Posted by: Waheeda Harris | November 30, 2011

California cool, The Ace Hotel & Swim Club, Palm Springs CA USA

I had heard about The Ace Hotel & Swim Club, but arriving at the former Howard Johnson’s in Palm Springs, I felt like I should have transformed from my airplane outfit.

It would have been perfect to show up in a dusty sports car or on a scooter wearing a Tracey Feith dress, Ray-Ban sunglasses and flip flops.

With my Leica ready to start snapping shots of the hipsters at the pool deck, I would have first dropped my faded satchel at a seat at the bar. They do serve spiked snow cones here.

Despite its cool exterior, The Ace Hotel & Swim Club is an  example of what’s happening in Palm Springs – preserving past architectural styles, bringing back the vintage and mixing in some new.

The grounds of the hotel were simple pathways, surrounded by trees, and the sounds of music from the DJ, a daily fixture at the swimming pool/hot tub area.

I had a ground-floor room, which had a wood door entrance to a small terrace area, with a fireplace, black wire Acapulco chair and a seating area with a canvas cover.

My room, sporting a bright orange door, had floor to ceiling sliding doors as its main light source, and an interior that was simple yet stylish – the walls were covered in cream canvas and slats, to easily hang up items and display art.

Polished cement floors, a long wood table/desk, a small trunk with additional bedding, a small area for hanging items with shelves and a bathroom wood counter with large mirror, sink and the wet room – a shower and toilet was the room’s amenities. The bed was dressed with soft canvas and a denim headboard, and a sidetable sporting a radio playing the classic rock station hits of the past and a turntable with a few albums.

On the slat walls around the bed, a Moroccan robe, canvas throw and assorted magazine pages were displayed, as well as a black and white photograph of an old Palm Springs sign. A thick black sheepskin and soft Moroccan cotton rugs adorned the floor – and I realized I felt like I was visiting a friend in Cali, not a hotel.


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