Genius: Willows Inn Reincarnates Vintage Palm Springs

Each of the historic inn’s rooms is named rather than numbered

The Willows Historic Inn in Palm Springs is one of the 10 oldest structures in the city.

Jim Powers


You don’t need to be Einstein to figure out that The Willows Historic Inn, which is located right in the heart of downtown Palm Springs, is a gorgeous and elegant oasis.

But for the record, Albert Einstein was a frequent visitor to The Willows during its previous incarnation as a private residence.

Back in 1924, William Mead, a real estate developer who helped establish the Los Feliz neighborhood of Los Angeles, built The Willows as his weekend retreat. In the late ‘20s, the property was sold to a New York attorney, Samuel Untermyer, who was good friends with Einstein.

The Untermyer family owned The Willows for several decades, but it then changed hands a number of times before its current owners, Dr. Tracy Conrad and her husband Dr. Paul Marut, came to its rescue in 1994.

Then and Now

“It was in really bad shape and had fallen into disrepair,” says Conrad. Over the next two years, the couple transformed The Willows into a small boutique hotel with eight guest rooms.

Since the building holds a Class 1 historic designation, and is one of the 10 oldest structures in the city, Conrad and Marut proceeded with caution.

“We started at the Palm Springs Historical Society with the history of the house and from there found the original blueprints,” says Conrad.

She adds that, “Many of the original elements were preserved, but masked under bad remodels of the 1970s. Some things were irretrievably lost, like all but one bathroom, so they had to be recreated. I think of them as a confection of the 1920s.”

Eight is Enough

Each of the inn’s rooms is named rather than numbered. The Marion Davies, where the actress lived from 1955 to 1962 during her frequent visits to Palm Springs, has a balcony with a view of the San Jacinto Mountains.

Or maybe check into Einstein’s Garden Room which has its own private patio, the Library where it’s reputed that Clark Gable and Carole Lombard spent some time, or the aptly named Waterfall Room, which has a fireplace and an incredible view of a 50-foot waterfall that’s also visible from the inn’s living and dining areas.

No matter which room you book, you’ll feel like a genius for choosing to stay at this charming, historic inn.

The Willows Historic Palm Springs Inn, 412 West Tahquitz Canyon Way, Palm Springs, 800-966-9597.

Like what you're reading? Then "Like" us on Facebook and "follow" us on Twitter.


VIDEO: Take a tour highlighting the lobby and dining area.

Add your comment:
Desert Guide

Related Articles

Lisa Vanderpump's 'Star Dream' in Palm Springs Comes True

Lisa Vanderpump of "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" fame considers a place on the Palm Springs Walk of Stars a "dream come true."

10 Things to Do This Weekend in Palm Springs

Palm Springs Life helps plan out your weekend in Palm Springs and the desert resort cities with concerts, events, restaurants, nightlife, clubs and the world of entertainment only found in the desert.

Explore Palm Springs: Jack Freeman Serves Up the Stars

In the 1930s, Jack Freeman's time at the Village Pharmacy in Palm Springs brought him in contact with stars like John Wayne, Rudy Vallee, and William Powell.

12 Places to Dine During Dog Days of August in Palm Springs

August in the Palm Springs area means some restaurants close, but which ones remain open? We've put together a list of a dozen with a table waiting for you.

Hard Rock Hotel Palm Springs Unleashes "Top Rock" Entertainment

New music, new dance numbers and special effects highlight the return of the "Top Rock" musical tribute show to the Hard Rock Hotel Palm Springs.

Promotions + Contests

90 Days of Summer Romantic Palm Springs Getaway 2014

90 Days of Summer Romantic Palm Springs Getaway 2014

Experience the beauty, romance and excitement of the Palm Springs area when you enter to be the lucky winner of this romantic couple’s getaway
90 DAYS OF SUMMER Instagram Contest 2014

90 DAYS OF SUMMER Instagram Contest 2014

Win a fabulous Palm Springs weekend!

Win a fabulous Palm Springs weekend!

Each month, a first place winner will be selected to win a fabulous Palm Springs weekend!And, each month, three additional runners up will be selected to win a wonderful Palm Springs area Dining certificate!
2013/14 Best of the Best

2013/14 Best of the Best

Palm Springs Life’s annual Best of the Best. Readers tell us who their choice is for the “Best of the Best” of the Coachella Valley in over 40 categories.
Cartoon Caption Contest

Cartoon Caption Contest

Each month, we provide a vintage 1950’s cartoon illustrated by Alice Rovinsky. You are invited to submit a caption or vote for your favorite caption.
Pets on Parade 2014 Photo Contest

Pets on Parade 2014 Photo Contest

Enter your “Cutest Pet” photo in the Pets on Parade 2014 Photo Contest. Online users will be able to like the Cutest Pet photos from six (6) categories.