Hotel Review: The Ingleside Inn | Palm Springs, California

Like many old places that have been revived to modern standards, the Ingleside Inn has a storied history.

In the 1930s, the Inn was sold to Ruth Hardy, who ran it as her own personal club. Staying there was by invitation only and all dinner guests had to be approved by Ruth, like some cool people you may have heard of: Clark Gable, Salvador Dali, and Elizabeth Taylor. Drinks were had and there may have been some jazz. In 1965, Ruth Hardy passed away, leaving behind a true legacy, but some assholes from the Bay Area bought the Inn and neglected it for 10 years, leading it run down and in disrepair.

But then one day in 1975, entrepreneur Melvyn Haber fell in love with the magic that enchanted visitors in the 30s; within a year it was the only place to be seen in Palm Springs. Mr. Palm Springs, as he was affectionately known, created Melvyn’s Restaurant, Frank Sinatra’s favorite hangout. After Mel died in 2016, another SF group came in and renovated the hotel and restaurant to modern taste while leaving classic design details.

Fame, then disrepair, then renovation. I like to think that those ups and downs bring character to a place. It becomes a living, breathing thing that’s gone through some good times and some bad, plus a makeover or two. Kind of like a person, but with more stucco.

Our suite was ready at 11am, which is extremely unheard of in the history of hotel stays, but sometimes the travel gods bless us with incredible gifts, like being able to nap in a bed with clean sheets after waking up at 3:45am for a flight.

We stayed in suite number 15 at The Ingleside Inn, which we learned from the front desk guy that it is Arnold Schwarzenneger’s preferred room. Whenever the Governor came to Palm Springs, he would stay in that suite.

The first thing I do is imagine Arnold—a glossy, tanned giant man. Then, I imagined Arnold doing push-ups on the floor. Then Arnold on the bed. Then.. well, you know. It wasn’t a fantasy, per se, but sometimes I just picture people banging.

Oh. You’re not here for that, are you?

Anyway. The room, situated at the front corner of the inn, had a King-sized bed (with really nice linens), a walk-in shower and separate toilet room (which I think is actually called a water closet), a small seating area with a green velvet couch and two leather chairs, and a small, private outdoor patio.

After our afternoon nap to recover from that horrible call time of 3:45am, we headed to Joshua Tree for the day. We spent all day driving around the park, which was one of the most beautiful and desolate places I’ve ever been.

By the time we got back to the Ingleside Inn at 8:30pm, we were exhausted and just wanted to get in our pajams. The last thing I wanted to do after a day of waking up at 3:45am for a 6am flight, driving through the desert, and getting a Cholla cactus stuck to my foot, was put on clothes and sit in a restaurant.

So I did what any sensible person would do: I pulled out the room service menu.

I didn’t see (or notice) a time limit on the menu, so I called for in-room dining at 9pm—apparently an hour after they stopped serving room service. Crapppppp. I started thinking that I’d need to put on clothes again and get back in the car. I kinda whined a little and asked about the restaurant, which was also closed.

They told me they’d try to figure something out. A minute later, they called back and said they could bring us exactly what we wanted: Melvyn’s Crab Cakes and Caesar Salad. Lemme tell you, that was the best damn room service I’ve ever had.

I’m a firm believer that service matters more than anything else, and this was a excellent exhibition of going above and beyond. Even though we only stayed at The Ingleside Inn for one night, I feel like this is a place that would do that for you, too.

The Ingleside is romantic and secluded, set against those dusty, looming Palm Springs mountains. Our patio was quiet and blissful, partially enclosed with green shrubs and the sound of birds chirping.

The morning before we checked out, we made Keurig coffee and sat outside on our private patio, enjoying the desert heat (before it got too hot). Siting in the sun with my big coffee, I felt calm in the early morning warmth of the desert sun. Just thinking about it makes my heart jump. Those are the kinds of moments that make me fall in love with a place—which is always easier for me when the bed I’m sleeping in has nice linens.

I’d like to return to The Ingleside Inn to relive that experience another time.

The Ingleside Inn Photo Diary

Mexican-style door number 15 at the Ingleside Inn in Palm Springs

Bed at The Ingleside Inn, Palm Springs

Room Service at The Ingleside Inn, Palm Springs

The Ingleside Inn, Palm Springs

Stay at The Ingleside Inn, Palm Springs





Author: Becca Risa Luna

Seattle-based fashion writer and personal essayist. Likes designer handbags, glaring openness, and subtle vulgarity.

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