Hotel Spotlight

Want to Stay Cool in the Desert? Try Ace Hotel & Swim Club

by Jeralyn Gerba
All photos courtesy of Ace Hotel Group.

Ace Hotel & Swim Club
Palm Springs, California
Groovy Desert Design, $$

When the Pacific Northwest-originated Ace Hotel Group opened the Ace Hotel & Swim Club in 2009 among the lunar landscape of Palm Springs, California, they had escape (from gray Seattle days) on the brain. Well over a decade later, the desert grande dame with views of the San Jacinto Mountains is still soaking up rays of sunshine (nearly 365/year) at one of the most popular resort destinations in Palm Springs.

What brings you to the desert? Those seeking midcentury architecture will dig the '70s motel backstory — when the place was a HoJo. For Old Hollywood retreat, channel your inner Cary Grant or Lucille Ball with small swimsuits or caftans and martinis by the pool. Stumbling out of a small gathering like Coachella, Stagecoach, or the international film festival? You'll probably want to make use of the fireplaces, the pool dance parties, and epic desert backdrops (great for selfies).

The hotel company that transformed lobbies into living rooms keeps the neighborhood chumminess with a breezy all-day diner, excellent cocktail programs, tons of programming and events including a popular Bingo and trivia night. Solo travelers, gaggles of girls, the LGBTQ+ community, and families with little kids will feel like they found their personal oasis in the desert.

Book It

Click here for reservations.

At a Glance

The Vibe: Groovy desert motor lodge.

Standout Detail: Breathing buzzy life into old spaces.

This Place Is Perfect For: Groups of any size who appreciate '70s design details. Families with small kids will feel cool at the pool.

Rooms: 179, including 47 patio rooms and eleven suites. All rooms have canvas tent-inspired decor details, biodegradable and latex mattresses, flat screen TVs, and a record player and/or radio. Suites may have terraces with outdoor fire pits, spacious living rooms, and room for your dog.

On Site: Art displays, music collections, bicycles, fitness center, two deep pools (one that's lively and one that's more quiet), a hot tub, a front desk shop, various spaces for large parties, and a Feel Good Spa — where treatments center around natural botanical ingredients (we suggest booking at least 60 minutes of Good Vibrations). Horizons Jazz is the weekly poolside music series featuring folks from the underground and experimental scene. 

Food & Drink: King's Highway is an all-day diner with throwback vibes (it was once a Denny's) and a menu of California comfort foods – from breakfast burritos to chopped salads to plant-based burgers. The Amigo Room serves Paloma slushies, piña coladas, chilled wines, and California beers on tap. Room service is until 11 p.m. Of course there is Stumptown Coffee. Be sure to reserve a spot for Monday Night Bingo and Trivia with host Bella da Ball.

What to Do Nearby

The San Bernardino National Forest contains hundreds of miles of hiking trails, plenty of campsites, and lots of opportunities for recreation in the San Jacinto Mountains. Make things cuter when you take a hike with an adorable Nubian goat from Yogi Goat Farm. For a dash of culture, hit up the Palm Springs Art Museum (for stuff to look at) and the Palm Canyon Galleria (for stuff to take home). Discover more fun stuff to do in the Fathom Palm Springs Guide.

We make every effort to ensure the information in our articles is accurate at the time of publication. But the world moves fast, and even we double-check important details before hitting the road.