The Ace Palm Springs

Palm Springs Hood: Palm Canyon Genre: Party Price: $

Opened in 2009 on the site of an old converted Howard Johnson motel, The Ace Hotel (and Swim Club!) has quickly become the heart beat of Palm Springs. The Ace’s DNA – cool at an affordable price – is once again proving a winning combination and chances are you’ll end up at the Ace one way or another, whether you are sleeping there, or simply popping in for a dive in the pool or lunch at the bar.


The Hotel

A 170-room motel has been redecorated with a slightly ironic Modernist meets Americana feel, the place feels like a open-air backpackers catering for spring-breakers and an older, hipster crowd. The hotel is broken down in different buildings, most of them facing the central pool, so if you don’t like a party, best to stay elsewhere or ask for a quieter room on the outskirts of the estate.

The Ace is a self-contained ‘resort’ – there’s everything you need on site. If you are staying somewhere else, you can still get in on the fun: join the self-described ‘Swim Club’ ($20) to use the pool for the day, have lunch by the pool, drinks at the Amigo Room or dinner at the King’s Highway Restaurant set in a former Denny’s diner. Their weekend parties are legendary so check out what’s on.

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A Simple King room at The Ace hotel Palm Springs (Photo © HWL)
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(Photo © HWL)
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Signage: useful pointers after a few margaritas. (Photo © HWL)

The Neighbourhood

Palm Springs is a small town by American standards and everywhere is central – the Ace is on the Southern end of the strip. Bikes are available for free at the hotel and you can ride everywhere in winter (don’t even think about riding in summer!).

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The calm before the storm at the Swim Club Pool (Photo © HWL)
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(Photo © HWL)

What We Love

The rooms are decorated with a minimalist, modernist, rock’n roll holiday feel – picture that! – they are bright, cool and cosy and some come of course with the ever-essential vinyl record player. Others have balconies or outdoor fireplaces/sitting areas and there’s even a couple of communal outdoor fireplaces which are great for chilling out under the desert stars.

Room to Improve

The personnel is friendly but can be a bit flaky. Best if you are not in a hurry. It gets a bit rowdy in the high-season – there seems to be some tension between hosting a good time and ensuring a good night’s sleep.


The pool is open til 2am with music on speakers¬† – so be warned. Their weekend parties can get feral so this is a place to stay if you are in a party mood. Otherwise just drop in for lunch or diner, it’s a fun place to check out.

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A room's outdoor sitting area complete with a fireplace: perfect on a starry night (Photo © HWL)
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(Photo © HWL)
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(Photo © HWL)


NZ band The Reduction Agents get the party started with The Pool: