Hollywood’s desert playground goes heavy on the mid-century chintz, but at Sparrows Lodge in Palm Springs, it’s a rustic, cabin-chic aesthetic that continues to lure in guests.
Located out of earshot from the buzzy downtown, Sparrows Lodge is one of Palm Springs most understated, in-the-know places to stay, and its origins are big part of the appeal. Originally a private estate, Sparrow’s Lodge opened its doors in 1952 as “Castle’s Red Barn” by Hollywood actor Don Castle and his wife Zett. It soon earned a reputation as a movie business insider hotspot. A 2013 top-to-bottom renovation reinvented the hotel, rebranding it as Sparrows Lodge.
Now firmly in the 21st century, the hotel retains its glamour-days appeal as a boutique, adults-only property tucked away from town and shaded by olive and lemon trees. Despite the ever-increasing popularity of Palm Springs, Sparrows Lodge remains more Cary Grant and Rita Hayworth than bachelorette party and desert music festival, and staying here is as much a destination as it is a place to hide away.
Sparrow’s Lodge has just twenty guest rooms and they fill up quickly thanks to the area’s almost year-round high season. The rooms are a design dream of minimalist meets Western aesthetics and are accented with horse-trough soaking tubs and Ed Ruscha originals on the walls. If you’ve come to party, this probably isn’t your place, but if you want to disconnect, the Lodge’s absence of TVs, phones, and electric clocks will help you do so.
Book a room that leads directly to the pool where we recommend spending most of your stay, swimming, reading, or nibbling on the snacks from the Barn Kitchen which serves up colorful California fare and cocktails. End the day in the back courtyard around the fire pit of sipping a local wine under the olive trees.
Location: Palm Springs, CA
The Vibe: Old Hollywood desert hideaway with Western minimalist décor
Our Favorite Thing About the Hotel? The property itself. Lounging by the pool—with its views of the San Bernardino Mountains—or hanging out under the olive trees with a book and a glass of wine, deserves at least a full day.
Food + Drink: Meals are served in The Barn Kitchen, an airy barn that doubles as Sparrow’s Lodge’s lounge and check-in area. Breakfast and lunch are served daily and light bites until the early evening before dinner begins at 5. The menu nods to the hotel’s mid-century beginnings, with steak and potato staples rounded out by the Coachella Valley’s in-season produce. You can dine in the Barn itself or in the backyard courtyard at a communal table. A list of California beers and wines complements the offerings.
Any Neighborhood Recs? You could spend hours exploring Palm Spring’s vintage shops and Gypsyland, Mitchells, and The Frippery are good places to begin. There are endless hiking options and you’ll find a range of trails at Indian Canyons or anywhere off the Aerial Tramway. As for must-try restaurants in town, head to Birba, Eight4Nine, and 1501 Uptown. End an evening at PS Air Bar, an airline-themed bar that is an experience to remember long after you fly home.
Amenities: Relaxation is king here in addition to the pool and must-use tubs, you’ll find a massage tent at the back of the property that is open by appointment. Bikes are available as are s’more kits to use at the courtyard firepits.
What’s Nearby? The Coachella Valley is within easy reach and stopping by the legendary Shields Date Garden for a date shake is practically obligatory. Joshua Tree National Park is less than an hour’s drive away.
Rooms: There are 20 rooms in total. The two largest rooms—The Cabin and The Owner’s Suite—provide more apartment-style stays. All rooms are completely free of tvs and phones to help you unwind and disconnect.
Pricing: Starting nightly rate at $399
Closest Airport: Palm Spring International Airport is an under ten-minute drive away. Los Angeles International Airport is a little over two hours away.
Other articles you may like: