Coachella Chill Out

The updated Sagewater Spa in Desert Hot Springs is a midcentury oasis where guests can kick back and bask in the mineral waters.

Lawrence Karol Health & Wellness

The recently renovated Sagewater Spa has a mineral water pool and spa with stellar views of the surrounding desertscape.

Fans attending the Coachella Music Festival — and hip, like-minded visitors — are always on the lookout for a cool, retro place to stay. The recently renovated Sagewater Spa in Desert Hot Springs definitely fits the bill.

Known over the years as the Mona Lisa, Monte Vista, and Desert Springs Inn, the hotel was built in 1954. Its current owner, Rhoni Epstein, notes that despite its recent makeover the resort remains true to its midcentury architectural roots. “We were careful to keep the exterior visually original,” she says. “The rooms have been updated with new floors, kitchen areas, and a few conveniences that make staying at Sagewater Spa easy and fun.”

Additional updates include new windows, a new pool deck, a re-plastering of the swimming pool and spa, and landscaping. The hotel’s eight rooms have queen-size beds outfitted with Frette Italian linens, fully equipped kitchen areas with a refrigerator, a retro-style stove, dining tables surrounded by Philippe Starck chairs — and in a nod to the midcentury vibe, pops of orange in furnishings like Eames reading chairs.


The outdoor areas have multiple seating options.

For that extra retro touch, every guest also receives “Gramma’s B’s Famous Homemade Cinnamon Coffee Cake” and a box of Good & Plenty candy. “On Sunday mornings, my grandmother, Florence Bernstein, aka Mrs. B, freshly baked her delicious cinnamon coffee cake (babka),” says Epstein. “My interpreted version is de-fatted with healthy ingredients and even my brother can't decipher the difference!”


Guest rooms have a simple, midcentury vibe and feature queen-size beds with Frette Italian linens.

“Quiet is the new luxury,” adds Epstein. “Our services are reserved for our hotel guests. We are not open to the public for soaking in our mineral water pool or booking massages.” The hotel’s well is heated to 165 degrees, which is cooled to 90 degrees for the pool and 104 degrees for the spa. “We pump 35 gallons-a-minute which keeps fresh hot water flowing through our pool,” says Epstein. The deck area also includes a gas grill and a covered dining area.


Each room has a renovated kitchen area that’s equipped with dishes, bowls, glasses, pots, pans, cooking utensils and a new, vintage-style stove.

And like every good midcentury resort, Sagewater has a few Hollywood tales to tell. For example, Epstein notes that the book Palm Springs Babylon: Sizzling Stories From the Desert Playground of the Stars, mentions that Peter Lawford would occasionally leave Frank Sinatra’s compound in Palm Springs to entertain a “friend” at the hotel.

For those guests who find a weekend stay isn’t long enough, a more permanent option is available: The hotel is currently for sale at $1,995,000. (This is a pocket listing, meaning it’s not in the multiple listing service.)

If you would like additional information about purchasing the property, contact Eric Lavey, The Agency, 424-233-0920,, or Marc Sanders, 760-218-1999,

Sagewater Spa, 12689 Eliseo Road, Desert Hot Springs, 760-220-1554,,