The Ace Hotel Palm Springs

Not terribly long after The Bucket List came out, I learned of The Ace Hotel in Palm Springs. Until this point I didn’t know there was anything cool in Palm Springs, and I had certainly never heard of a young person spending any time there. After looking into it, staying at The Ace was now on my newly-forming “bucket list.” Fast forward what, like 5+ years? Thanks to a coupon code, we made it happen for July 2015.

Ace Palm Springs

There are people out there who don’t understand staying in cool/nice hotels “just ’cause” when they could book a Super 8 for half the price. I don’t think that type of person has ever laid poolside at The Ace for two days with zero responsibilities and no itinerary. I really do like doing things on vacation (gimme the Freedom Trail in Boston or the whole slew of Smithsonian museums in DC any day), but after a very crazy spring semester at work and action-packed summer (so many weekend trips!) it was nice to have a little getaway and no obligations.

A few years ago we got a good online rate for The Saguaro which we really liked, and I was curious to see what The Ace would be like since those two are the most popular “hipster” hotels in Palm Springs. We really liked The Ace in Portland so my expectations were pretty high.

Ace Palm Springs

Ace Palm Springs

Luckily, my expectations were met, nay, exceeded. The bed? comfortable. The room, a welcome cool retreat from the unrelenting July-in-Palm-Springs heat. Next let’s talk amenities. Not that we cracked into anything on the minibar (something like $5 for a bag of chips? $8 for water? and up & up & up), I like a place that gives you quality options. Also, the hooded caftan-style robes provided were the most addicting things to wear ever and had me contemplating buying one, but alas, they cost almost the price of the room. There was also a record player on the bedside table with a pretty robust little speaker system and records to play! I planned ahead and brought along some favorite LPs as well.

The room’s interior was so inspiring! I liked the industrial-chic glossy sealed concrete floor, and the wood & white color combinations. Someday we’d like to get a little bit more in-depth with redoing the inside of our condo and I definitely want to draw a lot of inspiration from The Ace’s clean and crisp vibe (including the Portland Ace, too).

Ace Palm Springs

Ace Palm Springs

We had originally planned on bringing Mosey along, so we got one of the dog-friendly rooms with a patio and fireplace. After looking at the forecast for that weekend, (highs in the 110s!), we left him at my parents’ house. Even sans pooch it was nice to have the large patio with locking gate. The afternoon we arrived with our friends, we shared lunch that we’d brought in a cooler (a really great way to save money). We could hang up our swimsuits and towels to dry– almost instantly in that heat! The fireplace was easy to operate, a simple light switch, but not needed. If staying at The Ace in the fall or winter, I think the fireplace in the evening would be very nice indeed.

Ace Palm Springs

Ace Palm Springs

The pools: When we arrived Sunday afternoon, the main pool was packed and loud. The house DJ had things bumping. Locals can buy a pool day pass so it’s kind of a place to see and be seen, I think. There were no available chairs so we went to the other, smaller pool where it was nice and quiet. They have these awesome, huge, circular padded poofs and my pals and I were able to snag one. The next day, Monday, the large pool was much quieter and the music they played was perfect for lazing in a pool chair, snoozing in that gray area between awake and asleep. And getting a killer sunburn (ouch).

Ace Palm Springs

Ace Palm Springs

The cool sunshades are what you’ll see a gazillion instagrams of… I wasn’t sure how they’d compare to a standard umbrella but let me tell you… game changer!! You can pivot them in any direction for ultimate sun blockage! Solid endorsement from me. Now I want one for my condo patio… The chairs are really cool, too. Not sure if you can see in the photo, but the backrest part of each chair had its own little canvas tent piece for ultimate sun protection.

Ace Palm Springs

Well, 700+ words later I guess you could say I enjoyed myself! I didn’t even get to touch on the brunch at King’s Highway, the on-site restaurant. Anyway, what a nice getaway not too far from home. Definitely more expensive than The Saguaro but if you can get a coupon, or if it’s a special occasion, I say The Ace is hard to beat!

Palm Springs Part Two: Things to Do

We got up bright and early for brunch at King’s Highway, the restaurant at Ace Hotel & Swim Club. A little research revealed that before it was remodled, it was a Denny’s! I seriously loved the interior at King’s Highway. The mid-century fab stone on the wall? Yes please! It’s a dream of mine to own a home with that kind of crazy retro stone on the exterior or interior someday. My favorite thing was looking at the marks on the ground where I could picture the outline of the old Denny’s booths and fixtures.

King's Highway, Palm Springs

The food was great! Our host was a little pretentious, and the prices a little steep, especially for the coffee ($3 for a non-refillable iced coffee?) but the pancakes and french toast really hit the spot. The food tilted the scale from “eye-roll” to “awesome.” To be honest… we should have eaten all of our meals here!

King's Highway, Palm Springs

King's Highway, Palm Springs

King's Highway, Palm Springs

After our bellies were full, I did my duty as a design blogger and snooped around the Ace. Unfortunately I didn’t get the chance to look in a room… they look incredible on the website… but we peeked over the gate into the pool area and walked around the grounds. Definitely a different vibe from our colorful hotel, but everything seemed very cool and went nicely with the desert landscape. I really wanted to hang out at the Saguaro pool the first day and at the Ace pool the second day, but the day-pass was $20! Yikes!

The Ace, Palm Springs

The Ace, Palm Springs

We rode our bikes back to the Saguaro and drove downtown and walked around–just a little bit. The midday sun was roasting! So we grabbed some food at the grocery store and hung out at the pool for the rest of the day. All day! It was so sublime!

Later we got dolled up and went out for dinner–it was our anniversary celebration after all! We went downtown and found a really yummy place, Matchbox Pizza. We had a half Prosciutto and Fig and half “Q Special,” which featured chicken, portabello mushrooms and red peppers. A finer pizza was never had! However, we still had room for more so we followed it up with a little Ben & Jerry’s as we walked around downtown at dusk (it had cooled off some).

Palm Springs

Palm Springs

For our last day, we checked out of the hotel and headed to the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. I had no idea what to expect but wow!! Heading from the desert floor to 8,000 feet of altitude was very, very cool! Of course, I was petrified on the tram the whole way up and down. I shudder to remember it! I’m not afraid of heights per se… tall buildings and such don’t bother me, but suspended on a cable? That’s another thing.

Palm Springs Aerial Tram

Palm Springs Aerial Tram

Palm Springs Aerial Tram

Here’s the tram. Can you see Palm Springs in the distance?

Palm Springs Aerial Tram

As some of you know, we try to fit it into the budget to take an anniversary trip every year. Travel is such a passion of ours and we make it a priority! For our first anniversary we visited St Louis (little trip), last year the whole family took a trip to Europe (big trip), and this year Palm Springs was our low-key destination. We were lucky enough to visit Kansas in May and this short but very sweet trip was the perfect getaway to feel refreshed and rejuvenated from work. Now, I guess we’ll stay put for a little while!

In case you missed it, Monday I shared some photos of our hotel The Saguaro. 

Palm Springs (!!!) Part One: The Saguaro

Check one more place off of my dream destination list: Palm Springs.

Once known as the playground of movie stars, then later for being a place where old people went to Never Be Cold Again, the desert oasis has now become a cliché travel destination for hipsters and/or bloggers (such as myself, I suppose).

After a long day of work, we hopped in the car and headed out. Dropped off the pupster with my parents and were pleasantly surprised at how close PS is to my parents home in Temecula (just a couple of hours). We arrived somewhere around 7:00 and the evening was still young! We checked in to our hotel: The Saguaro.

The Saguaro is best known for it’s BRIGHT colors! The rainbow of spectrum filled me with endless energy. I definitely feed off of bright and vibrant colors and just being in our hot pink and tangerine room made me happy and bouncy. Don’t fear, dudes: not every room is as filled with hot pink as this one was.

The Saguaro Palm Springs

The Saguaro Palm Springs

In the desert, the summer is the slow season, so the hotel was pretty empty. Therefore, we got upgraded not only to a 1st floor room, but to a walk-out! That is, we could step out the sliding glass door from our room right to the lawn and pool area. Swanky! We were close enough to the pool for it to be super convenient, but directly outside our door was a bocce court, which was much quieter.

The Saguaro Palm Springs

The Saguaro Palm Springs

The Saguaro Palm Springs

The mountains rising behind the roof of the hotel seemed unreal. Like a hollywood backdrop, or like I could reach out and touch them. During the day, they were stark and imposing, and as dusk fell, they faded away, as if they weren’t there at all.

Included with the room was use of their cute baby blue bikes! If it had been a different time of year, I would have rode that bike all over Palm Springs. However, we took the bikes .8 miles to breakfast and it was already TOO HOT for that kind of activity. We rode back after our meal and never touched them again! Perhaps if I come back in the springtime….

The Saguaro Palm Springs

The Saguaro Palm Springs

Here are a few gratuitous shots of the lobby. If I hadn’t already been smitten with the hotel the moment I clicked “book,” well the lobby would have sealed the deal. A ping pong table right inside the front door? How fun!

The Saguaro Palm Springs

The Saguaro Palm Springs

The Saguaro Palm Springs

When planning this trip I really wanted to stay at The Ace Hotel, because that’s where all the “cool kids” seem to hang out, if you take a straw poll among famous bloggers. The Ace’s decor and vibe are totally different. Due to budget, we went with this hotel as our #2 choice. Well, we did spend a little bit of time over at The Ace snooping around. We had breakfast and wandered a bit (I’ll share photos Wednesday). Of course I would love a chance to stay at The Ace in the future, especially to make a well informed comparison. However, now that all is said and done, I am TOTALLY happy we stayed at the Saguaro! The grounds and amenities were so, so, so nice and the staff was really awesome. The bright rainbow of colors was totally my jam and the upbeat vibe was so great to be surrounded with during our little mid-week getaway. I would be very happy to return to The Saguaro again any time!

Need a recommendation for where to stay? Check out my Your Turn section.