In Palm Springs, the Whimsical Boutique Hotel Les Cactus Features a Colorful Exterior, and Fresh, Bright Interiors, While Mixing Vintage and Contemporary Elements in Every Nook
Renowned for hosting some of the most iconic mid-century modern homes in Southern California—designed by masters Richard Neutra, Albert Frey, and John Lautner—it is a stylish mecca that attracts all generations, too. Los Angeles-based hotelier Matthew Kurtz and his wife are two such aficionados. The couple dreamt of spending more free time there but soon realized that budgets forbade it. That’s when they conceived the idea of creating an affordable yet well-designed small hotel.
In partnership with local hoteliers Richard Crisman and Jeff Brock (who are behind Sparrows Lodge and Holiday House), Matthew Kurtz tackled the challenge of refreshing a historic 1930s property set against the stunning backdrop of the San Jacinto Mountains.
Centrally located in the Warm Sands neighborhood, Les Cactus opened its doors a few months ago, after an intense, six-month renovation. The 27-room, adults-only hotel provides a relaxing stay at a reasonable price, reinvigorating the area’s hospitality scene.
“We saw a need for a fun, design-focused, and affordable property, that blurs the line between traditional hotel operations and mom-and-pop, short-term rentals that guests will be excited to visit year-round,” says Matthew Kurtz.
Every element was considered to give the spaces a homey feel with a personalized approach, starting with the name of the hotel. Les Cactus refers to the famous French rock ’n’ roll song from 1967 by Jacques Dutronc, which Matthew Kurtz and his wife listened to while planning their wedding.
Created as a hidden and joyful oasis, Les Cactus welcomes guests with colorful décor. The single-story building features pink exterior walls with jade green elements, complemented by a series of potted cacti. In the bright lobby, guests will enjoy the communal kitchen with a snack bar and refrigerator filled with drinks; a sitting area by the original brick fireplace with comfortable armchairs and yellow ceiling lamps; and a second sitting area near the front desk, with rattan chairs and a zebra rug.
Plants, art books, a piano, and an acoustic guitar are all part of the fresh décor. The mix of vintage pieces sourced from Etsy, 1stDibs, and Palm Springs’s antique shops and flea markets, with contemporary furniture and accessories purchased from well-known brands such as Serena & Lily, CB2, West Elm, HAY, One Kings Lane, and Rejuvenation, among others, lends a feeling of warmth.
“We want guests to feel as comfortable as they would in the home of a best friend or family member,” says Matthew Kurtz.
Accessible through the center courtyard where a heating pool, hot tub, and seating allow guests to enjoy the beautiful surrounding panorama, the bungalow-style rooms also have an effortlessly chic look with Casper mattresses, 100% Egyptian cotton sheets, framed squares of Gucci floral wallpapers, and pieces of spin art that add pops of vivid colors. In the bathrooms, guests can relax in glazed-tile showers while using products by L.A.-based brand Further.
Interested in offering a complete experience, Matthew Kurtz carefully considered the type of service he wanted to give his guests. Instead of a typical hotel breakfast, picnic baskets with yogurt, granola, fruit, and croissants from a local French bakery are delivered to all rooms every morning. At night, the hammock garden and rooftop deck are the perfect places to observe the stars. In the gift store, candles, ceramics, organic body oils, and mini cacti are some of the products available, while in the beer and wine shop, the selection is local.
With restaurants, cafes, boutiques, and museums within reach, and Joshua Tree National Park just 40 miles from Palm Springs, Les Cactus has a lot to offer when it comes to the variety of activities. Casual yet chic, vibrant yet soothing, for this eclectic boutique hotel, the inspiring journey has just begun.
Les Cactus | lescactusps.com
Photographs: Courtesy of Zach Sorensen & Les Cactus Palm Springs