From desert minimalism to magical Moorish-style villas

Hotels and Palm Springs go together like mountain views and citrus trees. Hotels are so ingrained in the culture and history of Coachella Valley cities that staying in one is part of the desert experience.

For nearly a century now, they’ve hosted health-seekers, Hollywood stars, industry giants, and Southern California vacationers. Many of the earliest properties in the area have been refreshed to meet today’s fascination with the Palm Springs area, and the historic midcentury modern properties are wearing their updates especially well.

But that’s not the only option: There are enchanting Spanish- and Moorish-style retreats among the sharp angles, too.

Below are some of the best hotels the region has to offer. Palm Springs is well represented on this list, but there are a couple stand-outs in the greater Coachella Valley that are among the best.

L’Horizon Resort and Spa

L’Horizon is exclusive, chic, beautiful, and very Palm Springs. Architect William Cody designed the compound as a retreat for Hollywood A-lister Jack Wrather, who produced The Lone Ranger and Lassie and opened the Queen Mary and the Disneyland Hotel. Steve Hermann scooped up the property, polished it and reopened it in 2015. Even though it’s on a lively strip of Palm Canyon Drive, it’s probably one of the quietest and most pristine desert retreats on the planet.

Nightly rate: $230 to $1,605, excluding the Residence, which runs $3,000 to $5,000

No kids.

1050 East Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs

Del Marcos Hotel

If you want to stay in a starchitect-designed hotel but your budget isn’t quite at L’Horizon level, stay at William Cody’s other hotel, the Del Marcos. It’s in the historic Tennis Club neighborhood, really in the heart of it all, and it has the right combination of updated and sleek mid-mod and hopelessly funky mid-mod.

It’s a no-frills retreat: small but comfortable, with well appointed rooms, a really nice pool, mountain views, and a short walk into town. For more frills, like spa treatments and a margarita, head next door to La Serena Villas, the Del Marcos’ sister property.

Nightly rate: Check here for rates.

225 West Baristo Road, Palm Springs

Ace Hotel & Swim Club

Hipster haters might roll their eyes at Ace Hotel, but as the saying goes: haters gonna hate… and miss out on one of the best stays. A weekend at the Ace can be an endurance-event party, if you want it to be. But during the week, it’s a sleek oasis, quietly humming with creative types, retreaters, and Monday night Bingo players. Even if you’re staying somewhere else, stop by for a diner delight at King’s Highway or a drink in the Amigo Room.

Nightly rate: Check here for rates.

701 East Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs

Ritz-Carlton, Rancho Mirage

So many hotels in the Palm Springs area have you staring up into the mountains, but at the Ritz, you’ll be looking down into the Coachella Valley from a poolside perch. It’s an especially lovely view in the winter when there’s snow in the mountains. The Ritz-Carlton is a luxurious resort with restaurants, pools, a spa, and access to golf courses in the area. True, it’s a more traditional resort than others on this list, but it’s also close to hiking trails and some of the best vintage shopping in Cathedral City.

Nightly rate: $189 to $999

68900 Frank Sinatra Drive, Rancho Mirage

The Lautner Compound

This cluster of four John Lautner homes is one part resort, one part vacation rental in nearby Desert Hot Springs. There’s no restaurant or bar on-site—just everything you need for a relaxing weekend in the desert, plus tons of style. With plenty of open space on the property, the Lautner Compound is also used as an event space. With a standard rate starting at $245 year-round, though, spending a few nights immersed in the famous LA architect’s designs is a steal for a modernism aficionado.

Nightly rate: $245 to $295

67710 San Antonio Street, Desert Hot Springs

Arrive Hotel

Driving into Palm Springs on the 111 used to be kind of a snoozefest from the Aerial Tramway until you reached town. Now there’s the appropriately named newcomer Arrive: an industrial-chic hotel with two superior restaurants and a coffee shop right on site.

Like many Palm Springs hotels, the pool is the center of Arrive’s universe. There’s a calendar full of parties, poolside yoga sessions and craft markets to fill a short stay. At the very least, stop for a scoop of date ice cream or avocado ice cream (in a pretzel cone: do it) at Ice Cream & Shop(pe) on your way out of town.

Nightly rate: $199 to $389

1551 North Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs

The Saguaro

Does The Saguaro’s rainbow exterior ever get old? Does it never not give off sunny, happy vacation-feels? Not for us. We could lay in one of those orange poolside loungers and stare at the rainbow rooms all weekend long. It’s also one of the best places to score mid-week deals in the high season. Also sort of underrated but very worth a visit: El Jefe, the Mexico City-inspired taqueria off the lobby.

Nightly rate: $149 to 249

1800 East Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs