Herbert W Burns seemed to have a penchant for Palm Springs’ West Arenas Road – the site of the designer’s 1957 hotel (now the Orbit In); the 1947 Town and Desert Apartments (now The Hideaway); and the 1951 Holiday House. And who could blame him? At the foot of the San Jacinto Mountains in the historic tennis club area, it’s prime Palm Springs real estate.
But while his other Arenas properties have benefited from TLC, 200 West Arenas – renamed the Chase Hotel – had fallen on hard design times, with the original mid century bones of the 26-room hotel hidden by dark, dull interiors and a tired exterior. But thanks to new owners Jeff Brock and Richard Crisman (of nearby Sparrows Lodge) who hired designer Mark D Sikes to do a refresh, the storied hotel has regained not only its old name, but its original post war spirit of optimism.
In its current incarnation, (and its first ever renovation) Burns’ low-key modernism, much less severe than the likes of Frey or Lautner and known for its ‘liveability’, is enlivened by Gio Ponti-inspired fresh pops of multi-hued blues and white.
The monochromatic exterior has benefited from a mix of original brick - left as accents and livened up with large HH logos - contrasting with white painted stucco and multi-hued blue overhangs. Interiors offer playful mixes of blue and white tiles, walnut veneers, graphic wallpapers and rattan furniture.
The lobby makeover features layers of patterned fabrics, including Josef Frank’s ‘exotic butterfly’, as well as travertine floors, mahogany and brass accents. Art works by David Hockney and Alex Katz elevate the vibe throughout, while David Sultan’s ‘Poppy Sculpture’ brightens up the poolside.
With vibrant shades of cornflower and cobalt enriching Burns’ original vision, Sikes’ ‘mid-century blues’ theme is delightfully uplifting.