John Janulis is not the first guy from the Pacific Northwest to fall in love with Palm Springs (nor will he be the last) but he is the latest and greatest, making a splash with the sleek and seductive renovation of an old Hollywood haunt tucked away on the south end of town.
Janulis is the co-owner and lead designer of Villa Royale, a small 1940s resort in the Deepwell Estates neighborhood off South Palm Canyon Drive. Having made his name creating some of the most Instagram-able cocktail bars in Portland through his Lightning Bar Collective, he partnered with Provenance Hotel Group to bring back to life a much beloved but faded getaway.
With properties throughout Oregon and Washington state, Provenance has expanded to hot spots like New Orleans, Nashville, and now Palm Springs.
VIDEO: Take a tour led by co-owner John Janulis.
John and his crew of craftsmen and artists went all in on the renovation working throughout the summer, often with no AC. “It was like camping,” he says recounting the incredible display of stars you see at night in the desert. He even purchased a 1960 Oldsmobile 88 to drive around town. The white “Land Yacht” with tailfins is usually parked out front by the entrance.
Their passion for the property and its history that dates back to Olympic figure skater Sonja Henie’s estate is evident in a renovation that straddles the decades: graffiti art stands beside Spanish fountains, art-deco light fixtures illuminate midcentury furniture. Likewise, the patrons are a mix of generations, well-traveled couples who have been loyal to Villa Royale for years share space with in-the-know hipsters.
Throughout the grounds it’s a riot of tiles: Cuban, Moroccan, Turkish. Personalized details and one-of-a-kind artwork make each of the 38 rooms unique (including a private two-bedroom villa bigger than most Portland bungalows). Three pools and large hot tub offer varying levels of privacy. You can “See and be seen” or hide away depending on your mood.
The hotel offers an array of dog-friendly amenities and Electra bikes to explore the neighborhood, but chances are you will not want to leave.
PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY VILLA ROYALE
The pink/black mural on the left is “Welcome to Your Paradise” by Sagent Staygold. The property is home to an original, commissioned collection of more than 50 large format oil paintings.
Across the street, Provenance and Lightning Bar Collective are renovating a 1950s apartment complex known as Villa Rosa. Scheduled to open this spring, the eight one-bedroom apartments and private pool will offer added privacy for discerning guests.
To the right of the main pool is Del Rey, a golden hued bar with gleaming brass and dark woods. Tthe bartenders are happy to shake your favorite cocktail as you settle into a comfy booth or grab a spot near the original brick fireplace. The vibe is hushed and luxe.
Indigo colored day beds with fluffy pillows lay underneath stucco arches, with a perfect view of Mount San Jacinto. Watching shadows fall on the craggy rocks, it’s easy to slip into a Palm Springs daydream, sleeping in the sun while trance music mixes with Frank Sinatra.
Villa Royale becomes a fire-lit labyrinth at night, with alcoves and conversation pits spread about the grounds. Since each room is individually designed you won’t get lost, but if you do that’s part of the fun. A modern-day Alice would feel right at home in this wonderland.
PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY VILLA ROYALE
A guest room includes a portrait of actor Charles Bronson.