The term “a hidden gem” gets thrown around a lot, but that’s a literal description of the Skylark Hotel located in the Palm Springs Uptown Design District.
Prior to its current incarnation, the hotel was a clothing-optional gay resort called Camp Palm Springs.
“Everything was covered up and painted very dark,” says the hotel’s owner Jesse Rhodes. “But when I walked into the property, I knew that under all the stuff they had covered up the original architecture would be there — and it was.”
Rhodes, who has a construction and real estate development company, PB Develops, has been restoring and refurbishing hotels for years, including The Plaza in New York City and the Hotel del Coronado in San Diego.
At the Skylark, Rhodes explains that, “I didn’t remodel the hotel, I restored it back to what it was. There’s a book called Palm Springs Holiday and it has a photograph of the hotel from 1955 with a caption that says, ‘The long-vanished Skylark Hotel.’”
“Well guess what? It didn’t vanish,” he says. “It’s reappeared exactly the way it was except for the fact that it has Egyptian cotton sheets, flat screen televisions, Wi-Fi, and dual-pane glass windows. But if you look at that photo from 1955 and compare it to now, it looks the same.”
The renovation took about a year and the 29 rooms now sport Danish Modern furniture that is slightly higher-end than what would have been there in the 1950s and 60s.
Rhodes also plans to add a restaurant and lounge at the back of the property in an area that was a lunch counter when the hotel was built.
“It’s a casual, comfortable environment where people talk to each other because the entire property surrounds the pool,” says Rhodes. “And the way they designed the hotel, the right-hand side is a one-story building and the other buildings are two story so you have an unobstructed view of the mountains from pretty much everywhere. Even the rooms in the one-story section have mountain views.”
The pool area is beautifully landscaped with grass and dotted with palm trees. Nearby there’s a jacuzzi in the shape of a six-leaf clover.
It’s definitely not a corporate property,” says Rhodes. “It has a very cool vibe and all the modern technology and conveniences you could want, but with the vintage charm.”
Skylark Hotel, 1466 North Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs, 760-322-2267
VIDEO: Take a tour of the Skylark Hotel Palm Springs/Video by Sean Boyle.