Why Palm Springs' Luxe Hotels Are Going Condo

Courtesy of Hawkins International
A rendering of the main hotel reception area and pool for the Montage La Quinta, which broke ground in June.

Montage, Pendry and more high-end hospitality brands are bringing new residential options (and standout partners like L.A. chef Katsuya Uechi) to the desert oasis that has lured Hollywood stars for decades.

A new genus of luxury housing is set to bloom in the desert of Palm Springs and the Coachella Valley during the next 20 months. Three massive hotel development projects, all of which include a sizable portion of branded luxe condominiums, are in the works in La Quinta and Indian Wells and are set to offer turnkey second-home options with wraparound services that would've made Ol' Blue Eyes swoon.

In La Quinta, Montage International has broken ground on a 525-acre parcel of land where two hotels — a 140-room Montage La Quinta and a 200-room Pendry La Quinta — will rise. In addition to the hotel proper, the Montage will offer 30 "Golf Villas" averaging about 3,200 square feet and costing in the range of $3.2 million. The Pendry will offer 66 fully furnished, multistory residential condos, averaging about 1,500 square feet and going for about $900,000. With expected completion in 2020, presales will likely get underway in the spring.

In nearby Indian Wells, Sam Nazarian's SBE has partnered with TMC Group, based in Irvine, California, to build the $85 million Delano — a 154-room hotel plus 54 residential condo units ranging from 900-square-foot one-bedrooms to 3,000-square-foot three-bedrooms, priced between $500,000 and $2 million. The project has lured sushi star Katsuya Uechi to open a restaurant, and the property, set for a likely 2020 bow, will include a signature poolside Skybar lounge.

Hotel residences, a booming sector across the globe in the past five years, have a strong appeal — thanks to prestige branding and rich amenities — for the type of high-end buyer who craves a second home in the desert (Gersh's Bob Hohman and managers Will Ward and Bill Cahill are among the Hollywood figures with residences there). But Palm Springs' market has been controlled by private communities like the Hideaway and Big Horn Country Club, which just completed a $70 million clubhouse renovation. Another popular community is the Madison Club, where a 4,800-square-foot villa is listed for $3.7 million (UTA's Jay Sures recently sold his home there, and the Kardashians reportedly bought recently).

Montage International's Tina Necrason says that when her team was conceiving the project, the lack of similar properties raised questions about pricing. "Normally when we enter a new market, we have a competitive set to draw from, but in this case we really didn't," she says. And these condos will come to market just as many experts say a slowdown in California's real estate boom is nigh. The year-over-year median price in Palm Springs fell 5 percent, according to Douglas Elliman, while the number of properties for sale climbed nearly 12 percent in the same period. "But we think there is a need that we are going to fill," says Necrason. "When you add the cachet of our brand, it will create a new story."

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GOOD IN MY HOOD
by David Permut (producer, Hacksaw Ridge

Robolights
1077 E. Granvia Valmonte, Palm Springs

"A holiday spectacular on a big estate. Ken Irwin, the genius who runs it, makes robots out of discarded junk." [Note: Irwin has announced plans to move Robolights to a new home in 2019 and make it a year-round attraction. Check his website for updates.]

We Care Spa
18000 Long Canyon, Desert Hot Springs

"Great place to start the new year with a cleanse. All this pampering, and the colon therapists there are fantastic."

Nature's Health Food & Cafe
555 S. Sunrise Way #301, Palm Springs

"My go-to is the eggplant sandwich. Pick up a bag of the crunchy seaweed to munch on the trip back to L.A."

This story first appeared in the Dec. 18 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.