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Oasis in the

Oasis in the


The economy may be going sour, but you can still vacation. The Hope Springs motel is a hidden gem in Desert Hot Springs offering mid-century modern at mid-century prices.

With the weather cooling in Los Angeles it's time to escape to our favorite weekend destination, Palm Springs. But as the economy dives further south those high-end hotels are looking a little too pricey. Not to worry. A few miles north of downtown Palm Springs sits Hope Springs, an affordable gem for the unfussy set.

A fully restored and modernized motel, Hope Springs is situated at the edge of Desert Hot Springs, a rundown town that is itself nothing to look at. But the fresh feel of Hope Springs is worth a venture off the beaten path. The mid-century modern experience begins on arrival as you set your sights on a tiled pool full of floating flowers and surrounded by pillows. You will be personally greeted by the woman who runs the place and escorted to one of the 10 guest room on the property. The rooms are purposefully Spartan and feature a deconstructed wall-free closet jutting diagonally into the center of the room, a Japanese-style platform bed, balloon-shaped hanging paper lamps, and a sitting chair. The floors are polished concrete, which continues out to the private balcony outside each room. Windows are left open to allow the swamp coolers to keep the room temperate -- privacy is gained by pulling back an enormous white sheet strung from a wire across the middle of the room. No TVs here; entertainment is a good book read beside one of the three natural hot spring pools in the courtyard outside your room -- the hottest of which is housed in a tin-covered gazebo -- or on the grass patio that looks south over the town and desert below. Some rooms feature a kitchen space complete with authentic mid-century dishware and a small fridge, though the adorable classic stoves are nonfunctional.

You can use the motel as a jumping-off point for Palm Springs fun, but this venue is better suited to those who are looking for a little decompression. Bring groceries for simple lunches and dinners and enjoy complimentary breakfasts each morning homemade by the proprietor, including delicious quiches and pastries. The kitchen in the main house is stocked with fruit-infused water, coffee, cereal, and fresh tea. Leaving your room at night to make a pot of tea makes you feel like a guest in a delightful mansion. The motel also features spa services -- mainly massages -- held in a private room. I was very impressed by the skill of the therapist. It's a great place to get away and think, or enjoy some quiet after a long day in Palm Springs. Either way, with rooms starting at under $200, Hope Springs is a perfect desert getaway for those with resort tastes who may be operating on a motel budget.

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