Palm Springs Life | ANTHONY GRANT SEPTEMBER 6, 2017 HOTELS & RESORTS
The upcoming opening of Kimpton The Rowan brings unprecedented views, a rooftop pool, and a focal point to a major redevelopment project.
Mount San Jacinto may be looking down at the hottest property in town, Kimpton The Rowan Palm Springs, but its view is rightfully tinged with a shade of envy. For the first time in Palm Springs history, a hotel is about to afford guests desert vistas that rival those to be had atop the mountain itself.
The much anticipated seven-story Kimpton The Rowan Palm Springs is now nearing completion (opening is slated for later this fall) and while it’s nowhere near as tall as the top of old San Jacinto, the boutique-style hotel will nevertheless redefine the topography of downtown Palm Springs. For starters, it’ll have the only rooftop swimming pool in town, from which you’ll be able to take in views of the rugged slopes behind you, the sea of palm trees in every other direction, and the windmills off in the distance. It’s all looking very cool indeed.
That said, the construction site from which Kimpton The Rowan is set to emerge has not been without drama: It is the focal point of a major downtown redevelopment project that has generated headlines for less-than-celebratory reasons. In May 2013, city spokesperson Amy Blaisdell announced Kimpton had been chosen for the hotel management contract by local real estate developer John Wessman.
PHOTO BY ANTHONY GRANT
From across the street at Tahquitz Canyon Way and Palm Canyon Drive, the Kimpton The Rowan Palm Springs is drawing closer to completion.
Cut to September 2015 and the FBI raids Palm Springs City Hall as part of an almost unprecedented corruption probe implicating former Palm Springs Mayor Steve Pougnet along with Wessman and developer Richard Meany.
Against this backdrop of charges, the city council chose to look forward and approved the entire downtown revitalization project in April 2016. When completed, the project will be the first development of this scale in downtown Palm Springs since the Desert Inn Fashion Plaza was built in the late 1960s, renovated as Desert Fashion Plaza in the early 1980s, and demolished in 2013. Kimpton The Rowan general manager Abe Liao, for one, takes the changes in stride. “Any destination needs to evolve, while respecting the past,” he says. “Is [the hotel] taller? Yes, but it’s also bringing the center back to life. We’re engaging with Palm Springs and will be plugged into the community. We have everyone in mind — not just travelers.”
Ample lounge seating in the lobby will be conducive for “very cool activations,” says Kimpton The Rowan general manager Abe Liao.
Liao makes a persuasive case for how the hotel will mesh well with 21st century Palm Springs. “With amenities like our rooftop pool — the first in the city — and several guest rooms with balconies, guests have a new way to stay and play in Palm Springs while still enjoying the desert’s authentic aesthetic and laid-back vibe.” Fittingly, the building itself is playfully in tune with the desert’s reigning midcentury modern aesthetic, balanced with the kind of contemporary touch points for which the Kimpton brand is already well known.
Light-filled public spaces marry minimalism with modern urban notes like streamlined furniture, subtle geometric patterns, and custom art installations. As you enter from the main entrance on West Tahquitz Canyon Way, you’ll find the Window Bar to your immediate left — the perfect spot for a classic cocktail paired with bold mountain views. Ample lounge seating will be conducive for “very cool activations in the lobby,” as Liao puts it, and if you’re feeling peckish, well, they’ve got that covered too: Around the corner from a grand central staircase, a gourmet “grab and go” coffee and nosh spot called Juniper Table will anchor the southwest corner of the lobby.