Storied Spaces

If walls could talk, could we handle the truth?

Stephen Cipoletto Hotels & Resorts

Architect William J. Dodd designed The Willows Historic Palm Springs Inn in 1924.

The Willows Historic Palm Springs Inn

Southern California development power-player William Mead had the Willows Inn built in 1924 as a winter retreat for himself and his wife, Nella, enlisting architect William J. Dodd, mansion specialist. The Meads would escape often to the property until William’s death in 1927. Nella sold the home shortly thereafter to legendary attorney Samuel Untermyer, who frequently had friends over — one of whom was Albert Einstein. The estate changed hands multiple times through the next several decades; current owners Tracy Conrad and Paul Marut purchased it in the 1990s to revive it and open an exclusive hotel.

Casa Cody

Charlie Chaplin stayed at this Palm Springs Class 1 Historical Site, built in the 1920s by Harriet Cody, cousin of Wild West legend Buffalo Bill. Cody, a Vassar graduate, was something of a rough-hewn frontierswoman herself. She arrived in Palm Springs in 1916 and established Casa Cody with profits from her second enterprise, a horse stable formerly located at Palm Canyon Drive and Ramon Road.

Del Marcos Hotel

Is it a coincidence that 1947 saw both an unprecedented level of sunspot activity and the building of Del Marcos Hotel? Maybe. But this architectural offering by William F. Cody did transpire in the valley of the sun. Cody’s first solo foray into desert domiciles, Del Marcos was constructed with redwood and local stone. Seventy years later it stands much the same.

The Monkey Tree Hotel

Built in 1960 by Nick Astrahantseff, who was a longtime draftsman for E. Stewart Williams, The Monkey Tree Hotel hosted such power couples as Kennedy and Monroe, Arnaz and Ball, Hepburn and Tracy, and Radner and Wilder before its conversion to a gay resort in 1988 and a nudist retreat in 1995. Current owners Gary and Kathy Friedle purchased the property in 2015 with the intent of restoring it to its midcentury glory; the vibrant boutique hotel has since become a favorite among the trendy young set.

Orbit In

Designed by Herbert W. Burns in 1957, Orbit In has seen its share of renovations. However, little has been done to reverse the vision of its progenitor, who was not trained in design but possessed an apparent natural ability. The property is nestled in the Historic Tennis Club district, which became a regular roost among Hollywood types beginning in the 1930s.

Korakia Pensione

Built in 1925 and originally dubbed Dar Marroc by the man who conceived it, Scottish painter Gordon Coutts, Korakia is a structural ode to Morroco. Coutts spent time in Tangiers, where he digested copious quantities of Moroccan culture; Palm Springs was the place he lovingly regurgitated it. Winston Churchill, Grant Wood, 
and Valentino are said to have dabbled in a bit of painting on the property.

Ingleside Inn

The Ingleside Inn was initially the residence of the Birge family, owners of the Pierce-Arrow Motor Car Company. In 1935, the property sold to Ruth Hardy, who converted it into a 20-room hotel that she ran as a private club.


Melvyn Haber bought it in 1975, renovated the structure, and established his restaurant, Melvyn’s, adjacent to the inn. Sold again in 2016 to Plumpjack Group, Ingleside Inn continues to welcome visitors seeking seclusion and repose.

Amin Casa

Recently renovated, Amin Casa was once the estate of reclusive silent movie star Gloria Swanson, who dazzled in Sunset Boulevard. In the mid-1920s, Swanson had an ill-fated affair with Joseph Kennedy, before his son took the presidency, and it is believed the two made Amin Casa their love nest.

Triada Palm Springs

This hotel was originally a home with a much smaller footprint, owned by early Palm Springs resident Lucy Berry. She sold in 1934 to venture capitalist David Margolis, an associate of Howard Hughes; Margolis expanded the structure and in 1939 opened the Ambassador Apartment Hotel.


The property was abandoned in 1994 and sat for two decades before reopening as Triada. Hughes was a frequent guest during Margolis’ days, preferring room 312; some say he haunts the property.