The team at ACME Hospitality (a group that operates some of the best restaurants in Santa Barbara) has ventured into the desert and opened a charming 14-room micro hotel in the heart of old Palm Springs. Just before the pandemic, they purchased a vintage 1959 apartment complex, then spent the past two years meticulously renovating the entire property. It’s finally ready.
Azure Sky is located adjacent to the historic Tahquitz River Estates, a quiet residential neighborhood two blocks off the old thoroughfare (Palm Canyon Drive) that runs through the center of town, a stone’s throw from hotspots like Ace Hotel and The Saguaro (which, incidentally, cost nearly twice as much). The architecture at Azure Sky, like most everything else in this neighborhood, is classic Desert Modern, a small compound with slanted roofs and a central courtyard surrounded by palm trees that must be at least 75 years old now.
One of the front apartments was converted into a lobby, which has been beautifully decorated with shag carpet, velvet sectionals and swivel chairs, a laid-back vernacular that combines bits and pieces from the ’60s, ’70s and today. The lobby’s courtyard-facing windows slide out of the way to create an entirely open-air living room whenever weather permits, framing a stunning view of the San Jacinto Mountains in the not-too-distant background.
I checked into an “olive” category room, a mid-level king overlooking the central courtyard. It’s got two chairs in front — perfect for porch sitting and socializing — and private patio in back with more chairs and a hammock. It’s really more of a junior suite, with a custom built-in floating bed and nightstands, a large sofa and lounge chair, plus a kitchenette stocked with very good tools for making coffee and tea. There’s no television, no phone, and the door still uses an old-fashioned key. Azure Sky is adults-only. No guests under the age of 21 allowed.
There’s no restaurant or bar onsite, so you can’t cocoon here for long. The front desk has agua frescas delivered daily, which can be mixed with tequila for a very refreshing cocktail. It was prickly pear and watermelon the day I checked in. And they provide complimentary coffee and pastries in the lobby every morning, but that’s the extent of foodservice here (which I find odd since given ACME’s serious restaurant credentials). They do, however, provide bicycles if you wish to pedal to a nearby restaurant like Del Rey at Villa Royale, which is just around the corner. The heart of downtown is easily accessible as well, and there are tons of dining options there, including my old favorite desert Mexican cafe, El Patio (excellent margaritas!).
The biggest amenity of Azure Sky is probably their brand new pool. And by biggest, I mean it is literally big for property that has merely 14 rooms. It’s surrounded by 40 chaises, plus a dozen tables and chairs suitable for dining. Pools are obviously important in Palm Springs, but this is nuts. I mean, it’s bigger than the pool at the Four Seasons Los Angeles, which has 285 rooms! Do not forget your swimsuit.
Bottom line: Azure Sky is a very comfortable place to stay and a bargain price for the neighborhood. Just be aware that you’ll need to eat elsewhere.
Rates from about $220 during summer or from about $260 in cooler months; 1661 S. Calle Palo Fierro, Palm Springs, 760-469-4498, azureskyhotel.com
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