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13 April 2010

Ace Hotel and Swim Club – Palm Springs

So we got up very early on Thursday morning, caught a 7.15 flight to LA, drove along the dusty freeway and were in Palm Springs by lunchtime – 88 degrees, brilliant blue skies, slight breeze blowing through the canyon. Bliss.

And this is where we stayed for the first two nights.

 

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We’d been slightly reluctant to book a room at the Ace as we’d heard that the ‘douchebag’ quotient was high, but actually we loved it (though it’s entirely possible that we’re also douchebags – god I love that word, the best ever American addition to the English language).  But we took the plunge due to its reputation for kid-friendliness and were glad we did.

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It has the same tremendously relaxed feeling that I love about Babington House in the UK (still my most favourite hotel in the whole world) – everything is supremely comfortable and luxurious, with great food, powerful showers, free bikes, soft towels, comfortable beds, hammocks and loungers everywhere, night time fireplaces, well-equipped gym, really helpful staff, well stocked bar etc. but it’s not not in the least bit, prissy or intimidating or fussy, which is really important when you’ve got a small child in tow.

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If anything for my taste it was a little bit too unfussy – the building is nothing special, just an old Palm Springs motel with stained concrete floors, metal trim and a ‘diner’ aesthetic, on which they’ve overlaid a bohemian ‘California hippie’ vibe with some quirky art pieces (the Minx loved the stuffed wolf wearing necklaces and the rattan elephant), kaftans instead of bathrobes, photos just pinned up haphazardly in the bedrooms and sturdy canvas or leather furnishings.  To be honest too, our bedroom was a bit of a disappointment – a good size and close to the pool – but very dark and gloomy during the day (thank goodness we weren’t there much).

 

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Palm Springs

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There were some cute design-y touches though – canvas sunshades that looked like satellite dishes, a pergola adorned with misters, coloured perspex on the windows of the gym, an interesting rope ‘curtain’ hanging in the lobby which looked great at night, a cavernous bar and outdoor showerheads painted the exact same shade of yellow as the flowers that surrounded them.

 

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As for kid-friendliness, well, the Minx just spent all of her time in the large shallow area of the incredibly inviting pool, playing with all the other kids who were staying and giving mummy and daddy a chance to swim, drink excellent margaritas and read. It’s not explicitly a kiddie-place (no babysitting or kids clubs) but there are plenty of kids there and the relaxed vibe suits them perfectly (the hotel was also absolutely full of dogs – who even have their own dog park). 

Kids-wise the only thing we would have changed was the food. Someone in the kitchen has a gone a bit crazy adding spicy this and spicy that to things on the menu, to the extent that we found it quite difficult to find things for the Minx to eat, even though she’s not a particularly fussy eater (just not that fond of chili peppers).  And would it harm hotels and restaurants to at least offer vegetables and fruits for kids? My kid can’t be the only one who actually eats such things can she?  It was a shame as the food for grown ups was fabulous, with an incredibly tempting menu, and they did make a mean mac’n’cheese for the Minx.

 

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{All pics copyright Paola Thomas 2010}

Overall we loved our stay here and would definitely return, though we were pleased to leave on the Saturday morning as the hotel suddenly changed into a gay version of Jersey Shore as lots of short muscle-y suntanned men moved in.  The hotel had neglected to tell us that they were hosting a weekend of parties for White Party weekend (a gay event, not a neo-fascist convention). Not a problem per se but the hotel did become markedly less relaxing when the music started pounding at 11am. (The Ace definitely becomes a party hotel at the weekend, so it’s definitely worth double checking to see whether they are hosting an event while you are staying).

That’s part one from Palm Springs.  It’s going to be Palm Springs ad nauseam here this week, I suspect.

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Comments

Love the pix and love the report, Paola!

I've always wanted to stay at the Ace. Or the Parker, cuz of my boyfriend Jonathan Adler.

And, yes, us Americans are very proud of putting "douche bag" into our lexicon.

We had lunch at the Parker before coming home, so there'll be pix from there later this week...

It's so hard to choose which hotel in Palm Springs. I tried once and was overwhelmed, hence ending up in Vegas! You definitely made the right choice...looks amazing and love the pics.
PS Did the hotel provide all that booze in you room? ;-)

Yes, they did. We were scared to open the bottles though as we would have had to do a lot of drinking to get our money's worth.

Love the pix (especially the one of the great vintage bikes - so fun!!). this is making me want to go on vacation...right NOW!!

going there this week-end. but staying at grandma unfortunately. Your Palm Spring is far more attractive than mine. I hate it there. This time I'm taking 5 teenage boys to coachella. I never know what's cool there. I only see Palm spring through 'grandma' lenses.

So I'd REALLY like to go to Coachella. Why not pop into the Ace while you're there? No grandmas to be seen, though I'm not sure you'll like the decor either...

hurrray! i love this post...i'm so glad you had an awesome time...I can't wait for PART TWO! The Ace looks pretty cute too. I have to say that most of the hotels have smallish rooms (like the Orbit Inn, while crammed fuil of grooviness like the Eames Womb chair) has super small rooms.

But that pool looked AWESOME!!!!!!!

Our room at the Ace was actually a pretty good size (so great for us and the bairn). It was just very lacking in windows and the rough and ready decor didn't feel very luxurious. The Orbit In looked lovely and I wish it has taken kids...

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