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Hotel Highlights

  • Creative community atmosphere with open fires for group singsongs
  • Quick and easy hop from LA
  • Poolside party days and cool desert nights

Overview

RUNNER-UP: BEST BUDGET BOUTIQUE HOTEL – SMITH HOTEL AWARDS 2013

The bones of an old roadside motel and diner have been brought back to life as the Ace Hotel & Swim Club Palm Springs. Nestled among the canyons and palm trees, this two-storey 1960s stop-over has become a destination in its own right, with rooms draped in fabric for a luxurious tent-like feel and adorned with quirky vintage furnishings and unique objets d'art, such as working turntables. The two outdoor pools are classic Southern California cool, with plenty of space for lounging around, reading a book and enjoying a cocktail. The aforementioned diner still serves hearty American classics, though it also mixes in some sophisticated dishes, as well.

Smith Extra

Here's what you get for booking Ace Hotel & Swim Club with us:

Two glasses of champagne on arrival

Special offers

Exclusive rates, packages and special offers at Ace Hotel & Swim Club

48 hour sale: 20% off Stay two nights, get 15% off Stay three nights, get 20% off Stay four nights, get 25% off

Facilities

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Ace Hotel & Swim Club hotel - Palm Springs - United States

Need To Know

Rooms

180, including 11 suites.

Check–out

12pm, but flexible based on availability (half-day rates apply if you check-out after 4pm). Earliest check-in, 3pm.

Rates

Double rooms from $139.00, excluding tax at 16.5 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional resort fee of $25.00 per room per night on check-out.

More details

Rates exclude breakfast (US$10 each).

Also

The fabulous ‘Swim Club’ of the hotel’s name consists of two pools, a hot tub, a spa with a steam room and sauna, and assorted massage yurts – plenty to keep you happy for at least a day.

At the hotel

Vinyl record library, spa with poolside treatments, barbershop, gym, WiFi throughout. In rooms: flatscreen TV, Rudy’s Barbershop bath products, iPod and MP3 docks.

Our favourite rooms

Suite 335 feels like your own canyon-side apartment, with plush leather chairs and a huge bar. It’s greedy in the terrace stakes – it has one with a hammock off the bathroom, and another off the bedroom with a fireplace and picnic table. If there’s a group of you, book a Patio with Garden or Fireplace and then some of the smaller rooms on the second floor – you’ll have a party pad with living space and somewhere for everyone to crash afterwards. Be sure to book a room away from the pool if you want a quiet sleep.

Poolside

There are two outdoor pools, a Jacuzzi and hammocks to lounge around in. The pool at the Commune is quieter and more relaxed, and it has trampoline-like circular parasols (but jump on these at your peril).

Packing tips

Your guitar for fireside strumming; your old LPs to stick on the old record player if you’ve booked into a Patio room or above.

Also

Pets are allowed for an extra US$25 a day; there’s even a park for them to play in.

Children

Welcome, but the pool party atmosphere may be best for older kids. Baby cribs and extra beds can be added to rooms, and the restaurant is happy to cater to tots at any time.

Read more

Eco‐friendly

Lots of the furniture is made from reclaimed wood and everything that can be is recycled.

Food & Drink

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Ace Hotel & Swim Club hotel - Palm Springs - United States

Hotel Restaurant

The King’s Highway was once a roadside Denny’s diner, and remains true to its roots, dishing up classic American fare (burgers, steaks, club sandwiches) with a dash of the unexpected (harissa lamb and pan-seared tilapia). It’s a casual diner setting, with toffee-coloured booths and random but entertaining performances from the old-Hollywood hostess.

Hotel Bar

The Amigo Room is a cavernous, old ranch-hand bar with booths around the perimeter to hide out in. The clear resin tabletops have Mexican dinero layered within. Try the King’s Highway Ale or one of the cocktails made with the freshest ingredients.

Last orders

Food is available all day: breakfast is 7am–11am, lunch is 11am–5pm, and dinner lasts until 10pm. As for drinks, order them in between 4pm and 2am.

Room service

Anything you like the look of on the restaurant menu can be whisked up to your room between 7am and 10pm. DIY barbecue kits can be delivered to rooms with terraces.

Smith Insider

Dress code

Hippie or hipster, as long as you don’t look like you’ve tried too hard.

Top table

Snag a saddle-leather corner booth so you can people-watch inside and out. On the patio, you’ll be privy to magnificent mountain views.

Local Guide

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Ace Hotel & Swim Club hotel - Palm Springs - United States
Eat, drink, see, do: local favourites and more…

Local restaurants

Melvyn’s is where to go if you’re in search of old Palm Springs – get dressed up and mix with the town’s retired elite at this old-fashioned piano and jazz bar (+1 760 325 2323; www.inglesideinn.com). For tasty (and cheap) Mexican food, try El Mirasol, where local chefs flock after their shifts for energising enchiladas (+1 760 323 0721).

Local cafés

Call in at Coco’s Bakery (+1 760 327 2666; www.cocosbakery.com), where you’ll be spoilt for choice – narrow it down to the Big Cinnamon Roll or a Crumble-topped Coffee Cake.

+ Enlarge
South of downtown

Ace Hotel & Swim Club

701 East Palm Canyone Drive, Palm Springs, Ca 92264, United States

Planes

Palm Springs International is just over two miles from Ace Hotel & Swim Club. From here, you’ll be able to fly directly to San Francisco with American Airlines (www.americanairlines.com).

Trains

The Amtrak station is around seven miles away. You’ll be able to reach Palm Springs from LA, New Orleans and Chicago (www.amtrak.com).

Automobiles

The drive to or from LA should take two hours, using State Route 60. Parking at the hotel is included in the resort free.

Reviews

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Ace Hotel & Swim Club hotel - Palm Springs - United States

Anonymous review

by Nicole Campoy-Leffler , Arts and eats adventurer

Mr Smith and I make our way into the lobby, slipping off our sunglasses and wiping our brows before taking a peek into the California-cool diner. I can’t help but singing to myself, ‘You don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here.’ It’s like we’ve walked into our favourite dive bar – outfitted even with a vintage photo booth – only here, &l…
Read more

Ace Hotel & Swim Club

Anonymous review by Nicole Campoy-Leffler, Arts and eats adventurer

Mr Smith and I make our way into the lobby, slipping off our sunglasses and wiping our brows before taking a peek into the California-cool diner. I can’t help but singing to myself, ‘You don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here.’ It’s like we’ve walked into our favourite dive bar – outfitted even with a vintage photo booth – only here, ‘last call’ means a short walk to your hotel room rather than a cold and cruel search for a taxi. We exchange knowing looks – this isn’t the hotel of relaxing days and calm, quiet nights. The Ace Hotel and Swim Club, as the many full-sized bottles of liquor in our room attest, is for the young at heart with thriving livers, constant hunger pangs, and a propensity for surviving in intense heat.

Spread out and sleek in neutral colors, the Ace feels less like a desert mirage and more like the most desirable roadside motel since Thelma and Louise (or maybe that was just thanks to Brad Pitt’s cameo). Our room – in which the most popular gadget is surely the air-conditioning – has an old-fashioned record player with musical choices like Patsy Cline and Led Zeppelin, a minibar with rebelliously large snacks and drinks, walls lined with beige canvas enhancing its image as a cool desert hideaway, and a courtyard with a fireplace. Bordering-on-cheeky frankness in the hotel’s details inject a little wit. For example, next to the fireplace, just outside our room, is a box marked ‘make fire’, which we would have done had it not been 110 degrees outside.

A posher pair of Smiths who demand five stars as the bare minimum might find the coin-op laundry and glamour-less spa too devoid of diamond-encrusted luxury. These Smiths, though, appreciate the commune-style pools, the low-key but upgraded diner fare, and unabashedly spirit-heavy cocktails like the Figa (fig-infused vodka, Earl Grey tea, and tangerine honey for the uninitiated).

Motley and tattooed, the crowd is peppered with Brits overwhelmed by the heat, out-of-place frat boys, and bohemian girls well-practised at the straight-from-music-festival look. Even the kids behind the front desk, who mercifully provide this Mrs Smith with a Blackberry charger in a pinch, inspire memories of those cool counsellors at camp we admired during hot summers filled with archery lessons and swimming. From our room, we hear the soundtrack coming from the pool. The aural mix of indie rock, 70s and 80s hits, and top 40 numbers have us hoping the matching vision will be of a wild, beatnik scene straight out of Peter Sellers’ The Party.

On our first night, Mr Smith and I venture into the Ace’s eatery, the King’s Highway, for dinner. From the first bite of his mezze plate to the last crumb of our ‘pot brownie’, it is clear that what looks like a diner is in fact much more. At the end of our meal we savour, awe-struck yet with a dash of sympathy, a truly Palm Springs moment. The restaurant’s hostess – a former actress stuck in the 70s with a pouffe of red hair and coke-bottle glasses – croons her version of happy birthday to two unsuspecting and blushing twins, newly 16.

Now, I have a confession. While we are on reviewing duty, I admit we’re not taking advantage of the many touristy opportunities available to guests of the Ace Hotel. Before your finger starts wagging, keep in mind that the heat only allows for activities limited to sunbathing, swimming, and anything air-conditioned. So instead of renting the candy-colored Vespas parked in the driveway, we take to the Living Desert (verdict: hot, but a quick and worthwhile excursion). And instead of booking horseback riding lessons, we go shopping on El Paseo (plush with all the retail a shopaholic Smith could ask for). Tennis, golf, and hiking are also forfeited – for an all-important trial of the bar’s cocktail menu both in the dark Amigo Room and out by the pool. What kind of review would this be if I couldn’t tell you that the Caipirinha should be sidestepped in favour of the French 75?

On Sunday, before we take to the cool comfort of our car for the drive back to LA, we book a couple of spa appointments. All in the name of research, you understand. The masseur kneads away at the stress in my shoulders, no doubt accumulated as a result of my arduous weekend spent observing hotel details. I risk more hunching by tasking myself with noting that the spa soundtrack is Bob Dylan – far more Ace than the usual Enya-like offerings. That’s the Ace all over. Hot on the heels of its sister outpost in New York, with the original over in Portland, this Californian edition was wise to come with its own swim club and spa. But the really smart thing about this hot Palm Springs hotel? Lacing everything with such straight-from-the-fridge cool.

The Guestbook

Reviews of Ace Hotel & Swim Club from Smith members

Whenever you book a stay through us, we’ll invite you to comment when you get back. Read the Guestbook entries below to see what real-life Mr & Mrs Smiths have said about this hotel…

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

This place manages to mix professionalism with a very friendly grooviness. We'd love to go back.

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

This is a great fun hotel with its bingo, quizzes, musical activities, etc. It has a really interesting crowd, stylish decor, nice bar and pool area, wacky rooms and great staff.

Don’t expect

It would be good to have tea and coffee available to make in the rooms.

Rating: 9/10 stars