A Return to the Orchid Tree Inn

In 2013 during a visit to Palm Springs I shared images of a vacant (and at the time, for sale) hotel and adjacent church. It was The Orchid Tree Inn and the Community Church of Palm Springs, and you can view the first visit here. When we returned to Palm Springs in 2014, the hotel we were staying at was actually right across the street from the Orchid Tree Inn, and it still was vacant and had suffered a major blow. In September of 2013, the church fell victim to a fire.

When we visited in spring of 2014, I snapped pictures, but couldn’t find the words to describe my feelings at the time, and thus didn’t blog about it. Earlier this week we visited Palm Springs once again for Patrick’s annual conference there and I found myself lured to the Orchid Tree Inn for a third time to check in on its state. Sadly, nothing had really changed, but I still snapped photos. I was also prompted to do some more research on the fire and the status of the hotel.

In doing in my research, I came across an article that discussed that the church and Orchid Tree Inn are to be renovated to what is described as a “luxury boutique hotel” and it prompted me to feel a need to share the photos from last year and the recent ones ones I took this week. It is difficult to get fresh photos of a property you can only take photos of from the perimeter, but I just wanted to share these images to help in telling the history and story of the Orchid Tree Inn, and in some way, aiding to its preservation. First let’s take a look at the photos from last year.

Gear up for a pretty picture heavy post!

Unlike the visit in 2013, the “for sale” signs were gone, and “Private Property – No Trespassing” signs were scattered around the fences and gates to the complex. A large tan wrap clung to the fencing around the now charred church.

The fire is actually the third to occur between the two properties. In 2007 the Orchid Tree Inn suffered from two separate fires in which arson was suspected. These fires destroyed two of the main buildings for the Inn.

As I mentioned, within the last year, nothing has changed really, but I feel any photographs of a property help in preserving its history.

I look forward to what is in store for the property, and how this new “luxury boutique hotel” pans out, including what is completely removed, altered and preserved. Who knows, perhaps this little hotel will become a pet project of mine, in documenting its story during my visits to Palm Springs.

8 thoughts on “A Return to the Orchid Tree Inn

  1. That looks like such an inviting, wonderful spot to get away for some much needed R&R. I’m constantly delighted by how many vintage tourist spots, hotels, motels, and the like still exist in the US. Proportionately, I’d say you have a far larger number of such south of the 49th than we do up here in Canada. What a sincere shame that this gem might soon be going the way of the dinosaur though. Oh no!!!!!!

    ♥ Jessica

  2. I love to go with you on these little trips (photowise). This place looked so great and I really can imagine how great it might have looked back than … Now we can just wait and see in what of hotel this place will turn in.

  3. Hi, I walked by few days ago and I saw the same sign no trespassing. Anyway, I was wondering if you knew anything about the community church being haunted?

  4. hey atomic redhead ! My grandparents managed the orchid tree in from around 1960 to 1971. Grandfather was on the city council too. The original owner at the time was a professional wrestler. I spent 3-4 weeks every summer vacation there. It was fantastic.! And then i had to grow up. I hadnt been back to visit in almost 40 yrs. I found the place in the same condition as you. The smaller pool and parking lot in back used to be a small putting green. There was room service, shuffel board. constant music. grab a bike from the rack and go for a ride. You can only imagine what i felt like. The recent news is that the whole block is supposed to be nenovated, but theres a catch. The church next door is a historic land mark. The new owners are out of beverly hills somewhere and using a churchs name. According to a realtor friend who did a title search for me. send me an email and ill shoot you a photo of the post card that was offered at the front desk when the hotel was pristine

  5. Enjoyed reading your blog on this. I stayed at this hotel in a visit from the UK in 1996, and then again with my wife two years later. it was a gorgeous little retreat and I remember it fondly. Sitting at night on the verandah with silence and the lit cross from the church against the backdrop of the hills behind it … bliss. Will visit Palm Springs again one day but not stay at the OT, shame. Having driven to PS from LA it was like another world, a completely different vibe.

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