Review: Avalon Hotel Palm Springs

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From the minute you drive up and walk through the calming lobby past the fish pond at the Avalon Hotel Palm Springs you are instantly transported to your holiday.  I arrived early from Los Angeles after a busy foodie tour of all the restaurants and was definitely in need of some relaxation. 

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Palm Springs is covered in incredible 50s/60s architecture and desert landscape and the hotel sits perfectly at the foot of one of the Jacinto Mountains littered with cacti.  Avalon was originally built as the Estrella Inn in 1933 and consisted of 13 Spanish-style bungalows and later a few two-story mid-century buildings were added in the 50s.  In 2001 it was bought by well-known American interior designer Kelly Wearstler and her husband Brad Korzen who renovated and renamed it as the Viceroy Palm Springs in 2003.  In 2015 it had another name change to Avalon and is sister with Avalon Hotel Beverly HillsWearstler has styled both buildings with her iconic use of bright colours but has kept original features such as the 30s style kitchens in the bungalows.


I adored the reception area which boasts a floor to ceiling yellow and white mosaic wall, white woven chairs, pony skin rug and cacti dotted around.   Flashes of yellow, some pale red, white gazebos, immaculately cut hedges and lawns all contribute to the Palm Springs experience at Avalon.  


You are totally spoilt for choice for swimming pools as there are three spread out over the property including expansive gardens of aloe, agave plants and bougainvillea.  There is even the Estrella Spa in case you feel like a spot of pampering which pays homage to the original inn.  We hit the sun-loungers immediately after our car journey and were impressed by the friendly staff that straight away offered us coffee and water.  It was the end of January and the Coachella Valley was enjoying its usual heatwave so we were happy to kick back and read our books and play some pingpong.

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While we waited to check into our rooms we tried their poolside restaurant called Chi Chi which focuses of light California food with a strong nod to wellness.  We were lucky enough to meet chef Jason Moffitt who is responsible for creating some vibrant dishes for the healthy crowd including ahi tuna poké, crab avocado with poached egg toast and black bean mushroom burgers with sweet potato fries.  At this point in my trip I was seriously in need of a plate of food that was not greasy and more fresh-tasting and this is what Chi Chi delivers.  All of the vegetables come from a local market and you can order from a range of juices knowing it is all locally sourced.  I felt that Chi Chi perfectly compliments the setting and helps contribute in making this an oasis.


After lunch we headed to our bungalow and it felt like you were wandering around a Silm Aarons scene with the two skinny tall palm trees overlooking the pool and the cloudless blue sky with the mountains in the background.  Avalon offers a range of rooms from king size bed rooms through to spacious bungalows of which each has been designed slightly differently by owner Kelly.  The bungalow had two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a sunny private terrace, sitting room with gas fire-place and the coolest white kitchen with 30s style silver handles.  This place was the DREAM!  As well as the bathrooms retaining their original features they also provided you with Italian beauty hair products by Momo which I highly recommend.


 After settling in it was off to see some of the famous architecture and watch the sunset.  I didn’t get time to ride the tramway this time but instead managed to find the old 1965 gas station designed by Albert Frey and Robson C Chambers.  This is located at the foot of the tramway and I’ve always loved it in photos and is a beautiful example of the mid-century architecture.  Sadly Frank Sinatre’s old house was closed and the mirrored bungalow installation had been torn down but there was the Art Museum which had works from Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol and Marc Chagall.

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After some drinks at the Parker Hotel we headed on to dinner at Workshop Kitchen and Bar which served up modern farm-to-table dishes in a sleek industrial setting with a long communal table and booth-seating.  They also did a great espresso Martini!  After dinner it was back to our cosy bungalow and to say that the sheets were soft was an understatement.  I think another aspect that adds to the Avalon is how quiet it is and this proves for a great night’s sleep.


At this point in my trip I was still waking up quite early with leftover jet lag so this was an excuse to catch up on some more rays before breakfast.  We went back to Chi Chi and I found it hard to choose between the buttermilk pancakes with crispy fried chicken, waffle and bone marrow butter and the acai bowl with granola, local honey and almond butter.  I went for the acai as had quietly become addicted to these bowls of fruit while I was in LA and I think this maybe was the best.  It all boils down to the homemade granola with a lil’bit of that Palm Springs sunshine. 


Sadly after breakfast we had to make dust and head out to Joshua Tree National Park which should be on your list if you’re in this neck of the woods.  I found Avalon even more of a perfect secret hideaway than I could have imagined and although it looks amazing online it truly is the next level when you visit.  It completely nails it with location, interiors and the food is balanced making it exactly what you need after the hustle and bustle of LA.  I will be back!

Avalon Hotel Palm Springs

415 S Belardo Rd, Palm Springs, CA 92262, USA

Nina ParkerComment