. This is the place to see and be seen. A combination of rooms and bungalows with gas-burning fireplaces, the Avalon pulses with a very modern vibe, helped along with Hollywood Regency interiors by Kelly Wearstler. There’s a small restaurant on the four-acre premises of this sleek-and-chic hotel.