Ace Hotel and Swim Club – Palm Springs / by Commune Design

A truely iconic Palm Springs hotel in all its South Western, regional mid-century glory is the Ace Hotel & Swim Club designed of course by Atelier Ace’s favourites; Commune Design.


The original complex consisted of a Howard Johnson & Westward Ho Motel & Denny’s Diner on the main road. Commune’s concept was to create a hotel that references the regional Southwest aesthetic of the 1970s while still bringing Ace’s recognisable urban Pacific brand style to the desert.

The development holds 180 guest rooms, a spa, fitness centre, the kings highway restaurant, the Amiga bar and what is the hotels star attraction; its outdoor pool that pulls in some of the worlds hottest music talent to play there, meaning that this dessert oasis has become a hipster paradise in Palm Springs.

Nostalgic regional objects adorn the walls of reception. Taxidermied coyotes and dessert hares set a playful scene above the main desk. Cut fieldstone walls wrap around the interiors which frame Commune’s vintage furniture and regional themed displays.

Woven ropes & macrame wall hangings create feature walls and reference both Native American typologies and 1970’s fashion and home decor.

Large expanses of 1970’s fads like cork ceilings & cracked resin flooring form the base palette to carefully displayed regional rugs and mid century leather furniture that create quite fantastic areas throughout the hotel.

Native planting of cacti & succulents complete the western dessert scene running through the hotel & spa. You can’t say that when you step foot in the interiors you don’t know what part of the world you’re in.

The main bar in Ace is quirkily named The Amigo Room, with a vast selection of craft beers & artisanal cocktails. The decor has an air of rustic rural California with its black brick vaulted interiors that are guarded by Chuy the Californian brown bear that dominates the back bar. The worn leather booth seating links the space back to the diner like interiors of Kings Highway Diner.

The exterior buildings that surround the pool area are intrinsically Palm Springs in their modernist shapes and materiality. White render & rectilinear forms, with white balustrades and cotton shades sit delicately within the rugged dessert planted landscapes.

Simple yet elegant they let the stunning mountains set the backdrop to any hipster pool party that might be in session.

The guest rooms continue the white washed and simple palette into their interiors. Carefully selected south western vintage pieces and regional rugs balance the rooms by providing some authentic touches, while hand selected art work shows guests the hotel’s youthful and playful side. Cotton curtains replicate the materiality of the external shading devices.

If you find yourself in Palm Springs then there is little doubt that at some point you will find yourself at the Ace. It’s oozes cool but in a real and authentic way that’s true to its Palm Springs routes that captures the towns hay days in the 1970s when celebrities from Hollywood would escape the paparazzi of LA and bolt to the dessert to relax or party away from prying eyes.

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