Palm Springs Has A New Midcentury Stunner – and It's Ready for You to Check In

Photo credit: Azure Sky

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There are desert destinations, and then there's Palm Springs. While sun-parched Joshua Tree holds very little pull for me, the Springs are a lush, inviting oasis – and not just geologically. They're also a fountain of laid-back glamor, of Rat Pack history and timeless architecture side-by-side with contemporary shops and dining.

But at its heart, it's a place to unwind. Even if you're in town to hit the martini circuit, the best days (and nights) are often spent poolside. Which makes choosing the right place to stay essential: I'm always looking for a vibe that will enhance my relaxation, not grind it to a halt with piped-in Jimmy Buffet.

This search for a small, serene and – not to get all Scrooge here – adults-only property led me to Azure Sky. The newest luxury boutique hotel to open in Palm Springs, it's 21 and over and boasts just 14 rooms. While the desert is full of resorts with every conceivable amenity, I was attracted to Azure Sky's peaceful, residential feel.

So when life got chaotic here in bustling Los Angeles, I decided to check in for a dose of desert zen.

Photo credit: Azure Sky


Like so much of Palm Springs, Azure Sky was built in the '50s, with a low-rise profile that's classically midcentury. Designer Anne L'Esperance kept the best of that heritage, notably in the lobby that's out of Mad Men's West Coast episodes. But her design transcends simple retro tributes: bold touches abound, like alternating wood and mirror planks built by a team of Finnish carpenters.

Cozy in its minimalism, the hotel frames its landscape beautifully. Looking from the lobby through the central courtyard, I was hit with stunning views of the San Jacinto Mountains. But before venturing out, I had a welcome drink to grab – a selection from one of Drifter's delicious RTD craft cocktails. General Manager Angie Bettinelli set a warm and inviting tone, making check-in a breeze from behind the coffee bar.

Photo credit: Azure Sky

From there, it was through the front meadow, past a large, stately pit that called my name for later, to Room 107. Of Azure Sky's three room types – Fig, Agave and Olive – mine was the medium size, with a 440 square-foot floorplan that gave plenty of room to lounge. The larger rooms have separate living and bedroom areas, but all three options have that canny eye for design. The stone counters, built-in beds, and floor-to-ceiling tile bathrooms feel luxurious in a way that's far from standard.


Readers of TQE will also be stoked to learn of another signature: the in-room Honor Bar full of primo DTC offerings. It's been a minute since I turned to the mini bar as something other than a last resort – but with chocolates from Hu and Recess CBD sodas on display, this was one I just couldn't stay away from.

Photo credit: Azure Sky

I brought my provisions out to the pool, just steps away from Room 107's back patio entrance, to find another breathtaking view. 4,500 square feet of decking, chairs, and the quiet pool and hot tub that (at least my) dreams are made of. Having stayed at several properties that had no Jacuzzi on site, I quickly took advantage. Hitting peak Palm Springs as I watched the sun set behind the mountains – and dipping in and out of the pool, with its two bookending shallow ends.


While it's clear I loved the property, there are a few features to note. First, there are no TVs in the guestrooms, an intentional choice designed to help you decompress. But as someone who finds hotel TV to be like a IV drip of serotonin, it was definitely a surprise worth mentioning to other guests.

There are also no dining options in-house, meaning room and pool service are out. But while that might make lunchtime tricky, there's plenty nearby for dinner. Two of my favorite upscale haunts – Bar Cecil and Mr. Lyons – are less than half a mile away, which is great news after your second Old Fashioned. Plus neighboring hotel Villa Royale, another stunner designed by Anne L'Esperance, has a sexy, cozy tapas bar inside its eatery Del Rey.

Photo credit: Azure Sky

But if Azure Sky isn't the traditional, full-service hotel you've stayed at in the past, that's also part of its charm. The kitchenettes, hammocks, and pet-friendly rules give an easy, residential comfort. All the better for imagining your vacation is permanent.

Of course, it never is, and we learn to live with that – two days at Azure Sky unwound a week's worth of tension. With the hotel only in its first year of operation, and the desert beckoning just ninety minutes away, this is one I'll be coming back to as quickly as I can.

If you stay here, make sure to…

  • EAT at any of the three restaurants above – or at Sandfish for stunningly good sushi
  • SEE the Modernist masterpiece homes in the Vista Las Palmas and Old Las Palmas neighborhoods; easy meandering for a self-guided walking tour
  • DO ride the Aerial Tramway to the top of San Jacinto Peak, with its 360-degree, rotating views

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