Sands Hotel and Spa
What We Love
- Iced mint tea at check-in
- In-room toiletries by Acqua di Parma
- Cal-Mediterranean plates at The Pink Cabana, a contemporary spin on a 1960s racquet club
- Immaculate glass mosaics at the hotel’s destination spa
What To Know
- For views of the San Jacinto mountains, stay in a Double Queen
- Each of the rooms here includes Chrome Cast televisions and mobile streaming
- Guests under 18 are not permitted on the property
- The hotel’s private olive grove makes it a popular wedding location
- Adults Only
- Free WiFi
A-list designer Martyn Lawrence Bullard's stylish, down-valley getaway channels a glitzy Moroccan riad
The exclusive desert enclave that is Indian Wells finally has a design-savvy oasis to its name. The 46-room Sands Hotel, with its beguiling rosy exterior, was gussied up by Martyn Lawrence Bullard, whose star-studded client list includes most of the Kardashian crew along with the Colony Palm Hotel in nearby Palm Springs. The lobby, clad in black-and-white Moroccan tiles, serves as a stylish preview for the Mediterranean mania that follows: enormous palms hover by the pool (Bullard was reportedly inspired by the gardens of La Mamounia in Marrakech), while the hotel’s highest-level suite, dubbed Le Riad, is a sexy 1,000-square-foot refuge with gilt embellishments and a soaking tub at the foot of the master bed (though the golden palm trees on your room door are reminders that you’re definitely in glamorous SoCal). The Moroccan magic truly sparkles at the millennial pink spa, with its embroidered poufs and recessed mirrors. (Don’t miss a Radiance Facial, which showcases the restorative powers of pink peppercorn oil.)
In the Area
In addition to a world-renowned tennis tournament, the Indian Wells area (about two hours east of Los Angeles) is also known for its natural splendor: there are fifteen miles of gorges and a succession of serene creeks and pools to take in at the nearby Indian Canyons, about a 30-minute drive from the hotel. For a bird’s eye view of the surrounding desert, hop aboard an hour-long hot-air balloon ride complete with a champagne toast (the hotel can help you facilitate this). If you’re seeking fun of the indoor variety, head to nearby Palm Springs Art Museum, where Picassos and Van Goghs await.
How to Get There
We’ve stayed at Sands Hotel & Spa twice this year. The first in July shortly after they have opened and we just got back from our last longer visit yesterday.
The hotel itself is beautiful and small. With only 40+ rooms, it’s perfect for a relaxing weekend getaway.
The hotel also has a restaurant attached, The Pink Cabana and pool side service is available. Everything sounds great in theory. And because the place is beautiful, I guess it’s natural to have high expectations in terms of service?
On our first visit, the rooms where still fresh and the pool side loungers were without stains. It’s unfortunately how in less than a year, the same room we stayed at during our first visit now smelled like wet dog. The rug has more than a few stains and the patio walls were dirty.
We were so excited about visiting the Sands again despite a few mishaps during our first stay. When we first dined at the Pink Cabana, our food took more than an hour to come out because they initially gave our order to another table. We understood, they had just opened and it was a busy night. At this recent visit, the service has gone down even more. We were waited on by a guy with a brimmed hat. He seemed confused, and made us feel like we weren’t suppose to be ordering from him? Was he not our waiter? Perhaps he was a manager or the owner. Either way, I think he should have made a better attempt at making his guest feel comfortable even if it meant directing us to the right waiter if he wasn’t.
I would also note that, since July the menu at the Pink Cabana has not changed. Its quality however, has also gone down tremendously. It’s a shame.
The poolside service is also wonky. At times, it’ll be seamless and charges made poolside automatically get charged to your room. Which is perfect. Other times, you will have concierge and your waitress hunt you down and call you at your room asking for your credit card information. Not exactly ideal for a relaxing stay.
Overall, the place is beautiful, you find multiple photo shoots going on. It’s a bit of a scene, I mean it’s instagramable so that’s a bit expected. The service or lack thereof is unfortunately not acceptable. You’ll be taking your own bags to your room.
We really wanted to love this place but sadly, we won’t be returning. Even if it’s less than $100 on Hotel Tonight.
We stayed here just over a week ago and were blown away with the hotel, staff, pool areas, walk in showers, comfy beds, the relaxed atmosphere, the list could go on. The rooms were fantastic, only gripe is the lack of kettle and bin in the bedroom, but that is very minor when everything else was so perfect! The coffee, fruit and muffins in the morning were just perfect and Molly was a fantastic Manager and made our stay for my good friends birthday very special, thank you Molly and all the staff who were so nice. Would love to come back one day, it was a fantastic trip and will treasure the memories, thank you so much.
This is a very pretty small hotel with lots of nice sun bathing opportunities around a very nice pool. However at 9am, to the second, the piped music begins and continues tfn. It was much too loud for us and not even mellow background. We were the only ones at the pool and asked for it to be turned down but with no noticeable effect. The music is modern and I am sure that is the clientele they are after.
There is a cafetière in the room but no method to boil water and the only coffee was for espresso. Hot water could be obtained from room service. Very odd.
Rooms was very well decorated, the bathroom was exceptional as was the bed.
We had one meal at the Sands which was pretty good but eat the next night at the Reef which is next door and which we preferred.
Most of the staff were delightful but when we checked out we advised the lady of a couple of snags in the room. Was she interested- not in the slightest.
We have stayed twice. THE GOOD: The first time was three weeks after they opened. It was magical. Food and drinks were to die for, the decor is incredible, and the rooms are unique and fabulous. The mini bars look like adult candy stores filled with boutique liquors and chocolates. The en suite room has the coolest tub/shower combo I've ever seen with a window looking in/out from the bedroom and a daybed on the patio. Worth the upgrade! Pool servers are great, no kids allowed makes for quiet pool time. And, the pool furniture, daybeds and cabanas are super high end. No fees to use either! The pool servers bartenders and the F&B director Molly. THE NOT SO GOOD: Our second stay was not as great. We had problems upon check in and were almost charged money we did not owe. We had to sit for 30 minutes resolving the issue. Instead of a manager coming to help, a young employee had to go back and forth many times. We paid considerably more for a room that was not as nice. The view was that of a parking lot. Our mini bar fridge did not get cold, so we could not use and enjoy. The manager Brian called me after our stay. He apologized for the hiccups, and asked if he could invite us back out. I said , "Of course." He promised me a follow up call which never happened. STILL, we wanted to return this past weekend. We actually wanted to elope and get married there. I called and asked to speak with him three times. I was promised a call back each time, which did not happen. I was connected to the event coordinator who told me they were not able to accommodate us on a weekend unless we rented out the entire spa for a day. She didn't seem to care at all that her answer drove our business away. Talk about disappointing, when we've been there twice in the five months they've been open. So, we called Cassie at the Ace Hotel Palm Springs. A hot spot boutique hotel down the road. The Ace went above and beyond to help us. They welcomed us with open arms, booked my hair and make up for me, had a complimentary bottle of champagne waiting for us in our room upon check in, offered a cake made for two and a private dinner in our room, and Cassie met with us the day before to show three spaces where we could do our little ceremony. (Note: It was just the two of us, a minister and photographer.) In addition, they loaned us a high bar table, table cloth and vase free of charge. We chose their balcony event venue overlooking the pool, with a view of the mountain and hills. They allowed us to take photos with our photographer and didn't charge us an extra dime except for our room, spa and food/drinks. Sands?? We did try.
La Jolla, California
Hidden Boutique Moroccan Inspired Adult Hotel
Martyn Lawrence did an amazing job.Sabrina checked us in, she was professional and very helpful. We were on a short trip to visit my daughter. Sabrina escorted us to our beautiful room on the ground floor, beautifully appointed, many special amenities and wonderful touches, especially the mini bar A combination of Bullard’s Moroccan-inspired influence and a mid-century vibe that is synonymous with the desert’s everlasting allure, The bed was most comfortable, and appreciated the finest egyptian sheets. A wonderful short stay. Look forward to returning.
Navigation makes this hotel not so easy to find, may be part of the allure.