Those who have long considered Palm Desert to be little more than the golf-happy anodyne southern sister to Palm Springs, please take note: The Hotel Paseo comes to town in February, and the buzz is for keeps. This is not only the first new luxury hotel to come to Palm Desert in years, but it has a prime location by shopping mecca El Paseo and numerous local activation points.
Part of Marriott’s Autograph Collection and managed by Evolution Hospitality, Hotel Paseo is an entirely new build. Its 150 guest rooms include nine specialty suites and a slickly restored 25-foot 1950 Airstream trailer — a nod to the current yen for vintage travel throwbacks — that will be permanently parked in proximity to the poolside cabana bar.
“Ten years ago we saw the opportunity in this open land in the midst of the El Paseo shopping district on one side and bordered by the residential neighborhood on the other,” says general manager Gil Reyes. “We felt it was important to take our design cues from the residential architecture and incorporate it into the touch points of our design, while at the same time reinventing it from a modern perspective.
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The hotel is anchored by a central backyard complete with pool and cabanas.
“We were limited to three levels above ground and one underground for parking to preserve the local views,” he adds. “With these benchmarks in mind, we fashioned the hotel around a central backyard that would be the outdoor social hub reminiscent of the days of outdoor cocktail parties in the desert.”
In addition to the bar, those social touch points include the pool and whirlpool, cabanas, an event lawn, stage, and outdoor games.
Two soaring palm trees at the hotel’s entrance on Larkspur Lane pierce an angular porte-cochere that evokes many of the Coachella Valley’s midcentury modern single-story homes. It’s an invitation to experience the local scene that continues into the lobby. Here, gleaming white Calacatta marble floors set a posh tone, while artworks such as a mannequin in a swimsuit “diving” into a Welcome to Southern California painting by artist Tom Swimm keep the atmosphere light and bright.
Perhaps with post-El Paseo shopping chill-out time in mind, the hotel has a full-service lobby-level spa: called Spa La Lé, it is poised to tempt travelers with seven treatment rooms. Meanwhile, in the airy guest rooms, the color palette is a soothing one of white, light blue, and gray. The “spa-inspired” bathrooms come with those on-trend sliding barn-style doors.
Artwork lines the lobby area of Hotel Paseo.
If there’s one thing missing it’s a golf course, but for those who can’t resist the pull of the green, there’s a partnership with the Desert Willow Golf Resort close by.
Two desert food-scene leaders are in charge of the hotel restaurant: The AC3 Restaurant and Bar on the ground level, serving new American food, is helmed by Tony Marchese of Trio and Andrew Copley of Copley’s, both beloved Palm Springs restaurants. The focus of activity is a dramatic, central U-shaped bar; specially commissioned large-format canvasses by 21-year-old local artist Nicholas Kontaxis are perfectly at home under the main dining area’s high ceilings. Some public spaces feature mod furnishings from Rapport Furniture, whose showroom anchors one end of El Paseo.
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This slickly restored 25-foot 1950 Airstream trailer will be permanently parked in proximity to the poolside cabana bar.
That backlit floor-to-ceiling image of the Arch of Cabo San Lucas and the Pacific Ocean covering the back wall of the gym — you wouldn’t expect that, right? — is another cool Hotel Paseo surprise. All indications are that we should expect more.
Hotel Paseo, 45400 Larkspur Lane, Palm Desert. 760-340-9001; hotelpaseo.com
For more information about El Paseo, visit elpaseocatalogue.com