New Kimpton The Rowan Palm Springs Soars to New Heights of PS Cool

Posted By: Barbara Beckley Tuesday, November 28, 2017

With endless floor-to-ceiling views of Palm Springs’ sun-kissed San Jacinto Mountains and Palm Canyon Drive’s trendy street life – framed by a modern take on Palm Springs’ oh so famous mid-century modern architecture – the new Kimpton The Rowan Palm Springs hotel (www.rowanpalmsprings.com) is a perfect match for Downtown’s new level of cool.   

Rowan Lobby

Rising seven stylish stories – and topped with Palm Springs’ only rooftop pool -- this avant-guard landmark is the first new-build downtown hotel in decades. And everyone is loving it. Opened November 17, 2017, The Rowan provides a hipster-chic anchor to the bevvy of trendy new and soon-to-open shops, galleries and restaurants spawned by the Downtown Palm Springs revitalization project.

One visit, and it’s obvious The Rowan is the place to see and be seen. 

Hot cars being swiftly valeted; a line-up of retro-chic white bicycles (for hotel guests to borrow); ultra-hip people lounging in the airy two-story lobby and contemporary chic Window Bar -- one gentleman even had a Whippet (like a greyhound only smaller) the epitome of doggie-friendly hotel chic – and a 16-foot macramé owl installed above the front desk, greeted me as I entered The Rowan.

“We had the owl commissioned as the signature artwork to pay homage to Palm Springs’ mid-century modern heritage,” the hotel general manager, Abe Liao, told me. Palm Springs culture is reflected in creative ways throughout The Rowan in art and in services. The “Well Suited with Trina Turk” package salutes the city’s famous fashion designer and includes a personal consultation with a Trina Turk stylist, $200 shopping credit and accommodations in a hotel spa suite.

“We’re enjoying a 99 percent occupancy,” Liao said, as we headed to the Juniper Table all-day café (one of hotel’s two restaurants) for a fresh brewed espresso. “People from Los Angeles, San Diego, the Pacific Northwest. Everyone wants to be here!

“Everyone’s impressed by the rooftop pool, the rooftop bar and restaurant, and with our location -- in the heart of downtown,” he said. Shops, restaurants, galleries, the Palm Springs Art Museum – even hiking trails – are steps away.

High Bar

It’s not just visitors who love The Rowan. The energy and vibe of the “new” Downtown made The Rowan a magnet for seasoned hotel professionals. Liao gave up his position at a Kimpton in Washington DC to come here. He ditched his East Coast ties and socks, and is now desert chic in loafers and a pocket scarf. From barmen to sales, I met the best in the business who couldn’t wait to join The Rowan. Which translates to a fabulous guest experience.   

“I want The Rowan to be the best hotel in Downtown Palm Springs,” Liao said, “with amazing rooms, amazing views, high quality amenities, and powerhouse services.”  

The boutique hotel includes 153 rooms and suites, two restaurants, two bars, a gym and 16,000 square feet of view-filled event space. Every room has a mountain or city view, and ranges in size from 364 square feet to the 2,500-square-foot Arlo presidential suite, which runs the length of the top floor with two wrap-around balconies. When views are important – this is the most impressive presidential suite I’ve ever seen, with floor-to-ceiling views everywhere! 

Up on the roof – the highest spot in Palm Springs – the sophisticated dinner-only 4 Saints restaurant gained a following the first week, according to Liao. No surprise, with magnificent views and seasonal sharable plates with internationally inspired ingredients from Executive Chef Stephen Wambach (a veteran of 3-Michelin Star Restaurant Marc Forgione). 

For a more casual rooftop drink and nosh – the High Bar specializes in craft cocktails made with fresh ingredients. It opens to the public at 5 p.m. I’d recommend getting there early. It was packed when I arrived on a weekend around 5:15 p.m. Choose between comfy seats at the bar and stylish couches surrounding the fire pits – all with the moon and stars above.  

Sitting at the High Bar, I sipped a perfectly prepared Pina Colada, enjoyed a Lobster Roll – a succulent pound of lobster mixed with Old Bay, celery and tarragon, with apple coleslaw; and chatted with the friendly staff and guests. “This is Palm Springs perfect,” I sighed.