December 14, 2011

A Colorful Trip to The Ace Hotel in Palm Springs - Part I

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Last weekend I had the amazing opportunity to visit The Ace Hotel and Swim Club in Palm Springs. I was invited, along with a handful of design and lifestyle journalists and bloggers, to participate in a color experiment sponsored by The Comex Group and Arkitip, Inc. Comex, based out of Mexico City, is the parent company of PPI (Professional Paint, Inc.) which they acquired in 2004. In California, you might recognize their paint brand Frazee. Arkitip, based out of Los Angeles, is limited-edition art publication and also the curator of a "plethora of creative endeavors." For this project, Arkitip worked with their client, Comex, to create a color-focused installation at the Ace Hotel. This was a new experiment for all involved, and I have so much to talk about I think it's best if I break the story into a few parts.

Let's start with the Ace Hotel.

The Ace Hotel Group, brainchild of hotelier and uber-cool guy Alex Calderwood (whom I had the wonderful pleasure of meeting) currently has four locations -  Portland, Seattle, New York and Palm Springs - with plans of expansion underway. Each hotel has its own style and feel, and careful consideration is given to the architectural and cultural history of each place. The Palm Springs location is no exception.

The 180-room hotel itself is "built on the foundation of a 1965 Howard Johnson hotel" while the adjacent restaurant, The King's Highway, is a resurrected Denny's restaurant. If you're lucky, while you're dining you can catch a performance by "Linda Fabulous", the resident show tunes belter/hostess who used to be an understudy for Barbra Streisand on Broadway. And The Amigo Room, with it's delicious artisanal cocktails and cave-like atmosphere, is an old school bar you don't want to miss. Much of the decor was kept in tact or re-purposed, providing the bar with colorfully rich layers of character and history.

The King's Highway set against the mountains.

The entire property is a visual feast. Its location is perfectly framed against the desert mountains, almost creating the sense that you are on your own little island...your own oasis in the desert. So, rather than talking your ears off, or, rather, writing your eyes off, it's probably best if I finish up this post with some photos of the property. And I'll continue my Palm Springs adventure in Part II...

The doors to the hotel lobby. Vespas (in reflection) are for rent.

Could that be Pantone's "Tangerine Tango" on the doors?

One of the exterior fireplaces featuring ceramic art installation by Stan Bitters.

Look closely - there's a beautiful violet-headed hummingbird in there!

"We have been called a boutique hotel. We're not sure what that is. We just love doing things our own way, and creating a neat experience based on a sense of place." 
- Ace Hotel website

Have you been to any of the Ace Hotels? If so, what did you think?  


  1. Well, I haven't ever been to one, but I'm sure I need to! Love the whole retro vibe - what fabulous photos you took. Love that green outdoor sofa, too!

  2. What a beautiful setting :-) Love the view of the mountains, and the palm trees against the blue sky are breathtaking. We don't have trees like that around here! The exterior fireplace area looks like the perfect spot to kick back and relax and enjoy the views :-)

    I've never been to an Ace Hotel. But if I'm ever in Palm Springs, maybe I'll book a room here :-)

  3. Wow you took a lot of shots!! It does look like Tangerine Tango on the doors :-)

    I have some of those cacti to but mine aren't as hardy. Beautiful post!

  4. I'm just looking at that blue sky and feeling the lovely heat - just what I need, thank you! Have a great Christmas & New Year.

  5. i recently stayed at the ace in seattle. the location was perfect and the design was so much fun. urban outfitters meets scandinavia. i'd highly recommend and now thanks to you i want to go to palm springs!


“Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric.” - Bertrand Russell