La Serena Villas
What We Love
- Morning delivery of a breakfast basket filled with croissants, Greek yogurt, and orange juice
- Gazing at the mountains from atop one of the plentiful pool floats
- The thoughtful details, like the pet treats added to the breakfast basket for guests traveling with dogs
What To Know
- The circa-1993 historic hotel was redeveloped in 2016 by architect May Sung
- All 18 villas have private patios, clawfoot tubs, and fire pits; two have private pools
- WiFi can be spotty occasionally
- Guests can borrow bikes for free to pedal around Palm Springs
La Serena achieves that most difficult of tasks: occupying a central spot in town while maintaining the feel of a retreat. Part of this has to do with the hotel’s layout—individual bungalows, no under-21s allowed—as well as with its quirky, stimulating design, which contributes to the feeling of being somewhere altogether new. A riot of patterns and prints, with different textures everywhere, the interiors of the hotel boast striped pillows, African baskets and Moroccan-inspired tiles—photographers and interior design lovers will be thrilled. Villas have well-stocked kitchenettes (with Smeg fridges), private patios with clawfoot tubs for starlight bathing, and fire pits for starlight cuddling; some have front porches with views of the San Jacinto mountains. The restaurant, Azúcar, does Cali-style fresh and healthy food that’s unpretentious but consistently good, like fish tacos, spiced tempeh bowls, and cocktails livened up with fresh juices and herbs.
In the Area
Two blocks east of Palm Canyon Drive, the strip populated by the city’s buzziest shops, restaurants, and art galleries, La Serena is handy for shopping and dining excursions. Book in advance in the high season for lunch or dinner at EIGHT4NINE, a New American restaurant where chef Chuck Courtney turns out a well-executed menu of super-fresh ahi tuna poke with house-made kimchi, lobster mac and cheese, and mesquite-smoked carne asada. The Palm Springs Art Museum, home to exciting contemporary work by Helen Frankenthaler and Robert Motherwell as well as exhibitions often inspired by the desert, is an easy half-mile walk from the hotel. For brunch, hit up Workshop Kitchen+Bar, which pairs a James Beard Award-winning restaurant design with blue crab eggs Benedict and house-cured gravlax.
How to Get There
La Serena Villas is a lovely getaway that is charming yet modern hotel. It features very private rooms, an amazing spa, and a wonderful poolside restaurant. The staff were attentive, helpful and prompt with service. The whole experience there is a unique alternative to huge impersonal branded mega-hotels. We spent two days mid-week and the only thing wrong was that we didn't have more time there - we just didn't want to leave.
We recently completed our second stay at La Serena Villas. Our previous visit was great and we returned with our son and daughter in law for a 7 day visit the first week of April 2019. This visit started out rocky, but Laura, the manager, and her team stepped in and smoothed things out. Long story short, we ended up more than satisfied with the resolution. That’s the main motivation for the review, but obviously we returned because of the wonderful experience La Serena Villas provides. If you can stay here, do. It’s a beautiful, private oasis in the desert. BTW, there are two other properties close by under the same ownership/management and if La Serena is not your deal, check them out. The Three Fifty and Del Marcos are both lovely properties with a more public vibe. All three are in a great location for walking to shopping and dining.
We had an amazing stay at La Serena Villas. The service, food, and accommodations were perfect. It's an oasis in the middle of the desert, and every expectation was met throughout the experience. From the blood orange margaritas to the thoughtful breakfast basket brought to our door, La Serena Villas made our trip feel luxurious and special.
I stayed in villa 15 for 4 nights in April. The villa was amazing! Very well furnished with lots of thoughtful touches, including the wine rack in the fridge and L'Occitane toiletries. The breakfast baskets were an awesome surprise. Overall, the resort is fairly quiet and relaxed. Plenty of reserved parking in the back. There were only a couple issues that keep this from being perfect. (1) My room wasn't ready even though I arrived after 3pm. Surprising for a hotel that charges a luxury price. (2) The wait staff in the restaurant never come to the pool to take orders, which was a huge missed opportunity. And when I walked in to the restaurant to order lunch, I couldn't get anyone to help me so ended up eating elsewhere. (3) I'd recommend staying away from villa 15. It's right next to some sort of maintenance/housekeeping area, not shown on the map. This made it noisy all day every day. Employees would also walk by the villa all day pushing the cleaning carts with something (a broom maybe?) hitting my wall and windows over and over. This made it so I couldn't sleep in or nap. The villas on the other end of the property seem quieter.
Just returned from babymoon #2 and have no criticism of our stay in Villa 14. Our room was available (early) upon check-in and we were given a quick walking tour of the facilities and room features by the very friendly front desk staff. Made use of the bicycles on several occasions although most downtown highlights are within walking distance (<1 mile). Very accommodating to squeeze us in for dinner at Azucar on a Saturday night when our reservations elsewhere fell through. Quickly adjusted the temperature of our Jacuzzi for pregnancy needs. Very serene atmosphere although the acoustics of the Khalo room of Azucar restaurant could be improved for guests relaxing in the main pool area. Highly recommended!!