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“RUSTIC MINIMALIST "HIPSTER" HOTEL, BUT NICE”
Review of Sparrows Lodge

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Sparrows Lodge
Ranked #11 of 73 Hotels in Palm Springs
Certificate of Excellence
Big Bear Lake, California
Level Contributor
162 reviews
48 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 83 helpful votes
“RUSTIC MINIMALIST "HIPSTER" HOTEL, BUT NICE”
Reviewed 13 May 2014

When we recently attended the Arthur Lyons Film Noir Festival at the Camelot Theater, we wanted to stay closer than our friend's condo, which is a good 30-45 minutes away. So, when we saw a short article about the Sparrows in the Southern California Automobile Club's "Westways" magazine, we decided to give it a try. The article noted that the hotel began life as the El Rancho Lodge and was recently remodeled. Everything is brand spanking new, but, be forewarned, it now has a Spartan or minimalist décor, as others have noted. Suffice it to list the following: (1) Bare concrete floors grouted with small river stones; (2) No closets, just several clothes hooks; (3) Internal shutters, rather than drapes or venetian blinds; (4) Open shower "stalls" with an overhead rain style nozzle; (5) No traditional lobby (more on that later); and (6) Bare walls with exposed wood and studs. When we arrived at about 2-2:30 PM, we had MapQuest directions, but couldn't spot the hotel right off. After circling back from the next intersection, we finally realized the hotel's sign consisted of a yellowish sign with the black silhouettes of two sparrows on it; i.e., no writing saying "Sparrows Hotel"! So, we parked in the small front parking lot and went through what I'll call the "gatehouse". No one was around to greet us, so we wandered through what is called the "barn" dividing the two halves of the hotel and went to the back, where we finally found a cleaning lady who indicated by gestures that the lobby was the barn! My wife found the desk clerk "Shelby" and we were shown several rooms from which we could select, including Room 4 near the front, which we were originally assigned. Due to its proximity to the jacuzzi/pool and front parking lot, we opted for Room 4 and moved in our baggage. After an early dinner at the nearby Appetito restaurant (reviewed elsewhere), we sat down on the two chaise lounges in front of our room and read e-mails and communed with nature, as sparrows and hummingbirds flitted about the many bird feeders and flowers in the courtyard surrounding the pool. As other guests arrived that afternoon, we were amused to see them also looking about for the lobby and finally after emerging from the gatehouse, we pointed them toward the barn. So, one suggestion to the hotel would be to add some small signage to guide the guest to the barn to check-in, as well as a traditional road sign with writing on it. At any rate, the outdoor atmosphere is quite nice at the hotel and you can also partake of it on the private patio behind each unit, which has two Adirondack chairs and a couch for additional guests or outdoor naps, surrounded by a bower of bougainvillea hedges which shade the back wall. After attending the first evening showing at the film festival, we returned to the hotel at about 10 PM and found that it was virtually full, with only one parking space remaining. The alternate parking area is way around the corner on the street behind the hotel, so the parking situation is really inadequate, particularly if you arrive late. The following morning, we had breakfast in the "Barn", which was quite good with yogurt and granola and a selection of muffins. However, I wished they had begun serving coffee before 8 AM, since I'm an early riser and my wife and I need coffee to become alert. On the subsequent mornings, I made the short walk across the street to Carrows to get two coffees and OJ (no juice in the Barn) to tide us over until serving began. So, suggestion number 2 would be start coffee service at 7 AM. We met other guests during breakfast, which seemed to break into two demographics: retired Boomers such as ourselves and thirtysomethings of our childrens' ages. The latter were well-behaved and we didn't hear any of the noise that some reviewers complained of coming thru the thin, un-drywalled walls. Although we were gone at the film festival during virtually all waking hours, we enjoyed our stay at the hotel during the short times we were there. BTW, the beds seemed a bit soft and ours had an "egg crate" foam pad beneath the sheets, which might not be to everyone's liking. It was certainly a change of pace from what we're used to!! That said, next year, we will continue to experiment and stay at Casa Cody, an old, traditional hotel even closer to the Camelot Theater, with comparable room rates. We stopped by to visit Casa Cody and inspected one of the empty units, which were large, with kitchens and which even had closets, if you can imagine that! We'll leave the Sparrows Hotel to the thirtysomethings, who travel light in their official uniforms of t-shirts, shorts and flip-flops and instead stay in an adult hotel, such as Casa Cody, which I will review next year.

  • Stayed May 2014, travelled as a couple
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
4 Thank Stan W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Rating summary
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  • Sleep Quality
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (91)
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English first
San Diego, California
Level Contributor
42 reviews
24 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 56 helpful votes
Reviewed 29 April 2014

I think I know when I like a place because i DON"T want to review it online- because I want to be able to go back!

Anyway, Sparrows Hotel is a refreshing change from scene-ier type hotels like the Ace and the Parker that exist on the "hip" side of the spectrum. Couple of heads up: It's a MINIMALIST vibe so if you get shaken because you don't have an in room television, phone, closet, etc. you might want to steer clear. Personally, I thought it was a breath of fresh air.

It's a casual vibe, so don't bring a Starwood Luxury Collection attitude to Sparrows, you need to be relaxed and into the vibe. The vibe is: No kids, dogs ok, free "continental" breakfast (bread or yogurt/granola/strawberries.) There are no closets.

The restoration/modification of the pre-existing motor court style Motel that was in this location was expertly done with evident craft and workmanship. Much of the furniture was actually made by the owners. I noticed this in details like a table in the common area that was actually curved/warped in a way that made it clear it had been previously used, perhaps on site.

Anyway, I fully recommend the place unless you are a fussy type who expects Starwood Luxury collection level service- I'm not saying I don't like that, but Sparrows is a different vibe and you ought to embrace it if you stay there. They do have wifi. You can drink by the pool.

Room Tip: Some rooms have "back yards" and lounges in front, and others only have one or the other.
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  • Stayed April 2014, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank tripsnjunk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
19 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed 28 April 2014

Sparrows is such a lovely hotel, the staff are friendly and there is everything you need. The pizza oven was not finished when we were there but you can get breakfast and coffee until 11am. There are endless clean towels for when you are poolside and shade for when the sun is too hot. The fire at night is very peaceful and the hot tub is like stepping into a warm bath.

Room Tip: We stayed in Room 13, it was a bungalow on its own - really peaceful and roomy.
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  • Stayed April 2014, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank HollyF1984
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New York, New York, United States
Level Contributor
29 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 April 2014

One of the most unique places I've ever stayed and we travel a lot! It really is a special place with great character - fantastic decor, excellent pool and grounds, great staff. My girlfriend and I had a great time and the rates were incredibly reasonable. Also the owners were incredibly friendly and made sure we had an incredible stay. We can't say enough good things about our experience. Highly recommended!

Room Tip: All of the rooms are great, some are bigger than others, but even the smallest was very comfortable.
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  • Stayed April 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank AJude10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Denver, CO
Level Contributor
64 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
Reviewed 22 March 2014

The renovation of the Sparrows Hotel is lovely. It displays California-farmhouse-minimalist-wood and stone good feeling. There are nice water and fire features in the central common area. Grounds are lovely with orange trees, fire pit, pool, hot tub, lounge chairs, breakfast area and lots of bougainvillea.The staff is excellent. They are attentive, approachable, engaging, professional and efficient. Breakfast included coffee, tea, toasted baguette, muffins and yogurt with strawberries and granola. Bananas and oranges were also provided.
The queen sized beds were very comfortable and dressed with soft, fluffy linens. Five stars for the bed! The comfort when in the rooms ends there. Soundproofing is non-existent. Noise was a real problem for us during our stay. Some of it was the facility -- we could hear guests in the next room talking, blowing their nose, showering, etc. Everything going on outside the room could be heard. Some of the problem was fellow guests. At least half the guests brought dogs with them - some rooms had two dogs. Barking dogs was a too-common annoyance. There was a group of guests that decided to use the pool late at night and into the early morning hours. Splashing, laughing, conversation of that group kept occupants of rooms on both sides of the pool awake for hours. We tried turning on the air conditioner to drown out the noise, but it was not enough. There was nowhere to store clothes -- no closet (only 4 hooks), no hangers, no chest of drawers. In the rooms, lighting was both dim and harsh. The vanity area was very poorly lit. Finally, the concrete and pebble floors (although cute) were uncomfortable.

I liked many aspects of this property, but would not return.

  • Stayed March 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
6 Thank layla317
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
San Diego
Level Contributor
69 reviews
68 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 88 helpful votes
Reviewed 19 February 2014

I travel a lot, and it's not often that I completely rave about a hotel. This is one of those special places. I'm glad I am staying here now before the hoards discover it - the place is due for some mighty press attention, so I imagine some of its peaceful tranquility may be lost.

There are only about 24 rooms, remade chic from some renovated old crackhouse style motel. The design is crazy perfect - hand-crafted chill is the way I would describe it. Redwood inside and out, with rock wall accents and concrete floors inlaid with tiny stone channels. Rain shower with rock walls, and doors and windows that open wide to let the fresh air in. Private back patios with pea gravel and comfortable furniture where you can stare up at the starry night. Fire rings and waterfalls into the pool that make you realize how uncool you have been until now.

No TVs, no phones in the room, perfect free wifi throughout - this all makes for a nice little break from the rigors of humanity. There are not a ton of frills, and don't expect an umbrella drink by the pool. Rather, you can enjoy a nice glass of wine in "the barn" or in the little orange grove they recently planted. Breakfast is served each morning at little redwood and metal picnic tables in the warm sun.

No kids allowed. I love my kids, but this is a nice change. I can't wait to come back.

  • Stayed February 2014, travelled on business
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank criticdesandiego
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed 18 February 2014

My partner and I stayed here during modernism week in February 2014. The hotel had only been open for about 4 months, so bad reviews below are from a previous incarnation. We saw an article in the NYT magazine, and it lived up to its hype. The grounds are spectacular, design inspiring, rooms large and comfortable, and the location is terrific. Some room elements are design on a dime, but so well done they are inspiring, not cheap. The staff is small in number, but friendly and helpful. Included is breakfast, which was simple and charming. No full pool bar or food service during day, but honestly, we had all we needed with snacks and bee/wine/champagne. The overall design of the place is rustic modern in a Cliff May 40's ranch sort of way. Nothing kitchy, just simple design thoughtfully executed. I'd stay again in a heartbeat. We've stayed at Viceroy and Ace, both are great, but if you want a more intimate experience without sacrificing style, this is your choice.

Room Tip: more quiet towards the rear of the property
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  • Stayed February 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Tcstraker
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Sparrows Lodge

Property: Sparrows Lodge
Address: 1330 E Palm Canyon Dr, Palm Springs, CA 92264-9132 (Formerly Sparrows Hotel)
Region: United States > California > California Desert > Palm Springs
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beverage Selection Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #11 of 73 Hotels in Palm Springs
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £££
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Sparrows Lodge 3.5*
Number of rooms: 20
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
An intimate desert hideaway with a hacienda flair...a relaxing oasis in a hurried world, with the personal attention of a country inn: Palm Springs' only ranch-style boutique hotel. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
El Rancho Hotel Palm Springs

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