sands hotel

Moroccan Magic

Designer Martyn Lawrence Bullard turns the Sands Hotel into a mod Aladdin’s sanctuary.

Anthony Grant Current Digital, Hotels & Resorts, Watch & Listen - Hotels & Resorts

sands hotel
The spa lobby at the Sands Hotel & Spa features airy lanterns and sexy recessed mirrors.

While the Sands Hotel & Spa looks unmistakably pink from the outside, once you walk through the curved Moroccan-style door and find yourself inside the small but jewel-like lobby, you realize that the design here is working its post-modern magic on low heat.

Because suddenly the pink stops, and in its place there’s a geometric sea of black and white thanks to the design prowess of Martyn Lawrence Bullard. The Los Angeles–based interior designer, who is ranked among the top 100 interior designers by Architectural Digest, has previously lent his deft decorator’s hand to boutique hotel properties such as the Colony Palms Hotel in Palm Springs.

With the Sands, he has transformed a dated 1950s-era property into a mod 46-room Aladdin’s cave that has more than one nod to millennial expectations while serving up a healthy portion of good old-fashioned desert glamour. In form the property recalls some of the classic Palm Springs motels along East Palm Canyon Drive, with its bi-level room layout wrapping horseshoe-style around a central swimming pool.

VIDEO: Take a walking tour of the Sands Hotel & Spa.

A hint of the swish décor comes from the doors, each embossed with a tiny gold cut-out palm tree. Awaiting inside are lavish, full-size mini-bars encased in gleaming white latticework cabinets, and beside that you can also expect a plush zebra-striped chair in a palette of yellow or pink. In the bathrooms, black-and-white tiling dominates and fixtures are metallic gold-colored. Bath amenities by Acqua di Parma and photos of Brigitte Bardot lend a continental tilt. While second-floor rooms have balconies, my preference is for ground floor rooms because they offer private patios in the rear and more direct pool access from the front.


The pool area has an ample array of pink daybeds and black-and-white striped poolside cabanas.

The spa is a study in millennial pink to the max. Even better, it works! It’s a small sanctuary space with just three treatment rooms, but it’s an absolute jewel. You make your approach by way of a charming olive-tree lined walkway reminiscent of something you might find in Marrakesh or Fez. There are more Moroccan-style curves inside and gorgeous mirrored glass mosaics in the entrance area. Revivifying white with splashes of pink lend a feminine touch that is probably the exact opposite of a corporate hotel chain spa aesthetic; you’ll find yourself wanting to take some of those airy lanterns and sexy recessed mirrors home with you.


The Presidential Suite covers 1,000 square feet with two outdoor patios, full kitchen, and of course, a pool table.

But you can’t, and that’s just fine because the designer programmed this look to create a mood for you to enjoy and savor on the spot. Expect a similar vibe but with nibbles at the Sands’ restaurant, The Pink Cabana. With Executive Chef Jason Niederkorn at the helm, the menu is inspired by exceptional seasonal ingredients, harmoniously prepared by way of sound modern French technique and playful smatterings of Moroccan and Mediterranean influence. Offerings will include shareable dishes, freshly farmed California produce, sustainable dayboat seafood, and the finest available poultry and meats. While poolside, guests can enjoy craft snacks and elevated sandwiches.

Already and if just gently, the Sands is redefining what it means to stay in Indian Wells. This patch of the desert is looking rosy indeed.

Sands Hotel and Spa, 44985 Province Way, Indian Wells. 760-321-3771;