When I was there a few weeks ago for the Kimmel Kids Craft Weekend I couldn't get enough of this hotel. I liked it so much, that when I came home I immediately booked a return trip. It's hip, to be sure, but it has the same relaxed, friendly vibe as the other Ace hotels. (Portland certainly complied, and I'll be able to verify about the NYC branch after this weekend.)
The common areas are well designed and the landscaping is spare but attractive - featuring drought tolerant, green plants like these olive trees.
It's built on the foundation of an old Howard Johnson's, but even though the rooms open to the exterior, it doesn't have that "motel" feeling you might expect. It's hard to explain - since it's not exactly fancy either, but it feels bohemian and casual instead of cheap. The service is also friendly and on the ball - enough that you feel cared for instead of merely tolerated (or even worse, ignored) - as can be the case with other stylish accommodations.
Behind these courtyard walls are rooms with patios with gardens or fireplaces. Dogs are welcome in these rooms - they even have a dog park, and let you take them to the pool on a leash.
The interiors are simple but stylish and comfortable. We didn't have a room this fancy, but we did have these slatted walls - the girls hung their projects on them during the weekend. I loved the small amenities - comfortable mattresses and feather pillows, really nice wall-mounted soap and shampoo, fridge, sink outside the bathroom...
There are two pools - this is the main one, in the center courtyard - there's another smaller one in the Commune, which is open to the public when they're not having an event.
The Commune is a large separate space with it's own pool and a big rec-room type area that opens onto the outdoors via big roll up doors. When it's open to the public they set up ping pong tables and there's a bar available. They throw DJ parties and events there too occasionally.
The restaurant, a remodeled Denny's called King's Highway, wasn't quite as good as I remembered from a previous visit. It looks like they've made significant changes to the menu, and not for the better. It's really too bad, since it's hard enough to find a good meal in Palm Springs. I also had lunch at the Parker and it was not up to previous standards either, sadly.
The adjoining Amigo Room bar is very cool though - with little curved banquettes giving it a cozy feel. They mix great cocktails with fresh ingredients, and I think it's pretty lively in the evenings. Being with kids, I didn't get much of a chance to check it out - but I certainly plan to when I return!
photos 1 and 2 via Wallpaper, photos 6 and 7 via the NY Times.