Just when you thought it was safe to assume you’ve seen every type of boutique hotel in Greater Palm Springs under the sun, along comes something new.
Except that it’s sort of old .. except in a fun way that marries creativity and convenience. Wanderlust, a collection of rebooted recreational vehicles and travel trailers tucked discreetly in the back of the Horizon Village RV Resort in South Palm Springs, sits adjacent to the tony homes of Southridge Rimcrest.
The action at Wanderlust is decidedly more slow motion than those modernist flights of fancy looming above might suggest. However, if you thought checking into a trailer park for any length of time carried a stigma, it’s time to renovate your way of thinking. Owners Curtis Kiepprien and Craig Williams have waved their restoration wand over this collection of gentle giants.
VIDEO: Take a tour of Wanderlust and see the makeovers of these vintage trailers.
Yes, think High Desert retro vibe and Elle King video kitsch divided by Palm Springs serenity and you have an apt characterization of these neatly tricked out, self-contained micro-homes that fit this corner of the low desert like a glove.
“I’d been chained to my design business in Seattle for over a decade,” says Williams, “so this idea of freedom really grabbed me.
Curtis has a real estate background in Seattle but a sensibility for design as well, and what began as a small renovation project and a relocation to the desert “morphed into this,” Williams says from the comfy confines of the unit they call “Estella.” Its 1950s-style décor draws a vintage-seeking crowd, Williams says. With its wood paneling, aqua Eames chairs (and aqua bathroom sink), and banner of red-stenciled fabric above the gray living-area sofa, there’s more than a soupcon of Wild West chic here.
The “Shasta” unit across the way is midcentury modern to the hilt with brushed gray hardwood floors, gray tiles in the kitchen, vibe-appropriate throw pillows, compact but sleek spa-caliber bathroom fixtures, and whimsical touches like chrome antlers mounted to the closet door.
Owners Curtis Kiepprien and Craig Williams have waved their restoration wand over this collection of gentle giants.
Arguably cooler than the design element is the Wanderlust concept itself. Because these are self-sufficient units, guests can enjoy not only kitchen facilities and cozy nooks on the inside, but small outside sitting areas that are ideal for daytime snoozing or nighttime stargazing. And how many times have you found yourself in a hip boutique hotel where the designers seemed to remember everything but soundproofing the walls? Not a problem here because your RV is your castle and you’re the king (or queen); the privacy factor is not to be underestimated.
But you’re also part of a village, and this one comes with a heated pool and hot tub guests are welcome to use. Location wise, the trailer park backs up to the Araby hiking trail while you access the entrance directly from East Palm Canyon Drive — very convenient. So how come nobody thought of this before?
Kiepprien and Williams launched Wanderlust in fall of 2016. “We set everything up for bookings through Airbnb,” Williams says. “We hit ‘publish’ and literally the next day we had our first reservation.”
The pair is now working overtime to meet demand. In addition to Estelle and Shasta, they have a vintage silver Airstream trailer in their fold and are currently renovating “Miss Kitty,” which is identical to the travel trailer that got top billing along with Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz in the 1953 movie The Long, Long Trailer.
Wanderlust, 3573 E. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs. wanderlustpalmsprings.com