From the onset, the palette of the Art Hotel in Palm Springs is about colors. Lots of colors. Beginning with the Instagrammable rainbow entrance and adjoining flower-power mural wall, it’s the kind of splash that takes you back to another time and place and celebrates it.
“I love a retro throwback, and I feel that Palm Springs is the perfect place because it’s celebrated here,” says Tracy Turco, who with her husband, Jerry, own the property. “Instead of obliterating all traces of the past, I like to celebrate them and whatever was considered ugly, I like to actually highlight and showcase as beautiful.”
The Turcos came to Palm Springs for their honeymoon in 2018 and at the same time looking for a house to make the move from the east coast. Tracy stumbled upon two Indian Canyon Drive properties for sale right next to each other. In its former life, the Art Hotel was the single-story Sandalwood Hotel dating back to the early 1960s, while Turco plans to turn the second property, formerly the two-story Colton Hotel, into the Tiki Hotel.
The Art Hotel opened Feb. 1, but rather than let the COVID-19 shutdown derail their plans Tracy saw an opportunity because each of the eight rooms has a kitchenette to allow the property to pivot as an apartment rental. “I’m a conduit girl,” Tracy recalled. “So, I said, ‘We can make this work. That’s not a setback. Let’s make it a positive.’”
Tracy chatted with Palm Springs Life about her decor choices at the Art Hotel and what she has planned with the Tiki Hotel once its able to open.
Why did you and Jerry choose to settle here?
It was the landscape and the architecture. We love looking at the mountains. And then it’s the weather and the people.Friendly people and the happiness vibe that everyone exudes, it seems. And we also like the Hollywood throwback and then the history of such an era that went by, that was so important. It was the best retreat.
Once you opened the Art Hotel, how did you move from running a hotel to renting apartments?
I was really hoping that I was going to be running a hotel. I wanted to have events there and always have art curated at the Art Hotel. And that was my little project because I was shopping for all the local artists, all the fabrics, textiles, and my artworks. So, I wanted it to be an artistic environment. I didn’t anticipate until COVID that the property would actually go back to apartments where we can rent them for a longer term.But now it’s pretty great because the six apartments that are filled now with people that are using them as an apartment dwelling, while we still have a couple left for a guest that just wants to stay for a month or something We could still do pop-up events there which I plan to do once we’re able to.
What inspired the room design at the Art Hotel?
I feel like the inspiration was all things art, and I have touched upon music, paintings, even album covers and vintage compilations. Anything retro and artistic. So, everything, all colors, it was pretty much all inclusive. Everything works and I’m very much the queen of pattern play. So, I definitely mix patterns that in my vision cohesively worked to make a spectacular punch. So, as soon as you walk in, even though the rooms are sedated, it’s a white wall, black ceiling, but all the pops of color keep it so vibrant and unique. The textiles are all different in combinations just like disco. There’s a lot of vintage pieces mixed in, very eclectic and artistic.
Where does that design have its roots with you?
I was using the Art Hotel as a soundtrack of growing up. The soundtrack of music was my vision for the decor actually. So, I mixed punk. There’s so many punk rock bands that I made collages of pictures plus we have black guitars in every room.
So, it has that retro punk, musical, artistic taste of all different things, ’60s, ‘70s. Sometimes when I’m decorating, and I’m interested in black and white, I’ll decorate an entire space based on my vision of movies and films. This one was more musically inspired. And even my draperies and all of the places have disco balls on them. Even the skateboards have disco balls of different kinds.
Visitors seem to look for retro experiences when they come to Palm Springs.
Yes, definitely retro. And even I figured they would appreciate the original tiles that we preserved lovingly in each shower. The pool is the original from 1961. The original footprint is completely 1961. The aesthetic is pure. The kitchens have all been updated, but it still has that throwback. And every room has a brand new record player, but with all vintage vinyl.
Why do the color schemes you chose work in Palm Springs?
Palm Springs is the most colorful place on earth. And you just see rainbows of color everywhere. And that’s the common thread. And that’s what I wanted to give everyone, is the full kaleidoscope of color. And I personally painted all the artists pallets outside the doors to put the numbers on. So, each pallet is different, every room is different even though it has that common denominator of the same retro style, but the purple door room is going to be different than the pink door room. So, I think it’s special. I love it.
Where are you with the Tiki Hotel?
I’m thinking maybe in the next three months that we’ll get the go ahead from the city and county to do everything. And then if we work fast I feel by Christmas, we’ll be full-on open. Six of the rooms will have a full kitchen and then the other five will be kitchenettes. So there again, I could probably do the same thing — the six can be long-term rentals and the other five could be the short term.
This hotel will have a tea room and a gift shop.I had an international tea business at one time with stores in Paris, Dubai, New York, Sydney, and Canada. The gift shop will be everything Tiki that you can name. And if everyone is going to come for weddings and wedding parties, I’ll have everything for the luau and just fun things to make you happy and very affordable. And even all my dresses, my fabrics, and pillows that are styled will be for sale. And you could purchase everything that you see in the Art Hotel, every disco pillow, or beautiful tray, and all the accessories.
For information on the Art Hotel, visit arthotelps.com.
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