If you’re looking for a reason to book a summer vacay in the Californian desert, consider this a sign.
Where to stay in Palm Springs: Ace Hotel & Swim Club
There are a lot of hip places to stay in Palm Springs (it’s not hard when the whole city has a wonderfully relaxed, mid-century desert vibe), but Ace Hotel & Swim Club might take the cake. This place has a killer location in downtown Palm Springs with the San Jacinto Mountains as the backdrop, but that’s just the start.
Here’s my full review of this dreamy hipster hangout.
Set in the heart of downtown Palm Springs, the Ace is an ideal starting point to explore the city and is easy to get to via a hire car from the International Airport. You can also hire bicycles for free from Ace. Most of the time, we just caught Ubers everywhere – I’m happy to note that Uber is in full swing in Palm Springs.
Note: Some like it hot, and I am one of those people. If you’ve never been to the desert, a warning: temperatures were hitting over 40°C when I visited in mid-July, which is the height of summer in the USA. I loved it, but if you want the heat turned down, stick to the coast (I hear good things about Ace Hotel’s Los Angeles counterpart) or consider booking your Coachella Valley getaway for American winter.
We stayed at the Ace for the week of our wedding (and also held our wedding reception there), so privacy and space was important to us. We booked a Patio with Garden room, which was the perfect choice. If you like your space, stick with what we got or look into a Patio with Fireplace room or a Suite. However, there are plenty of places to lounge around the hotel, so don’t fret if you just book a Standard room – you’re spoilt for choice with where to sit, relax and drink.
The interiors of the hotel rooms at the Ace Hotel & Swim Club are fabulous. I can honestly say I’ve never stayed in a hotel quite like it. Think seventies bohemian luxe with all the extras (there’s even a specific washcloth for removing makeup and a small sex toy kit you can purchase through the mini bar… Just in case). As you walk in to your room, you’ll hear the record player/radio tuned to 106.9 The Eagle, Coachella Valley’s station for classic hits, and see a selection of vinyl waiting nearby. It’s this attention-to-detail and dedication to everything retro and quirky that really makes the accommodation so impressive.
Eat & drink
One reason you won’t want or need to leave the hotel? The Ace has its own bar, The Amigo Room, and a diner that is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
I can’t resist a cavernous, well-styled bar and The Amigo Room doesn’t disappoint. For starters, there is a taxidermied bear on the wall behind the bar. They serve up a selection of craft beer and artisanal cocktails as their specialties. Sink in to one of their cosy booths and soak up the atmosphere.
As for food, King’s Highway – a former Denny’s – has an all-American menu with a slight Mexican influence. You can enjoy food indoors or poolside. These are my top picks:
Breakfast: Buttermilk Pancakes
Lunch: Date Shake and Fries
Dinner: Desert Highway Burger or Cemita Las Palmas
I’m a sucker for a wet hot summer, which is what made staying at Ace Hotel & Swim Club such a joy. I spent countless hours by the Swim Club pool during the day (with intermittent air-con breaks), and still felt gloriously warm come nightfall, which is when the desert really comes into its own.
There are plenty of spots at Ace for relaxing. The Swim Club pool is the main attraction, which is surrounded by enough sun loungers and pool shades that you won’t ever have to be fighting for a spot away from other sunbathers. There is often music playing by the Swim Club pool, too. For a quieter vibe, hit up the Commune pool for a more intimate setting.
Wedding & function spaces
If you’re in the market for organising your nupitals or post-nupital celebrations at Ace, their staff are more than accommodating and the hotel has a selection of picturesque spaces suitable for many types of celebrations. I had 12 wedding guests and held my wedding reception on the second floor of the Clubhouse, which overlooks the Swim Club pool and has views of the mountains. It was truly stunning.
The Commune is also another popular space for functions with a larger guest count, and the Stargazing Deck would be ideal for more low-key celebrations held in the evening (with no roof over your head, it would simply be too hot to hold an event in the blistering daytime sun).
I also can’t speak highly enough of the events team at Ace Hotel & Swim Club. I organised my wedding reception with them all the way from Australia, and they were very hospitable. The night after our wedding, they had also secretly arranged to deliver surprise champagne, cheese and nibbles to our room.
This place epitomises the word “cool”, and there were a few extra touches at Ace Hotel & Swim Club that made our stay in Palm Springs so memorable.
- There is a retro photobooth in the lobby – perfect for mementos of your stay.
- The Ace is dog-friendly, so you’ll see pooches everywhere!
- There’s a gym, which for me, is a necessity. Hot tip: the air-con in the gym is arguably the best in the whole hotel.
- This place is insanely photogenic. Check out my blog on the best spots for Instagram photos in Palm Springs to see my top picks for photo-ops at Ace.
- If you’re looking for even more relaxation and some pampering, there is an on-site spa with a variety of services. I pre-arranged for the girls at the spa to do my hair and makeup for the wedding day, and they were super friendly and did a fantastic job.
- Yes, there’s free Wi-Fi for guests.
Where’s your favourite place to stay in Palm Springs? Let me know in the comments, I’m dying to go back!
If you want to stay at the Ace, you can take a page out of my book and book through Booking.com to get the best price.