By Corey Scholibo
Originally published on Advocate.com August 28 2009 3:15 PM ET
The Portland-based Ace Hotel chain has quickly become the hippest in the United States, and their most recent addition, a desert destination in the heart of Palm Springs, is no exception to the rule. Set on a sprawling five-acre resort, the hotel merges the idea of motel chic with the feeling of camping.
The walls of most of the rooms are covered in a beige canvas that opens up to mosquito netting like the doors of a tent. Other suites feature mid-century modern furniture, animal rugs, walls covered in white slats with hooks to hang your hat or shirt, and clips where vintage magazine photographs act as art. Each room has a record player with a handful of selections, with more vinyl available at the front desk.
The rooms provide full-length caftans and matching robes, and one of my rooms even had a walking stick. I was too embarrassed to wander around like Moses in public but enjoyed lounging around in the garb in the privacy of my room.
The lower half of the buildings contain fireplace rooms (fueled by gas) with ample patios for entertaining. If you want to BBQ, staffers will bring a grill to your patio and show you how to use it. The buildings themselves are situated around common areas featuring, alternately, picnic tables and fireplaces surrounded by outdoor couches where you can hang out or eat with your friends.
The best part about this location and Ace's other hotels, besides the reasonably priced rooms, is the remarkably inexpensive food. Taking inspiration from Ace’s Pacific Northwest roots, rich bowls of Irish porridge will fill you up for $4, and for dinner, a pork porterhouse is topped off with an apple cider glaze.
Two pools, one open to the public and one reserved just for guests, round out the property -- the fresh concrete features scratched-in slogans like "We Are All One." The general pool can be a bit of a scene. I had to leave after sorority girls in impeccable makeup started smoking next to me. It was at the guest pool that I found the beautiful hipsters this hotel made me want to pretend to be. The L Word's Leisha Hailey lounged with her partner, Nina Garduno, owner of Free City Supershop, whose designs are screened onto some of the hotel's comforters. The guests-only pool is adjacent to a recreation center with a Ping-Pong table and a stage where hotel management plans to have live music events and movie nights.
Bikes can be checked out at the front desk, and food specials are grilled up on the BBQ each day; you’ll begin to feel that the only thing missing is arts-and-crafts time.
Dog hair in the rooms and on the patios can be annoying, but if you are fine with the furry friends, they can be welcome neighbors -- there is even a little patch of grass designated for them to do their business. The spa also has a drawback. Situated too close to the pool, it is difficult to block out the noise when relaxing; furthermore, pool guests have to go through the spa area to use the restroom, an oversight the hotel readily admits in signs on the walls. All in all, though, the Ace Palm Spring is sure to be a destination for hipster gays and those who want to be them.
For more information visit AceHotel.com/PalmSprings.