Photography by Camron Carrier
Set amid the sea of midcentury modern and Spanish-style architecture that largely dominates Palm Springs, Sparrows Lodge is a departure from the norm with its rustic yet modern aesthetic. Originally built in 1952 as Castle’s Red Barn by MGM actor Don Castle, the property was a popular getaway for Hollywood stars, and rumor has it that actress Elizabeth Montgomery (best known as Samantha in the original “Bewitched” television series) was married there.
After passing through various ownership and doing stints as Catalina Palms and El Rancho Lodge, the property was again purchased and a major renovation was completed in 2013, with Sparrows Hotel opening for business in October 2013, and then another change in ownership in June 2014 brought with it a slight change in name, swapping out “hotel” with the more fitting “lodge.”
The 20-room property, located in south Palm Springs near the Ace Hotel, centers around the original barn, now renovated to house a bar and lounge seating. Exposed redwood beams, concrete floors with hand-inlaid pebbles and functional wood window shutters lend a summer camp cabin vibe to both exteriors and interiors. Rooms are outfitted with custom-made redwood beds featuring plush mattresses topped by Swiss Army blankets, as well as metal footlockers and leather butterfly chairs.
A rock wall acts as a divider for the bathroom area, which includes enameled horse troughs for bathtubs and an open shower made of concrete and inlaid pebbles.
There are no televisions or phones in the rooms, but wireless internet access is available for those who cannot disconnect completely. All guest rooms have private patios, and two larger suites offer a little extra space and luxury: the Owner’s Suite, with a large sitting area and a sunken bedroom area with a functional fireplace, and the Sparrows Suite, with a kitchen and dining area separate from the bedroom.
Outdoor amenities include a saltwater pool and spa, a fire pit and horseshoes. Room rates include a simple breakfast of muffins, yogurt, granola, fruit and toast, which can be enjoyed al fresco at hand-constructed redwood tables surrounded by fruit trees and a charming vegetable garden. Well-behaved pets under 35 lbs are also welcome with an additional fee.
Weddings and other social events entail a buyout of the property, turning it into a private compound that is perfect for celebrating with friends and family (see here for Sparrows wedding inspiration!).
If you’re heading to Sparrows Lodge, just look for the nameless sign bearing two small birds and you’ll know you’ve reached this laid-back and inspiring retreat.
1330 E. Palm Canyon Dr.
Palm Springs 92264
See this feature in print in Volume 1 // Issue 1 of Palm Springs Style magazine!
Images © Palm Springs Style; may not be used without express permission