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Ace Hotel and Swim Club, Palm Springs

$199 or less
Desert Hot Springs, California, United States, North America: touches pervade the Ace Hotel & Swim Club in Palm Springs: Note the turntable and
701 E. Palm Canyon Drive
Palm Springs , California
Tel: 760 325 9900
From the editors of Condé Nast Traveler:
Rather than the usual Rat Pack retro or duffer chic, this hip oasis is a slightly rugged desert escape. The Sahara-circa-1950s decor features walls covered in tent canvas (and matching bedspreads), steamer trunks (which store extra pillows), striped Berberesque robes, magazine racks stuffed with vintage National Geographics, and a clock/MP3 player that appears to be World War II surplus. Bathrooms could be bigger, and the water takes a while to get hot, but that just adds to the illusion of being far, far away. The grounds of this onetime Howard Johnson motor lodge have been transformed into a garden of mature palms and olive trees, with outdoor fireplaces. The King's Highway restaurant, a former Denny's, now serves Middle Eastern cuisine with a California edge. Despite its petite size, the spa offers an awesome array of treatments, while the sprawling pool is framed by royal palms, rocky outcrops, and snowcapped peaks. David Hockney, eat your heart out.—2009 Hot List

When to go: Early January's Palm Springs Film Festival is the best time for star gazing (extraterrestrial and otherwise).

Which room to book: Rooms in the "100" block face the pool and the mountains beyond.

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.